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Dangers of Online Dating Scams: Love at First “Swipe”

While most of us have experienced the frantic butterflies and giddy elation that accompany a first date, the reality of it is, the dating game has changed dramatically within the past decade. We’re all still seeking the same classic fairy-tale love story, but in today’s technology dominated world, we’re looking for it in a very different way. Potential love interests are weeded out by combing through online profiles, with connections built through a screen. This phenomenon is affectionately referred to as love at first swipe.

Online dating sites are awash with thoughtfully curated profiles, eagerly awaiting a ”like” from the chiselled soul mate of their dreams. Unfortunately, these profiles also become bait for the seedy predators of the web.  These are devious individuals who troll and target authentic dating profiles.

I want to share a story about the day when Stephanie met her Prince Charming….or so she thought. Jay painted himself as a heroic philanthropist who was searching for a committed, serious relationship. They talked every day for hours.  Jay texted her “good morning,” first thing in the morning, and a cheeky “go to sleep,” last thing at night. Before you knew it, she was thanking the universe for connecting her to the man of her dreams, gushing to her friends and co-workers about her new love interest. Then suddenly, he dropped out of sight. After vigorous google searching, Stephanie came to understand that Jay had ghosted her.

Ghosting is a term used in the online dating world to describe a situation in which one ends a personal relationship with someone without explanation, withdrawing from all communication. Stephanie quickly realized her Prince was nothing more than an imposter…a joker in her fairy-tale love story. She felt heartbroken, lost, and violated.

Stephanie shared her tragedy with her friends and quickly learned that she’s not alone. Some friends had even been blindsided by online suitors who turned out to be different people entirely; a Catfish. A Catfish is someone who pretends to be someone else online and seduces a person with a fake online identity. This vicious cycle is repeating itself on the medium of online dating world in real time.

Red Flag Characteristics of Misleading Online Dating Profiles     

Here’s how to spot an inauthentic dating profile, to spare yourself the heartache of a ghosting or catfish scenario:       

  • Profiles with Alias names
  • Long List of things someone doesn’t want in a partner
  • Contradicting information regarding age
  • Profiles without a picture
  • Photos that are very old and enhanced having conflicting time / date stamps
  • Not disclosing what they do for a living
  • Their other social media profiles are really “private”

How to Protect Yourself from Online Dating Scams

A great way to know who you are speaking to on the other end of your swipe, is to set up a video chat. If they are who they say, this would be a welcome suggestion. After your video chat, you may want to suggest to meet them sooner rather than later. Always make certain you are in a public place, and let a friend know where you’ll be.

Remember to never give your newfound cyber love too much personal information such as your home address, work address, exact birth date or financial status.  Keeping this information private, for now, will lower any risks around identity theft, fraud as well as stalking. Confirming their identity is key, should you ever want to investigate their background.

Now for the Golden Rule of Online Dating: never, under any circumstances, send anyone money online. Despite what they may claim, they are not dying of an illness, stuck in another country, or caring for their terminal mother. Regardless of the amount requested, it is advisable to not only end your contact, but report the incident to your local police department.

Should you suspect that your online love interest is a catfish in disguise, a private investigator can help you get the answers you need before you invest any more time in the relationship.

Exploring the dating world, while exhilarating, can come with risks. Do you feel you been a victim of a Catfish? The Team at Star Quality Private Investigations has decades of Expert, results-driven experience when it comes to identification verification, online dating scams, background checks and surveillance. As your Trusted Partner, Star Quality Private Investigations is the industry leader in creating solid, long term relationships with our clients, while providing evidence to individuals who need and deserve answers.

To learn more about risk management when it comes to Online Dating, Affairs of the Heart or Identifying Individuals, contact  Star Quality Private Investigations for answers today. 

Star Quality Private Investigations