The last blog post was about the difference between a verified and unverified account, and how you can use this information to protect yourself.
While we want to encourage trust, patience and hopefulness, there are also some harsh truths we need to face. The team on any dating platform will do its best to protect its users, and you should reach out to them if you have any complaints or concerns. But here are some things you can watch out for to spot that someone’s dating profile might be fake.
If the profile has an overly beautiful profile picture – perhaps a glamour shot or a professional photo – this can be a red flag. Sometimes people who want to scam you will use someone else’s photograph or steal stock images to create a beautiful image for you to be attracted. (These pictures might feature nudity or near-nudity, and not show their face.) There might be very few other pictures which are candid or unstaged.
Inadequate profile details
Similarly, with the candid pictures, their bio might be very sparse, with little or no personal information. Often there are inspirational quotes or links to outside sites which are not social media sites but probably dodgy sites which request personal information. All of these are ways to make you interested but not actually share anything relevant with you.
This is a very common phenomenon with scammers and other fake profiles. They will tell you they don’t live in your city, or especially that they don’t live in the same country as you. This becomes an immediate barrier to meeting you in real life. (They will also often fabricate jobs which keep them travelling at random intervals, making it harder for you to meet them.)
Cannot meet you – cancels frequently
This is a continuation of the same behaviour displayed when they say they live abroad. These people with fake profiles are not here to learn more about you, to make friends, to date, to become lovers and partners. They spend their time with you online and create an emotional connection with you, but in the real world, they leave you hanging, unable to meet for convoluted reasons. They can’t afford to meet you, since that would expose their real looks and identity to you.
This is the line in the sand. I’m sorry to say this, and it probably sounds very harsh. But if they ask for money to cover an emergency, an urgent need – they have to post bail, pay a fine, go to the hospital, pay a loan shark, repay some debt, have to travel – whatever it is, I implore you not to trust them. Do not lend anyone you meet on a dating platform money, *especially if the request is urgent*. Or if you do, be ready for more requests and demands. The money you lend will increase exponentially.
There might be very real, honest and valid reasons for the behaviours listed here – especially for people who are not yet able to be open about their gender and sexuality. But you deserve to protect yourself from harm, and the online dating space can be difficult to navigate. Trust your gut: if something looks fishy, it probably is.