When you meet someone in real life, social cues help you form a first impression of them. But when you connect online, it’s not always easy to read the person on the other side of the screen. To help you date more safely, our team has curated a list of 10 online dating red flags that members should look out for when dating online.

Between Internet anonymity and the excitement of those first messages, warning signs can go unnoticed. Our tips are not just limited to Seeking, either. Identifying these online dating red flags can help you stay safe on any online dating platform! By being cautious, listening to your gut, and keeping the following suggestions in mind, you can enjoy a better dating experience. 

1. Unverified Accounts

Did you know you can filter your search on Seeking to only show verified profiles? Taking this safety measure has helped many of our members connect with partners who also value security and peace of mind.

But if you already connected with someone who hasn’t verified their profile, you can still ask them to do it. By letting them know that Seeking’s identity verification process is fast and easy, you can feel more comfortable in your interactions and help build trust among the community.

2. Incomplete Profile

Someone who is looking for honest connections will take the time to complete their Seeking profile. In the world of online dating, your profile is your calling card. It’s what allows you to share more about yourself and who you’re looking to connect with.

An incomplete account, on the other hand, could possibly be a sign of someone who has something to hide. Maybe a person who doesn’t have the best intentions. And definitely someone who isn’t putting any effort into their search. 

3. Suspicious Photos

Poor quality photos or only one picture is not only an online dating red flag, it could also be a sign of a person who is not active on the platform. Sometimes, it’s best to stay away from them. This helps you avoid the frustration of reaching out to someone who isn’t responsive.

Other types of suspicious images include:

  • Stock photography 
  • Lifestyle photos that don’t seem to match their profile
  • Pictures found on the internet that are not their own

When someone is looking for a legitimate connection, they take the time to post pictures that show who they are. You will usually find the best profiles include a headshot, a full-body photo, and lifestyle pictures. They offer a glimpse of your potential partner and let you know what they’re all about. 

4. Too Good to Be True

Everyone likes the idea of an instant connection with their ideal partner. But, when it comes to online dating, it’s best to take it one step at a time. Especially if you notice that the other person seems suspiciously similar to you.

Are all their interests the same as yours? Do their hobbies match everything you listed in your own profile? And do they seem to be looking for someone who’s just like you? If there are too many coincidences, they may have altered their own profile to mirror your own. Ask specific questions about their interests and see if they are true. It’s best to keep your guard up, don’t let the excitement take over, and listen to your intuition. 

5. Too Comfortable, Too Soon

Instincts are as important in online dating as in any relationship. If someone makes you feel uncomfortable when you’re chatting online, chances are they won’t make you feel any better if you were to meet in person.

Because gut reaction can seem ambiguous, these are some of the online dating red flags to look out for:

  • Pushiness to meet in person shortly after you connected online
  • Asking you to send nudes
  • Sending unsolicited intimate pictures
  • Using pet names like “sweetie,” “baby,” or any words that feel too personal
  • Saying “I love you” shortly after meeting you
  • Sharing too much personal information – especially if you haven’t asked
  • Asking you a lot of questions that feel uncomfortable or out of place
  • Making sexually inappropriate comments 
  • And anything else that makes you feel that something is not quite right

6. Vague, One-word Responses

Online dating is convenient because you can get to know someone a little before deciding if you’re interested in going on a date. But when the conversation feels very brief, the person you’re talking to is not making an effort to connect.

If their messages seem generic and their answers to your questions are awkward, you could be dealing with someone who copies and pastes their responses. The safest thing to do is end the conversation and use your time to find someone who has a genuine interest in you.

7. Excuses Not to Meet in Person

If you and your online connection have been talking for a while, the next natural step would be to meet in real life. But when the other person always has an excuse not to meet you in person, they may have something to hide. They could be buying themselves more time to gain your trust and then find a way to take advantage of you. 

Although you should be cautious of meeting someone too soon, you should also be wary of someone who doesn’t want to meet you. After all, the goal of online dating is to eventually meet in person. If the other person doesn’t want to do that and you’re not looking for a platonic online relationship, there’s no reason to continue chatting.

8. Asking You for Money

This might seem obvious, but once you’re talking to someone who you really like and develop feelings for them, it’s easy to become persuadable. These are some ways in which someone could ask you for money that are online dating red flags:

  • They request your banking information
  • They ask you to send them gift cards
  • They offer an investment opportunity
  • They offer to sell you something
  • They claim to have an emergency
  • They threaten you after you’ve sent intimate photos or explicit messages

Never give out your bank information, send money, or make financial transactions of any kind. Keep in mind that if you’re looking to connect and find someone special, this is not the way to start a relationship.

There are many people out there who use online dating sites to grow their social media following or business. They could be actors, models, or artists who aren’t there to date, or entrepreneurs looking to expand their business. Instead of getting to know you, they ask you to connect with them on a different website or social platform.

Other times, these links could take you to pornographic content or viruses that can harm your computer and steal your information. It’s always best to avoid them and keep the conversation in the Seeking chat feature. 

10. Deleting their profile before going on a first date

While people in ongoing relationships eventually remove their online dating profiles, meeting for the first time is no reason to delete your account. If your date’s profile disappears from the platform before you meet, it could be a sign of someone who doesn’t want to be tracked. 

Even when you have the first date in the books, the safest approach is to keep the conversation within the Seeking app or site. 

Tips to Protect Yourself

Online dating is supposed to be fun! Here are a few additional tips to help you avoid online dating red flags, stay protected, and enjoy your experience:

  • Choose a username that doesn’t give away your real name or other personally identifiable information
  • Don’t meet in person until you feel ready
  • Use Seeking’s video messaging before meeting in person
  • Use mobile personal security apps like UrSafe
  • Arrange your own transportation to the date
  • Keep the first few meetups public
  • Let someone know where you will be and who you’re meeting
  • Report any suspicious profiles or inappropriate behavior to the Seeking team

Seeking offers a world of possibilities. We believe there are many great people out there and many special connections to be made. By listening to your instincts and staying cautious, you can find the perfect date! 

Check out the rest of the Seeking blog for more dating stories, advice, and tips.