Online Imposters

How to Spot Online Imposters

Fun fact about me: in my twenties, I tried online dating. Back then, online dating was new and taboo. Like Fight Club, the first rule was don’t talk about it; lie about where you met. It was as if I had become a member of some clandestine society, wearing this figurative offline cloak of secrecy. Not only did I not discuss it, I certainly would’ve never considered writing about it. But, here I am and frankly, the statute of limitations has expired. So let’s take a long hard look at online imposters and how to protect yourself from them.

More is Not Always Better

Keep in mind, two decades ago there were only a few players in the online dating market, a stark contrast from today.

It didn’t matter if you were seeking a fellow dog lover, or a faith-focused Christian, maybe even a partner who was living the farm life there was no online platform bigger than Match.com. Yet, their online community was a collective of all walks of life, so niche preferences didn’t make the cut on any drop-down fields when building a profile or searching the profiles of others.

While the online market is filled with countless additions since then, no matter what the URL they all do have something in common—online imposters.

They are filled with attractive men and women, seemingly looking for a committed relationship. They have bios that speak to every disservice or pain-point any reader has or ever will encounter in a relationship.  

This is the first of many red flags.

Can you relate? You read her profile and wonder how she can possibly be single? She’s only 66 miles away. You begin to think you’d travel for someone this incredible. Suddenly your distance deal breaker is negotiable because this woman shouldn’t be single, but you’re glad she is.  

Listen to Your Instincts

This is where I go back to my great-grandmother’s advice (this will be a common reference in my blogs) that lives with me 30+ years later.

If it’s too good to be true, it is.

If you are online, it’s safe to say you have yet to find one single person that captures just a few of your wants. Then all of a sudden, here comes someone who seemingly possesses everything you are looking for. It’s a catch-all sales tactic most often seen on late-night infomercials.    

Okay, so you messaged the wildly attractive no-way-they’re-real profile...no judgement here! I admire people who believe the glass is half-full. However, there are countless good-hearted people who have been scammed by online imposters, so I must advise you to be skeptical as you move forward. 

If within the first few messages you notice any of the following red flags, I urge you to end the conversation and move on: 

  • They give you a different name from the one on his profile.They’re likely on several sites under different aliases.
  • He invites you to message using an app like WhatsApp or Kik
  • They tell you they’re not officially divorced. It’s likely their spouse is not even aware they’re unofficially divorced.
  • Their original location was local, but after you connect, they are traveling abroad, usually urgently.
  • They ask what you do for a living, specifics about your family, what zip code you live in, but refuse to answer the same or similar questions. Ever hear of stranger danger?
  • Beware when you ask a specific, yet common question about their hometown. For example, I once asked a man from Chicago if he was a Cubs or Sox fan. He replied that he wasn’t into basketball.

If your intuition is alerting you to stranger danger, it’s time to listen.  

Spelling & Grammar

Many online imposters will use exceedingly poor spelling and grammar despite often boasting post-graduate degrees. Pay attention, this is where the journalist in me kicks in. It’s one thing to have a misspelling here and there. No telling, they may be on the go, in a hurry, or maybe they just have fat fingers, who knows? 

Does their language style and conversation skills match the profile they’re portrayed? The improper use of words and verb tenses, as well as bizarre punctuation are all big red flags. If your intuition hasn’t kicked in just yet, well, I’m trying to help you here!   

Why are there so many online imposters? What can they possibly gain? There are a million reasons why someone is online and maybe they’re bored just like you? But, other reasons can be far more dangerous and deceitful. 

Use Common Sense

If you met someone in a bar or a social event and they asked you deeply personal questions in a very short time period, it should sound an alarm. Gut-instinct is something we are all born with, but it's a conscious choice as to whether or not we listen and allow it to guide us.  

Be weary of anyone that asks you to talk in great detail about yourself. It’s easy to feel flattered that another person is eager to learn about you. No one can fault you for loving the attention, but don’t lose your sensibilities in the process. We have all been living in quarantine for the last year, so it’s easy to get caught up in compliments, if even you know they’re coming from an online imposter.  

These imposters are very good at what they do. They quickly build a connection with you from what you tell them. The information you give them in conversation is used to craft a script that speaks to your heart. They want to hook you and leave  you with the impression that this stranger truly cares about you.

I’m sorry, but...

Online Imposters Do Not Care About You

Sadly, they craft messaging around the very private information you share with them. You could go on wasting your time or worse, losing money. Some ask for you to send them unused gift cards, bank account information with the end goal—money. Don’t fall for the scheme. 

You are talking to a scam artist, not your future husband or wife. In 2018, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) received thousands of reports of romance scammers who created fake online relationships only to steal their victims’ money. 

Signs of a scam are always evolving, but the FTC boiled it down quickly:

  • Tell you they love you quickly.
  • Are from the U.S. but are overseas either for business or military.
  • Ask for money in an attempt to lure you off the dating site.
  • Promise to visit but an emergency prevents them from doing so.

Please be smart. While I’m warning you, I’m not the U.S. government, and even they know this is dangerous territory.  

View the FTC’s report here.

When you’re online, lead with your head, not your heart. All of the cues we are privy to in person: body language, mannerisms, eye contact or validation of one’s appearance are absent online. An online photo on a dating site isn’t confirmation that someone looks like that today or ever.

So, whatever method you opt to use to find love, be sure to properly vet them or employ others to do the work for you. It’s a jungle out there, so arm yourself with your weapons of gut-instinct and common sense. It will help save your heart and perhaps, your wallet!  

Stay safe in your quest for love, 

Jodi 

*If you feel as if you have been a victim of an online dating scam, please report your incident to reportfraud.ftc.gov and the respective online dating site.


Womens Intuition

The Science Behind Women’s Intuition

In honor of International Women’s Day, we’re going to take a look into the science of an age old phenomenon—women’s intuition.

Even the CIA knows women make better spies.

Okay, ladies, now let’s get in formation.

The British Journal of Psychology defined intuition as: what happens when the brain draws on past experiences and external cues to make a decision—but it happens so fast that the reaction is at an unconscious level.

Another definition is our brain’s ability to draw on internal and external cues while making rapid, in-the-moment decisions. Often occurring subconsciously, intuition relies on our brain’s ability to instantaneously evaluate the situation and make a decision based on gut-instincts.

Judith Orloff, MD, is the assistant clinical professor of psychiatry at UCLA and the author of Guide to Intuitive Healing: Five Steps to Physical, Emotional, and Sexual Wellness. She said the following:

Just like the brain, there are neurotransmitters in the gut that can respond to environmental stimuli and emotions in the now—it's not just about past experiences. When those neurotransmitters fire, you may feel the sensation of butterflies or uneasiness in your stomach. Researchers theorize that gut-instinct plays a large role in intuition by sending signals to your brain. I teach my patients to always listen to their gut—that sixth sense that's telling you something might not be right—particularly if you're sensing danger. If you listen to it and you're wrong, you've lost nothing. Perhaps you took a longer route home or you ducked into a store until the feeling passed. If you don't listen to it and you're right, things could turn out very badly. More often than not, your gut is right, so listen up! It's always better to be safe than sorry.

Science suggests women's intuition is a product of evolution. Females with a strong ability to understand and predict the needs of their offspring and mates thrive over females with inferior senses.

Previous generations were often expected to be seen but not heard. Because of this, they developed a deep sense of observation by becoming hyper-sensitive to the feelings and nonverbal cues of others.

Women may exhibit more intuition, empathy, collaboration, self-control, and appropriate concern because of increased blood flow in the brain. Or as Dr. Daniel Amen, Founder of the Amen Clinics, put it:

“The female brain is wired for leadership.”

Perhaps they should have been listening to us all along.

We are also better at showing our emotions through facial expressions, tone of voice, and body language. Whereas, men are better at hiding their emotions and maintaining a poker face.

But often, we’re still able to decode your tells. 

Research on nonverbal communication skills shows women are better at reading facial expressions and emotions. As a result, we are more likely to pick up on the subconscious cues of others.

The University of Cambridge conducted an experiment by showing people pictures of eyes. The subjects were then asked to conclude the person’s mood based on the appearance of the eyes in the photo.

Unsurprisingly, the ladies dominated.

When comparing MRI scans of brain activity, the female brain reveals an increased number of neural connections. This makes it more efficient and helps with interpreting one’s social surroundings.

On the other hand, the male brain is neurologically wired to be more logical, making it more effective at linking perception with action. This helps men be more intuitive. You guys also have better spatial intelligence, so stop making us navigate!

History and science both agree women’s intuition is more than just a myth. Listen to that little voice in your head; trust your gut. It might just save you a lot of heartbreak.


Worst Dating Advice

World’s Worst Dating Advice

Rules are meant to be broken. It’s a new decade, so take the worst dating advice you’ve been told throughout the years erase it from your memory.

There is an entire genre of self-help books dedicated to dating advice, much of which is solid, data-based research, but an equal amount is opinion-based and anecdotal. As they say, don’t believe everything you read. 

Love is Magical

Soulmates, twin flames, love at first sight, happily ever after—these are the types of magical love we strive for from our very first bedtime story. 

Real life love is much more practical. Don’t get me wrong, it has its magical moments when you swear the earth stops spinning. But true love, the kind that lasts forever, is a choice that must be made every single day.

Love is a verb as much as it is a noun.

The worst dating advice I ever heard was: If there is no chemistry on the first date, it’s not worth pursuing.

Attraction is not limited to our primal instincts, even though it may feel that way sometimes. As feelings of love and admiration develop, so does that magical, unexplainable spark.

Don’t write someone off right away. Some of our strongest matches have come from couples that we initially had to talk into going on a second date.

Keep Conversations Light

We’ve talked about the opposite end of this spectrum: oversharing. You don’t want to share too much too soon, but you also don’t want to avoid meaningful conversations that occur naturally. As the relationship progresses, you should feel comfortable opening up about more sensitive topics. This includes things like family goals, career dreams, and wishes for the future.

Imagine investing months into someone only to find out your goals for the future couldn’t be more opposite. You want to get married and raise a family, but she doesn’t want marriage or children.

By not defining the relationship and communicating your needs, you run the risk of wasting a lot of time dating people who aren’t a viable match. Executive Matchmakers helps weed out deal breakers so this doesn’t happen

Be Your Best Self

We’re taught to be on our best behavior in all new relationships, and it’s true—to an extent. On a first date, at a new job, or even with a budding friendship, it’s always important to put your best foot forward. 

As Miranda Lambert put it, Hide your crazy and start acting like a lady.

But there comes a time in every new relationship, where both parties have to be vulnerable, let their guard down, and show their flaws. If this doesn’t occur, the connection will remain in surface-level acquaintanceship territory rather than growing into something deeper.

Often in new relationships, people will behave how they think their partner wants them to behave. This leads to a myriad of problems.

If you’re not behaving as you normally would, your partner doesn’t truly get to know you. She may fall in love with a false version of you. This often leads her to a sense of feeling defrauded. And you’re left feeling as if your partner never truly knew you after all. 

In trying to be everything your partner wants, you may lose your sense of self.

Communicating one’s needs, expectations, and boundaries is key for building the foundation of any new relationship. 

You’re finishing up dessert on your third date, when your partner suggests a bar across town for a nightcap. You know you have an important meeting first thing in the morning, but you don’t want to upset her, so you say yes. Unfortunately, while you’re sharing a drink an hour later, the mood has shifted. You’re in your head, stressed out about the morning, and constantly checking your watch. Your date studies you closely for some sign of what caused the flip after dinner, but ultimately she’s left clueless.

If you had set boundaries and explained why you needed to go home after dessert, you could have both ended the night on a high note, excited for your next date. 

What is the absolute worst dating advice you’ve ever gotten? Just remember, not all advice is good advice! When in doubt, ask your Matchmaker


Dating Screen

Executives - Think Outside the Dating Screen!

Matchmakers Are Your Dating Headhunters.

When we talk to potential new clients, a fair number admit that they never thought of hiring someone to help them with their love life until they stumble upon an article or ad for matchmaking. For many successful men and women, it just makes sense right away. Dating is a time investment in hopes of eventually finding a long-term relationship. Alternatively, the online dating screen often produces endless profile scrolling, bad matches, and requires a massive time investment.

Matchmakers are your dating efficiency, love life headhunters! We cut your time spent on dating screens down to zero. Instead of you spending hours scrolling through Tinder, Match, OkCupid, or others, we search our massive "Little Black Book" and use our Personal Scouts to find you high-quality dates. If you are still unsure about the benefits of hiring a matchmaker, keep reading. We'll explain why matchmaking services have the potential for a high ROI for those looking for real love.

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Oversharing

Oversharing - Too Much, Too Fast

Beware! The fine line between being authentic and oversharing

Andrew and Melissa's second date seemed to be going great. They were dining on the patio at one of Andrew's favorite local wineries. The sunset was spectacular and Andrew's anxiety about bringing a date to one of his favorite places was almost gone. Melissa seemed to get his dry humor and he appreciated her quick wit and warmth. She had even leaned into him when they were waiting to be seated and then held his hand when they walked to their table overlooking the vineyards below.

While they were sipping a spectacular Russian River Valley Pinot Noir, Melissa casually asked Andrew about his previous dating experience. Without thinking, Andrew launched into the FULL story of his last long-term relationship. Including all the details about their custody dispute over the puppy he had gotten his girlfriend for her birthday, and their disastrous last vacation. Andrew told her how they met, about their moving in together, all the things that went wrong afterward, and their messy breakup. When Andrew finally stopped talking, he noticed that Melissa was no longer smiling. After finishing dinner, Melissa got a Lyft home.

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