Long before Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te’o found himself duped by an Internet girl who was actually a dude, scammers have been posting fake profiles on dating websites. While some may do it solely for the jollies, most have a very simple goal; get you to send them money.
The bad news is that sometimes they’re sneaky. The good news is that sometimes they’re not. In fact, the dating website Seeking Arrangement has been able to pinpoint a fairly specific set of profile choices that often point to the fact that you’re dealing with a fake.
Here are some of the characteristics: Catholic, Nigerian, widowed, hold a doctoral degree of some sort. Seeking Arrangement screeners identify and delete about 220 profiles daily that they suspect of not being on the up and up. We’re not saying you should outright disgard a profile with ANY of these factors, but it should make you proceed with caution.
That Old Time Religion: According to Seeking Arrangement, the number one common trait among fake profilers was religion, and an astounding 82% said they were Catholic. It’s a pretty easy deduction to make that your friendly neighborhood scammer wants to appear moral and trustworthy. What better way to do that than call on the name of the almighty Lord?
Trust Me ‘Cause I’m Smart: 54 percent of scam profiles say they have a Ph.D. Another 37 percent claim another sort of graduate degree. In a humorous sidenote, a Seeking Arrangment spokesman said that not a single scam profile has ever been discovered that lists a high school diploma only.
These Numbers Don’t Add Up: Native Americans comprise 2 percent of the US population. In an oddity of mathematics, 37 percent of scammers claim this heritage. Our guess is they’re shooting to sound more exotic.
Avoid Nigeria, Ukraine, and the Philippines: Unfortunately for scammers, automated software that detects discrepancies between your IP address and your geographic claim forces them to retain their actual location in the profile. But even though these areas are well known as scam havens, people still fall for them every day.
The FBI warns online daters to be suspicious of anyone who:
1. Urges you to leave the website you met on and switch over to e-mail or instant messaging.
2. Professes almost instant feelings of love.
3. Sends a photo that appears to have been clipped from a glamour magazine.
4. Makes plans to visit but is thwarted by a tragic event.
5. Asks for money!
Jake Swank warns you not to let yourself get Manti Te’oed by a fake Internet girl! (Image: Flickr | Don Hankins)
The Swank Life Team