Online dating is probably one of the most controversial topics of our time. So many stories have been shared about both successful and awful experiences that it’s hard to tell if it deserves attention at all. But what we can tell for sure is that online dating actually works; you just have to know how to distinguish between genuine people and potentially malicious users.
Step #1: Read the information in bio
The first thing that can tell you a lot about any user is their dating profile. Regardless of what kind of platform you use, profiles divide into three categories: 1) thoroughly filled out, with obviously real photos and regular activity; 2) created in a rush, with one photo and a few words about the account holder; 3) empty profiles with no information or pictures. The latest is highly recommended to avoid as chances are it was created either by someone who doesn’t use the platform anymore or a scammer, but the first two require a deeper examination. Are all accounts with info and photos can be trusted? It depends.
On matchmaking platforms (where people look for long-term relationships and marriage), profiles of genuine users tend to have a lot of personal information like education, occupation, something about hobbies, etc. It is because people on such sites are interested in finding someone like-minded for the long haul, and mentioning such small details makes the search easier. On the contrary, if you open a niche service for rich women looking for sex, you’ll find neither much personal info nor many photos. Since hookup platforms gather people interested in casual dates with no strings and commitment included, there’s no need to be too explicit. Rich women don’t want to make their identity known in the very first stage. Hookup site users normally write a few words about what they look for in a partner and what their preferences in sex are and add one or two photos just to let other users know what they look like.
So, if an account doesn’t have photos or has some nonsense written in it, better skip it and move on. But if their bio looks completely normal, and there are a few pictures uploaded, it’s time to move to step number two.
Step #2: Look closer at the photos
At first, it may seem simple: if there are photos, you can trust the user; if there are none, they’re up to no good. But did you know that so many ways exist to fake the identity of the person behind the account using only one picture? One of the most common and easiest ways is to steal someone else’s photos from social media accounts. But being so easy to pull off, this method has the disadvantage of being easy to detect.
If you’re using the Google Chrome browser and the dating site you’re on allows you to interact with the text and images, right-click on the photo you want to check and select “search via Google Lens.” The search engine will give you all possible matches. For a more accurate result, select the target in the photo you want to compare with other images on the Internet (click on that person’s face). If there are no exact matches or this photo is only posted on the site you use and other dating platforms, the user is real and can be trusted. If you found this and other similar photos, but they belong to the social media pages of a completely different person, it means they were stolen. Better block this user and report them.
Speaking of social media. It’s hard to find someone who doesn’t have an account on one of the popular social media platforms, at least to follow other people and read the news. So, the next step would be to check whether this user has an account on Insta, Twitter, Facebook, or else, and how active they are. Even if their page has restricted access and you can’t read their tweets or see their posts, the very existence of an account is a good sign.
Each platform is good for a little investigation, too. For example, an Instagram account can tell you a lot about how this person sees the world around them, what they do in their spare time, and what interests they have. Twitter, on the other hand, often reveals the thoughts of a person, their political and religious beliefs, and also can tell a lot about their interests. However, if that person doesn’t have an account on the mentioned social media platforms whatsoever, they’re most likely fake.
Step #4: Pay attention to the answers
You can never be too cautious when dating on the Internet, so even if their account seems perfect, you still need to pay close attention to how they talk. A person who comes to a dating site to scam someone will always act friendly, no matter the situation. They will agree with everything you say and try to gain your trust in the shortest possible time. This is not to say that any friendly person is fake. But if your new match is trying too hard to please you, that’s a worrying sign.
The same goes for those who immediately start complaining about their life, and eventually, the conversation leads to them begging for financial help. Remember, no person who genuinely needs help will come asking for it on a dating site, even young men looking for something casual with rich women. All the stories about how they need money for urgent surgery for their cat or whatever are often lies and a ploy to get you to wire them money. So, it pays to be extremely careful when talking to new people on dating sites.
Step #5: Suggest a video call
And last but not least, if everything goes well so far and you want to get to know this person better, the last thing you can do to ensure they are not fake is to offer a video call. A person who has nothing to hide won’t look for excuses at this point. We all have our daily routines, and making a video call can sometimes be inconvenient. But if the person keeps looking for new excuses, you should ask them directly what the problem is. If the reason is their shyness, offer an alternative, such as a phone call to start with. However, if they refuse all of the suggested options, that person may very well be a fake. The best solution is to say goodbye to them and move on.
Online dating is an amazing world that allows single people to meet their soulmates from the comfort of their own homes. But to get the best results and only positive experiences, it pays to be careful with new people you meet online.