There is good news, however. The practice of catfishing is actually quite easy to spot, especially in a world where nearly everyone is connected via social media (Facebook, Twitter, etc.). Furthermore, many online dating providers are even taking the time to verify profiles and ensure that singles don’t get stung. Regardless, it is still a good idea to keep an eye out for any red flags before continuing!
So what is a fake? In terms of dating, it can refer to a number of things. This could be an individual person or even a group of people who are trying to carry out a scam. And of course, there are multiple reasons for this…
- An individual, or group of individuals, tries to set up a fake online dating site to lure unsuspecting singles. This could be to collect data and sell it on, or to try and get money from those individuals through subscriptions whilst at the same time not bothering to provide any kind of service.
- Ordinary people who, for whatever reason, want to trick other people. Again, this could be in order to collect data or extract money from them – the most common cause. However, as you will read further on, there are many other reasons why you will come across a dating site fake!
So why are there online fakes and where do you find them?
The following points are only very broad explanations of what online fakes are. In order to illustrate our point further, we’ll need to provide you with a number of descriptions and explanations. As a result, we have a long list of online dating fakes as examples. We will also provide a description of what they do, how you can spot them and what you can do in order to avoid them completely.
For those who are new to online dating and apps overall, we recommend that you read through this article very carefully. For those who are in a hurry or are just lazy, here’s a breakdown of all the facts:
- Fakes are most commonly found on dating and matchmaking sites that are free.
- Professional fake profiles almost exclusively target men. So, if a woman states that you can only contact her through some kind of overpriced text message service, you should probably avoid it!
- Ladies, watch out for men who say that they are single (there are a considerable number of married people on Tinder, for example!).
Dating Site - Fake #1: Prostitutes looking for clients
You go onto Becky’s profile. She’s got quite a few racy pictures, and is more than willing to send a couple of nudes straight away. There is of course a catch: she’ll do it for a fee. If you want more (especially if it involves meeting up and having physical contact of any kind) the fee is going to get higher. Some prostitutes are honest from the get-go, although there are a few who may not mention fees until you are actually on a “date”!
Frequency: Rather unusual: most prostitutes (and in many cases, escorts) will advertise elsewhere… However, those that do use dating sites will also tend to discreetly hide the message in their profile.
Who does it?: Prostitutes with the Internet
Where do you find this?: Almost exclusively on sex contact portals - but also on a few flirt and chat sites too!
What would a good dating site do?: Most online dating sites have a strict no-solicitation policy. This of course depends on what they are. For example, some adult dating communities may have a section for webcam strippers as well as escorts who might be looking for business. In cases like this, however, escorts are clearly marked and will have their rates displayed visibly! They often have to pay a commission to the site in the first place!
That’s how one can identify such fakes: In most cases this is pretty easy. Blatant nudes are probably the first sign, especially if they are displayed on the profile itself without any kind of filters. Some of them may go as far as to stay “pay to play only”, or state that they’re a student who needs money for uni… Yes, some clichés do happen!
Dating Site - Fake #2: Real singles who tell *gasp!* lies!
We’ll happily admit that almost everyone tells a least one or two tales when writing their online dating profiles. However, there is a difference between a bit of embellishment and outright lying that goes just too far. For example, dear Rupert describes his body type as “average” when in real life he is so very clearly overweight. The sports car that he drives is actually just a VW Lupo. And the lovely Anne who has a bit of a problem with kleptomania describes herself as a “bargain-hunter”. Then we have middle-aged George who doesn’t state that he married, rather describes himself as single since he wants an affair.
Frequency: Our approximate guess is that pure, outright lies happen less than 10% thanks to social media (such as Facebook being able to connect to dating sites). On places like OKCupid, however, the descriptions can be seriously overexaggerated.
Who does it? Singles of both genders… though men do have a tendency to big things up a little bit. Sometimes what individuals lie about tends to depend on gender (though not always). Lying about being single tends to be done more often by men than women, and women tend to lie more about their weight, for example.
On what sites? Pretty much any kind of dating or matchmaking site you can imagine.
How to recognise the falsehood: The easiest way of checking up on someone is to look at their social media accounts if they’re liked to their dating profile (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc.). Even Googling them may bring up a few results that can at least help you verify a few things. However, some people are either a) sneaky or b) rightfully want their privacy protected and therefore will not divulge much to the Internet except for what it is on their profile. In this case, it is more or less impossible to verify anything.
How to detect these fakes: Simply use your common sense. You can do a bit of Google and social media research, as stated before, however, you may only find out certain things by meeting up with them.
Dating Site -Fake #3: Men who don’t want to pay
Depending on the dating site or app you’re using, there may be a specific type of price structure. Due to the high number of male members and lower number of women, it is often the case that ladies don’t have to pay for unlimited communication. This is where men will end up creating a female profile as well as a male one. The female one will serve as a tool of a communication.
In honest truth, this isn’t so much annoying to singles as it is to dating sites.
Frequency: Rather unusual again!
Who does that? Men that don’t want to pay.
Where do we find this? On dating sites where it is men that have to pay to contact others.
So what do the dating sites do? This is becoming less and less relevant… a lot more apps and providers are focusing on both men and women paying subscriptions, or are finding other ways to monetise!
How to detect these fakes: Most people wouldn’t notice these fakes, since the fake female profiles are usually only used in order to actually send messages.
Dating Site - Fake #4: Entertainers who want your cash
This can be one of the most irritating dating site fakes of all! These are profiles that just look too well-crafted, with pristine profile pictures, to actually be real people. And you would certainly be right. In a lot of cases, the only way to contact these women (and it is usually “women”) is via text (which charges you something ridiculous like £1.99).
Frequency: This used to happen quite frequently, but its thankfully dying out a little bit. However, there are now a few webcam strippers who are trying to hone in on a bit of the action. In this case, we would certainly recommend you keep an eye out!
Who does it? Simply webcam strippers, sex chat or phone operators. They’re just using a dating site to get another way of extracting money from you.
Where do we find them? Mostly on flirt and chat sites!
How to detect these fakes: It’s usually quite easily since their websites are far too good to be true. If you get anyone messaging you who suggests going onto a webcam or using text message, ask them why you can’t just chat on the site.
Dating Site - Fake #5: Alex pretends to be Alexa
A guy decides to set up a female dating profile for a laugh.
Frequency: This used to be a lot more common, but it is almost non-existent now (except maybe used by predators… in which case you should be VERY careful).
Who would do such a thing? Most of the time it was just lads having a laugh, but very occasionally it could be other people (including woman!) who are looking to attack or hurt someone.
Where do you find these clowns? Free dating personals sites and singles chats.
What a good dating site would do: Most of the time it is pretty obvious that these profiles are a joke as they are just far too amateurish for them to survive. Furthermore, most decent sites will spot these profiles immediately.
How to detect such a fake: Use a lot of suspicion when it comes to breath-taking model pictures and more! It is often best to do a reverse image search to see if the single’s picture turns up anywhere else on the Internet…
Dating Site - Fake #6: More people who want money
Both men and women do this, and both men and women fall victim. In many cases, these “singles” are often based in eastern Europe or sometimes Asia. They manipulate the victim on the other end into falling in love with them and then attempt to extract money from them (“I need money for a plane ticket…” or some other bullshit excuse).
Frequency: Frighteningly common!
How to detect these fakes: These people tend to try a bit of emotional manipulation before anything else. They’ll charm the pants off you and then will come the question of wen you’ll send the money…
So here’s a very useful tip for not only online dating, but life in general:
DO NOT EVER, EVER SEND MONEY TO SOMEONE YOU HAVE NEVER MET.
We don’t care if he/she is charming, kind, loving etc… You haven’t met them. You do not know them. If they ask for money, they’re a thief. End of story.
Just throw such messages right into your junk mail! All those deterrent examples are not meant to put you off your delight in dating sites but rather to sensitise you a little and make your journey safer.
Please remember: before long your brain will be able to automatically recognise dating site fakes and just block them out from your perception. This will allow you to concentrate on the essentials: getting to know many new and exciting people and maybe even finding Mr or Ms Right!
has been observing the Australian Online Dating market since 2010. He is among the top opinion leaders in the industry.
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