Is There Any Way To Avoid Dating a Fraud?



Name: Stefanie | Location: Chicago , IL |Question: What are the rules these days about meeting people online safely in terms of checking someone out?

I had an interesting dilemma. After many years of online dating- I finally hit the point where a few of the guys I met turned out to be married. So, this next time when I went out with a new guy “Jake”- I realized after a good first date, that I did not have his last name, business card, place he worked at, etc. Bottom line, I had no idea who he was. So, for the next date, (which was in public) he again didn’t volunteer much personal information. By the time we got to the third date he wanted me to come to his place for dinner. I of course, was not interested because I barely knew this guy, and for once we hadn’t ever played “six degrees of separation” and found someone in common.

So, I tell him I am not comfortable in having dinner at his place and ask to go out. He offers to pick me up at my place (which I live in a doorman building) and to go out for dinner. When we get to dinner I bring up to him that although I like him, I really don’t know him and offer my business card. In turn, he tells me he doesn’t carry his and doesn’t seem to understand why I would need to “question” or prove someone’s identity because “he’s a nice guy” (this guy by the way, is divorced and newer online dating). I do believe this guy is telling the truth, but once burned I realize I need to be more careful. Apparently, this guy didn’t seem to get my side of the coin as he immediately went to saying that he could have the same concerns I have.

So, what’s the best way to handle being in these situations without seeming like a private detective when you are dealing with someone who clearly doesn’t understand the safety (most guys don’t worry about being raped) and the idea that some people are hiding who they are (because of wives, etc.)

Any ideas of what to do and not seem paranoid? |Age: 36

I am not a fan of the whole Googling/Facebook Checking/Background Check thing. In fact, I think it’s just something people do to take some false sense of control. I also think it’s one of the many digital ways we have completely demolished the foundation of any relationship – intimacy.  I’m a big believer in non-verbal cues and vibes. I trust my instincts implicitly. If something doesn’t feel right I simply disengage.

I guess what is alarming to me is how we’ve seemed to stray from simply listening to our gut and practicing common sense.

My friend went to a bar one night. He met a woman who worked, in some capacity, at a law firm. She admitted that she used her company resources to check the backgrounds of men she met online. You know, just to be sure. And then she went home with my friend and had sex with him. A stranger she met in a bar. But yet she uses work resources to go through people’s private info. Let’s just call that what it is – a violation of privacy. You want to look at someone’s Facebook page? Eh, it’s public domain. But to run a background check? Sorry, it’s just a huge violation of trust. Clearly she wasn’t terribly afraid for her physical safety since she went home with my friend that night. She wanted to be sure the guy wasn’t in debt. Guess what? Half the country is seriously in debt. The idea that you’re going to meet someone who is 100% financially stable is completely unrealistic.

Here’s another story:

A girlfriend went out with a man a few months ago who has a spotless background. He had several drinks. They went home, had sex and the next morning he didn’t remember anything from the night before. He didn’t know what she was doing in her bed. He threw her clothes in to the hall way and kicked her out.

No amount of recon work could have predicted this situation. Some people are unhealthy. That’s why you have to be as aware as possible. Too many drinks? Don’t go home with them.

Unless you have some psychic powers or some extra-ordinary ability to tell if someone is lying how can you possibly almost always know for a fact when someone is lying to you or bsing you immediately.??? – Bree

I pay attention. It’s that simple. I tune out all the noise and chatter and advice from friends and I simply pay attention, watch and listen. Unless they are a true sociopath, there’s always a tell. People with the wrong intentions ALWAYS screw up eventually. Ask the right questions, and you’ll get all the answers you need based on their response. You learn more about what someone doesn’t say than what they do say. I also do what I can to surround myself with good, honest, well intentioned, emotionally healthy people. That way, when someone strays from what we’ll call a “baseline” you’ll know.

The last point there is key. If you do what you can to maintain a healthy and strong support system comprised of people you trust, you’re more likely to be able to spot the people who are up to no good. Strictly because something that strays from the norm – a comment, a gesture, a tone- will make you think twice.  If one of my triggers goes off, I ask questions. If the answers don’t jive with my internal lie detector, I abort. Did they contradict themselves? Did they seem nervous when I asked basic questions? Did they avoid certain questions all together? Did they say too much? Those are the things I look for.

As far as determining whether they are married or not, here’s yet another story:

Years ago, I met a man in a bar. We exchanged numbers. We set up a lunch date. I offered to meet him at his office building in the lobby. He, rather hurriedly, said he’d rather meet on the corner of the block. Ding! We meet up and sit down at the restaurant. His left hand is resting on his lap. He doesn’t bring it to the table. I look him in the eye and say, “Are you married?” Sure enough, he was.  And!! Later that day,as I was reading the paper, I checked my horoscope  and it read “An attractive new friend is married.” I shit you not.

I’m telling you…in many if not most cases, we know something is off. We know it. I wish I could offer something tangible, but I can’t. Truth is, there are a lot of posers on online. People looking for something other than love. Meet enough of them and you’ll build up a baseline to help spot those people, too.

All of my male and female friends have said that if a woman ever admitted to running a background check on them, they’d dump them in a heart beat. Nine times out of ten, you’re going to find something that trips a wire. You’re left with either having to admit what you did, or dismissing  a man or woman before they ever have a chance to explain.

You could meet a man or woman with a clean record and digital footprint and they could be a creep. Or married. Or in debt. That’s the risk we take when we date, not just date online. This is the main reason why I’m trying to encourage people to stop looking for relationships on these dating sites and start meeting people through friends, work, etc.

To me, a word of mouth recommendation means 100 times more than a Google search.

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8 Responses to “Is There Any Way To Avoid Dating a Fraud?”

  1. SS Says:

    As for background checks and debt etc:
    1. My psycho ex husband was an assistant DA and devout baptist. On paper all was peachy. The truth was that he was violent, abusive, and a sex addict. A background check would have been worthless; it could easily give a very false sense of security.

    2. My credit score is not the best because I’ve refused to pay 2 disputed accounts. A friend has a good credit score, but has~$25k on his credit cards which he absolutely cannot afford. Honestly, I’d prefer to date someone like me than anyone carrying that huge a debt.

    That being said, the single biggest red flag I’ve found both in my own history and others, is when Mr/Ms Potential does not ask any questions in order to determine your full name, background, workplace etc. Every. Damn. Time.

    I imagine they don’t want to ask those questions because it’s only natural to answer followed by “and what about you?”

    Being defensive when questioned is the second big red flag.

    So, OP, to your question “what’s the best way to handle being in these situations without seeming like a private detective”

    The need to ACT like a PI is where you should cut and run. Good and honest people are usually (and naturally) fairly quick to show you who they are.

    • RedNeckGeekGurl Says:

      Absolutely! Well put and have never had a ‘straight up’ guy not ask or want to know more about me. No curiousity is the tell …. I don’t question like its a job candidate – but expect conversation to lead to them telling about who they are and vice versa and if not … Done.

      The background checkers will be out if I find out (nothing there anyhow) and I don’t do it myself. Will google if I am really interested in actually dating to see if they are on Linkedin or something and not a lone wolf. Do not facebook except for family and don’t care to see theirs. Although that’s where married ones get caught out apparently. Can kinda smell them or something – usually easy to guess. Funniest to me are guys who questioned me like they are scoping out married … Had a guy point blank ask in email because a ring I had on in photo looked like a wedding band to him. Had to zoom like hell to see much hand detail…. Guess every pore /crinkle on face too …

      Let them talk and show you – they will. And if things don’t add up or inconsistancies – I don’t usually bother asking why … I know the answer.

  2. KK Says:

    I don’t understand why you didn’t just ASK bim his last name. The card thing seemed…passive aggressive?

    Aside from tbat. Knowing someone is not the same as knowing the facts about someone. But we often conflate the two.

    To me the real problem is that he dismissed your concerns. That is not a good sign. Your fears are reasonable. His reaction wasnt. Also in my experience a guy who tells you he is nice usually isnt.

    And as has already been stated not having a criminal record means nothing. And…sbit. Most rapists are never charged.

  3. Mandy Says:

    Realizing you don’t know any actual concrete details about someone (last name, place of work) after a date or two can obviously happen…but once you realize that an ask the person should be up front. There’s a big difference between asking for a last name and where someone works vs. doing a background check! The fact that this guy didn’t offer it up on a silver platter would make me run for the hills.

  4. bbdawg Says:

    I against the background check thing as that’s too much however…I have shared a story here before of this amazing date I had with this person I liked instantly and when I looked him up on facebook…there were 3 little kids…when I confronted him he told me he was recently “separated” … well I liked him a lot but that was too much since I had asked him point blank if he had been married he said “no never” and if he had kids he said “nope”.

    We actually kept in touch (no sex) and I eventually figured out how to look up divorce information and found out that he had indeed filed for divorce. But this was about 1.5 year ago and he is still not divorced. The reality is that if you’re in your 30s and older, you need to figure out if people are 1. emotionally available and 2. legally available. The statistics are such that on Tinder apparently 40% of men are married.

    I’d say asking someone point blank is the best policy and expressing concerns overtly. Like “you seem like an interesting person but I’d like to know a little more about you,etc…”. If someone feels off, it probably IS off. Expressing that clearly is the best way to do around this. Sadly, with dating you need a sort of “due diligence” period until you have a better idea of who it is you are dealing with. It’s not romantic at all but at least you’re not wasting your time. If someone balks when you ask for specific information, move on.

  5. Cari Says:

    There’s a big difference between doing an FBI-style background check and knowing the basics about someone you’ve started seeing. If there’s a good reason to hide one’s last name or occupation, I would love to hear it. No, that won’t weed out the already-marrieds, abusers who managed to avoid arrest or people with outstanding warrants. But “So, what do you do for a living?” can help you get to know someone. On the flip side, disclosure that your date has checked you out is extremely off-putting. I had a guy start discussing my salary, which he was able to find online, as I’m a state employee. It bothered me more that he was so lacking in self-awareness that he mentioned it more than the actual doing it.

  6. Donnie K Says:

    I always find these types of posts mind boggling. Either a:

    a) There are a lot more married men than married women using Tinder, OKCupid, and other free sites.
    b) A lot of women miss obvious cues these guys are hiding something.

    Like Moxie’s incident a few years ago, I can understand once in a while coming across a lying/cheating scumbag hiding their marriage. It’s the law of averages. If you’re regularly going on dates with men who turn out to be married, your picker is off.

    I’ve dated online on and off for parts of seven years. I can count on one hand and have a finger or two left over the number of women I’ve come across who were possible hiding a marriage/relationship. It’s one thing to have a lot of one and done dates. That’s all too common. If you’re constantly meeting shady men ( or women), you’re missing some obvious red flags.

    • Yvonne Says:

      First off, married men are still more likely to cheat than women, although it isn’t that big of a gap. I do think there are more married men using these sites than married women. If a married woman wants to cheat, she can more easily find a man to accommodate that, but it’s harder for married men to find a willing woman. Hence the dishonesty.

      I have a married acquaintance who regularly pops up on various dating sites lying about his status. He’s been married for many years, and too scared to confront his wife about how unhappy he is. He’s actually met two of my friends, telling one that he was legally separated and another that he was divorced. Neither had any idea that he might be lying to them. He’s average-looking, nerdy, and definitely not the player type. Probably the last person you would expect this sort of thing from.

      With statistics saying that something like a third of men who are online dating are actually married, and even more have girlfriends, it’s not all that surprising.

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