Some of the sites we've actively worked Online Dating Scam cases on include, but are not limited to: Bumble; Zoosk; Plenty of Fish; Tinder; Grindr (yes, there's even cons on there), to name just a few. Most of these sites, if not all, require some type of limited verification but these are easily bypassed. We have accounts on all of them under a variety of aliases and have passed all verification that has ever been presented, so please don't get a false sense of security that the person with all of those great looking photos is who they claim to be.
Some of the clues we look for in determining if a profile on ANY dating site is legitimate are the following:
1. Do the photos just look TOO GOOD??? You know what we mean. Most, legitimate, profiles don't have professional looking photographs, they just don't. We use techniques that can determine if a photo has been used on multiple dating sites or if it's ever been used anywhere else other than for one particular profile. I can't tell you how many times we've found a supermodel's photograph being used on a fake profile. Or the photo of the CEO of Coca-Cola Europe being used by "Stan" who lives in Northern California. Yep, discovered that in one of our cases.
2. Is this really great guy/girl you've been chatting with for two weeks now just too busy to meet in person? Are they an engineer on an offshore oil platform and travel all the time? Yes, that was one such profession that was in vogue, and still is, by the scammers who frequent many of the online dating sites, particularly Plenty of Fish for whatever reason. The quickest way to cut to the chase, and which we advise all of our clients, to see if an individual matches the photos on their profile is to demand they video chat with you if they won't meet in person. (Side note: Never have the first in-person meeting at night. Only agree to meet during the day at a very public place with plenty of other people around) If they come up with an excuse, the computer is broken, the computer's camera is broken, the computer doesn't have a camera, then you have your answer.
3. How soon does the person ask for money or start sending you small gifts? The really accomplished cons don't push it too early as they're going for the big score and will usually have 8 - 10 women/men on the hook at any given time. They normally don't come out and ask for money for themselves, but to help a grandchild, friend, dog, you name it. We've seen it it all. Sometimes their bank accounts get mysteriously locked for a day or two and they just need a little to get them unlocked. Just when we think we've seen it all a con will come up with a new reason why they need money. They are constantly evolving.
4. Last, is the person you've been chatting with for the last week and a half totally head over heels in love with you after such a short period of time?? I know it's flattering, but they are looking for something and, 99% of the time, it isn't love. Listen to those spidey senses telling you they're too good to be true because they are. Too good to be true.
If you suspect that someone you're chatting with through an online dating site/app may not be telling you the whole truth, or you just want to make sure you vet them before going much further, give us a call. We work these types of cases all the time and would be happy to help you achieve peace of mind.
EXCALIBUR Private Investigation
Serving all of Colorado and beyond