5 Online Dating Red Flags You Shouldn't Ignore

Online dating
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Online dating has gone from something that was scoffed at a few years ago, to a ubiquitous technology that is as mainstream as ordering pizza. There are dating sites that cater to certain niche audiences such as the infamous farmersonly.com and of course there are still large established mega-sites such as match.com, eharmony, and others.

Love it or hate it, online dating appears to have staying power and will likely be with us for quite a while. We’ve already talked about some tips for having a safer online dating experience in our article: Online Dating Safety and Security Tips.

In this article, we’re going to focus on online dating red flags you shouldn’t ignore in your quest for the perfect date.

Not Everyone is Really Looking For Love

Unfortunately, there are a lot of scammers out there. They take advantage of folks who are looking for love and will try to lure them away from dating sites and over to phishing sites and other nefarious enterprises. Scammers will employ technologies such as bots to do their dirty work and will make it difficult to tell the real folks from the fake ones.

Red Flag #1 - They Don’t Answer Your Questions Directly

A lot of scammers will use bots, (programs that mimic human interactions) to try and con users into visiting sites or performing some action that scammers want their victim to perform (such as divulging personal information. The problem is, bots are stupid. They don't interact well (except for maybe some of the more robust "chatterbots").

When you ask a bot a question, it's most likely not going to give you a straight answer. It may look at keywords in your responses and try to message you something relevant, but it still won't be a direct answer. If it seems like the person you're talking to isn't answering your questions directly, try to ask them (or it) something very specific to see if it comes back with another generic response.

This will help you determine if you're dealing with a bot or a scammer who just doesn't really want to put in the effort required to carry on a normal conversation.

Red Flag #2 - They Want to Move You off the Dating Site as Soon as Possible

A scammer's goal is to get you off the dating site and onto their site so they can take whatever it is that they want from you, whether it be your credit card information, your personal information, or something else. Expect them to attempt to direct you to a website, phone number, or e-mail address of their choosing. They will usually try to do this in the first 5 or so messages.

They may waste a little time trying to build a rapport with you, but eventually, they will show their true colors and try to close the deal by enticing you to click a link or contact them offsite. This is not to say that everyone who tries to give you their phone number right off the bat is a scammer, but it is a red flag nonetheless and should put you on alert to look for other signs of danger.

Red Flag #3 - They Want to Know Your Location

Whether they are a scammer or just some weirdo, they shouldn't be asking for your address upfront. This could be part of a phishing scam or something much worse. Until you've really gotten to know someone, you should never give out your location. When you agree to meet, neutral public locations with a lot of people are probably best for meeting someone new. Always tell a friend what your plans are and if they change.

Red Flag #4 - They Get Too Personal Too Fast

If they start asking a lot of deeply personal questions that seem out of context, they could be attempting to phish you for personal information that they could use for identity theft purposes. Don't give out your birthdate to strangers. It's one of the critical pieces of information they might need to set up an account in your name.

Red Flag #5 - Their Profile Looks a Little Thin or Generic

If the dating profile is weak and has very little info other than a generic statement like the cliche "I love to laugh" then it might be a red flag that they may just be using canned cut-and-paste scam profile information. Check out these tips on How to Spot a Fake Friend Request, many of the same tips apply in this situation.