Across the globe, people are using dating apps more and more often. They meet like-minded souls without leaving their homes, which no one could argue isn’t convenient. It is also not without risk, as many dating sites have fake profiles created by scammers to lure victims.
Fake profiles usually have just one or no pictures and very little personal info. Not every sparsely populated profile is fake, on the other hand. Some people are shy or wary of sharing personal information because it can be used in damaging ways.
All in all, there’s a lot of uncertainty around online dating. At the same time, nobody wishes to remain alone for the rest of their life. Here are some approaches to safe dating.
Ask for a Video Call
You’ve been chatting for a while and plan to meet in person, but you don’t know what they look like. The photos you have might not be genuine. The only actual proof of how they look now is a video call. You can expect them to agree to one. If they don’t, they’re painfully shy or hiding something.
Cross-check Suspicious Information
Watch for inconsistencies in their stories, corny lines, too many clichés, etc. You might even be chatting to a bot. If you’re chatting to a real person with a fake profile, a background check site will reveal this. You could also google their information to cross-check.
Most Common Red Flags
Be wary of people who are too eager to move off the platform. There’s a reason they’re in a hurry, and taking the chat elsewhere or meeting them in person might not be safe. Other than pushing you to move to email or Facebook, which is less safe than a dating site, they might offer financial stimulation to convince you. Likely, you’re not chatting to the next Elon Musk. Don’t take their word of prosperity for it. Don’t agree with any “investments” either.
You might be the one pushing for a meetup, but they can’t seem to find the time or a way to meet you. This behavior is also suspicious. Objectively, they may indeed be in the military. There will be pictures of them in uniform across platforms if they are. There will be information about their membership status. If there isn’t, they could be lying to you. Maybe they just have no interest. Worse, they could be a scammer who will try to get you to wire money overseas at one point.
More and more people are screening potential partners as the popularity of online dating grows. The most critical information can be derived from a criminal screening. If they have a criminal record, this check will reveal it. You might also get information about arrests, warrants, court records, or convictions. Every fifth person in the US has a criminal record. To check if you met that fifth, run a federal, state, or county check. If the person has lived in many different places, a federal check is the best option.
Check Social Media, but Don’t Stalk
It is one thing to check out their Twitter or Facebook account info, but quite another to start stalking them on social media. You could learn helpful information about hobbies and interests when checking social networks. Use it to see if you have things in common, not against them. Don’t take posts out of context. That will give a false impression and might ruin a potentially promising contact.
To take a less common angle, search for them on LinkedIn. This platform is perfect for cross-checking information. For example, their high school graduation date will show if they gave you the correct year of birth. You can confirm or refute information about their location or job. As people use LinkedIn to find work, few lie on it. It’s quite unpleasant when a current or potential employer finds false information.
Search Their Image
You can check if they gave you a real picture of themselves by reverse searching on Google Images. Some people will pretend to be another race and download the first stock photo they find of a person of that race. This doesn’t happen often, but the type of behavior hasn’t disappeared.
Not finding a match doesn’t mean it’s their real picture; it could be from a decade ago. At least you’ll detect a blatant lie.
Few people use the same image on all of their social media accounts. It might surface on a random person’s timeline, though.
Avoid Dating Scams
These scams have gone beyond dating sites. They have extended to any site or group of people based on hobbies and interests. Victims can be found in gaming groups, book groups, prayer groups, etc. Back when there were lockdowns, the number of dating scam victims increased.
Criminals will try to lure their victims to websites with very few security features and start asking for money. They will then make threats if the person refuses. If something feels wrong with them, don’t meet them in real life.
It’s scary to meet a stranger. Try to get as much info as you can about them in advance. The tips provided in this article will help you scope out your online date before the meetup. Research as explained and use common sense – this will take you far. Safety always comes first.
About the Author/s
The New Jersey Digest is a new jersey magazine that has chronicled daily life in the Garden State for over 10 years.