In the wake of the crazy Notre Dame football/Manti T’eo fake-girlfriend scandal (read this Deadspin article — it’s unreal), we wanted to talk about this recent Washington Post story featuring Catfish TV star Max Joseph, whose show is all about exposing people who create fake profiles on the internet. He offers some great advice for being on your guard.
- Wanting to leave the dating site immediately and use personal e-mail or IM accounts.
- Claiming instant feelings of love.
- Claiming to be from the United States but currently overseas.
- Planning to visit, but being unable to do so because of a tragic event.
But what if you’re simply in love with the idea of a person whom you’ve never met? Max’s advice on how to avoid getting duped goes deeper. Here are our favorite tips from the Post interview with Joseph that you might not have heard before — especially useful if you’ve met the person on a social networking site like Facebook:
- If the person is cagey about doing a video chat.
- Career red flag: Model. Really model slash anything not related to modeling. It’s always a model.
- A tricky red flag is when the people around them or the person has a serious illness or tragedy. You don’t want to ask too many questions, so you give them a wider range to work with.
- Facebook pages: If they have less than 100 friends, or if you read the posts and it’s people talking at them, “Oh, you’re so pretty,” but never a back and forth.
- Photos: Friends aren’t tagged and all the photos are of them without a shirt on.
Read the rest of the piece here for more advice.
Sometimes our hearts want us to believe that this perfect person exists, especially if they’re, say, a really good-looking guy in the military who says he’s going through a hard time. Do not send money to people you don’t know. And if something rings funny to you, trust your gut.
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