Want to learn how to bust a dating site scammer? There are 3 steps to detecting a scammer on an online dating site (after going through the steps, we will show you a step-by-step real-life example). As more and more people are joining and using online dating sites, such as Match.com and OKCupid, it was only to be expected that the scammers would start mining these online dating services as well.
There are several signs or clues that should raise a red flag warning – or as we call it, your spidey sense – when you are reading a message from or the profile of one of these scammers. There is also one nearly sure-fire way to confirm that the person is scamming you.
Here’s what to look for, and how to confirm your suspicions.
The first step is to take note of the red flags in the message they have sent you, or in their profile.
The below are the five indicators to look for (after a while this will become second nature, and they will leap out at you) when reading a message sent through an online dating service, or when reading someone’s profile. Typically, the scammer will come to your attention because they will have sent you a message through the online dating site’s messaging system, and you will see one or more of these clues in their message. They are:
1. It seems as if English is not their first language (because usually it isn’t). Or, if you are using a site in another language, it will seem as if that language is not their first language.
2. Their profile is fairly new, and may not be well filled-out.
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3. They are nowhere near you geographically.
4. They are quick to suggest that you contact them directly, outside of the system (this one is less common, but when it happens it’s an almost sure sign, especially when coupled with at least one of the other four indicators).
5. They flatter you, or call you “Dear” or other terms of endearment that don’t seem to make sense for a first message.
Steps 2 & 3
Steps 2 and 3 are similar, and involve using Google (you can use other search engines, but we use Google).
Step 2 to detecting an online dating site scammer involves going to their profile, copying a snippet of text from their profile, and Googling that text to see if it shows up in other dating profiles. If you’ve caught a scammer, the odds are very good that they have created several profiles on several sites – often with different pictures, names, locations, and jobs. When you paste the snippet into Google, be sure to put ” marks on either end of the snippet, so that you get only results that are exact matches.
Like Step 2, Step 3 involves using Google, but in this case the Google reverse image search (step-by-step directions below, in our real-life example). Copy the link to one of the scammer’s profile pictures, and use the Google reverse image search to find the same picture elsewhere on the web. You may find the exact same image in other online dating profiles, but equally often you will find that the picture is actually that of a public figure! We recently busted a scammer who was using pictures of Premiere League football coach Alan Curbishley!
This is Coach Alan Curbishley, not DreamBoat427:
Ok, let’s put this all together and apply it to an actual example:
Here verbatim, is a message received in our test account today:
Here’s what that message says:
Hey there! My name is Andrew…its nice to meet you :) I should say sorry upfront because I’m not very good at the whole first introduction thing haha. So anyways I came past your profile and it def caught my attention so I had to see if you were interested in chatting and getting to know each other a little better? Check out my profile and let me know what you think! Hope to hear back! Take care :) .
So, let’s take a look at his profile:
First, notice that this scammer is nearly 1000 miles away from where he thinks we are.
Let’s grab a bit of text from his profile:
“I have little patience for flakes and fake people – those who smile while being angry on the inside, as I never know what they keep up their sleeve.”
And plug it into Google:
These are just a couple of the thousands of results Google turned up.
At this point it’s pretty clear that we are dealing with a scammer, but let’s go on to that third step, just to be sure.
Here are the scammer’s profile pictures:
We usually go with the one that looks most like a professional portrait first, or, conversely, one that looks the least like a candid, personal photo that a friend might have taken.
Whichever image you choose, right-click on it (on a Mac control-click on it), and you will get this pop-up menu:
Click on “Copy Image Location” – this will copy the direct link to the image.
Now go to images.google.com, and in the search box, click on the little picture of the camera:
And paste the link to the scammer’s profile image in the “Search by image” box:
And, look at this!:
Just to be sure, we reverse image searched another of the profile pictures:
As Brazillian politician Alberto Mourão is almost certainly not on several different dating sites, under several different names, we can be pretty certain this is a scammer.
Once you have confirmed that you are dealing with a scammer, what should you do?
Well, you can simply delete their messages. However, we prefer to report them. Every site has their own way to report scammers and other issues. On OKCupid, you will find a handy “Report” button in the upper-right-hand corner of every profile:
If you enjoy whacking scammers as much as do we, you may even want to consider joining OKCupid’s moderators:
Has this helped you to detect a scammer? Leave us a comment and let us know!