How to spot the lies on online dating profiles. (Sorry, what did you say your name was?)

Unlike meeting someone new in person, it’s harder to spot the BS from behind a screen. But we should verify potential dates’ stories (it’s not stalking, it’s risk management for your heart)

Imagine the scene. You’re out for dinner, where your BFF is trying to set you up with a work colleague. “You’ll be a real match,” she has told you.

The evening arrives and introductions are made. “So, this is Charlie. And Charlie, this is Jane.” You have a good evening, talking about the shared interests that your friend has helpfully highlighted.

You don’t worry about trying to check out his back-story, nor does he prod too hard at you, because you know each other’s provenance. He’s been divorced for three years and has three teenage children who live with him two nights a week.

He has worked alongside your friend for the past two years and is moderately successful at what he does. Divorce has left him asset-poor so he’s renting a flat. And he knows the same sort of information about you.

Dinner is over, phone numbers exchanged, and you get home and check your online dating account. Unlike your public self, this person is four years younger, and promotes a sassy, very flattering picture that was taken seven years ago when you were a half a stone lighter and before you started permanently colouring your increasingly grey hair.

Flicking through your latest matches, who should you spot but Charlie. Like you, he’s looking very good – and sounding rather more affluent and successful than the back-picture painted by your best friend.

Half of online daters lie about themselves

With statistics suggesting that more than half of online daters fib about themselves, it’s become a badge of honour to stipulate that your picture was taken this year. But to my mind, it’s not the small untruths about height or weight, nor the misleading photographs, that are the problem. Those fibs will be all too apparent for what they are if you meet in person.

More insidious and dangerous are the lies that paint a different provenance: that someone is more solvent, more loyal, more honest, more hard done-by in previous relationships. Because there are no external references or mutual friends and acquaintances when you meet online, a person’s true standing and past history can be harder to spot and more damaging in the long run.

My husband left me and I needed a sexual relationship

It’s ‘provenance’ that I think is at the heart of the issue. The dictionary definition is ‘the chronology of the ownership, custody or location of a historical object’. And that’s what we get when someone we meet is known by others; ideally by our friends, but even if it’s their own friends, who are with them in the social setting where you make the encounter. There’s some historical knowledge to draw upon in understanding who this person really is.

But as the old ways of meeting potential partners, such as introductions by friends, are fading fast, and rapidly rising numbers of late daters are looking for new ways to meet their mid-life partners, it’s the internet that is filling the gap.

Figures suggest that the over-50s are the fastest rising group of online daters, with a YouGov survey in 2014 revealing that one in five relationships start online. That’s being driven by the shifting patterns of middle-aged relationships, with around 5.8m over-45s now living alone, including many over-65s who have been widowed. It all adds up to big business for the 50-plus online dating market.

Yet most of the sites have little or no identity verification taking place. While Tinder and Happn have a reputation for being about hook-ups for the young, they do have the potential to sift out some of the shape-shifting as they link to your Facebook account.

How to spot the fraudsters

So how do we overcome the lies that beset our online dating? Well, I think we must be sharper, more curious, less polite. Obviously we have to be aware of the tricks of the out-and-out tricksters. The poor use of English language and resistance to talk on the telephone or meet up all adds up to an overseas fraudster exercising a scam.

But those are less of a problem, I think, as like the weight and picture fudgers, they are pretty easy to flush out.

It’s the charmers who beguile that we need to be careful of, and if we’re going to be responsible adult daters, it takes very little to check someone out against a pretty wide range of information.

I did it myself after a first lunchtime date with someone recently, and within half an hour of internet checking had verified the bulk of their story. Yes, they were a qualified professional; yes, they were a director of that company; yes, they sold the company; and yes, they own a house in that area.

Don’t be a fool in love

If you’re taking a sharp intake of breath at this point, relax; it’s not stalking, it’s basic risk management. And if the facts don’t bear out, then you can take another deep breath and ask more penetrating, direct questions.

You can even say: “I wanted to be safe and sure who I was meeting, so I checked out what you said and couldn’t find you listed….” Anyone who is a keeper will want to give you the reassurance that they are who they say they are, whether male or female.

We have to be careful, because unfortunately there’s no fool like a fool in love, or one who thinks it could, this time, be love…

An identity check doesn’t guard against the more fluent fibbers, the ones for whom the problem lies in their personality. Land up with a gold-digger or a narcissist and you could be all too easily fooled into believing their stories. I know, I’ve done it myself, and stumped up hard cash despite all evidence shouting at me that things were wrong.

We want to believe we’re lovable, that those we entrust with intimacy are our honest equals, but we need to face up to the realities of 21st-century dating and make risk management our priority.

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Imagine the scene. You’re out for dinner, where your BFF is trying to set you up with a work colleague. “You’ll be a real match,” she has told you.

The evening arrives and introductions are made. “So, this is Charlie. And Charlie, this is Jane.” You have a good evening, talking about the shared interests that your friend has helpfully highlighted.

You don’t worry about trying to check out his back-story, nor does he prod too hard at you, because you know each other’s provenance. He’s been divorced for three years and has three teenage children who live with him two nights a week.

He has worked alongside your friend for the past two years and is moderately successful at what he does. Divorce has left him asset-poor so he’s renting a flat. And he knows the same sort of information about you.

Dinner is over, phone numbers exchanged, and you get home and check your online dating account. Unlike your public self, this person is four years younger, and promotes a sassy, very flattering picture that was taken seven years ago when you were a half a stone lighter and before you started permanently colouring your increasingly grey hair.

Flicking through your latest matches, who should you spot but Charlie. Like you, he’s looking very good – and sounding rather more affluent and successful than the back-picture painted by your best friend.

With statistics suggesting that more than half of online daters fib about themselves, it’s become a badge of honour to stipulate that your picture was taken this year. But to my mind, it’s not the small untruths about height or weight, nor the misleading photographs, that are the problem. Those fibs will be all too apparent for what they are if you meet in person.

More insidious and dangerous are the lies that paint a different provenance: that someone is more solvent, more loyal, more honest, more hard done-by in previous relationships. Because there are no external references or mutual friends and acquaintances when you meet online, a person’s true standing and past history can be harder to spot and more damaging in the long run.

It’s ‘provenance’ that I think is at the heart of the issue. The dictionary definition is ‘the chronology of the ownership, custody or location of a historical object’. And that’s what we get when someone we meet is known by others; ideally by our friends, but even if it’s their own friends, who are with them in the social setting where you make the encounter. There’s some historical knowledge to draw upon in understanding who this person really is.

But as the old ways of meeting potential partners, such as introductions by friends, are fading fast, and rapidly rising numbers of late daters are looking for new ways to meet their mid-life partners, it’s the internet that is filling the gap.

Figures suggest that the over-50s are the fastest rising group of online daters, with a YouGov survey in 2014 revealing that one in five relationships start online. That’s being driven by the shifting patterns of middle-aged relationships, with around 5.8m over-45s now living alone, including many over-65s who have been widowed. It all adds up to big business for the 50-plus online dating market.

Yet most of the sites have little or no identity verification taking place. While Tinder and Happn have a reputation for being about hook-ups for the young, they do have the potential to sift out some of the shape-shifting as they link to your Facebook account.

So how do we overcome the lies that beset our online dating? Well, I think we must be sharper, more curious, less polite. Obviously we have to be aware of the tricks of the out-and-out tricksters. The poor use of English language and resistance to talk on the telephone or meet up all adds up to an overseas fraudster exercising a scam.

But those are less of a problem, I think, as like the weight and picture fudgers, they are pretty easy to flush out.

It’s the charmers who beguile that we need to be careful of, and if we’re going to be responsible adult daters, it takes very little to check someone out against a pretty wide range of information.

I did it myself after a first lunchtime date with someone recently, and within half an hour of internet checking had verified the bulk of their story. Yes, they were a qualified professional; yes, they were a director of that company; yes, they sold the company; and yes, they own a house in that area.

If you’re taking a sharp intake of breath at this point, relax; it’s not stalking, it’s basic risk management. And if the facts don’t bear out, then you can take another deep breath and ask more penetrating, direct questions.

You can even say: “I wanted to be safe and sure who I was meeting, so I checked out what you said and couldn’t find you listed….” Anyone who is a keeper will want to give you the reassurance that they are who they say they are, whether male or female.

We have  to be careful, because unfortunately there’s no fool like a fool in love, or one who thinks it could, this time, be love…

An identity check doesn’t guard against the more fluent fibbers, the ones for whom the problem lies in their personality. Land up with a gold-digger or a narcissist and you could be all too easily fooled into believing their stories. I know, I’ve done it myself, and stumped up hard cash despite all evidence shouting at me that things were wrong.

We want to believe we’re lovable, that those we entrust with intimacy are our honest equals, but we need to face up to the realities of 21st-century dating and make risk management our priority.

Imagine the scene. You’re out for dinner, where your BFF is trying to set you up with a work colleague. “You’ll be a real match,” she has told you.

The evening arrives and introductions are made. “So, this is Charlie. And Charlie, this is Jane.” You have a good evening, talking about the shared interests that your friend has helpfully highlighted.

You don’t worry about trying to check out his back-story, nor does he prod too hard at you, because you know each other’s provenance. He’s been divorced for three years and has three teenage children who live with him two nights a week.

He has worked alongside your friend for the past two years and is moderately successful at what he does. Divorce has left him asset-poor so he’s renting a flat. And he knows the same sort of information about you.

Dinner is over, phone numbers exchanged, and you get home and check your online dating account. Unlike your public self, this person is four years younger, and promotes a sassy, very flattering picture that was taken seven years ago when you were a half a stone lighter and before you started permanently colouring your increasingly grey hair.

Flicking through your latest matches, who should you spot but Charlie. Like you, he’s looking very good – and sounding rather more affluent and successful than the back-picture painted by your best friend.

With statistics suggesting that more than half of online daters fib about themselves, it’s become a badge of honour to stipulate that your picture was taken this year. But to my mind, it’s not the small untruths about height or weight, nor the misleading photographs, that are the problem. Those fibs will be all too apparent for what they are if you meet in person.

More insidious and dangerous are the lies that paint a different provenance: that someone is more solvent, more loyal, more honest, more hard done-by in previous relationships. Because there are no external references or mutual friends and acquaintances when you meet online, a person’s true standing and past history can be harder to spot and more damaging in the long run.

It’s ‘provenance’ that I think is at the heart of the issue. The dictionary definition is ‘the chronology of the ownership, custody or location of a historical object’. And that’s what we get when someone we meet is known by others; ideally by our friends, but even if it’s their own friends, who are with them in the social setting where you make the encounter. There’s some historical knowledge to draw upon in understanding who this person really is.

But as the old ways of meeting potential partners, such as introductions by friends, are fading fast, and rapidly rising numbers of late daters are looking for new ways to meet their mid-life partners, it’s the internet that is filling the gap.

Figures suggest that the over-50s are the fastest rising group of online daters, with a YouGov survey in 2014 revealing that one in five relationships start online. That’s being driven by the shifting patterns of middle-aged relationships, with around 5.8m over-45s now living alone, including many over-65s who have been widowed. It all adds up to big business for the 50-plus online dating market.

Yet most of the sites have little or no identity verification taking place. While Tinder and Happn have a reputation for being about hook-ups for the young, they do have the potential to sift out some of the shape-shifting as they link to your Facebook account.

So how do we overcome the lies that beset our online dating? Well, I think we must be sharper, more curious, less polite. Obviously we have to be aware of the tricks of the out-and-out tricksters. The poor use of English language and resistance to talk on the telephone or meet up all adds up to an overseas fraudster exercising a scam.

But those are less of a problem, I think, as like the weight and picture fudgers, they are pretty easy to flush out.

It’s the charmers who beguile that we need to be careful of, and if we’re going to be responsible adult daters, it takes very little to check someone out against a pretty wide range of information.

I did it myself after a first lunchtime date with someone recently, and within half an hour of internet checking had verified the bulk of their story. Yes, they were a qualified professional; yes, they were a director of that company; yes, they sold the company; and yes, they own a house in that area.

If you’re taking a sharp intake of breath at this point, relax; it’s not stalking, it’s basic risk management. And if the facts don’t bear out, then you can take another deep breath and ask more penetrating, direct questions.

You can even say: “I wanted to be safe and sure who I was meeting, so I checked out what you said and couldn’t find you listed….” Anyone who is a keeper will want to give you the reassurance that they are who they say they are, whether male or female.

We have  to be careful, because unfortunately there’s no fool like a fool in love, or one who thinks it could, this time, be love…

An identity check doesn’t guard against the more fluent fibbers, the ones for whom the problem lies in their personality. Land up with a gold-digger or a narcissist and you could be all too easily fooled into believing their stories. I know, I’ve done it myself, and stumped up hard cash despite all evidence shouting at me that things were wrong.

We want to believe we’re lovable, that those we entrust with intimacy are our honest equals, but we need to face up to the realities of 21st-century dating and make risk management our priority.

Imagine the scene. You’re out for dinner, where your BFF is trying to set you up with a work colleague. “You’ll be a real match,” she has told you.

The evening arrives and introductions are made. “So, this is Charlie. And Charlie, this is Jane.” You have a good evening, talking about the shared interests that your friend has helpfully highlighted.

You don’t worry about trying to check out his back-story, nor does he prod too hard at you, because you know each other’s provenance. He’s been divorced for three years and has three teenage children who live with him two nights a week.

He has worked alongside your friend for the past two years and is moderately successful at what he does. Divorce has left him asset-poor so he’s renting a flat. And he knows the same sort of information about you.

Dinner is over, phone numbers exchanged, and you get home and check your online dating account. Unlike your public self, this person is four years younger, and promotes a sassy, very flattering picture that was taken seven years ago when you were a half a stone lighter and before you started permanently colouring your increasingly grey hair.

Flicking through your latest matches, who should you spot but Charlie. Like you, he’s looking very good – and sounding rather more affluent and successful than the back-picture painted by your best friend.

With statistics suggesting that more than half of online daters fib about themselves, it’s become a badge of honour to stipulate that your picture was taken this year. But to my mind, it’s not the small untruths about height or weight, nor the misleading photographs, that are the problem. Those fibs will be all too apparent for what they are if you meet in person.

More insidious and dangerous are the lies that paint a different provenance: that someone is more solvent, more loyal, more honest, more hard done-by in previous relationships. Because there are no external references or mutual friends and acquaintances when you meet online, a person’s true standing and past history can be harder to spot and more damaging in the long run.

It’s ‘provenance’ that I think is at the heart of the issue. The dictionary definition is ‘the chronology of the ownership, custody or location of a historical object’. And that’s what we get when someone we meet is known by others; ideally by our friends, but even if it’s their own friends, who are with them in the social setting where you make the encounter. There’s some historical knowledge to draw upon in understanding who this person really is.

But as the old ways of meeting potential partners, such as introductions by friends, are fading fast, and rapidly rising numbers of late daters are looking for new ways to meet their mid-life partners, it’s the internet that is filling the gap.

Figures suggest that the over-50s are the fastest rising group of online daters, with a YouGov survey in 2014 revealing that one in five relationships start online. That’s being driven by the shifting patterns of middle-aged relationships, with around 5.8m over-45s now living alone, including many over-65s who have been widowed. It all adds up to big business for the 50-plus online dating market.

Yet most of the sites have little or no identity verification taking place. While Tinder and Happn have a reputation for being about hook-ups for the young, they do have the potential to sift out some of the shape-shifting as they link to your Facebook account.

So how do we overcome the lies that beset our online dating? Well, I think we must be sharper, more curious, less polite. Obviously we have to be aware of the tricks of the out-and-out tricksters. The poor use of English language and resistance to talk on the telephone or meet up all adds up to an overseas fraudster exercising a scam.

But those are less of a problem, I think, as like the weight and picture fudgers, they are pretty easy to flush out.

It’s the charmers who beguile that we need to be careful of, and if we’re going to be responsible adult daters, it takes very little to check someone out against a pretty wide range of information.

I did it myself after a first lunchtime date with someone recently, and within half an hour of internet checking had verified the bulk of their story. Yes, they were a qualified professional; yes, they were a director of that company; yes, they sold the company; and yes, they own a house in that area.

If you’re taking a sharp intake of breath at this point, relax; it’s not stalking, it’s basic risk management. And if the facts don’t bear out, then you can take another deep breath and ask more penetrating, direct questions.

You can even say: “I wanted to be safe and sure who I was meeting, so I checked out what you said and couldn’t find you listed….” Anyone who is a keeper will want to give you the reassurance that they are who they say they are, whether male or female.

We have  to be careful, because unfortunately there’s no fool like a fool in love, or one who thinks it could, this time, be love…

An identity check doesn’t guard against the more fluent fibbers, the ones for whom the problem lies in their personality. Land up with a gold-digger or a narcissist and you could be all too easily fooled into believing their stories. I know, I’ve done it myself, and stumped up hard cash despite all evidence shouting at me that things were wrong.

We want to believe we’re lovable, that those we entrust with intimacy are our honest equals, but we need to face up to the realities of 21st-century dating and make risk management our priority.

Imagine the scene. You’re out for dinner, where your BFF is trying to set you up with a work colleague. “You’ll be a real match,” she has told you.

The evening arrives and introductions are made. “So, this is Charlie. And Charlie, this is Jane.” You have a good evening, talking about the shared interests that your friend has helpfully highlighted.

You don’t worry about trying to check out his back-story, nor does he prod too hard at you, because you know each other’s provenance. He’s been divorced for three years and has three teenage children who live with him two nights a week.

He has worked alongside your friend for the past two years and is moderately successful at what he does. Divorce has left him asset-poor so he’s renting a flat. And he knows the same sort of information about you.

Dinner is over, phone numbers exchanged, and you get home and check your online dating account. Unlike your public self, this person is four years younger, and promotes a sassy, very flattering picture that was taken seven years ago when you were a half a stone lighter and before you started permanently colouring your increasingly grey hair.

Flicking through your latest matches, who should you spot but Charlie. Like you, he’s looking very good – and sounding rather more affluent and successful than the back-picture painted by your best friend.

With statistics suggesting that more than half of online daters fib about themselves, it’s become a badge of honour to stipulate that your picture was taken this year. But to my mind, it’s not the small untruths about height or weight, nor the misleading photographs, that are the problem. Those fibs will be all too apparent for what they are if you meet in person.

More insidious and dangerous are the lies that paint a different provenance: that someone is more solvent, more loyal, more honest, more hard done-by in previous relationships. Because there are no external references or mutual friends and acquaintances when you meet online, a person’s true standing and past history can be harder to spot and more damaging in the long run.

It’s ‘provenance’ that I think is at the heart of the issue. The dictionary definition is ‘the chronology of the ownership, custody or location of a historical object’. And that’s what we get when someone we meet is known by others; ideally by our friends, but even if it’s their own friends, who are with them in the social setting where you make the encounter. There’s some historical knowledge to draw upon in understanding who this person really is.

But as the old ways of meeting potential partners, such as introductions by friends, are fading fast, and rapidly rising numbers of late daters are looking for new ways to meet their mid-life partners, it’s the internet that is filling the gap.

Figures suggest that the over-50s are the fastest rising group of online daters, with a YouGov survey in 2014 revealing that one in five relationships start online. That’s being driven by the shifting patterns of middle-aged relationships, with around 5.8m over-45s now living alone, including many over-65s who have been widowed. It all adds up to big business for the 50-plus online dating market.

Yet most of the sites have little or no identity verification taking place. While Tinder and Happn have a reputation for being about hook-ups for the young, they do have the potential to sift out some of the shape-shifting as they link to your Facebook account.

So how do we overcome the lies that beset our online dating? Well, I think we must be sharper, more curious, less polite. Obviously we have to be aware of the tricks of the out-and-out tricksters. The poor use of English language and resistance to talk on the telephone or meet up all adds up to an overseas fraudster exercising a scam.

But those are less of a problem, I think, as like the weight and picture fudgers, they are pretty easy to flush out.

It’s the charmers who beguile that we need to be careful of, and if we’re going to be responsible adult daters, it takes very little to check someone out against a pretty wide range of information.

I did it myself after a first lunchtime date with someone recently, and within half an hour of internet checking had verified the bulk of their story. Yes, they were a qualified professional; yes, they were a director of that company; yes, they sold the company; and yes, they own a house in that area.

If you’re taking a sharp intake of breath at this point, relax; it’s not stalking, it’s basic risk management. And if the facts don’t bear out, then you can take another deep breath and ask more penetrating, direct questions.

You can even say: “I wanted to be safe and sure who I was meeting, so I checked out what you said and couldn’t find you listed….” Anyone who is a keeper will want to give you the reassurance that they are who they say they are, whether male or female.

We have  to be careful, because unfortunately there’s no fool like a fool in love, or one who thinks it could, this time, be love…

An identity check doesn’t guard against the more fluent fibbers, the ones for whom the problem lies in their personality. Land up with a gold-digger or a narcissist and you could be all too easily fooled into believing their stories. I know, I’ve done it myself, and stumped up hard cash despite all evidence shouting at me that things were wrong.

We want to believe we’re lovable, that those we entrust with intimacy are our honest equals, but we need to face up to the realities of 21st-century dating and make risk management our priority.