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.

  • Joyce

    Wow, I don’t know why it took me so long to google for a blog like this. I have been on match on and off for years and the fakes have gotten worse and worse. I get a least 3 to 5 winks a day from guys all over the country and very rarely do I get a wink or email from anyone remotely near my city. I think it’s worse now because I am older and the fakes think I am more desperate. I did attempt to chat on match with one guy and his English was so poor that it was obvious he was a fake. Same goes for the emails. Normally they will start “Hello Pretty.” Like, who says that?? Then you read the copy/paste letter and it’s so obvious that it’s fake. So flowery and mushy – and the grammar and punctuation is so bad. So now when I get anything from a guy who looks like his picture came from the Eddie Bauer catalogue or GQ I just hit delete.
    Thanks for the blog. I’ll keep checking back.

  • Karen

    I signed up for MATCH.COM for the first time last week. I surprised to discover all the FAKE profiles on their site. Honestly I don’t think I was contacted by one REAL person in my area. I called MATCH.COM and they are not prepared to refund my money because I replied to a few of the winks. I have committed to blogging, tweeting, facebooking, telling everyone I know….AVOID MATCH.COM. It is all fake!! they are just trying to get your money! NO REAL MEN online!!!

  • lorrie passeos

    Oh, i agree, i have a UK guy/gay (who knows?) right now trying to take me for $40k. Not so much, im gonna wire him 40 pesos! See how his dumb ass likes that! Try again sucker!

  • dc

    How funny I came across this one. I just found out yesterday the man who lives here with me (his wife) and 3 kids for 18 yrs is on as divorced. He has been getting texts and phone calls every minute! Cant wait till my lawyer hears about this…then I can “report” him. LADIES BEWARE

  • Aaron

    Was on match a few times, most of it not good. I’m probably one of the few I guess that was honest about my stats. Anyway, you are dead on. I’m not rich but own my home, ok looking, polite, NICE, and financially stable with a stable job. Most of any responses to my ad or e-mails have been separated women with 3 or 4 kids who are willing to travel way far…in other words, have no job or don’t care about a job. I’ve also got VERY little response to e-mails I sent out. I”m only 5’5″ which also explains a lot. I usually don’t even try with women taller but it’s amazing that women shorter then me have to have some guy that’s 6′ plus. Anyway, agree totally.

  • Aaron

    Ok, so everyone is giving their match experiences. Mine’s about the same. I joined a couple of times. Once one would expire, I’d get the winks or e-mails that turned out to be fakes to get me to renew. For starters, I’m 38, divorced, one son who’s 12, owe a little from the divorce but not much, am financially stable with a stable job that I’ve been at for 8 years, 13 in the career, own my home, don’t like beer, don’t do any illegal drugs, and am generally respectful and a “nice guy”. But…I’m only 5’5″. I don’t care how tall a woman is. But I understand it matters to most women. However, it’s amazing that there are so few responses to e-mails I send (actual nice ones and never the stupid cut and paste crap). I’ve had a few back and foreth that turned out to be fakes as well. Yet, here I was wasting my time. I’ll probably go back to the friends hooking me up with their friends kind of stuff…maybe even speed dating. At least it’s in person.

    It seems like most even real womeon on here are looking for that “Mr. Perfect” and pass up the normal and real people for the 100k doctors out there that don’t really exist. Anyway, I’ve had the same experiences as everyone else.

  • Kim

    I am in the age group of 50+ looking for men. Has any other women found men out there just looking for ‘sugar mama’s, in other words, moochers?

  • Kathy

    This site is great! 95% of any contacts on Match have been from scammers, mostly from Nigeria. It has been pretty easy to sniff them out and as soon as they admit where they really are (sometimes before) I hit the notify of abuse link. Match apparently does nothing. I was stupid and signed up for 6 months. What a waste of time and money.

  • Boone

    I was so close to joining, until I saw a photo of a woman with a profile name, and at the bottom of the page was the same woman with a different profile name. This was on the home page where they just give you quick profile glances. I then did research on dating sites and wound up here. I had a free membership there and I was “smiled” at a few times but when I responded, it said cannot find member. What’s that all about.
    I always thought that these sites had some fake profiles, but wow, after doing some research, it seems like there’s a lot more than I thought. It’s a shame for the real people. I guess it’s back to the club scene.
    Thanks for all the info from everybody.

  • Anna

    I thought I met this great guy on pof, he said he was coming to Australia from the UK in one month, I usually don’t talk to people overseas but as he was coming here he sounded genuine, he was asking me all the usual dating type of questions, sounded interested, no requests for money, I sent about 6pics of me, he sent 12 pics of him, but then 2 weeks later it all stopped, he said he had been in a car accident, I thought he was injured in hospital like he said, no emails or anything, then I did a search on his user name and he showed up on a US dating site, said he was moving to LA from Greece – what a FAKE!! so I created a new account and winked at him – he winked right back 2 seconds later! no photo, how am I supposed to spot a fake like this?? I dont deserve this rubbish

  • http://suzyq0381 Susan

    I have heard a lot about on line scams. There are good people and bad ones on every site. I have been on several with not much luck. I have recently met a man on like and we both like each other. Hope is a good match.
    As far as scammers go. if you are STUPID enough to sned someone is your fault. You cna’t be scamed unless you are willing. If a guy asked me for ANYTHING. he would be gone in a NY minute. You have to be smart and say NO.Not everyone on line is a criminla or scammer. There are honest people looking for a partner, who don’t like to go to clubs or bars.

  • http://suzyq0381 Susan

    Well ladies, I almost got scammed. I have been tlking to theis guy named Richard Bruce Winters, not his real name for 2 weeks. He is a sooth talker, lover, you name ti. Promises everything, asks if you need any help. Makes you feel like a million bucks, when all the time, he is after your bucks. I am sure he will change his name and profile. One email was He very nice looking,claims he lost his wife and daughter in a car crash 6 years ago in Ca. Says he lives in Sarasota Fl and is contractor in Nigeria. Lies with a silver tongue. Thank God I spotted him for what he is. Beware. He is a creep.

  • 2cents

    Hahahaha. Wow, you just described my profile. 1pic, limited info, few preferences. I just don’t want to get or give too personal of information right now. But good thoughts to look for. Sad when there are good people out there trying to meet someone else who’s good. Thanks for the article.

  • Brad Calip

    My favorites are the profiles that have chicks with like one hazy picture. The one depicted here actually looks somewhat clear. Most of the fakies aren’t even close. Another thing I’ve noticed is when there’s absolutely no information. So obvious.

    Check out this guy’s take on it. Dude’s been doing match for like two years and reveals all. Great read..

  • Franco Mastasi

    Well, I am a new member of after having given a try, as well as, POF. I’ve found it to be better than the above mention sites in that it is FREE. Truly 100% FREE and geolocation and other features are implemented to help prevent fraud and scams.

  • Pingback: Share Your Best Post Ever! (and Use These Proven Formulas to Create Epic Content)()

  • Kathy

    I have been on for approximately 4 weeks now. Texted only 3 men, 2 of which tried to scam me. It took 3 days for the first guy who called himself, Martin Lawrence to come up with soft words and a dire emergency needing help in Nigeria. BLOCK/DELETE. The second one called himself Leon Smith lived in Denver CO, so thought he was safer. Sent pictures of his daughter and said he contracted overseas, then after three weeks of texting, emails, love poems, he told me that he needed money to eat and for his hotel or he and his daughter would be out on the street. OMG what is wrong with this world. Thank God, I saw into this before I fell too hard. The third is on his 4th week and I am awaiting his emergency! Be careful as the email addresses they gave me no longer exist. Ironic!

  • kristy

    another fake to watch out for is the emails they send you i had a few fakes like milatry personal into cycling and dating common those men are hot comadities to be posting on watch out for that and certain winks with saying they perfer mature women common a 21 year old want to be cougared my arse think about it. Be safe on and on other dating sites. be fooled you could be taken for a fool for life!

  • mnmarthastewart

    I can spot not just fakes but insincere lazy players. If the guy is looking for someone who lives within 5 miles or 5 mins drive and who works the night shift…

  • mary

    I find it interesting your take on fake.
    I have always only posted one picture but would forward more if asked. I never put in my income or education and my profile is usually fairly breif. I am not a fake. Im a real woman.

  • G Anthonidis is a FAKE

    Ladies: BEWARE ! !

    After 6 weeks of long emails, long distance calls from (supposedly) Calgary, Australia and Kuala Lumpur, I have been duped by the KING OF BS: Gary Anthonidis,(extraordinare). THe semi-retired petroleum engineer claims to have recently moved to Vancouver, B.C. to set up a consultancy business in westerb Canada. And the rest goes on from there. Instinctually I knew that there was many mis-connections, but played the storey line out to see where it would go. The last phone call was from Gary in Kuala Lumpur, being charged with smuggling a $10M art painting as the arrangements made by Christie’s International was erroneous and he was being held accountable for missing sales taxes…..? Then, I got a call from his “sister” in San Diego – Grace MacIntosh, claiming that they needed to assemble bail money or Gary would be imprisoned. Could I help come up with “a missing 20,000” for the love of my life…..!!!

    For all the gals out there: here is his introduction email. I thought the punctuation and grammar was bad, but passed it off as being a text msgr. Wrong…..

    While on the multiple long distance calls, I also listened to his Aussie accent (don’t know Aussie’s so had none to compare it too), but oddly enough it seemed to change to a heavier clip and changed over time. The calls are what really get me, they were so caring and genuinely concerned, but the conversations primarily circled around all that was “GARY”,from his dying mother, to his mother dying, on to finding out his family estate discovered an amazingly fabulous artpiece hidden in a secret deal with an art consultant in Malaysia.

    Take a read, be forewarned and know that not a single sentence is true.

    Gary Anthonidis show up with his acting entourage again: sister Grace, art buyer from Saudi Arabia: Hafidah Shokri and of course the only english speaking customs agent in Kuala Lumpur airport: Zuria Melek. Don’t waste your time, breath or mental energy entertaining anything on… is really match.CON.

    Gary’s first email:

    ” Thanks once again for making contact with me it is highly appreciated, i want to genuinely have a truthful and trustworthy friendship and eventually a bond with you and as such i will share some more information about me with you with all sincerity. As you must have seen in my profile i am a 55 years old divorced male (will be 56 on april 27th) and i have been single for 10 years now. My mum is full blooded Australian but my dad is mixed American with a Greek descent and that’s where i get the looks from. My parents moved to the USA when i was young and i have always been on and off in Australia and USA

    Our family house is in San Diego, California and that’s where i have been used to staying growing up . I have a 22 year old daughter whom i adore so much and she is so special to me. After my painful divorce she was the reason why i had to live and continue my life. I had full custody of my angel because her mum died 18 months after our divorce in a tragic auto accident and even though we were divorced at that time it was very traumatic for me because my angel was without a mother. So in the last 8 years i had to put all my energy in making sure that my daughter grows up into a woman with out the trauma of her loss and i supported her through her adolescent and teenage years and made sure that she never lacked anything and most of all LOVE

    My dad passed on 3 years ago and my mum had decided to relocate back to Warrnambool,Victoria in Australia so that she can spend the rest of her life their with her relatives and now that my daughter is old enough and she is in college and has a boyfriend i believe it is time to look for someone special and meet and give love another shot. Like i told you earlier i am new in Vancouver (Burnaby) and i am setting up a consultancy firm with some partners and i am just working out the modalities and we should be live in a couple of months so i am hoping that this would be a wonderful opportunity for me and new lease of life

    Although i have been around the world i think i would love the peaceful and serene life that Canada has to offer me. It feels great to me to be advancing towards a fresh start in my life and i hope that i would find luck with this online dating thing.I had a really bad experience from my previous marriage and it really affected me and drew me back a bit but i have since gone above it and that’s why i am looking at getting to meet someone who has passed through life challenges also and knows exactly what it is to be hurt.

    Any ways enough of my boring tales let me tell you the lively part of myself.

    I’m a petroleum engineering consultant and business man and i have been shuttling between the USA and The pacific over the past couple of years as i have an ongoing contract with an oil servicing firm in Fiji Island and now i am kind of semi retired and i am looking for someone nice and caring to settle down with here in CANADA as i have so much available time now. I am willing to relocate to anywhere in CANADA if i meet the right person. My job is done mainly from home most especially on the computer but i fly over to Fiji every 3 months for a couple of days to have on ground analysis of the ongoing LNG project that i am consulting for.

    Apart from bikes which is my first love i also love adventure, swimming, and sports, romantic moments and all other good things in life and love to give back to society in my little way and i love to do volunteer work anytime i get a chance.

    I have so much to say and share with the right woman but at this point i will rest my pen and if i hear from you i will share more intimate details with you. I have attached a couple of my pictures with this email so that you can get more vivid look at me. My daughter is the one to my left with the black hair and she is in her 3rd year at university in USA, also in that album i have my mother with me when i took her to Greece last year and my sister also when i went to visit her in UK last year. By the way i have only one sibling and her name is Grace and she lives in the UK

    I have had my own fair share of travels and ups and downs so now i feel i have time to look and pursue my dream of finding true and sincere happiness. I must say that your email is far the best email i have ever read since joining this dating site and i would love to read and write to and from you on a regular basis.

    Please feel free to ask me any questions and i will gladly answer them to the best of my ability. Here is my phone number and you can give me a call if you are feeling up to it. 604-757-1601

    I know that after a few emails and chats i am sure we would know if we are due to meet then. Whats your take on that?

    Waiting for your response with full anticipation


    And that is what a FAKE email reads like. Ladies BEWARE…..Gary is still out there, looking for more victims of love.

  • Tamara

    I was almost conned by this SCAMMER also, looks like around the same time as you. He was calling me every night for the past two months, declaring his undying love for me. Yeah right, Singing me love songs over the phone for Gods sake. He is good I have to admit, he deserves an academy award for his performance. The elaborate imagination he has. OMG. His mum dying, his daughter, his sister, the malaysian customs agent, the art gallery owner and painting which actually exist because I googled them. He sent me the exact initial email as well, except this time he said he was in Australia. He is evil, and I just feel for the unfortunate woman who falls for his bullshit. I went along for the ride,can’t say it wasn’t flattering but there is no way I would ever have given him money.

  • Tamara

    This gary anthonidis tried to scam me with exactly the same bullshit, emails, painting, his undying love, phone calls. He deserves an academy award for his performance. But you have to get up pretty early to scam me, what a ride.

  • John

    I have to disagree with you on the income field, for guys at least. I leave my income field blank and this is on purpose. I do mentioned in my profile that I am a white collar professional, but I want to avoid gold diggers, so I have no answer. I’m pretty sure a lot of guys do that.

  • http://FoolinMelbourne Dot Kelly

    Yes, I had the same story from Gary Anthonidis and band at the same time. No wonder he rarely answered the phone when I rang him, he was on a call to someone else.

    Luckily I didn’t part with any money, but I wasted a lot of time. I’ve found him mentioned on other scam lists and some people unfortunately have been taken in.