Online dating in the 2000s has really come into its own. Every year online dating sites and apps grow in popularity and create successful real-life matches. What used to be looked at as “something only desperate people did” has changed. As people’s busy schedules require convenience and flexibility, online dating has filled the need. In addition, the overall popularity of online dating has increased the overall quantity and selection of total dating partners. However, along with the increased popularity, online dating has also produced plenty of “scammers”—people misrepresenting themselves with false profiles and/or predatorial agendas. The purpose of this article is review some common signs and evidences that an online profile and person is a scammer to be avoided and sometimes reported to the dating site administration for the protection of others.
Why People Scam:
There are several possible reasons why someone would lie about themselves to “scam” (fool, manipulate, and exploit) a victim online. The most common reasons include trying to get money from someone, trying to engage in a sexual encounter (including long distance “sexting”), and/or just for the thrill and enjoyment of fooling someone and forging a phony connection. Yes, this happens with members (or pretend members) of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. There are other possible reasons for online scammers, but those reasons cover most of them. As the scripture says, “Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves” (Matthew 7:15). For purposes of this article, you can replace “false prophets” with “online scammers” or “players”.
Signs of Potential Scammers:
*Phony pictures: if a person only has 1 picture, the picture looks like a stock photo image, the pictures seem dated, and/or the images seem weird and not easily connected to the profile, the pictures may be fake and/or not representative. Either way, such pictures serve the purpose of trying to scam, fool, or mislead others. One good way to verify that someone is using any fake/phony pictures is to use one of the many “reverse image lookup” sites. These sites will allow you to upload a picture from the profile and scan and see if the image is to be found anywhere else on the internet. If so, it is probably a phony someone juts found online. A decent site available to freely look up images across the internet is found at www.tineye.com. If you get proof that a profile picture is found elsewhere on the internet, you have revealed a scammer.
*Problem description: when something seems “fishy” about the way someone describes themselves, beware. If anything “just doesn’t seem right” or “just doesn’t make sense”, pay attention to that. If there is anything notably contradictory or confusing, that is a red flag. If the person seems vague about their description and anything doesn’t make sense, be careful.
For instance, if someone is unclear of where they are from and claim they are travelling and/or in the military, this is a common scam where the scammer is often from a foreign country pretending to be a Westerner. They will interact with you online but never can manage to meet in person. Other signs here include broken, choppy English or a lack of understanding of common expressions and information more people would get and understand. Or, if someone claims to be very rich and has a lot of resources, but it isn’t clear where their money came from, this is probably a fake or exaggerated profile as well used for exploitation. In short, a good profile is clear, makes sense, and is consistent. And such a person is willing and able to meet when the time is right. A phony or misrepresentative profile is often unclear, contradictory, inconsistent, and/or just doesn’t make sense.
*Poor Boundaries and a Whirlwind Pace: If you got into interactions with a person who is a scammer--messaging, phone calls, skyping, and/or get togethers--you will likely notice that they have some poor boundaries and begin to make some troublesome choices. Often such scammers are also called “players”. A player is a person who pretends interest and that they care, but with the secret objective of exploiting, harming, or using another in some way: sexually, monetarily, or otherwise. Common approaches of players include a quick push to get physical or sexual, quick expressions of love and affection, quick engagements, EVER asking for money, and so on. The pace of interactions with a player is rushed, is focused on emotions and hormones, and in sum, has the pace of a whirlwind.
The goal of such an approach is to sweep you away into the new relationship and create connection before you realize what they are all about. Then, they will be soon be pushing sexually and/or monetarily. This type of approach is common online, as well as in real life. Furthermore, as soon as you start saying no or the slow the accelerated pace they are trying to push in your interactions together, they will often show a volatile, even angry reaction, followed by apologies and promises to change or treat you better. These problem cycles will continue and repeat as long as you allow the relationship to continue. For more information on “players”, see: https://www.ldsdimension.com/articles/identifying-guys-that-are-players-185/.
The point of this article isn’t to create excessive cynicism with other people’s agendas online. It isn’t to create paranoia. It is to simply give some ideas and directions to be careful and to adequately assess and screen whomever you are getting to know online. To lessen the chance of being taken in by a scammer, you may wish to become more of the picker and initiator online to begin interacting versus awaiting others to approach you. This picking and initiating will give you a better ability to prescreen and pick the people who seem most like good, genuine, quality individuals. Pick well, nourish well, and have the relationship you want and wish for. This is the way it should be. Because “…neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man, in the Lord.”—1 Corinthians 11:11.
P.S. If you can questions, comments, or a future article request for me, feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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About the author
Hello, my name is Dr. Randy Gilchrist (aka "Dr. G"). I am a licensed clinical psychologist, a licensed marriage & family therapist, and a certified hypnotherapist in private practice in Roseville, CA (www.dr-rg.com), practicing since 1997. Also, I am happily married in the temple (Manti) since 1996 and have 4 sons. I am a volunteer writer and contributor to LDS Dimension. I use my training, education, and experience to share insights with LDS Dimension on all things of interest to the LDS dating community. Please read my articles and columns on this site to assist you in your online dating journey. Also, to be considered for an answer in a future Q and A column, please email me your dating/relationship oriented questions to email@example.com. Finally, I also offer a powerful, effective worldwide custom hypnosis recording service just for LDS Dimension members for weight loss, pornography, and many other issues of concern to those in the LDS dating community (please learn more now at www.dr-rg.com/lds; email me questions to firstname.lastname@example.org).