Last week, I received an email from a guy “John” who moderates a very large on-line group for single adults in the dating world. Several of the women in the group started sharing stories about men they had recently met on-line.
As time went on, the stories started sounding eerily similar. As he started asking more questions and then did a little digging, it turned out, several were communicating with the same guy, “Casanova.”
Casanova happened to live too far away from any of these women to actually meet up with them, but he managed to win quite a few hearts nonetheless. There were a few women who had been dumped by Casanova and they were devastated, nursing wounds and wondering how they allowed themselves to be strung along by a guy they never met.
A few other women were convinced they were in love with Casanova and would some day marry him, just like he promised. I never found out if any had given him money but it wouldn’t surprise me if they had. John asked that I write an article to warn my readers that there are Big Time predators out there that peruse dating sites looking for gullible, desperate women looking for love.
And those men are experts at drawing those women in and then emptying out their bank accounts. Or, sometimes, the guy is simply bored and looking for companionship. None of it’s ok.
John’s story is not the first that I’ve heard. I know a 70-year old Momron woman who is active in the dating scene. One day she giddily told me about a guy who was mad for her. He lived several states away, was some 20 years her junior, was super good looking and rich, and he wanted to be in an inclusive relationship with her. He was already talking about how their life would be when they married. STOP, I almost screamed. “Does any of this make sense to you? Why would a really hot rich young guy be looking for older Mormon women who live really far away to date?
Especially when devout Mormons won’t be having sex before marriage, or sharing a bottle of wine, either. Why can’t he find someone locally if he’s such a great catch?” She was silent. “He’s a fake! He wants your money. Stop communicating with him– like right now. Disappear.” I hope she took my advice.
When I first split with my husband and got on a dating site, Mr. Wonderful contacted me. He loved to travel, was incredibly good looking and had tons of photos that he sent me. He was kind and perfect. He lived in Colorado but was moving to my same town in just a few months once he wrapped up a few things. He was an airline pilot so could live anywhere he wanted.
After several days, I started to wonder if any of his story made sense. I asked him to call me, let’s chat by phone. He wouldn’t. He hemmed and hawed and I stopped responding. And then he became belligerent. Obnoxious. I deleted him. He wasn’t real!
On my Facebook account, for a time, I listed myself as “divorced.” Wow– I was contacted by probably 50 different men who all happened to live in London and worked for the oil and gas industry but were Americans and soon moving back to the US and would move to where I was living if we hit it off. Except their written English was deplorable (no doubt, they were probably sitting in a dingy warehouse in Nigeria). I deleted them all, except one day I couldn’t resist. I responded: “I worked in oil and gas, too. Who do you work for? We probably know a lot of the same people.” Silence.
And, lastly, Dr. Phil recently had a guest woman who “met” a guy on-line and embarked on a two year relationship with him. She never actually met the guy but she did manage to cough up over $150,000 to him. He wasn’t real. His name, photos… all of it, fake. In fact, the texts he sent her came straight from an internet site aimed at helping men find women victims to fall in love with them and get their money. The texts actually included the typos from the web site- they were identically lifted.
The bottom line is this: Be cautious. Extremely! And never give out banking information, don’t divulge your assets, and don’t send money. If they guy won’t call you or, if he does, will endlessly find excuses why he can’t meet you, know that he isn’t real.
Here are eight tips for spotting fake men on an online dating profile:
1. Look them up on their Facebook page. How recent is it? How many friends does he have? How many comments and likes on his photos are there?
2. Ask him to text you a photo of him holding a newspaper with today’s date.
3. If he sounds too good to be true, he is. I’ve watched many Catfish episodes where a girl is “dating” a model who travels the globe on exotic assignments, knows lots of celebrities, and has tons of money. If that is true, why isn’t he meeting her and why is he not finding one of those beautiful models to date? That’s because he doesn’t really exist.
4. Take a few of the photos he posts online and do a Google image search. See if you can find those images and if they match up to the names or Facebook profiles.
5. If he’s working overseas, is self employed, or a widower, be extremely cautious. Odds are, he’s fake. In fact, if he’s working overseas, I’d stop right there.
6. If his English grammar and spelling is terrible, he’s likely not an American. In fact, he may not be a “he” at all. Who knows? Whatever he/she is, it’s a scam and the goal is to empty your bank account after he’s captured your heart.
7. If he’s talking love, marriage and commitment really fast, he’s a fake. And even if he is real, why would you want a guy like that anyway?
8. If he claims an emergency and needs a quick loan so he can fix his problem, and after that’s done, the two of you can start your new life together, stop all communication immediately. Never send money, not a penny. Never give him your bank account information or credit card number.
Dating online must be done with extreme caution. The best approach is to go into it thinking everyone is fake. Let him prove that your belief is false. The only way to do that is over time. Consider only dating men in your geographic area so you can meet up in a reasonable amount of time. Google search photos, look for criminal records, and do your homework. If he claims to own a home, look up his property records. Never loan money. And if he sounds too good to be true, he probably is.