Dating online can sometimes feel risky, especially if you aren’t used to navigating the online world. There’s the danger of potential crime, sure, but there’s also the more basic irritation of dead or fake profiles wasting your time or making the site look way more popular than it is.
Equally, if you aren’t used to dating then the whole thing can feel pretty overwhelming and worries about fake profiles, scams, or fraud don’t make it any easier to lean into the whole finding someone thing.
That’s as true if you’re just looking for hookups as it is when you’re looking for something long-term and serious!
If you want a full lowdown on how to stay safe online then there are a variety of sites that give impartial, extensive advice on how to stay safe online. Two examples are this site on personal safety and this guide to avoiding scams and malware.
Of course, the best thing you can do is be aware of the dangers and choose both sites and dates wisely. Here’s a little bit about what to look out for, as well as which sites are the absolute best for avoiding fake profiles.
Personally, I think the more serious the site the more likely you are to have success avoiding scams. Eharmony is a great option for this reason. Because of eharmony’s focus on members finding serious relationships and its relatively high premier membership fees, it doesn’t contain many fake or inactive profiles.
Of course, you may well be looking for another kind of dating or simply not have the funds to invest in eharmony. If that’s the case, keep reading. Otherwise, you can try eharmony free using this link, or you can read more about it in my full eharmony rundown which I keep updated.
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How To Identify Fake Profiles And Scams On Dating Sites
It’s not always easy to identify scammers online, but keeping an eye out for a few key things should help. Here are some of them (of course, the list isn’t exhaustive).
Is That Photo Believable?
If pictures look either too good to be true or weirdly like a promo or stock photos, well, they may well be just that. If your spidey senses really are tingling, you can use Tineye or a reverse Google image search to check if the image is from elsewhere.
If it is, say from someone’s modeling page, a Facebook page under a totally different name, or a site that sells stock photos then you can be pretty sure the profile is fake! If you can, report it to the site so they can finish investigations and hopefully get rid of it.
Asking For Too Much
If someone immediately (or even quickly) asks for anything to do with money, then get out of there! It’s pretty unlikely to be legit. I mean, who asks a practical stranger for money, bank details, to invest in their sweet new business proposal… yeah, no one is legit.
Equally, offering too much too quickly, such as undying devotion, admissions of love, or the keys to their French holiday villa is pretty suspect. And even if they are real, well, they’re still a bit much!
Often fake profiles will contain only the bare minimum number of photos and amount of information to be accepted onto the site and become visible to other users. These profiles are a nuisance, and you absolutely can report them, but it’s also a good idea to ignore them when you find them.
Don’t like them ‘just in case’, it isn’t worth it and might open you up to more interaction with a scammer.
Refusing To Meet IRL
If you’ve been talking to someone for a while and getting on well, then it’s natural to meet for real. If this keeps getting postponed for weird reasons, or your date simply keeps changing the subject when you suggest a meeting, then it might be time to cut ties. They’re very possibly not who they say they are!
Of course, when you do meet a date you should do so in public, and tell people where you’re going. And overall, if something seems a bit weird on a dating site why not run it past friends and/or family?
I bet some of them have their own online dating stories to match and can help you sort the real from the fake.
Free Sites Vs Paid Sites
I know that paying for dating sites seems like quite a step, and also it’s an added expense! But the truth is, free dating sites are kind of a haven for profile fakers and dating scammers. They’re easy to access, and there are plenty of users on them to target.
Paid dating sites have longer sign-up processes as a rule, and this also puts off scammers. They want a low level of effort when they set up fake profiles because they’re probably working with volume.
Paid dating sites are also more likely to have beefy security. This ranges from encryption software on the back end to profile verification.
The Best Dating Sites For Avoiding Fake Profiles
As I mentioned earlier, the best dating sites for avoiding fake profiles tend to be sites that are aimed at users seeking serious relationships, sites that require a fair amount of initial effort to join, and sites that you have to pay for.
Eharmony is the perfect example of all of these things meet, with its scientific matching technology requiring a pretty in-depth test when you sign up, a focus on serious relationships, and a range of options for paid memberships. More details on the various payment plans here.
If you’re looking for something more casual, or just prefer the app experience, then Bumble really puts a premium on security. They also offer a verification option, so you can focus on interacting with people who have been verified.
Bumble is free, with an option to move up to premium (known as Bumble Boost) for a modest monthly payment. If that sounds interesting, then check the details out here.
Whichever site you decide to use, though, stay safe and remember to trust your gut!