Being fooled by fake profiles is something that every online dater experiences one way or another. Sometimes you’ll discover that your partner has uploaded a photo of them from their graduation when they had far fewer pounds and basically no wrinkles. Then there are Catfishers, a far more sinister category of person who crafts a whole universe around their fake persona just to trick someone into falling for them. And then there are the scammers, the bottom of the bunch. They put up a convincing act in order to bamboozle naive singles and then proceed to empty the victim’s bank account.
What’s the common thread in each of these stories? Fake pictures. Be it portraits that underwent heavy photoshopping, images stolen from other unsuspecting Facebook or Instagram users, or photos cropped from a foreign country’s model agency, the deception of using fake photography can come in many forms. Luckily we know a trick or two for unmasking such charlatans.
Spotting Beginner Scoundrels
A keen eye will easily notice a couple of red flags when contacted by inept con artists. An empty or barely-complete profile page is a telling sign, as might be an abundance of typos. Everyone makes spelling errors every now and then but if the would-be partner cannot handle basic grammar, then the chances are high that it’s a con artist looking to get a piece of your wallet.
You should also be skeptical when inspecting their photos. If they only have one picture or multiple ones with cheap filters on them, then approach with great caution. The same could be said about images with a ‘stock photo’ vibe: perhaps they are suspiciously cropped, poorly enlarged or have a plain or white background. Still the biggest giveaway that you are dealing with a scammer is when they ask for money even before meeting. Actually, they will often lie that the lack of funds is the reason why you cannot see each other in person, perhaps suggesting that a small loan could solve this problem. Naturally it’s smart to not give them any money, but it’s best to completely stay away from such crooks for your own good.
Dealing With Crafty Swindlers
The truth is that you have to be more vigilant in order to avoid being conned by more professional criminals. True masterminds will spend a large amount of effort to create a web of lies around their fictional character and will often back it up with comments from other ghost profiles to make the illusion all the more convincing. Big-time deceivers have profiled you long before making an actual move and made sure that their various profiles are flawless.
So what should you do if you are chatting with Mr or Ms Perfect but a nagging thought tells you that they are a fraud? First of all, run an image search on Google to check whether the profile picture is associated with someone else’s Facebook or Instagram account. Similarly, running a free background check could also help spot any discrepancies in their story. Nevertheless, if you are suspicious, the best way to check their identity is to ask for a selfie (but not a nude). That’s the winning tactic to get an up-to-date photo from a real person.
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