Statistics estimate that one in six married couples have met online. To break these numbers down a bit further, for the billions of singles (and a lot of married people) who have joined a dating website for the first time, about 33 percent have found some form of prince or princess charming. With a success rate like this, the online dating market is at a boom right now (growing at a rate of 10 percent every year). Unfortunately, as more people are drawn to online dating, about 10 percent of every new profile created, is at the hands of a scam artist. Does this mean you should stay away from dating websites entirely?
There is a risk of putting toxins into your body every time you grab a piece of fruit from the grocery store. There is a possibility of getting run over by a garbage truck if you walk and text at the same time, but I bet you still do it. The point is, as long as you’re careful, your chance of finding foul play should be greatly reduced. One of the hottest careers this year, is an online dating detective. These professionals investigate members of these websites, reporting their financial, career, and relationship status for a fee. However, who says you should have to pay for this peace of mind. Here are seven valuable tools to become your own online dating detective.
1. Background Checks
Employers, working parents, and web savvy daters all use background checks to fill the missing holes a person may not want them to know (criminal, marriage records, etc.). Most background check websites come with a fee, but you can check the National Sex Offender Registry for free. The problem with relying on these too much, is they provide a false sense of security. Their databases are occasionally incomplete, considering that not all counties provide full digital records of their population.
Paris Hilton, Lindsay Lohan, and Britney Spears have seen their foibles twisted into some sort of catchy Internet headline. However, you don’t have to be famous to become infamous in your own hometown. Google can tell you a lot about anyone. Everything from court cases to local news stories can be dug up, just by searching for the first/last name, and location of someone. In many cases, Google may be all you need to get an overview of the last couple years of someone’s life.
3. Social Networking Sites
Facebook has over 600 million members, Twitter over 200 million, and LinkedIn about 85 million. These websites allow friend, families, and even strangers to witness a person’s life on a professional (and sometimes personal) level. You can connect (befriend) to discover more information about anyone. However, if you can’t find them (or they refuse to link with you), consider this a small red flag.
4. Inconsistent Profiles
An easy way to avoid trouble, is to pay close attention to a member’s profile, taking note of any details, such as childhood, job, pets, and hobbies. If at any time you’re communicating, you notice inconsistencies in what they say (and how they say it), perk your eyes and ears, as you could be dealing with someone who is not what you think they are.
5. Smart Questions
You can tell a lot about someone, by how they answer (or don’t answer) your online questions. The best question is, What was it about my profile that caught your attention? Dating websites are packed with jokers using ‘form introductions’ to send out mass mailings to hundreds of singles. When dealing with this many people, these scammers will not take the time to answer this question with any degree of sincerity, so you’ll be able to cross them off your list right away.
Always trust your gut instinct on a dating website. If something doesn’t feel right, you should probably move on. One way to recognize an iffy profile, is if the photo(s) looks overly photo-shopped or commercial. These people are either not being honest about their appearance, or are posing as someone else. Poor communication can also be a sign of a scam artist, overly busy person, or an online player looking to add notches to their keyboard.
Surveys suggest that as many as one-third of members on dating websites are cheating, married men. With this in mind, it becomes increasingly important to pay attention to members who have minimal flexibility in their daily schedule. Men looking for affairs, will prefer to email and chat late at night while their partner is asleep. Keep track of their time stamps, to know when they are available. Keeping odd hours may be legitimate, but it can also be a red flag in romance.
Chadwick Martin Bailey (CMB) Study: In the last six years, one in six married couples have met on an online dating site.