How to Spot a Fake Profile

This post is part of a series of posts on online dating and Check out the other posts here:

If you haven’t noticed it already, there are tons of fakes, spammers, frauds inhabiting online dating sites. Match is a little better than a free site like plentyoffish, but it still has it’s share of fakes and scammers.

Where I live, I’ll probably identify one fake out of every 30 profiles. There are a number of tip-offs for spotting a fake and after reading this post you’ll be able to identify them too.

Why are there fakes? My theory is that the online sites actually employ people to re-post old, disabled accounts in order to balance out the male-to-female ratio. The ratio is already skewed against men, but these fakes give off the impression that there are a few more fish in the sea. I don’t have proof, but if you do a google search on “fake profiles” you’ll see a TON of consumer complaints. Where there’s smoke, there’s fire. Some fakes are spammers, and these folks are trying to induce you to send them a real email address. Others are scammers who will try to extract money from you after you contact them. Avoid all of these completely if you suspect a fake.

Most damning though, and this is conjecture, is that an online site employee would send you a wink or email from a fake account to get you to renew your subscription. I’ve often received what I felt like were fake flirtations when I didn’t have a lot of activity going on with my account.

Let’s dive in. Here’s how to spot a fake. I’ll use a profile I found recently as an example…

Okay, the first and biggest tip-off is that the fake doesn’t have any additional pictures. Rarely will a woman post only one picture. Even if she creates a new profile, she’ll usually upload at least 3-4 pictures. I’ve actually seen fakes with 2-3 pictures before, but these are infrequent. This is the first tip-off but in itself doesn’t guarantee a fake profile. Let’s keep going.

Tip-off number two. The fake has no “In my own words” section! Nada, zilch. Why? Because whoever is posting these are too lazy to actually fill out the profile. When I see this combined with only 1 picture, I’m 99% certain the profile is fake.

Number three. Note the bad writing in the “About me” paragraph. Notice it’s short, generic, and poorly written. Big tip-off there. Watch for a lack of specifics. Check out the very last line: “I hope Match you…” Bad english is the best tip-off because most scammers are non-English speakers.

My favorite part of the whole fake profile is the “About my date” section. Notice the scammer posted a broad height range (5′ to 7′), which is unrealistic. Real women are obsessive about height ranges and they sure as heck aren’t going to list 5’0″ as the minimum. Most chicks list around the 5’8″ to 6’4″ range, with the really hot chicks shifting towards the six-footers as a minimum. If you’re interested in reading about an awesome experiment one dude performed as it pertains to height and looks, see here.

Also, real people usually fill out the education, job, and income fields.

So there you go, a handful of tip-offs to separate wheat from chaff. Fake profiles are annoying but I don’t let it prevent me from using All online services have them and it’s like any other form of dating. There’s a game to be played and the game has pitfalls.

If you root out a fake, use the Report A Concern  feature on the right hand side of the profile to notify the customer service team. This will help to keep the overall community clean.

Have you ever encountered a fake profile or scammer on Let me know your experience in the comments below.

  • chris cantier

    After years of hesitation, I placed my profile on and paid for one month through payal. I had fun and sent out a few winks. Within 3 hours of being online, I met a lovely man who claimed to be divorced, wealthy and living in upstate NY. Did I mention how lonely he said he was? He had me go to yahoo IM to chat. We talked for hours. Sometimes his English was good and sommetimes it was broken. He was very romantic and kept professing his undying love for me. I thought it was kind of strange…we ALL know love doesn’t happen that quickly.
    I was asked for more pics of myself…I sent them. He told me how stunning I was. I even looked him up on facebook. He had a profile with one friend.
    After talking for a while, he became annoyed that I still had my profile on He said that we should be “exclusive”. I didn’t mind because he was so sweet.
    He demanded my password. I felt like a child and gave it to him. He said he would cancell my subscription. I went to check my account status oone hour later and found that I could no longer log in. Everything had been changed.
    I emailed him and told him to give me back what was mine or I’d never talk to him again. He was sweet and acted very dumb. He said he was trying to protect me from the creeps.
    I was billed through paypal for my subscription and I’ve filed a claim. My profile, pictures and words have been stolen. They will be used to scam a poor innocent man out there. cannot be reached by phone to fix all of this.
    I am now afraid that this scammer can get some of my info. Thank goodness my credit is bad and that I consolidated my credit cards.
    I’m just waiting for something worse to happen.
    I was on a cloud for days. He told me exactly what I wanted to hear.
    Ladies, beware! This is not the way to find love.
    I’m totally disgutsed by all of this but I’ll move on and put this behind me. Guess he lost interest whenI told him that I was simply a waitress and mother of two who rents an apartment.
    It could have been worse! Please pray that I don’t have any more bad surprises!

  • http://yahoo Michael Jack

    I’m in the middle of researching this and am responding to your comment. That’s funny. I’ve met a ton of attractive women, but didn’t mean a ton more. I’ve had so many attractive women e-mail me with compliments, and then after a few e-mails when I suggested chatting on the phone, or a place to meet, they abruptly cut off contact with me for absolutely no reason. Oh and these women were still on-line months later! So no, to answer your question, most pretty women can’t have profiles. They are created to boost the male-female ratio.

  • Jaymer

    I found this article interesting; however, I would disagree w/one of the points made and that is the number of pictures one post. I never post more than 2-3 pics in addition to my profile pic on any of the sites that I’ve used. I know I’m not a “fake”! lol I actually do this on purpose and I actually took up this practice after having a “sparing match” (if you will), online w/someone on eharmony. I had the maximum amount of photo’s that you could post of myself. Yet, this individual kept on me about wanting to see yet “more” photo’s. He asked if I was on FB and had any different photo’s on there. I accepted him as a friend on FB and He was satisfied w/what he saw on there either. It’s like he wasn’t sure if he was going to believe what he saw. Don’t get me wrong now….I know all to well that people will use old photo’s and false photo’s to represent themselves and look nothing like the pics that are represented. But, he had the opportunity after wasting my time for 2-3 weeks, to actually meet somewhere for a date and thus could have seen for himself, (which btw I suggested), to no avail! I think that these online dating sites could work. The problem is they need to get more specific on the right issues of, first and foremost, what type of a person is the other physically attracted to!! In other words, if a woman/man says that they carry some extra pounds, are thin, average, or bbw, etc., they should be willing to put what they are actually looking for. Hell, even have a catagory for large breast, flat chested, big penis, med penis….I’m not even kidding!! A man’s height/woman’s height, hair/eye color….Physical attraction, let’s face it, is really the primary thing. The next would be age. Does a man of 50 something really want someone his own age or near? Or, does he really want a 20-30 something arm trophy?? I think that the ALL the different online sites fall short in these catagories!! They need to ask and have disclaimers to all these dumb ass people that they need to be honest about what they are looking for and what they are able to except in a partner. Also, before they set their expectations to lofty, they need to consider is what they are looking for going to be exceptable to that type of person!! In other words people, take a good gander in a mirror, (preferably one that is full length) and doing it naked!!!! As for what Michael Jack has to say, I believe there are a lot of legit profiles. I, as a woman, have gotten to the same point as him w/men. When I want to meet they are not “up” for it and or vanish in to thin air!!!! I have come to the conclusion that I’m going to save my money and meet someone the old fashioned way! At least I know that it is real!!!!

  • Powder

    How old are you ? lol

  • Denise

    Wow, you and others are right on about scammers. I have never encountered one before but he did spell with little i’s like you said, asked about marriage after 2-3 weeks on email and never met me! Lied about where he lived, claimed to be in construction in West Africa, strong accent, very charming, lied to get money, said he was robbed, claimed to respect God…His cell number was from Dom. Republic, not Africa. I googled as many things as I could and caught him in lots of lies, only a few things were true. Thank you for posting. I was lucky to figure it out before I got hurt.

  • Angelwings

    This guy on sent me a message. He sent me his yahoo email address so we could correspond there. We immediately hit it off via emails. Turned out he was working in Nigeria and was soon coming back to the U.S. in a couple of weeks. After several days of emailing, he asked me to close down my match account which I gladly did. So we continued emailing back and forth. He asked me to pick him up at the airport in Los Angeles. I was extremely excited. He sent me his itinerary and at that point I had no reason to doubt him. Several days later, he said he was having problems with customs and that he needed money to get his things back to the U.S. He asked me for $2000. I didn’t have it, but then he kept insisting. Immediately, I didn’t trust him. He was upset and started questioning my attitude. That’s when I check on his flight using his confirmation number. Surprisingly, the flights were legit as well as the booking number.. matched his name and all. He accused me of judging him and not trusting him. I have sent him emails for several days now and he doesn’t respond except for when I tried to talk to him on messenger. He asked me how should I think he should feel. Hmmmm, well, it could have been an expensive lesson, but thank God it wasn’t. Note that he had several photos and wrote very eloquently. To all women out there… follow your MIND not your heart when it comes to on line relationships. We all want to believe what an eloquent man has to say, but anyone can write to evoke an emotion within you. I’m speaking from experience. ~ Angelwings

  • Vic

    Bex I agree with you. The same thing is happening to me right now. A lot of winks with no profiles. When I called the 800 number the person I spoke to said some files were hidden and you needed to e mail them. I don’t know I think we are being messed around with. I agree about the Karma part.

  • http://jaz jaz

    First week on Match…4 untraceable (i.e. “profile cannot be found”) “winks”
    that you can never contact…their profiles were gone right after I got my initial wink. All exactly what I said I desired.

    None since in more than 8 weekes. Baiting for profit for sure. Seems suspicious in all regards and returns are slim compared to cost.


  • Kevin

    I know from extensive experience and can say without a doubt this is how you know if you are dealing with a scammer on match:

    1. they tell you it is the last day of their subscription and ask you to email them at a yahoo or gmail email address

    2. 99 times out of 100 their photo will look like a professional model photo or just too good to be true, and for the most part they have multiple photos now

    3. If they are a mans profile they have a daughter and are widowers 99.999% of the time.

    4. READ THE PROFILE .. If whole paragraphs dont really make sense OR They talk about how great america is or call themselves “god fearing” thats another big give away

  • Tom

    DO NOT SIGN UP FOR MATCH.COM. They send fake posts to get you signed up, $30, and then it’s too late. The posts disappear, but the charges on your card will not stop. It is an automatic renewal, so you won’t be able to stop it. Good luck getting a hold of anyone. The kicker is, I just found out I’m being charged, 2 months after I deleted my initial FREE profile and deleted my INCOMPLETE application.
    I became suspicious of the “winks” I was getting from 27 year olds responding to my free profile. I was being baited because I hadn’t become a paid member yet. After reading other letters of complaints, I stopped filling out the application half way through and deleted all info. I DID NOT verify, authorize the charging of my card. I DID NOT complete or submit the application form. My log in page still reads that I am not a member and that my initial inquiry is discontinued- and yet I still got charged $30.
    The only match really makes is with your bank account.

  • Drew

    I have sent out hundreds of emails with little response if any (maybe 2 then they disapear) One told me to email her on yahoo and I did. It turned out she was in Russia. To make a long stoy short what they do is talk to you everyday for about 2 or 3 weeks then tell you they are coming over on some visa. They end up asking for money $950.00. I looked this up and there are tons of these russian “girls” who are black listed because they scam guys. If they ask for cash it’s always a scam!

  • Cindy

    You can also google the person’s profile ID. I did and found out they are on multiple dating websites. I also recently google an ID name and found the guy’s video clip on line of him in an office. On the wall were multiple dating profiles. He was with other guys on their laptops. I have a feeling they all work for as fakes. I also noticed that fakes are always on line for many hours.

  • tony

    Talking about… You can find someone whose name is tonyaugust55 who pretend to be a gentleman, first the picture does not match the profile and we all know how fake a profile can be when a gentleman use such big words to describe himeself, I mean he is so full of himself it is not even funny…. YOu have those guys who think they can charm woman who most of the time woman fall for it…. what a site!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • peace

    Why use when you can use OkCupid for free. I used to have accounts on Match and EHarmony but couldn’t be bothered to pay. Then I met my husband on OkCupid and I was done :) There were plenty of women there last I saw. Not to mention you contribute to great stats-analyses like this:

  • alex is a fake I create premium or star accounts and I start to send messages between the accounts and nothing some messages (1/10) came later after 2 months the support center sucks and the personal cause suddenly came email with prohibitions about stuff that you even have in the profile or photos, like they return my photos for reason they say in the photo are children below 18 and in the photo is only me with my car in the garage and I’m 27 years old and the photos are same like others, I ran a survey and many people say and I say the profiles are fakes because the names of profiles they are in English and the name of profile are words randomly and the profile always say 25 to 45 years and everything else like description is empty and always this kind of profile appear when real users stay offline a while.

  • Anonymous

    I can assure you, as a technical employee of, we don’t ask any of these “fakes” to be created. They are fraudulent, usually created by some russian or asian, trying to get some money out of people. As soon as we find them we delete them, and we delete a LOT of them each month…. some are bound to get through, but the only things we do that aren’t really nice is constant spam (which you CAN turn off) and make it no easy to cancel your profile (but you can do it online).

  • JOHN L

    Regarding the latest lawsuit:

    I’ve been a member for only a week, but the seeded or fraudulent/scam profiles on Match are pervasive. Many of these appear professionally written; unusual for overseas scammers, based on my experience seeing these for years on other dating sites.

    The first tip that you’re getting correspondence from a fake is they are often nowhere near your geographical location. Another tip-off is an unsolicited email encouraging you to send them a direct email and they code the address. For example, “please write me at m/y/a/d/d/r/e/s/s/@/h/o/t/m/a/i/l/,/c/o/m and I’ll send my pictures…” could easily eliminate 95 percent of these fake and fraudulent profiles by using geolocation data and excluding new accounts that attempt to sign up with a USA location from a non-USA IP address. — Visit and attempt to view video content from outside the USA. You’ll be restricted because of your non-USA IP address. — The same technology ‘could’ be used by, however they choose not to, because fraudulent content has become part of their business model. They knowingly have a symbiotic relationship with those providing fraudulent profiles.

    I’ve noticed that these fraudulent members seem to disappear after a few days, likely based on complaints from members. The question that needs to be addressed: “does use easily available technology to prevent fraudulent profiles from being created?” (i.e. IP Geolocation data, blocking an IP when a fraudulent user is removed, etc.) They do not, because fraudulent members encourage new sign-ups. Before a new visitor has paid a membership fee, they will likely receive several messages in their in-box. Knowing someone is interested encourages them to buy a membership. I received several of those before paying my fee. — Remove the fraudulent profiles and emails and Match would likely lose half their new sign-ups.

    While an accusation of fraud based on this practice alone might be successfully defended, I believe Match has another fraudulent practice that may have some liability as well. As a paid member you are limited to about 50 emails in a 24-hour period. Given the low number of ‘Active’ members vs. fraudulent and inactive members, it’s easy to hit this limit in the course of writing enough messages to matches to generate a handful of replies. Send 25 messages Saturday afternoon and another 25 Sunday morning and you’ve hit the limit.

    A message limit is not unreasonable, however when you hit the message limit you’re given NO INDICATION that a ‘limit’ has been reached. Messages written are simply discarded while Match continues to give you the response “Your message has been sent!” The limit does not appear to affect messages written to those members you are already corresponding with. — The act of not indicating when a message you just wrote has gone ‘nowhere’ is fraudulent (in my opinion) and should be addressed. As the service works now, your only indication of what’s going on is when you review the list of messages you sent. Messages that were discarded will not appear there.

    It seems a Class Action is long overdue. I would imagine, at this point, there are lots and lots of ex employees that know exactly what their business practice has been regarding deception of new subscribers. Perhaps that’s what needs to be done to clean-up this industry. I can’t think of any other industry that could go unchecked for so long without penalty. is by no means the only online dating service doing this. They all do it because none of them have been encouraged (by the law) to do otherwise.

    There is one exception that comes to mind. doesn’t appear to have these fraudulent profile issues. They are a FREE online dating service. That’s odd, because the scammers could sign up and use that service for FREE! To do the same on they have to PAY, right? — Hmmm, new question: Have members with fraudulent profiles been PAYING to be a member, or has been granting some ‘free memberships’ because fraudulent members help encourage people to subscribe? — If I were a betting man, I’d put my money down on that scenario. As Deep Throat once said: FOLLOW THE MONEY!

  • John

    I am an attorney, and have been a Match member for about 5 years. This is a great article, and dead on, but it barely scratches the surface of the different kinds of scams. I have seen the same photo used in twenty profiles, and I have seen the same profile used twenty times, using different photos and screen names. I have seen many, many “women” who say they only speak English and have graduate degrees from American Universities, who use Russian grammar and cannot string a sentence together. Just yesterday I had a lovely chat….could not help myself……with an adorable blonde from North Carolina who could not speak English and said she was away on a business trip in Nigeria. And, like many of the comments here, I have been suckered into re-enlisting by emails from non-existent women. This has happened multiple times, and on each occasion, none of the women answered me when I wrote them back. Two days ago I ran a basic search for non smoking women in my home town. 49% had been inactive for two weeks, and of those, 41% had been offline over three weeks. I have never had a woman over two weeks respond to a letter. I agree with the writer who said the scams are becoming more sophisticated, and sometimes I actually fall for them at first. Match undoubtedly knows about all of these problems, and it does nothing to solve them. There is no doubt that Match actually wants these expired profiles and the scammers to be on their list, to give the false impression that they have a huge inventory of members. Match is not the only crooked dating agency around, and it is a shame. All of these crooks are very inventive, and they devise an amazing number of schemes. These people are very smart, and they would get rich with an honest dating service. You have to wonder why they love being crooks.

  • cynthia

    hey erin… take a look at this…love cy


    I agree with this comment. I was winked at and imed by this incredibly handsome guy from Tx. During the im I asked him where in texas his city was located. At first he didn’t understand what I meant and when I explained North South East west or in the center he stated soutrh. It turns out his city is so North it is a the botder of Arkansas. I ignore any ims or winks from guys not in my state and not near my city. I was getting ims and winks from wisc, cal,ohio, fla,tx, I live in SC.

  • Janice

    I had that same experience, sweetloversheart, Donald Eddison from McKinney Texas. He was in Nigeria on a contract . He was mugged and asked for money. d… sound the same, wanted my password, also. I’ll pray for you.

  • Roger Cohen

    I’ve been on Match for several months and got quite a few numbers. I’ve physically met with many women for drinks, lunch, dinner, etc. No problem yet with scams. The thing that concerns me is if one does get a real person and a date is arranged….that the person isnt an employee? While I am still friends with a few there were some who after one or two dates disappeared with the most bizarre excuses

  • Anonymous

    We must have talked to the same guy only he went by a different name in a differnt state. Same story, in Nigeria on a contract. He was mugged at gunpoint took his wallet & everything. Needed money to pay his hotel & get food. Had a yahoo account, wanted my password to go in and deactivate my account, and always prayed…I was an angel sent from God. He was way too good to be true, too good looking. Checked his info from the number that came up on my phone which by the way was not a cell number, comes from Sunnyvale, CA. But yet he says he’s in Nigeria.

  • Thanks Aton

    Doesn’t quite seem fair, but then again most things aren’t.

    Really appreciated the insight here Loving Annie.

  • Josh

    Seems interesting…just RSVP’d for a meetup there, we’ll see how it goes. :)