Online dating is a great way to find love, as long as the person you are trying to date is really real. Here is eight online dating advice on how to keep your heart, your wallet, and your identity safe without getting catfished.
Online dating advice for finding a genuine date:
If you don’t know what catfishing is, you probably haven’t been on the online dating scene for very long. Catfishing is the term used for when someone assumes a false online identity. Sometimes this is just to indulge in a fantasy life. But other times it is meant to rob you of your money, or even your own identity.
1. Verify they are really real
It’s easy to hide who you are on an online dating profile. You can use any picture you find on the internet, type in what gender and race you want to be—and who is to say the person on the other side of the screen is different?
The fact that the person who comes up on your screen might be someone completely different is a scary prospect. But if you are careful, you can spot the signs that they aren’t whom they say they are.
First online dating advice is, take a look at the profile itself. Does it look like it was made by someone who truly cares about finding a date? A real person will have given life to their profile and fleshed it out. They will talk about themselves, and not just sketch out the basic information. If the profile is minimal or non-existent, it’s probably not a real person.
2. Check social media
Taking it a step farther, grab their name and check social media, as well as Google, to see if anything comes up. Real people will most likely have social media accounts that match, with pictures that match. If you can’t find anything or worse find something and it’s obviously not the same person, move on.
3. Ask to video chat, or meet in person
It’s a lot harder to hide the fact that you are an old man instead of a young woman in a face to face meeting. If the person you are dating online avoids FaceTime or a real-life meeting. Then chances are good they aren’t whom they say they are. While you don’t necessarily have to end a relationship if they want to keep your relationship online, it does beg the question: why?
Even if they’re not outright catfishing, they might be hiding something else of equal importance. A marriage, for example. Keep this online dating advice in mind until you can prove for certain it is simply a person genuinely interested in you.
4. Don’t be afraid to ask questions
Catfishers love to weave tales about themselves that sound too good to be true. They also enjoy asking lots of questions about you, but rarely talk about themselves. While a lonely heart might deeply appreciate having all the attention for once, it’s important to be suspicious of people who ask too many questions. You wouldn’t open up your heart and pour out your soul to a stranger you just met in an elevator, so why do so online dating?
5. Test them
If they tell you something really vague like they live around you, test them. Ask questions that can only be answered by people in your area. If they have no idea what the local hiking trail is called, even though the laziest local couch potato knows its name, it’s time to be suspicious.
6. Keep personal privacy
Never give out personal details that could be used to steal your identity, and that includes keeping your social media information private. The bottom line? Treat people on the internet the same way you would treat them in real life.
Even children know not to talk to strangers, and we certainly wouldn’t give a random person off the street our home address and phone number. Don’t offer information that can give away more about yourself than you intend. Even mentioning a local park or distinctive landmark can help a predator zero in on your real location.
This goes for check-ins too. It’s fun to show where you are online and fine to do so, but make sure only friends you trust can see it, and check-in before or after you have visited. Your ‘online date’ may actually be watching to find out when you are not in your house so that they can pilfer it more easily.
7. Not having any luck? Consider other online platforms
Let’s face it, the people who are on dating sites have prepared their profiles to show off their best features. Just like the way we dress on a first date isn’t the same way we dress after being married for ten years, a dating profile is never going to be fully representative of the real person, and that’s assuming they are even real!
Instead, try meeting people through more ‘natural’ surroundings, such as in online games. Those people who are playing might not be looking for a date (they might not even be single) but at least those who have no reason to hide anything.
The bad news is you might not get the brain surgeon of your dreams. The good news is, if the online profile you fell in love with lists brain surgery as a special skill, they were probably catfishing anyway.
8. Always be careful
Finding love on the internet is no different from finding love in real life for the most part. You still need to be careful, take things slowly. Stay vigilant for clues that the person you are dating isn’t whom they say they are. If someone declares they are madly in love with you and you have talked with them for three days. Then it’s important to be as dubious of this as you would a coworker declaring this 3 day after being hired onto your office.
If a question would be creepy in real life, it is creepy online. Keep a level head when meeting a new person, no matter what. Love may be blind, but if the other person isn’t being honest about who they are, it didn’t really love to begin with. So, next time remembers our eight online dating advice for finding a genuine date without getting catfished.