10 Ways to Spot Fake Profiles Whilst Online Dating
You need to know how to spot fake profiles if you are dating online. Not only are fake accounts a waste of time, but they could also scam you.
So, how do you work your way around these fake and inactive accounts to find your true love?
While we suggest using only the most recommended dating sites, even they are succeptible to fake accounts. This is why it is important to know what red flags to look out for so that you can detect a scam or a fake profile as early on as possible. Once you know the common signs of a fraudulent profile, they tend to become relatively simple to spot and avoid.
Read below to learn about the common red flags to keep an eye out for while online dating!
1. Only a Profile Picture
Spotting a fake profile starts with the photos.
A picture says a thousand words but on an online dating site, a single profile picture doesn’t say very much. Let’s be honest, the first thing we look at on a dating profile are the person’s photos.
On most dating apps and websites a profile photo is a requirement. If the person does not provide anything other than what is required, they are probably hiding something.
It becomes even more suspicious when the person in the profile photo is incredibly photogenic. If they were photogenic they would not feel shy about uploading more photos to their profile. Chances are that they are using a stock photo.
You can typically find stock photos by heading over to Google's Image Search feature, and either uploading the picture, or copy-pasting in the URL that it is hosted on. When you do a search, Google will return a list of websites the photo is also used on, as well as a list of similar photos. You can also use websites like TinEye to the same effect.
We recommend using multiple resources if you have doubts about the authenticity of a photo.
2. Only Blurry or Heavily Filtered Photos
Another tell-tale sign of fake profiles is if they only posted blurry photos or photos using filters. In both cases, they are masking what the person really looks like. This is often done to avoid detection via the tip listed above.
To be fair, everyone uses filters and certain angles or lighting to make our pictures look better. But there is a difference between covering up our insecurities and completely hiding what we look like.
If the photos in their profile album are essentially unrecognizable, they probably don’t want to be recognized. It could be pictures of other people or they have a reason they don’t want people to know who they are.
3. Profile Info Doesn't Match Social Media Photos
Many dating sites and apps let you sync with a social media account. On some dating apps, like Zoosk for example, it is even a requirement.
One of the reasons they ask members to link their social media accounts is to verify that the person is real. If the profile info does not match their social media info, something is off.
Sometimes fake accounts pull photos from a public Facebook or Instagram account. How to spot fake profiles in this case is simple; do a quick Google Image Trace to check whether their dating profile and social media profile match up.
4. Social Media Profiles With Very Few Friends
Those that have a better grip on how online dating profiles work find ways around the account verification steps. One way they do this is by creating fake social media accounts for linking to their dating profile.
One of the ways how to spot fake profiles through their social media account is to check their friends list. Everyone connects online, even people you barely know, so most real accounts have at least 100 friends.
If you find someone’s Facebook or Instagram has less than 100 followers, something is fishy. The only exception might be someone over the age of 45 since that generation is much less active on social media.
5. Very Limited Profile Information
Besides photos and social media, you can also spot fake profiles through their profile information. Dating websites may state that profile information is optional but is it really?
Serious online daters know that the more information their profile features the more interaction they get. Besides, if you are looking for a true connection you want your profile to be attractive to people with similar interests and desires. How else would they know you are a potential match?
If the profile is very new, as in a week old or less, they might simply not have had the time to complete their profile. If they left their profile info empty for longer, they are probably not as interested in making a real connection.
6. Displays Common Tactics Scammers Use
Let’s dive into the bag of tricks of online dating scam artists because there are many on free dating sites. How to spot fake profiles from scam artists is relatively simple. There are a few common methods they use over and over again.
- They claim to be royal or famous people facing a difficult time
- They have very poor grammar or string together nonsensical sentences
- Descriptions are just common phrases used on profiles, nothing personal
- They live in a faraway country
- They need financial help
They ask for personal financial information, sometimes with the excuse that they want to transfer money to you for ‘safekeeping’
Another scam to watch out for are product marketing scams. They may send you a link to another website. This link could contain malware so be wary of clicking on anything they send you.
7. No Account Verification
Account verification is not necessary on every dating site but in most cases a verified account is more legit. That is also why dating sites recommend you verify your own profile.
There are varying degrees of account verification. Most dating sites require an email verification but if that is the only verification requirement it is not worth much.
Verification through social media is more useful because you can check their social media account for legitimacy.
An even better verification is when the dating platform itself schedules a phone call or videochat. They then check whether the profile photos and info match the person in real life.
8. Unclear How They Earn Money
With the exception of Elite Singles, most online dating sites don’t ask how much money you make. Personal finances is a sensitive topic, even between friends, so it is unlikely that people like to flaunt their wealth online.
As it turns out, people do lie about their income on their online dating profile, especially men. This shouldn’t make too much of a difference, though. The red flag pops up when they brag about how they rich are but don’t have any way to back up their claim.
You can easily screenshot a photo of a pile of cash on the internet or pose in front of someone else’s expensive car. If the pictures don’t match their job title or if they label themselves as self-employed without any further detail, they are likely dishonest about their income.
9. Too Good to Be True
Other than claiming how rich they are, there are other ways to spot an unlikely character on dating profiles. The general rule with dating profiles is that if it seems too good to be true, it likely is.
Are they incredibly successful, have lots of wealthy or famous friends and look like they could be a model? Although this might be your dream man or woman, don’t get your hopes up.
It doesn’t even have to be that obvious, though. Perhaps you find that you have all the exact same interests, likes and dislikes and experiences.
Finding someone compatible may be the main selling point of many dating sites, a 100% match is extremely rare. They might be agreeing with you on everything just to peak your interest.
10. Moving Extremely Fast
Our final piece of advice for how to spot fake profiles is through their behavior. People that push the relationship to go extremely fast have a reason to do so and it probably isn’t because they can’t contain their love.
They might be pressuring you to share personal information right from the beginning. For example, they could ask for your phone number the first time that you chat online. Or they want a very detailed description of where you live.
Never share this type of information on online dating sites and apps.Other ways they could be moving very fast is saying overtly romantic things like ‘I love you’ or calling you their soulmate even before you have met. People immediately proposing marriage, especially if they live abroad, is another red flag
Generally, free dating apps and websites have more fake profiles (around 10% of all profiles according to Norton) than the paid services. Many of these free sites have limited security measures which makes it easier to create a profile.
So, if you are considering jumping into the online dating game, it is often safer to choose the reputable websites that require a paid membership to communicate with other members. Many of these paid sites also have extra safety options such as account verification and blocking messages from free account members.
Still, even the paid sites are not 100% free of fake accounts and bots. No matter what online dating site you are on, remember to listen to your gut and always stay safe (especially if you agree to meet in person).