Once upon a time, I paid $5 for an online background check to confirm someone I matched with on Bumble who did not have any social media accounts was who they claimed they were. Spoiler alert: They weren’t. Hello, and welcome to my TED Talk. When someone says they don’t have any social media accounts,
they’re lying it’s time to put on your FBI hat and do literally everything you can (…within reason) to prove they’re really real.
Sure, there are a million legit reasons why someone might not use social media, and TBH, they’re living my dream. But who wants to get catfished, kittenfished, or lied to? Not you, if you’re reading this right now. Try these six expert-backed ways to confirm your match’s identity when they don’t use Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter like the rest of the universe.
1. Try A Reverse Image Search
Step 1: Screenshot a photo from your match’s dating app profile. Step 2:
Put my thing down, flip it and reverse search it.
“Conduct a ‘reverse image search’ to see if the photo is associated with any fake online accounts, alternative names, or other profiles and personalities that just don’t add up,” says Edward J. Ajaeb, private investigator based in Washington, DC and founder of licensed private detective agency Nighthawk Strategies. All you have to do is upload any photo of them to a site like Google Images, Bing, or TinEye and see what comes up.
“These search engines will scour the web for any visually similar images,” he explains, noting that “not every image on the web is indexed, so oftentimes you’ll find zero results.” But if there are 10 identical images and they all link out to articles about a celeb or feature another person’s name? Sorry, but they’re 100% using someone else’s photo.
2. Reverse Search Their Email Address
Let me preface this by saying I don’t know how you’re going to get your match’s email address if you can’t even find their Instagram. BUT if for some reason you happen to stumble upon it, throw it into a search engine. Licensed marriage and family therapist Caroline Madden, PhD’s clients have lucked out doing this in the past. “You can see if they’ve responded to comments online somewhere,” says Madden. After testing out this method and searching for my work email, I pulled up my website, social media profiles, and a bunch of author profiles. 10/10 highly recommend seeing what comes up for you, too.
3. Google Their Basic Information
It’s one thing to not have a TikTok or an Instagram. It’s another story to not have *ANY* presence on the internet. Like, not even a trace. That’s sus. So search for any basic biographical info they’ve already shared with you to see if they pop up anywhere on the WWW.
“Try searching his or her name along with their employer, school, or other notable details in Google,” says Ajaeb. He says combinations like this could bring up the “Meet The Team” page on their employer’s website or prove they played a sport or were on an honor roll at the school… or not. May the odds be ever in your favor.
4. Ask To Meet Virtually
day 1: I would never do a FaceTime date, ew
day 16: ok who wants to get married on Instagram live
— Betches (@betchesluvthis) April 1, 2020
According to Ajaeb, it’s always a smart idea to video chat with a match before meeting IRL.“A simple FaceTime call could help to verify that the person is who they say they are and helps to break the ice before any in-person encounter.” Plus, he adds, “the COVID-19 pandemic is a great reason to set up a socially distanced virtual meeting with your match before agreeing to meet in person.”
Personally, I just ask for the person’s Snapchat right out the gate because real-time video chatting with a stranger can be high pressure and awkward AF. But if you don’t use Snap, ask to FaceTime instead. If they reject your offer to video chat every time you ask, take a page out of Nev’s playbook and run.
5. Trust Your Gut
If something feels off, it probably is. Clinical psychologist Dr. Sabrina Romanoff says your gut instinct is your first line of defense, so trust it and use it to your advantage. “It’s important to listen to your instincts above any identity verification screening processes,” she says. “The unconscious is an infallible guide and compass when it comes to providing alerts to danger or hazard. You are your best tool in discerning the intentions and authenticity of others.” She warns if you experience strong feelings of doubt or concern about your match, don’t brush them off. “Listen to the cues your body is providing and do not settle on the artificial authentication of a search engine,” she adds. I mean, Google knows all, but your sixth sense might offer a lot more valuable insight.
6. Ask Your Match For More Information
If you’d rather not spend hours on the internet digging for dirt on some random human, skip the BS and just go straight to the source. Ajaeb says if/when something seems odd, don’t be afraid to ask your match what you want to know. “Digging up information on individuals with little to no social media presence can be challenging, since there’s a lack of information for proper cross-referencing,” he says. “Online dating should be a fun, but safe, experience for all parties involved. It’s important to keep communication open, ask questions, trust your instincts, and be patient during your online dating endeavors.” And if you don’t get a good vibe from them, NBD. Just keep swiping until you find a real person with an Instagram account who can DM you quality memes all day.
Images: Charles Deluvio / Unsplash; GIPHY (4); @betchesluvthis / Twitter
It’s not all fun and flat tummy tea when it comes to being a successful influencer—in fact, it actually takes a ton of hard work. If you want to actually make money off of posting cute pictures, it takes more than just being pretty. This week we had Danielle Bernstein from We Wore What on our When’s Happy Hour podcast to talk about how she’s built her career as an entrepreneur.
Danielle didn’t just wake up one day and decide to post sick pics. She started We Wore What 10 years ago as a sophomore in college after transferring from the University of Wisconsin-Madison to FIT. Upon arriving in New York, Danielle realized there are people who actually get dressed and look cute to go to class. (The horror.) To inspire her basic friends back at Wisco to ditch their leggings and UGGs, she started a street style blog to showcase her peers’ outfits.
Eventually, as her style developed, Danielle turned the camera around on herself and transformed We Wore What into a personal style blog. She now has her own line of overalls and swimwear and has been named a Forbes 30 Under 30. So, how does she do it, and like, could you? Here’s are some of the highlights from our podcast with Danielle. For all the tricks for being successful, you’ll have to listen.
- Danielle hates the word blogger, she’s an entrepreneur (get it right, duh)
- “Know your worth and know your value” — your time and expertise are worth something (and that something is cash $$$)
- Be a fearless networker (you’ll have to listen for the full scoop on this)
- Talk to people about themselves cause everyone’s a narcissist (and do your research)
- Danielle shares, “everyone and their mother wants to be a blogger right now” so you need to find a way to stand out and look for a niche that only you can fill
- Your authenticity is your greatest value as an influencer, so learn when to say no to brands that don’t fit
- Danielle has tried the hair bear gummies and they don’t f*cking work
- Danielle loves meeting her followers and says “they’re always so cute and well dressed”—great work, guys!
- Even when you’re famous, haters can still get you down, and for Danielle, they do sometimes. But Danielle lives by the motto that “haters mean you’re doing something right”, so embrace the hate and learn why it’s actually making you more successful.
- Posts that will always fail on your Instagram: things that look too much like an ad—huge pet peeve of Danielle’s (and like, everyone)
- Just because it’s Instagram doesn’t mean you don’t have to be professional
- Get Danielle’s interview tips and tricks as well as her favorite questions to ask while searching for her own interns
For more career advice from Danielle, (and us, duh) listen to our When’s Happy Hour podcast below.
If you need even more advice (let’s be honest, we all do), order our book, When’s Happy Hour?. To follow Danielle, check out her Instagram.