It’s time to revisit safety, security, and fabricated profiles in online dating. It’s an ever-present topic for me as I sift through profiles and interact with matches. When I started online dating, I spent a lot more time vetting matches. I still vet them but I’ve become pretty good at recognizing the scammers so I often don’t need to go through all of the investigative hoops such as doing Google image searches. Along the way, I found some shortcuts and tips.
Pass the salmon burgers with sweet pickle relish while I discuss the issue and the shortcuts. Warning: parts of today’s chat get a bit geeky.
Coffee Meets Bagel recently sent me a good reminder about online safety with a list of common scammer behaviors and profile characteristics:
-Profession in the military or engineering, works out of the country
-Recently widowed with children
-Overly complimentary with flowery, romantic language right off the bat
-Poor English and grammar, but high level of education (Master’s, Ph.D., etc.)
-Quick to get you off the app and into email/some other messaging app, but not text (they don’t have a working cell phone).
I disagree about the texting. I find scammers will sometimes text but rarely will they speak on the phone to you.
One of my go-to security checks is the Google image search mentioned above. This tool searches the web for photos that match the one you’re checking out. So, for example, you can see if a person in another geographic location has the same photo. Sometimes you will find that the photo is of a celebrity in another country.
I’m often using dating apps on my phone or tablet rather than my laptop. I wondered if there is a way to do an image search on these devices.
Mobile Image Search Tools
Of course, consult Google whenever you have a question. Not only are there reverse image apps, but there are a couple of other tricks. A PC Magazine article about image searching from a cell phone identified one strategy: using CTRLQ, a so-called Google Image search “wrapper.” Created by Amit Agarwal, this website tool can be used to search images on mobile devices.
To search an image from a dating app, you must first save it.
How do you save those Tinder and other app profile pictures? Take a screenshot of the image. On an iPhone or iPad, simultaneously press and hold the sleep/wake button on the top or side of your device while also pressing and holding the home button. You’ll hear the click of the camera. Your saved image will be in the camera roll. You can then select that image when using an image search app (see below), CTRLQ, or the desktop version of Google (another way to do an image search on your phone). Try it; it’s an easy process.
If you have an Android phone, you can use a similar technique to save images. Digital Trends reviewed screen shot techniques for a variety of Android devices.
Image Search Phone Apps
If you have an iPhone, type “image search” in Apps and you’ll encounter a number of tools. I downloaded Veracity and found it to be seamless. I’m not aware of any Android image search apps but CTRLQ should work on these mobile devices.
Safety is not always the issue with false profiles. Sometimes it’s a matter of misrepresentation. For example, how many men have you dated who have obviously lied about age and height?
One possible clue that a man has lied about his age: he is willing to date women 5 + years older. An older age preference doesn’t necessarily mean a man is 5 years older than he says, but look at his picture and see if that could be the case.
Age fabrication may not bother you. However, some of my friends say, “Well, what else is he lying about?” I tend to be forgiving if there is only a couple of years difference…but a bigger lie is more troubling and a likely deal breaker.
Another quick way to check out a new match is to search his screen name. You may find his alias on other dating, sex, and general sites. You can learn a lot from this easy sleuthing.
An Almost Meet Cute
Enough about online issues! I’m still working on meeting men in real life.
I had a brief almost meet cute Friday night. Walking up a long subway escalator after a night of jazz at Westminster Church, a man was about to pass me on the left. “Wanna race?” he asked. I quickly looked at him (age appropriate, too short but nice face), smiled, and went into high gear escalator racing. He laughed and said, “I didn’t think you would.” “I’m very competitive,” I said as I gave him a run for his money (placing first in the Olympic sport of escalator racing). Several children trailed Mr. Racer. Grandkids? His kids? You never know. And I was with friends, so the exchange ended there.
Just another almost meet cute in DC. I’ve got a million of them…. some day, one has got to fully develop.
Until next week, happy dating or not dating.