When it comes to online dating, do you know whom you’re really talking to?

We’ve all heard many different stories that basically have the same ending.

A woman meets a man online, or vice versa they start chatting via social media until things start to get pretty serious. They set up a date to meet in person and suddenly the man starts acting flaky, cancels and eventually disappears.

It can happen to anyone.

It’s called, ‘Catfishing’. The term refers to someone who uses social media to pretend to be someone they are not. They do this in order to create a false identity and pursue deceptive online romances.

The bad news is that it occurs more often than you think. Research shows that 10% of all dating site users are scammers. As a member of the Better Business Bureau (BBB) our agency receives monthly fraud reports. When it comes to the Top 10 Types of Fraud, catfishing or online dating scams or as the BBB considers it the “Top Heartbreak Scam: Catfishing; total loss, $15.6 Million” is the second largest Fraudulent activity they see.

Red Flags

While online dating can be a wonderful experience, there are people out there who don’t necessarily have your best interests at heart. We know plenty of people who have successfully found a partner online, but as Private Investigators, we also see a lot of situations where things can go terribly wrong.

Arming yourself with knowledge is the best way to stay safe. That’s why we’ve put together a list of red flags you need watch out for when online dating:

Conflicting information – Does the person you’re speaking with provide limited information, or details that just don’t make sense? For example, they told you they live in Toronto but keep calling from a number in “Vancouver”.

“Accidents Happen” – Every time you schedule a date to meet this person, they just happen to get into a car accident, become suddenly ill, or offer up one of a hundred other “reasons” why they can’t make it. If this type of behavior is a consistent pattern, consider this person’s actions a red flag!

Money Honey? – If you have not yet met or had a relationship with this person, we highly recommend that you do not loan or lend them money. There is no guarantee that the person is legitimate and you may never get your money back.

I’ll Pick You Up – If the person you are in contact with offers to pick you up the very first time you meet, politely let them know that you will meet them in public location. Every year, predators on the Internet commit over 16,000 abductions.

Let’s Get Hitched. Now! – Anyone worth your time will want to get to know you first before rushing into anything more serious. Someone who wants to be in constant communication, move in with you or even get married within two weeks of meeting online, probably isn’t the kind of catch you’re looking for.

I’m in Trouble! What Can I Do?

Currently, we are seeing a significant increase in individuals contacting us to help them with their online dating issues and to complete background checks into these individuals. We’ve handled problems where our clients were scammed out of thousands of dollars, or had their identity stolen. We’ve also helped to look into situations to ease our client’s emotional heartbreak surrounding the lies, deceit and embarrassment they’ve experienced.

The one thing all our clients have in common is that they regret not looking into the person they were speaking with sooner.

Skip the troubles online dating can bring into your life and get the information you need upfront. Our team does our due diligence to determine if the individual is whom they say there are. Don’t waste your precious time speaking to someone who might be trying to you to harm you.

You don’t have to wait until you have a terrible catfishing story to find out who you are chatting with. Find out right away, by taking the right steps and look into the person!

Your catfish might think they’re smart, but nothing beats a Private Investigator.

For assistance in your online dating and to confirm who you are speaking with contact The Smith Investigation Agency!