Hints for finding a fake person online from the perspective of a dating counselor

So this question came up twice this week with new customers … basically, wondering about the online scam known as catfishing. This is where a person is not the person they claim to be; a deceptive practice usually where a fictitious / fake person is created online. (Obviously not good intentions!).

As a dating advisor, dating coach for over 25 years, and with the astronomical growth of online dating only in the last 5 years, have I come across this? Hardly ever. But not really in recent years, as singles have become wiser with online dating. In recent years, as Pew Research points out, in 2020, 1 in 3 couples who got married met online.

Here’s the thing: You can usually detect it in less than 30 seconds.


Track # 1. They often post a very hot photo. And only one. (The rule for online dating is to post about 6 photos of yourself from an activity you enjoy to a group photo with friends and a good shot in the head). Yeah Al that sounds pretty crap to me, Looks like BT aint for me either.

Okay, if this track has completely escaped you …

Track # 2. There is no written dating profile or quick generic profile such as “Love the beach. My boat. My dog.” No effort made … or if you see misspellings, or it’s a really ignorant cat or a bot.

So are you still chasing here?

Track # 3. The first message you receive from them asks for your phone number, email, or is too enthusiastic. Basically, you’ve been asked to stop sending messages to a secure dating site / app.

Is it still communicating? Come on, you’re smart … but here’s more:

Track # 4. They mention that they are rich, famous or millionaires.

Okay, even though I have clients that fit between one and three of the above adjectives, they would NEVER mention it. That’s the last thing they want people to know! Having various celebrities in sports, television, writers, etc., we never describe them as the best-selling authors of the NY Times or the coach of a professional team. They came to me for a serious relationship, not a gold digger! (Note: A gold digger can be male or female).

Already blocked this person? Please say yes!

Track # 5. A generic message from someone who has no published photos. Something like “You’re beautiful! I’m not here often, so send me your email and more photos?”

WHAT? Does this person have no photos and is asking for more?

So to be asked again about cat fishing twice this week (when I am rarely asked), use care and common sense. Suppose you met someone at a bar and they asked for your cell phone, email, and send you more photos. You’d think she’s crazy, wouldn’t you? (Or him).

Okay, so make no mistake, I’m a big advocate of online dating, as an online dating consultant with over 25 years of experience, while working with my clients on dating sites, we just seen this a handful of times. Like anything, use common sense when going out! And, check out my 2-minute dating tips or my dating quiz to find out how you compare to other singles.

So, while searching online, use reputable dating sites / apps as the top 50 (there are over 1400 dating sites / apps) …

Happy dating! Feel free to send me questions in the comments section and I will address them in one of my next articles.

Life, love and laughter, Andrea


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