Internet Dating- A sure way to find a con artist?


I receive complaints each and every day about internet dating scams. These stories break my heart. They’re tales of love-bombing and betrayal. Some involve sex addicts. Others hide marriages or money fraud. And my first inclination is to recommend people stay away from dating sites.

MSNBC conducted a survey that calculated 30% of e-dating participants were married. The number was higher for men than women. But the Oasis Singles Blog indicates that 30% of the dating pool, in general, is covering up existing marriages. So if the ratios match, e-dating at least, provides access.

Toxic Hazard

The trick is to use e-dating wisely and be on the watch for hazard signs. 

Free sites are apt to contain more scammers than paid resources for obvious reasons. The greater the disclosure and security provided by the site, the more likely they are to eliminate con artists.

  • If you constantly reach voice mail, rather than securing direct contact, or if their written responses are delayed, your match may be waiting for their wife or business colleagues to get out of the way.
  • Are they speaking in a hushed tone or only texting late at night? Their spouse could be right alongside them when they do.
  • Are they making miraculous recoveries from illness? Telling you they’re sick one day, and then appearing perfectly fine the next, could signal they lied to hide their whereabouts.
  • No photo on the site? When people want to send you their photo privately, rather than place it online, it could signal that they don’t want to be found out by a spouse. Let them know they need to post their picture, not send it to you directly.
  • Weight, height and age are the most frequently incorrect statements on dating profiles. If it’s important to you, don’t take their word for granted.
  • If they never take you home or identify where they live, it’s a tip-off that they’re hiding a spouse.
  • Someone who is really into you would love to show you off to their family. Failure to do so could easily indicate a problem. Con artists will denigrate their family relationships. They’ll even feign that they’re dead. If you don’t meet the family, be very cautious!
  • Avoid e-dating services that market people as wealthy or millionaires. No one who is wealthy wants to be punked by a Gold Digger. Their interest is not served by attracting you to their affluence, so why would they?

ID cards

Always Photo ID a person you meet through on-line dating!

I know it sounds intrusive, and it is! But you are taking risks in diving into the dating pool, and so are they. Rather than springing your request to ID them on your first date, let them know ahead of time that you expect to exchange IDs when you meet. Their resistance is a good indication that they’re not on the level.



22 thoughts on “Internet Dating- A sure way to find a con artist?”

  1. There is a lot of emphasis placed on Googling potential partners and verifying them on Linkedin and so forth. The predator that targeted me looks fairly “clean” on the internet, including Spokeo. All that said, it takes street smarts to recognize that he is a con man and a classic one at that.

    Yes, now I can see that his flashy business page and you tube videos are classic con artist material. However, to an untrained eye, he appears amazingly successful and bigger than life. I know he is a “bad guy,” and even with my personal knowledge, I can’t find anything criminal on the internet about him. Deep searching revealed aliases, but that information could easily be overlooked or not even found.

    So …. word to the wise, just because you “check them out on the internet,” that doesn’t mean they are clean. You may not have the sophisticated skills to know how to research the person. You could be blinded by “love” and not see who they are. The predator may be so good at using the internet that they can appear spotless.

    I like the idea of getting a potential partner to show their ID and if they know that in advance of the first date, a predator will probably drop you like a hot potato. Also, if you meet them through an on-line dating site, you should never be alone with them until their profile is hidden. If they are unwilling to take their profile down, they do not genuinely want a real relationship.

    Boundaries such as these should send a predator the other way. There is an incredible strength that I have gained from my surreal sociopath experience. I make no apologies for boundaries that I put in place. I sit back in amazement at the resolve that I now have. I don’t ever want to relive that experience and that strength comes from that deep sense of resolve.

    1. So true.

      Emotional scammers are so cunning that they can avoid detection even when serious efforts are made to uncover their information. It’s all the more reason why we need sexual assault by fraud laws!

      I frequently hear the comments, “Why don’t they just check the person out?” when it comes to avoiding a predator. Often people think it only happens because “victims are promiscuous and jump into bed too soon.” Most of society is simply unaware that sociopaths go to great lengths to con people. Even intelligent people with high moral values can fall prey.

  2. Very informative, both your post and the comments. This only reinforces my choice to not “date” online. I find that married people, people without experience with online dating, tend to “pressure” single people like me into finding their partner because it is so terrible not to have a partner. It is worse to partner with a predator even for just one date, far worse.

    1. Amen to that!

      Developing a circle of friends that enjoys your interests can help keep you feeling socially fulfilled while you’re single. If you have a pal to go to the movies, jog, go bowling, out to a restaurant, etc, you can enjoy social interaction without feeling driven to couple-up.

      Often people who are coming out of a toxic relationship have a tendency to hibernate when they really need to get out and do things to restore self esteem. So signing up for classes at your local Y, joining a gym, looking for a kayak or sailing club, or simply volunteering, could put you in the company of like minded folks who can turn into friends.

      As to finding Mr. or Ms. Right, one of our participants recently decided to use a matchmaker service. I’ll let you know how that works out.

      Thanks for sharing!

    1. What a great cause! I hope we can find you some services that can help. Thanks for your “favorites” below.

      I’m so sorry for the problems you endurred. Your being here underscores that psychopathy exists in both genders. Victims can easily be either male or female.

      Thanks for your contributions!


  3. These are my top two, I met my “wife” in Cuba, I am a trusting person, we got married, brought her to Canada, then found out the truth (3 + years later) about her “Other Husband”

    I paid for the apartment in Cuba, but there was always an excuse for not going to it, yeah, I know… But when you are a trusting, loving person with empathy (TOO MUCH I now know) you WILL get reeled in as a sucker;

    • If they never take you home or identify where they live, it’s a tip-off that they’re hiding a spouse.
    • Someone who is really into you would love to show you off to their family. Failure to do so could easily indicate a problem. Con artists will denigrate their family relationships. They’ll even feign that they’re dead. If you don’t meet the family, be very cautious!

  4. I suggest subscribing to a site like Get the license plate number off his car and run the plates. You will know who he is and if he is lying about his identity. This is for your safety as well. Give the plate number to a friend so someone knows where you are at all times. The fee to join this service is fairly cheap and well worth it. Hope that helps.

    1. 200% correct! I’d even say that if they aren’t Googlable…. (Is that a word? Well it is now!), they may have given you a ficticious name. You can also try LinkedIn and looking them up on Facebook. If anyone has another resource for checking people out, let’s hear!

  5. You should ID anyone you meet, NOT just online. If I had done that, I would have found out he was married. I did not meet him online. Please don’t have a false sense of security just because you meet someone in person!

    1. I hope we can convey the concept of checking ID sufficiently so it becomes the norm. It will make “false personation” a great deal more difficult to pull off. If offenders expect that people will look at their ID, it will become fruitless for them to lie in the first place.

  6. If someone lies about their age — which is VERY common when meeting someone online — DISQUALIFY THEM IMMEDIATELY. Sure, they will try to minimize it. They’ll tell you they were afraid if they told you their real age, you wouldn’t want to meet them. They’ll tell you they “FEEL” like the age they told you they were. Bull Shite! This person is a liar, right from the get-go, and it’s just the tip of the iceberg. I speak from experience. They start with little lies, to see what you’ll put up with. A liar is a liar! Would YOU lie about your age? If not, don’t accept it from anyone else.

    On another note, I’ve done plenty of online dating, but I met the psychopath who victimized me at ballroom dance classes.

    It’s a fallacy that online dating is any more dangerous than meeting someone in person. I’ve seen posts on several sites warning people away from online dating and advising them to meet people in person instead, as if it’s safer. IT IS NOT SAFER. No matter where you meet someone, you are at risk. You need to vet that person. Verify the facts. Keep your distance until you do.

    No matter where you meet that person, TAKE IT SLOWWWW. Really slow. Do not get in someone’s car or go to someone’s apartment. Do not drink a drink they bought for you while you were in the ladies room. DO NOT ever worry about looking foolish! MANY women “die of embarrassment” (or are raped).

    Decide beforehand what your boundaries are, and do not let anyone talk you out of them!

    You do NOT have good judgement. You think you do, but you don’t. The most dangerous criminals seem like the nicest people (per Mary Ellen O’Toole, FBI profiler).

    You can meet a creep, abuser, or rapist anywhere. Even if someone you know and trust fixes you up with them. Bottmom line: however you meet a potential partner, take the same steps. DO NOT have a false sense of security because you did not meet someone on line. I did, and I paid the price!

    1. Your advice is Spot-On AB!

      I wholeheartedly agree that e-dating is not more or less dangerous than personal contact. It’s simply a point of access that reflects the norms of society and brings the dating pool within easy reach.


  7. I found out after I was already divorced that my Ex-husband had 10 different profiles on various dating websites, including: a dating site for married men looking to have an affair. His profiles made my stomach turn, as did his on-line handles, such as: TapThat2, SlieDog, etc.. those were his on-line handles. Would any sane woman ping a man on a dating website with a handle like those? I certainly wouldn’t. I’m sure you’re thinking, “Well I hope you got tested for STDs?” No, because he stopped having sex with me before the dates of when he created those on-line profiles. Now he’s remarried. My heart goes out to the woman he’s duped because I suspect my Ex is a disordered person (Narc/Patho Liar). She thinks I’m a “bitter Ex wife”. I’m not. I was trying to warn her. But she won’t listen.

    I feel compelled to mention that it was Paula over at Paula’s Pontifications who was there for me when I learned of my Ex-husband’s secret life: Fake Email Accounts under fake names, Fake FBook accts, on-line dating accounts. I was completely DUPED. I guess I should be grateful my Ex dumped me so he could marry this other woman.

    1. Wow! So sorry this happened to you, and glad that you’ve made it through!

      And, BTW, Paula wholeheartedly gets my vote! She provides wonderful support for people who need help! Glad you mentioned her!

      Your’s is a great example of the kind of predators that frequently troll dating websites. Thanks for your candid description!

      All the best-

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