Online dating has now become such an integral part of the dating world that sometimes it’s hard to remember what life was like without it. More and more people are meeting new partners, lovers, and whatnot online than ever before, and there are an ever-growing list of apps and websites for people to use.
Sadly with all this technology it has also brought with it those who’s only goal is to scam you via a fake profile. This could be to get some personal details from you to steal your identity, financial information to rip you off, or to get you to spend money on other apps or websites by signing up for ‘trial memberships’. Or any number of things they try to get out of you.
Most of the time these fake profiles can be easily identified as they’re openly advertising some business or website to garner more customer traffic.
But for others, it can be a bit more difficult to spot. Mostly because these people do their best to showcase exactly what you’re looking for, all wrapped up in a gorgeous, model-like package. Sometimes it’s just too good to be true.
A ‘scammer’ is someone who’s sole purpose online is to trick people in giving them money by illegal methods. A lot of the time these people will spend weeks chatting you up, gaining your trust, only to end up asking you to send them money to help with their bills, an emergency that’s come up, or perhaps even to buy a ticket to come visit you.
But don’t believe it. This is how they operate and are most likely chatting to multiple people at once. These aren’t easy to detect without checking IP addresses, language analysis, or analysing their submitted profile picture (they generally use the same pic on different sites, so once flagged on one it’s flagged overall).
These profiles are clearly using other people’s photos and details, sometimes even using a celebrity’s images. Or they’ll just be using generic stock photos they’ve downloaded from the internet. Most of these pictures will look like standard headshots or as if they’ve been taken professionally.
As well, the imposters will generally not have more than one photo on their profile. And if they do, then the additional pictures will most likely just be variations on the first one.
Too Beautiful for Words
Carrying on with the imposters, some will use pictures of what you might think is probably the most gorgeous guy (or gal) in the world, and just looking at their pic makes you drool.
It’s sad to say that profile may be fake, as they’re playing into your need to feel attractive and want for someone better looking than you to be interested. Sure, sometimes it’s not really about looks or body shape, but on your personality and who you are as a person… but if it feels fake, then it probably is.
And let’s not even start on those who use their own pics from years or decade past, from when they looked hot AF.
Sometimes these imposters or scammers can’t seem to keep their stories straight. For instance, their profile will say they’re living in Manchester but every day it shows them a different distance from you – when chatting on Tuesday they’re 4.5 miles away, but on Thursday they’re 4000 miles away, then apparently around the corner the next day.
But it can also happen that what they say during your chat contradicts what’s listed on their profile… and as soon as you call them on it they’ll either disappear, change their profile, or accuse you of something silly to take the pressure off them and make you feel bad for even pointing it out in the first place.
Be leery of those who ask fairly quickly to chat off the site you’re already on. A lot of the time, this will be to move to another chat site of some sort. These other sites may be free initially but there’ll be in-app purchases or you’ll be required to sign up for a ‘trial membership’ that doesn’t get cancelled and you end up being charged. They purposely make these difficult to cancel as well.
Or the popular one is to ask for your mobile number so you can chat on Whatsapp or exchange email addresses. Again, be careful of this as scammers can use these details to sign you up for all sorts of things, which could end up with you being charged for services you didn’t ask for.
Some advice out there states to avoid those profiles that state the user is widowed or a widower, as they’re using the sympathy card to lure you in. And perhaps this can be true, but it leaves you dismissing a possible new partner because of their status. This should probably be the last thing to look at when determining if they’re a fake.
All in all, just use your common sense before giving out personal details online.
Be safe. Be sane. Be real.