#Love & Sex
How to Spot a Fake Online Dating Profile
Since the advent of Match.com, Tinder, Bumble, Hinge and other dating services, more and more people are taking the plunge and creating an online dating profile. However, not all profiles are created equal—some companies and individuals use them to promote themselves and get ahead in some way. We gathered our best tips for spotting a fake from the start.
The issue of the fake online dating profile, also known as catishing, continues to escalate like a hurricane, and drown all the real singles out there in online dating land. Where are they all coming from, and why? The issue remains that the anonymity of online dating has opened the flood gates of liars, thieves, cheats, and the sex industry looking to make a quick buck any way they can. So, how can singles wade through the muck and find true love? It’s not as simple as some online dating services claim it is. Singles, both men and women, are under attack from being catfished with fake profiles. Put on your battle gear because dating has become a minefield strewn with fakes ready to blow up in your face … they’ll tell you everything you want to hear, but at a price.
A Singles’ Dating Convention member sent this to me:
“I’ve recently joined a different singles’ site and am running into the same issue I’ve had with the previous ones I’ve been involved in. It seems that somehow my profile targets only those that are looking for money, or are spam. What are some ideas that you can provide me with? For example, the other night I got a message from a lady on PlentyOfFish.com and responded to her and then she quickly responded giving me her Yahoo screen name to IM her. After a little while of chatting and waiting for responses, I asked her this one question: ‘What is the capital of Texas?’ You ready for a laugh? She responded, ‘Hi.’ I came to get it out of her that she is over in Nigeria and is claiming to be coming back to the states this weekend.”
Unfortunately, you’re running into the sad situation that is online dating. Too many women have fake profiles that are used for making money, i.e., directing men to paid porn sites or personal Web sites or just asking men outright for money. Unless the online dating industry makes a push toward cleaning up their websites, men and women will continue to fall prey to fake profiles.
You Get What You Pay For
It seems the “free” membership sites tend to be the ones most likely to have more fake profiles on them, so your chances of being catfished are high. Though, recently, I learned that Match.com averages 10 percent paid profiles and 90 percent free profiles. The unfortunate truth is that the paid singles don’t know who is free, possibly a fake Match.com profile, and who is not.
Beware of the “verified” profiles that some sites tout. Even some of the more clever fake profiles can get “verified” by using a friend’s credit card. Unless the online dating site is going to go to the extra effort of meeting the single in person, doing a background check, and taking their online profile pictures for them (like FindtheItFactor.com, a personalized dating service), then “verified” means nothing more than the faker has access to a credit card. There are services that can do background checks for you, if you feel the person is worth looking into further. Confadate.com is one that can tell you if the person is who she says she is, and if she has a criminal history.
How to Tell if You’re Being Catfished
Another way to spot a fake is to really check out their profile. Most fake profiles don’t take time to fill in all the sections, or have trouble with correct grammar, or even basic English. Though I’m sure that’ll change if the fakes care enough to read this article—but don’t worry, they don’t. It’s a numbers game and they have tons of fake profiles all over the Internet to be worrying about. Especially, if someone flags them and has their account deleted, they have to create a whole new account. Do report a fake profile to your online dating service, it’s at least a step in the right direction—you’ll be helping out by not letting the next guy or girl be faked out.
If a lot of their profile says, “ask me,” or says very little at all, it’s probably a fake. Also, if the photo on the profile is suggestive in any way, (and you’re not on an alternative lifestyle or friends-with-benefits site, which by the way, are loaded with fake profiles) or looks like a modeling picture from a magazine, just be aware that there is a high probability that it’s a fake.
How to Avoid Getting Catfished
Unfortunately, there is no surefire way to get these fakers to stop contacting you. They are relentless marketers, as this is a job for them. They need to make as many contacts as possible—remember it’s a numbers game. Even if you put on your profile in bold letters, “No Fakers or Sex Industry Professionals,” it won’t help. They don’t read profiles. They don’t have time, and they don’t care. You are doing the best you can by being smart and wary of potential fake profiles. My suggestion for your first contact, if you’re worried they’re not telling the truth, is to ask them outright. If a single you’ve contacted can’t answer basic questions, just gives you one or two-word answers, or gets angry that you’ve questioned if they’re legitimate or not, then move on. A real person would understand.
What’s the Online Dating Industry’s Stance?
Only time will tell if things will change. Will enough singles get fed up with the not-so-great state of online dating and demand better from the industry? I’m actively standing up for a change. As a contributor to online dating industry forums, I continue to bring up the issues associated with fake profiles: liars, thieves and cheats, and the accountability of the industry for a solution. The standard industry reply is that “it’s not cost effective” and that “singles won’t pay for it.” Well, singles are “paying for it” in time, frustration, dissatisfaction and with their wallets. Quality over quantity is still the best policy. Time for a dating revolution!