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.

  • Ginge

    Exactly the sames situation that I had, but I sent the money (more fool me) and then he had another crisis, wanting more money. No way! I stupidly gave him my phone number and now he phones me during the night after I’ve gone to sleep, scaring the wits out of me (or were they gone already?). I now leave the phone off the hook during the night and can’t be reached. His name was “Robert Lewis”, Eastpointe, Michigan (?), later of Georgia and another location (which I can’t remember). A very eloquent man, who professed his love for me (after a week of emailing).

  • Ginge

    That’s one of the guys I sent money to, but his profile name was “Robert Lewis”, who asked the money be sent to a Richard Winters in Lagos, Nigeria. Same sob story about his wife and daughter killed in a car crash, but in Pennsylvania this time. I hope he gets caught! I’d love to have my son, who is a policeman, get hold of him for a few minutes!

  • LC

    I’m a real girl and my profile is a lot like the one you’re ripping apart. Gee whiz man, I hope this post isn’t keeping men from emailing me (it’s google organic results are easy to come by at the moment)! I’d be pissed! LOL

  • Honey

    That’s exactly why, I’d imagine…

  • Elizabeth

    Just one more person here with some similar experience–joined today (paid for one month only and will cancel when that’s up). Of the eight “winks” I’ve received so far, five are from guys whose profiles are no longer available. Got excited by one of a gorgeous guy with a great profile spiel whom I emailed. Rats. Good to know what to look out for, though. I’m also talking to a guy on who sounds promising–hoping he’s not a scammer, that would suck.

    I’m a bit confused by the people who’ve posted that they ask for a phone number or real email address right off and assume if they don’t get it, it’s a scammer. I’d never give that kind of information to someone right off the bat. I figure if they want to get to know me and want me to know them, they’ll use the email feature on a site that protects both of our anonymity. From a phone number, though, someone can easily find out where I live, and I’d like to keep that information until much further down the line.

  • MATCH revealing info

    Try using google or TINEYE dot com or PICANSWERS dot com in the future to identify the origination of the photo. From that info, you can then google it. I also recommend googling the person’s name and lawsuits or MUGSHOTS dot com to see if there are additional red flags.

  • island

    OMG…in deciding to join today, I came across a christian website. I saw this ice guy on there, really cute and he so loved JESUS. Okay, so he gives his name in the profile because he has not paid for the membership. Odd, I think to myself given that he makes in excess of $50000USD per year. I google the name and lo and behold he shows up as a convicted fraudster who is on probation in Florida.

    So armed with that knowledge I Google an Okcupid match, hmm, fraudster again and now I am wondering if all those winks and 6 emails waiting for me at Match are even worth my money or is it going to be more fraud. Ah, the perils of online dating.

  • gail

    Same true for the men. Just wanted to check the site out and wanted someone to date with a brain an intelligent. Was contacted from a suppose to be lawyer that”:stated needed someone that would fit in well from black tie to oyster roast. does this scream”call girl” really?? He sent email and phone and all he focused on was meeting him at a motel.

  • Jean

    Another way to spot fake profiles is with (it is an image search engine). You can pass the URL of a suspected fake (especially when it’s just too good looking) and will find other sites that also have that image.

    Here’s a list of profiles that have photos on other sites, although apparently thinks they’re legit because they’re still up after complaints about this:

  • Sandy

    Beware Ladies…this guy is still on Match….goes by Screpstnn

    How are you today? Thanks for your mail, It really made me Glad…I hope you are having a nice time, as for me am cool and lonely. Am new to this and most of the ladies I read from on here are not what I want “you sound nice” and made me think ahead with this little message of yours…LOL

    More about me, I am James Tagle, Widower, born in Nice France, I am mixed breed…LOL, My Dad was from Australia and Mum was French…Moved to Australia when i was 15 with parents. Lived in Australia for the better part of my life…I have a Mixed accent when I talk…I obtained my degree in Engineering (Electrical and Electronic) B.E(EE) at Flinders University of South Australia, in Adelaide.

    I relocated to the this country for some personal reasons which is very important to me weeks back…I find very much peace and tranquility there…I’m 6″2 , with a athletic build , mentally stable, physically fit, a bunch of laughs, warm, caring, honest, good listening, and mostly God Fearing, and a positive person. I am real easy person to talk to and a good listener. I have passion for soccer, I like going to the movies, or watching movies in my room, I like swimming, listening to music and dance to any kind of music, traveling, going bowling and also a good cook. I am a family oriented person and There is more, but it would be better for you to find some things out for yourself… I love my life and everything that is has to offer. I am a strong believer in Karma. I believe that every person is placed in your life for a reason. Rather it is they are to bring something positive to you or you are to bring it to them. I love to laugh and have fun. I am very giving, sometimes too trusting, honest, fun, happy person. I will not judge anyone for their past because I believe that everyone has one. I am far from perfect, but I don’t dwell on the past. That leads to my interests, there are too many to list but among them , I like to play games, watch movies, go hiking, eat really good food and desserts, cook, travel, explore new places, go to Broadway plays, I think I can have fun doing just about anything.

    I am really interested in wanting to know about what makes you the special person you are today, QUESTIONS: I want to know more about your family, your background, your work, your life experiences, past relationships, your goals and dreams, your interests, and anything else you want to tell me. I even want to learn about the secrets you very rarely share with someone! So come on and share it all with me.

    I want to know more about you and what makes up your heart and soul, as the friendship I want to build with you I want it to be like no other you have ever shared in or experienced. This friendship I want to build with you will be filled with substance, quality, spirituality and potential. And I’m using this medium to make you understand that I’m seriously seeking my Right woman, a Long term relationship. I miss having that one special someone to come home to. That ONLY one person that you call when something wonderful happens as well as when u needs a shoulder to cry on. I long for that one relationship that can withstand anything… The good and the bad. That ONE relationship that will last for eternity. I’m looking for someone who is honest, faithful, loving, caring, can make me laugh. Ok, I feel like I’m writing you a novel…LOL your turn!

    I will attach some more pictures to you… Can I see some of you too???
    Well, there is just a glimpse of me. I Hope this gives you a better idea about who I am and I look forward to sharing and learning more about you.

    Take care and hope to hear from you very soon…..

    James Tagle

  • Jay

    What if the guy was 6′ 2″, on 100k, perfect fitness, but then you found out he had a 2 inch unit?

  • Anonymous

    Beware of ‘brianhk89’ on He lies about his age & where he lives, among other things. He keeps changing his age from 22 to 26 then to 23. The description on his profile is probably not even written by him since his English sucks. He likes to lie about himself & his past. Actually he even lies about the little things. Beware when he starts saying he likes you & wants to be with you/be your bf since he says the same thing to every girl. He tells every girl what girls want to hear so don’t feel special even if he says he only says those to you bc that’s a lie. He says the same to every girl. So beware. Don’t take him seriously or if you do, be cautious bc he is known to ‘flirt’ & ‘play’ around even when already committed with another. So when he says he wants to commit to you, he’s still going to look for other girls & flirt with other girls behind your back.

  • Michael


    I’m surprised they even got back to you.

    I’ve NEVER gotten a response from the so-called “ resolution team.”

  • Carl Springs

    Muchos Gracias for your blog post. Really Cool.

  • Alan

    Well I’m off to Pittsburg – from Boston – only been e-mailing for 1 week. before you say I’m crazy, I’m 6’2″ 230 and the $180rt to fly there is no big deal. Plus, I’m an urban historian who has never been to Pittsburg. I did check her out – she is an successful artist with her own website, and I was able to find interviews she did on local news stations. We’re meeting in a public place. Worst case: she stands me up and I spend NYE in Pittsburg – had no plans here anyway. Even a one night stand would beat staying home. Not bringing my debit card – just in case. I think she’s a bit flakey – which I like and may just want sex – which is also OK. But who knows?

  • michael

    I am 6’5” and get no responses. You must think I’m ugly as fuck, but I know that isn’t an issue either. I really dont think height factors here with women at all. It’s usually the men who have physical standards, not women. Am I way off base here, or what?

  • tammy

    I am afraid I am being scammed the same way!! I would love to know the name of the person you are talking about.. This guy is gorgeous,

  • johnxgrey

    In recent weeks, Match has had the occasional woman wink at me, but when I try to view their profiles the pages are always no longer available. Are women who wink and disappear right afterwards for no reason more evidence of phony profiles on that site?

  • erica

    I don’t think that’s what is happening. I signed up twice for 7 day trials with Match. I couldn’t keep up with the emails, winks, and over 600 views in the first 4 days so I cancelled both times. True, I am very pretty and I had a great profile…so, perhaps that isn’t the norm. I’m sure there are guys out there that think I was a fake but I was really just testing the water. I winked at a few men, emailed a few and basically used it to contact men I thought had a good profile and were physically a match for me. Met a few real guys…had a short relationship with one who was a total narcissist (could be a sociopath) but looked great on paper. The guys I met looked exactly like their profiles and yes, sorry…I go for 6′ guys or taller. No harm/no foul but I don’t think I’m going to meet my match there.

  • Robin

    I was on 3 weeks ago to see what types of men were out there. But, to no avail, I went to my email after being on Match for 1 week, I was already hacked into by someone that took my pics off my profile, then used some poor guys stolen pics. He was well dressed and was a widower, stalker other poor potential replies from woman not sure who was behind the imposter profile. I received a conformation from about a profile change! You can rest asure that I was not impressed with this matter. I instantly notified all the ladies, the person emailed in the fake account. Told them about this fake, called right away and they said they would take down the ficticious profile…(after he took my pics down and put them on his profile) God only knows, where my pics are floating! SCARY!

  • Brandi

    I have been on Match for 6 weeks, and I decided to joing after seeing this really attractive man’s profile; he was widowed and young, like myself, and seemed extremely cute. I “winked” at him but never received acknowledgement (which is expected sometimes) but then I aw him 2 other times with the same profile pic but a different age, different name, etc.

    I even met up with one guy, who I swear seemed to good to be true, our date was awesome, and even days after he kept up the same personality and acted as if he was completely into me, but one day he disappeared. Either he was a scammer or a duchebag.

    Am still on Match because I can’t seem to meet men in person (I dont go out and Im a 29 yr old widow with a little girl) but in all honesty, I need to grow some nuts and get over it because seems to but 95% full of shit.

  • de

    Happened to me to. Can believe I was that stupid.


  • AJ

    Jane LA,

    I think you were referring to the upper part of the age range 45-66 that you mentioned.

    It’s not surprising for a man to date a female a few years older than him. I know several very happy couples in which the male is younger. However, these women are very positive, and physically active, fun people. I think when there’s plenty of chemistry and personalities attract eachother, they won’t let a girl get away just because she’s a few years older than them. No one in their right mind would. A real connection is hard to find.

  • DudeInAustin

    I agree with the original author’s evaluation in spotting fake female profiles. What is sad is that was written in 2008, in 2012 I can sadly attest the scam profiles still exist! Very easy to spot however- 1) they aren’t picky on height- women almost NEVER will date someone shorter than them; 2) they will list an age range 20+ years older than they are- like they are 29 and will date a guy up to 49 years old- real women do not do that. 3) single pic – i agree; sometimes they put 2 but usually 1; 4) they are always “NEW”; 5) they will never list any local places they like to visit or hang out- no local restaurants, bars, parks- beware guys! There are some good women on but if she is too good to be true, then she is probably not true….

  • Mil Grunt

    I signed up this week to wish I had seen this site first :( Anyhow, I get the wink from a gal and she immediately send me her yahoo email address. First warning sign should have been that it was her first and lastname @ So we start emailing, I was smart enough to use a disposable email address.

    Being the hesitant guy I am I don’t reveal much, if anything. My profile didn’t have much either. So she immediately sends me multiple photos of herself. Very attractive. Begins talking about trying to find love. She ask for photos of myself. Another warning sign. I get somewhat smart and take an image of myself and use photoshop to reduce the quality. I send the single photo, but she keeps asking for more. Didn’t send any. Fast forward as others have seen the warning signs are the broken english, talk about love and continual refusal to provide a cellphone number. Talking about how I was the one and all this loving stuff without even having met me. The excuse it fell into the jacuzzi came up. Thank goodness I haven’t been scammed out of more than just a grainy picture. Don’t feel too bad.

    I have the feeling that they ask for more photos so they can then scam someone else. i would not sign up for match again, even though I personally know a couple who met on match and got married.