Online Dating Question – How Can You Spot a Fake Online Profile?

The Question

How do you know that the profile is for real and not something made up to get you to join the online dating site? I would get lots of emails from a dating site so I would join it, and then the emails just stop. What’s up with that? - Anonymous

The Honest Answer

To avoid online dating scams, your best bet is to stick with the major online dating sites that have been around for a few years and have a large member base. They won’t admit it, but I have personally seen some of the smaller or more obscure dating sites ‘pad’ the website with fake profiles and even go so far as to send a message to their members from this ‘fake’ person in the hopes of generating more activity on the site.

The larger, more well known dating sites have no reason to do this and generally have employees whose job it is to monitor new accounts and weed out the spammers and the scammers. The larger sites also have a public image to protect, which works in your favor. If you suspect someone of being a spammer or scammer, make sure that you report them immediately to the website’s support team.

Why do the messages stop after you join?

There are all kinds of reasons that a real person may not answer your messages and many of them have nothing to do with you personally. Maybe they got really busy, left town on vacation, or decided that online dating is just not their thing. The important thing here is not to get discouraged. There are lots more fish in the sea.

I would recommend trying to send a few messages over the course of a few weeks before deciding to give up entirely. And then, if you still don’t here anything, move on.

There are situations where the person messaging you could be a scammer trying to contact you for whatever reason. Those accounts are often found and terminated quickly on the major dating sites. So by the time you respond, the account may have been deleted.

You might also get a wink from a girl who’s not actually a paying member of that site. If you join to message her she may not be able to respond unless she pays… and she may not be willing to do that. If she’s not willing to pay to talk to you, then she’s not worth your time anyway. Move on to the next cute girl on your list.

Red flags. How can you know the real people from the scammers?

“Red flags” are defined as those little things that you can look for in a person’s profile that indicate the profile may be fake. Although there is really no way to know for sure if a profile is real or fake, there are some red flags that you should watch out for.

Here are some examples of what I mean when I say “red flags”…

•  The person invites you to check him or her out at a different website. This could still be a real profile, but it could also be an invitation to sign up to a porn site.

•  If a woman you have never met, sends you a message that is extremely forward and flirty, she might just be a porn model or cam girl trying to lure you to her site, or a prostitute trying to get clients.

•  A really great looking guy or girl (we’re talking super model quality) sends you a message even though you haven’t even uploaded a photo or filled out your profile.

•  The grammar in the profile is of very poor quality and sounds foreign. There are a lot a spammers, often from Russia and Nigeria (and many other places), that specifically target dating sites and other social network sites, such as MySpace and Friendster.

•  If a person requests your personal information such as phone number, address, or any other type of personal or financial information, they may just be using the dating site to collect information to use for identity theft or some other fraudulent scam.

•  If for any reason, the person or the message seems ‘to good to be true’, this should urge you be careful.

I’m not saying that you should never respond to messages that meet these criteria, but if you do, proceed with caution!

You’ll be fine if you just use common sense. Remember, online or not, real world rules still apply.


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