It is the age of the internet. Online dating used to be taboo, but now it’s mainstream. It allows us to widen our net, and catch some different fish than we would in our regular day to day lives. So how should you know who to trust? With some experience under my belt of catching internet liars, I compiled a guide for verifying identities. Here it is:
Have you seen their picture? If you have been talking for a while, you should have exchanged pictures. You should run their pictures through Google image search to see what comes up. If nothing, great! However, if the pictures of “Joe Smith” all seem to actually belong to “Bob Johnson” then there is likely an issue. Getting sent fake pictures can be a red flag.
Have you heard their voice? If they are claiming to be a 25 year old woman, they should obviously sound somewhat like a 25 year old woman. You may also want to run their phone number through a search engine such as Yahoo to see if anything comes up. Many times a phone number can be linked to a location, and sometimes even a name.
Use a Camera
Ask for a webcam chat. It is hard to lie about who you are (at least physically) over a live camera feed. Plus, if they are hiding a significant other (husband or wife) from you, they will likely be reluctant to turn on the camera very often.
Just like you would in person, you should ask friends about your love interest online too! For example, say you met “Joe” in a game. You should ask Joe if any one he knows in person also plays. If he says yes, you should talk to that person too!
Most importantly, run their first and last name through a search engine. It can be helpful to add their city and state in addition to their name, as well as a middle initial if you know it. (For example, you might type “Joe C. Smith Winona, Minnesota.” If they have a criminal past, you should be able to find their public arrest record. You may also find information via search such as college graduation announcements, marriages, etc.
We all have a built in lie-detector, so if you feel like something fishy is going on, be cautious. Follow your gut! Don’t get cat-fished.