Spotting Red Flags in Online Dating
Annila Baigzada, Contributor
As Valentine’s Day approaches, everyone is preparing for the annual day to celebrate the month of love, admiration and friendship. In the age of technology, the internet poses many convenient opportunities for people to meet others and find companionship.
Many people turn to online dating to fill the void of being alone or to try something new. However, even though online dating or chatting may seem like harmless fun, it also introduces many red flags that people should be conscious of. People must be aware of the potential dangers that may concur over the internet and how to spot red flags.
Statistics from eHarmony, an online dating service, suggests that one in five current committed relationships began online. With that being said, online dangers are still rampant—according to the same stat, 53 per cent of people lie on dating profiles.
One of the red flags that have become very common among social media platforms is scammers. Scammers tend to approach their potential victims through fake accounts and profiles. They take stock photos or choose professional self-portraits from the internet and claim them as their own. Scammers will also message any people pretending to be someone they aren’t and ask for personal information in hopes to gain info into their accounts. Scammers thrive on constant messaging and in-direct contact and will find any way to use their advantages.
A different technique scammers use are profiles that have hundreds of random followers, a link in their bio, and various posts with very minimal likes and comments. After befriending many people, they may fake a sad story and ask for gifts or money in return. Oftentimes, they will ask you to fill out a survey, sponsor their product, or click a link for cash. Those links usually send the user to a website, which will hack their personal information. Avoid people who ask for favors or gifts immediately after connecting with you since it is most likely a scammer. Be cautious, since they usually make fake profiles to build an honest and trustworthy personality.
Another red flag to look out for is inconsistency in their stories, personality, or information. Most people provide vague and brief descriptions of themselves to avoid revealing additional details about their identity. If the user you have just met refuses to answer questions regarding their age, location, job, or other personal information, this may be a suspicious person to stay away from.
People will also lie about their responses, usually too good to be true which would be another indicator of a red flag. Profiles with minimal information or too much information could be true signs of a fake user.
The next warning sign is if the other person seems to move the friendship or relationship forward too quickly. Jumping into a relationship after talking for a short period of time or if they ask for permanent changes such as moving in or buying something expensive together could be an immediate red flag.
According to a study done by time2play, the biggest red flag across Canada is users with controversial or political biographies. The study also suggests that both in Alberta and Nova Scotia, the biggest red flag was people who were only interested in hooking up rather than dating.
To protect yourself, it is important to take your time and get to know the other person before meeting in person. Staying mindful of these red flags will help keep your special day safe and enjoyable with your loved ones.