Chances are, you’ve heard some pretty wild dating stories over the years. Some fit squarely into the comedy genre, but others are pretty icky. Whenever you see those “red flags,” or warning signs that tell you something just isn’t right, it’s important to trust your gut and not move forward with the relationship. You may have been approached by one of the bad actors in online dating.

Here are some seedy characters to look out for, as well as some suggestions for what to do when you are confronted with them.

Romantic Russ

Here is a new connection you barely know who constantly refers to you as “sweetie,” “darling, “my love” or other gag-worthy nicknames that are way too intimate for something so new. Maybe they are also professing their adoration for you right off the bat, or diving into explicit pillow talk before you’ve even talked about your favorite restaurants. They’re probably also asking inappropriate questions, or oversharing in a cringey way. Communication with them is just downright cagey.

How To Handle It: Move on. Seeking has so many (like, millions!) of other interesting, more genuine people with true class you can connect with instead.

Scammer Sam

You seem to be jibing with this mysterious stranger and, next thing you know, you’re being asked to share personal information, check out a “cool new website” or maybe even pay for the privilege of continuing communication. Basically, they have “scammer” written all over them.

How To Handle It: Protect yourself from this bad actor in online dating by never clicking on any links to other websites—goodness knows you don’t want a virus infecting your computer and you definitely don’t want anyone stealing your information. And never, ever, ever send anyone money, gift cards, or banking information, even if that charmer states it’s an emergency or a great investment opportunity. Last, but not least, make sure your username and photos don’t give any personal information away. (Remember, it’s easy to do a reverse image search with Google so always try to use photos that don’t appear in your social media accounts.)

Catfishing Chris

Is your new admirer’s photo a little too perfect? Do you think maybe you’ve seen that same picture of your Prince or Princess Charming in a store-bought frame somewhere? Or perhaps your date just seems too good to be true. Although this isn’t the case all the time, this definitely can be indicative that you’re talking to a catfish. 

How To Handle It: There’s only one way to get around this: video messaging. Fortunately, Seeking makes it easy for you with our video chatting feature. If the person on the other end isn’t willing to show their face on the computer, you better bet he or she has something to hide. It’s probably best to choose another potential partner. You can also filter your search on Seeking to show only verified profiles. (Here’s a tip: If you’re already communicating with someone who forgot to get verified, just ask him or her to take that quick step. It’s worth the peace of mind.) 

Ghosting Gary

Gary seems great at first, but then he starts making excuses to delay an in-person meeting. Or maybe he stands you up entirely. Ghosting Gary has also been known to delete his profile just before you meet for a date. Hmm. This guy is obviously trying to buy time or waste yours.  Why? Either that person is trying to string you along to take advantage of you later or maybe he was never seriously looking to make a connection and just wants to be pen pals. 

How To Handle It: Requesting a video chat or asking for them to get verified before your date is a great way to combat the Garys. It saves everyone time and effort to know what’s happening in real-time. And if he goes M.I.A. after your initial communications, let him. This bad actor in online dating isn’t worth wasting effort over. We promise there is someone else out there who is worthy of your precious time.

Take Action Against Bad Actors in Online Dating

Remember: No matter what type of character you run into, remember to report any suspicious behavior to the Seeking team ASAP. You certainly don’t want anyone else to get stuck with the same script. 

Most of the time, your dates will go smoothly without encountering any of these personas. However, it’s always a good idea to arrange your own transportation to and from a first date. You should also only agree to meet in a public place for the first few dates, and always tell a friend where you are headed. We also recommend sharing your location with a local loved one, like a family member or roommate.

Also, don’t forget about UrSafe, the hands-free, voice-activated personal safety app that’s fully integrated with 911. Everyone in the Seeking community has access to a free 60-day trial.

Now that you know who to avoid, it’s time to elevate your dating experience. Simply log in to your Seeking account to get started!