You’ve got all sorts of weirdos out there. Some internet creepers are pros at tricking you into thinking they are someone they’re not. But every pro has it’s downfall. If you look close enough, you can weed out the fakes from the real, genuine people. Beyond the online dating safety tips, there are a few extra steps you can take if you think the person you are talking to might not be who they really say they are. Follow these extra, precautionary steps to avoid weirdos online.

Really look at their pictures.
Don’t judge a book by its cover. Go into their profile and actually look at their pics. First, make sure there is more than one. And if there is more than one, check out if it looks like the pictures were taken in the same clothes or in the same place. They should have a variety of pictures in different situations. Ideally, they should have some pictures with family or friends, but unfortunately a lot of dating sites don’t allow you to have pictures with other people.

Conduct a social network search.
If the two of you have been exchanging messages, there should be no shame in looking them up. Nowadays, and especially if you’re on an online dating site, almost everyone has some other (if not multiple) social network profiles. Have a look on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn etc. You don’t have to send them a friend request if you don’t want to. Compare their profiles with what they have on their online profile. Does it match up? Check to see if there are additional pictures, possibly with other people and not just selfies. Read up on his hobbies and interests and ask him about them in a message.

Focus on the detail they provide.
You’d be surprised how much people tell on their profiles. A big mistake people make is not reading the other person’s entire profile. They like the pictures and jump write in to messaging. A lot of people are very honest in their profiles about what they are looking for. Some admit to being married and in an open relationship, others are looking for a third person to join their sex life. Be aware of what it is you’re looking for, and if it has nothing to do with what they have written in their profile, move on. You’re not going to change them no matter how much you liked their pictures.

Also, check to see if the detail they have provided is generic. If it seems to brief or short, ask them for more details in your messages. They shouldn’t be ashamed of talking about themselves.

What are the messages like?
If you get the feeling that you just got copy and pasted and general message they send to everyone, you probably did. Do you really want to start a relationship with someone that can’t even bother writing a personalized intro message? If they immediately use ‘sexual’ terms of endearment with a lot of compliments right away, you can be sure that they have ulterior motives.

Get on the phone.
After exchanging a few messages online, it should be no issue exchanging phone numbers and starting to text or have some actual conversations. You can tell a lot about a person just by the tone of their voice. Plus, it’s way easier to get to know more about them that way. If they text you and tell you they are somewhere, ask them for a picture. Obviously, you don’t want to make it sound like you’re stalking them, but a flirty pic just to prove they’re not compulsive liars never hurt anyone. If they are constantly making an excuse as to why they can’t send you a picture, red flags should go up.

Stick to your gut feelings.
If you’re not sure about someone, it’s most likely for a reason. Don’t meet with anyone in person until you feel safe about the situation. When you do meet with someone for the first time, follow your instincts as well. Make sure at least one person knows where you are and what you’re doing. Have a plan to escape a bad date if it doesn’t seem to be going to plan.

Hopefully, you won’t have to follow all of these steps. You’re more likely to meet someone nice, but it’s better to be safe rather than sorry. You and the person you are chatting with should both want to avoid weirdos online so don’t be offended if you notice them doing the same checks on you. It’s nothing against you, you just never know!

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