Because they don’t have prior experience, the profiles are likely going to be sloppy and have a lot of red flags. Some of the spots that you should take a closer look at are:
1. Friends List
Being followed or friended by an account with no mutual connections should be your first clue. How would that person find you if you don’t have any acquaintances in common?
Before allowing them to follow you, check how many friends or followers they have. Most commonly, scam profiles have less than 20 people in their social network, and even those are very possibly fake.
A large number of followers from foreign countries probably means that they’re using some sort of scam network or paying them. If you’re not sure who the person adding you as a friend is, don’t take the unnecessary risk.
A single profile picture (or even the lack of one) is a sign to immediately back off. Most real people have at least a couple of photos, including group ones with friends. Scammers usually pick images of attractive models – in this case, even if there are multiple, almost all of them will be from a photoshoot.
Usually, photos on a fake profile are going to have a very small amount of likes/comments (less than 10). In contrast, an overwhelmingly large number (over 1000) can be an indicator of purchased likes. Always double-check the profiles of people who left the comments.
The newsfeed is one of the best places to spot a scammer. Think about what a regular person’s activity would look like. They would probably have a couple of posts here and there, a few tags on group photos, maybe a shared link to a video they found funny. This is especially relevant for accounts created a long time ago.
Five posts in five years are frequently the sign of a fake. However, they could also have a lot of recent activity. If that’s the case, many of these will be links to different scams, ads, promotions, and false promises. Sometimes, even the photos could be promoting scams, especially if they themselves contain sketchy links.
4. Warning Signs During Communication
– A Lot Of Questions
Exchanging messages and simply communicating is the easiest way to see through the scam. Pay attention to every message and look for the spots where her story doesn’t add up. Every single scammer has a preplanned tactic with which they’re going to try to trick you. But the possibility is that they haven’t thought of everything.
This is why most of them are going to ask you questions – to avoid having to answer themselves. Also, scammers can gain a lot of valuable information this way, such as your financial and relationship statuses. Always ask questions and try to get the person to talk a bit more about herself.
– Avoiding Video Calls
Try to initiate a live meetup or any type of video call (with Skype for example). A fake girlfriend is going to be reluctant to accept since her true identity will be revealed immediately.
Even a simple thing such as a phone call can be a huge threat to her. However, instead of directly refusing, scammers are going to come up with new excuses every time – maybe a broken camera, or a faulty microphone.
With today’s technological advancements, it’s never been easier to establish face-to-face communication, no matter how apart two people are. If you’re getting new excuses constantly, it’s time to start getting suspicious.
– Asking For Money
Think about it, if someone truly cared for you, they wouldn’t ask you to send them your hard-earned money before even meeting up. Catfishes are always going to try to come up with somewhat believable unfortunate stories that could happen to any person.
At first, she might demand smaller amounts of money – for a bus ticket or lunch. If you fulfill her wish, she is going to start increasing the needed amount every time. A real person will understand your doubts and stop requesting such favors.
Checking the Profile
If you’re still unsure whether your girlfriend is real or not, there are a couple of very useful tools that will help put your mind to peace once and for all.
Phone numbers on their own provide no info, so you might think they’re useless. As it turns out, through the process known as reverse phone lookup, you could gain an abundance of information about the number owner such as their true gender, location, other profiles, and even criminal background! Spokeo reverse number lookup could acquire all that and more in a matter of seconds.
By cross-referencing over 12 billion public records, Spokeo’s report is guaranteed to be completely accurate and up to date. With access to over 100 different social media websites, if the person has any other accounts there’s no doubt that Spokeo is going to discover them.
Instead of having to search manually through hundreds of Google Search pages (with no guarantee of finding anything), you could simply have Spokeo do the deep digging for you. Additionally, special database filtering options carefully categorize each piece of data to deliver only the highest quality end result. Keep in mind that you might have to initiate multiple searches. For example, if you got a name/e-mail address from the phone number, running another search on them could yield a lot more information.
If Spokeo found more social media accounts, it’s up to you to analyze them and compare the findings. Be sure to check the gender – a person who you thought was a female could turn out to be a male scammer. Analyze everything; you never know which information a seemingly harmless detail could withhold.
In case you didn’t get any additional social media profiles from Spokeo, that’s a good sign – it’s likely that the person has nothing to hide!
– Reverse Google Image Search
Google has a very nifty tool by the name of ‘Reverse image search’. It takes your uploaded image, runs it across Google’s database and tries to find any similarities with other images on the Web.
Scammers usually get their fake profile pictures right from Google Images which is why they should be your first target. If the tool returns any matches, that means that you have a scammer on your hands.
Trying to figure out on your own if your online girlfriend is fake can be a real pain. Even when you think you have an answer, it’s best to use tools such as Spokeo and reverse image search to confirm or revoke your doubts. After all, it’s best to be completely certain than having to repair the damages that a potential scammer could cause.