Online Dating Red Flags

posted Jul 30, 2011, 10:38 AM by Ellen Mahloy   [ updated Aug 6, 2011, 11:26 AM ]
Here are the red flags that signal a bogus online dating profile - an individual, or computer program, that intends to scam you.  It does not matter what they intend (identity theft, computer hacking, monetary gain).  What matters is your ability to spot a malicious profile and disconnect immediately.
  1. The person contacts you from far away (out of state or country).  Legitimate daters generally contact people to date who live in their area.  If not, they give a credible reason why they are contacting you for dating from so far away (and this is still a red flag).

  2. Their email verbiage sounds like it could be sent to almost any person.  Especially if it continues this way AFTER the first email contact.  Such as, "Hi Beautiful, I love your gorgeous smile, nice profile, and wanted to connect."  Legitimate people often mention something in your profile that caught their attention.  And respond to statements, comments and questions appropriately.

  3. They ask you to communicate outside the dating service.  On Yahoo Instant Messenger (IM) or some other email or IM service.  Many IM services are used by hackers to gain access to people's personal computers.

  4. They write in broken English and will not have a telephone conversation because they cannot communicate well.  Legitimate daters do not generally contact people they would have difficulty communicating with.

  5. Their profile does not indicate you share many things in common - interests, values, lifestyles, religion, age or stage of life, hobbies, sports, music, fitness levels, etc.  Legitimate daters usually seek mates with common interests, values and lifestyle.

  6. They're seeking someone with a particular set of qualities and you don't match those qualities.  For example, they say they are seeking a Christian and your profile says you are spiritual, but not religious. 

  7. They answer few (or none) of the questions you ask them.  Legitimate potential mates have appropriate correspondence.

  8. They begin speaking of love, marriage or living together, when you have not met one another in person.  Legitimate daters, and mentally sound people, generally want to met and date someone for a while before love, marriage and other such topics are discussed.

  9. They begin telling you how much money they make/have and how they wish to take care of you or spend it on you.  They send photos of expensive houses, cars, boats.

  10. They seem too good to be true.  They are as attractive as a fashion model and an all around great person.  I often see the following: career / business success + wealth / lavish lifestyle + religious devotion + deeply committed parent + traveling often + seeking a soul mate spouse.  
A bogus online profile will have 2 - 4 of the red flags listed above.  If a legitimate dater is expressing these red flags, they may not be mature, stable or have good relationship skills.

Food for thought.