Have you ever met someone from a dating website and been left disappointed and just a bit confused? Well you’re not alone.

Deception in dating profiles

Although online dating has grown to be a very popular way to find romance in recent years, the reality is that most singles misrepresent themselves in their online dating profile.

According to a respected study of online daters, 81% of both male and female participants admitted to telling some lies in their online dating profile.

This can include anything from manipulating photos, misstating height and weight, to exaggerating their income.

What are the most common lies

Here is the list of some of the areas where people are most likely to stretch the truth.

  • Weight
  • Age
  • Height
  • Marital status
  • Income
  • Education
  • Job title and status

The most common lies told were regarding weight. Two thirds of those surveyed underestimated their weight by at an average of nine pounds and almost half of participants stretched their height and stated they were three inches taller than their true height.

They tell these tall tales even though they know they will have to explain them away at a later time when they meet their online date.

Age was also listed as something online daters were not truthful about but it was a trait that was least lied about. Some of the participants were three years younger to nine years older than they stated in their online dating profile but the average participant’s reported age was within six months of their real age.

When “white lies” turn to deception

While you might forgive your date when he or she tells a few fibs about their weight or job title, there are also more serious forms of deceptions used in online dating profiles.

Not so subtle lies are told about marital status, education, occupation, military background and even whether or not they have children.

Why do people use deception?

There are many possible explanations for the motives behind these fabrications. Online singles have a desire to present their ideal self to potential dates so they can appeal to members of the opposite sex.

They tell these tall tales even though they know they will have to explain them away at a later time when they meet their online date.

Other explanations are that the person has a very good reason for being deceitful because he/she is married or perhaps he/she is one of those people who are chronic liars and will lie about anything and everything. Or it could be romance scam.

Detecting a deceptive online dater isn’t the easiest task to do because those involved in the pattern of lies are often highly skilled in covering their tracks. But there are some ways that you can uncover some fibs before the first date.

Tell-tale signs of deception

Watch for profile inconsistencies. A person can update their online profile at anytime and a good liar will often do a quick update to cover a lie. Save a copy of the potential date’s profile when you first contact him or her and refer to it if you notice a change.

Your online date may be hiding something if their online dating profile picture is too small or too blurry to clearly see their facial features or the picture was taken at a great distance. Some daters will hide their eyes with sunglasses or the bill of a baseball cap and other common practices are to take the picture from some really odd angle so that they are not easily recognized or there is no photo at all.

Covering up marital status

You’d think everyone using a dating site is single. But if you dig a bit deeper you’ll find that dating sites are filled with people who’re already in a relationship.

The man telling lies about his marital status will work to avoid topics regarding family, when and where he’s taking vacations, and he immediately changes the subject if the topic of where he lives comes up in a conversation. He also has some excellent excuses about why calling him at home or at work is strictly off limits.

The woman who is covering up being married also avoids talking about the kids and the only way to contact her is on her cell phone. The only address you can dig out of her is a post office box in a nearby city and she has a list of reasons to explain why she isn’t available at all on weekends or holidays.

If your online date is telling you a string of lies, he/she will probably keep a distance between you and his/her friends, family, and co-workers so that someone doesn’t accidentally slip and tell you the truth.

Checking for yourself

If you suspect that your online date is telling you some farfetched tales, there are some ways you can verify facts online. Try typing in an e-mail address, phone number, or your date’s name in your favorite search engine and see if you get any results.

People will often post messages in forums or on social networking sites and the information is indexed in the search engines.

Some websites have lists of known dating scammers.

Occupations that require state licensing such as doctors, lawyers and real estate professionals can be verified online. Go to your state’s official Web site and search for “state licensing.”

In some states, real property records are online and you can search by name or address. To find these records, search for public records in the county where your online date resides and look for the county treasurer or county assessor’s office.

In the end, use your instincts

If you’re uncomfortable playing detective, trust your own instincts when it comes to trusting your online date. That little voice in your head that warns you of dangers is right most of the time so listen to it. If anything makes you feel uneasy or you feel that things are just not adding up, you may want to heed this inner alarm system and run while you still can.

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