What red flags should you be aware of when using an online dating site? We’ve put together some tips to help keep you safe.
There are a two main areas when you think of profiles/”members” to avoid in online dating:
- “Fake” profiles that try to build a rapport with you and then hit you up for money with the help of a made up tale.
- Legitimate members who you simply shouldn’t spend your time getting to know.
Let’s dig in.
Red flags for fake profiles
For the first group, every online dating service has a problem with those who sign up with multiple fake accounts in hopes of simply extracting money from you. Many sites, including ChristianCafe.com, have tools in place to weed out these profiles as quickly as possible, but you may still encounter some. They usually try to get you to communicate off the site ASAP so that they can engage with you prior to the dating site removing their profile.
What smells of an internet scammer? These items should make you suspicious:
- No photos (if you’re trying online dating and don’t have a photo posted, online dating is likely not for you);
- Photos that are “too high quality” – i.e. using stock photos found online;
- Photos that are “too good to be true” – If you’re an average looking man and the most gorgeous woman writes to you online, there’s a good chance it’s a fake profile.;
- No short answer questions filled out;
- All short answer questions are responded to with “tell you later” or “ask later when we chat”;
- Answer to one short answer question contains a write up of everything about them, none of which answers the specific question OR is far more than the question asked for (these would be a typical copy-paste answers they use everywhere – usually stolen from other profiles);
- Poor grammar and spelling;
- Use of non-standard english phrases, including calling you “baby”/”dear” or saying “am [name]”;
- Username is “____cares” or similar, hoping to provide a fake assurance that they are genuine.
- Claims to work overseas, usually as an oil worker or in the military;
- Multiple choice answers don’t match photos;
- Short answers with lack of geographical knowledge — they’re from a certain city but their responses don’t mesh with that;
- Contacting you despite major age differences;
- Professing their love for you right away;
- When communicating they rush to get you off the site: providing email, IM, phone number, etc, or asking you for yours. They may use the excuse that their membership is about to expire;
- Asks for money or asks you to cash money orders.
Tip: If you attempt to “google” someone to see if they’re authentic, you may simply find a site where the scammer took the photo and details from. Basically, this isn’t enough to ensure this person is who they say they are. Bottom line: never send money!
Red flags for profiles to skip
As mentioned, the second “red flag” group consists of those who are “real” but you really need not spend your time with them as they’re not ready or able to have a proper relationship.
Red flag signals include:
- Profiles with their email address ‘in code’ – they are cheap and dishonest;
- Members whose behavior fluctuates from one day to the next;
- Members who rant about past relationships – they’re likely not ready for another one;
- Members who ask to meet in a non-public place — Always meet in a public place and even let your friends know where you’ll be, to be extra safe;
- Members who are elusive when you ask questions — they are likely hiding something. They don’t have to reveal everything about themselves right away (and we recommend they do not) but if they’re constantly not providing answers to general ‘get to know you’ questions, they may be hiding something.
Tip: One way to get to know someone better than just their profile is to see how they interact with others in Forums and Chat Rooms on the site. That will likely tell you quite a bit about how the person will conduct themselves in a relationship. Are they constantly arguing with others on the Forums? Is that the type of person you want to be with?
What other red flags would you add to this list? Please let us know in the comments below!