Fake profiles: Tips for telling

  • atxclimber

    Posts: 480

    Jul 07, 2007 5:51 AM GMT
    I recently had the unpleasant experience of meeting a guy on here, talking to him, finding that we had a lot in common, and finally deciding that he was a fraud, some guy using someone else's pictures and a fake identity.

    The obvious approach here is to avoid talking to anyone who isn't Verified, but I understand, some people just don't get around to it. Plus, this guy's photos were hot, and his personality seemed good -- I was willing to take a chance.

    I'll write up roughly what I did to trace him back, because it's all legal and very easy to do, and I'd certainly recommend others use these tools to validate the identities of people they're talking to online. I certainly plan to use them in the future.

    As our esteemed government would say, "Trust but Verify."

    When I decided he was a fraud, after we'd been talking for a good while, all the information I had was his cell phone number, his supposed name, and his supposed city of residence. Oh, and I was chatting with him over instant messenger regularly.

    First, I went to Intelius.com and punched in the name and city. You don't have to pay a nickel to see whether said individual exists in the city. The name matched, but the middle initial did not (tsk, tsk, details) so I forged ahead.

    You can do reverse cell-phone lookups on Intelius, too, for $15. I'm sure there's a free way to do those, since that means the information must be public record, but I don't know what it is. I did that on his cell phone number and got a totally different name.

    Interesting. In this case, my job was made easier and I didn't have to do anything terribly clever because I had an inkling of what his real career was (based on the way he chatted) and I knew, of course, what city he got his cell phone in thanks to the area code. Googling turned up a press release from his current company (eerily enough, it's in Austin, where I live, which is not where he claimed to live!) announcing that they'd hired him away from his previous city of residence (which matched the cell phone area code) in 2004.

    His company's Austin office is not large, and by random chance, a good friend of mine works there. Thanks to that, I now know what he looks like, and that he is roughly in his early 40s, overweight, has a husband / partner / etc. and a little pet dog that eats a lot of fast food (wtf, gross.)

    Mind you, his profile claimed he was a hot 25-year-old. Anyone can dream!

    One final little step I took to be extra-super-sure, but this one is a little trickier to do, is to procure the IP address he was chatting to me from. Once you have an IP address, services like GeoBytes will tell you what city that computer is in. I suppose this could be tricked if someone was on a corporate network that tunneled through a main office in another city, or was particularly savvy with computers and deliberately did something like that, but for most people that's probably not the case.

    The hard part here is getting the IP address; chat clients like AOL Instant Messenger, ICQ etc. strip the IP address out before it gets to you. In my case, I sent him a link to an image hosted on a website I administer, a link I gave to nobody else, so when he clicked on it I grabbed the HTTP logs off the site and took the IP address from that. Indeed, it was in Austin.

    At any rate, his profile has been deleted. If you were talking to a hot 25-year-old from Houston and you suddenly find he's not on the site anymore... well, you're welcome. ;)

    On the other hand, RJ customer service said I was not the first to complain about him, and he's certainly not the only faker on here, so like I said, I recommend using these tools to verify identities sooner than later.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jul 07, 2007 4:01 PM GMT
    So dude you got burned. Or you did not even get near the fire to get burned. So what the problem. Yes there are fakes in the world and some are right here on this site. But, you can not hold that against anyone. Live and let live.

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jul 07, 2007 4:18 PM GMT
    Did you confront the guy before he deleted his profile?
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jul 07, 2007 4:22 PM GMT
    You know, your story makes you seem a bit like a stalker.

    So, he wasn't 25 years old and his major crime seems to be that he was over-weight and had kids. Not quite Hitler is it?

    If you will be taken in by your own basest emotions, ie, believing what he said because of the "hot" photos that he'd posted then really more fool you.
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    Jul 07, 2007 4:24 PM GMT
    The illiterate are here to mystify.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jul 07, 2007 4:34 PM GMT
    No, atxclimber's story does NOT make him sound like a stalker. I say good for you, atxclimber.

    In fact, the evil side of me would want to make me "play" along with the lying jerk, even to the point of making him feel that "looks don't matter" and even if he was an overweight, cheating, troll, I'd want to hookup.

    Then, I'd yank the rug from under him. I actually saw the guys pictures. They were a collection of photos of a very hot 25 year old or so, not model quality pictures, but good pictures, so believable. I can imagine how many guys this twit made waste their time while he got to engage in his mastubatory fantasy that he was actually talking to somoene interested in meeting him.

    What that guy did stinks.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jul 07, 2007 4:44 PM GMT
    You know this is the internet, it's not like being in a bar or a sauna.
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    Jul 07, 2007 4:52 PM GMT
    I learned early on that the people on-line who seem most enthusiastic will vanish if you ever actually try to meet them. And very few of the fakes can maintain a consistent persona. It usually seems obvious. I did see a piece of software advertised that was basically a database to help you keep track of what information you've revealed to your different web correspondents. (Let's see, Tom thinks I'm a 26 y/o stock broker, but Joe thinks I'm a 15 y/o cheerleader.)

    BTW: Several sites use the IP address to tailor their ads to you, by mentioning your state and town by name. I notice that "my town" tends to wander around in a 50 mile radius, and hops back and forth across the state border. I guess that my ISP isn't very consistent in the way that they register and use IP addresses.

    I've also had a long string of phone-tag and lengthy courier exchanges (for work) with someone who's office was in Manhattan. After months, I finally learned that she was actually only about fifteen miles from me, on the west coast.

    Virtual locations can be kind of squirrelly.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jul 07, 2007 5:41 PM GMT
    Well I did not want to say it but you do sound like a stalker.

    Like a girl friend of friend of mine. She would park her car across the street from his house and call him to see if he was home. Knowing he was home.

    I mean you got you Cock all in the air and then found out the was a liar. It happens. Get over it and move on. It is not like Austin is tiny one stop light town. Go to Charlie's and have drink. Im sure you can find some UT Twink.



  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jul 07, 2007 5:46 PM GMT
    Oh, stop. ATX is about as far from the stalker type as you can get. Stalkers are trying to connect. He was trying to get the truth.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jul 07, 2007 5:55 PM GMT
    ATXCLIMBER was not trying to hookup, he was trying to teach the jerk a lesson. I hope he sobered the shit out of the guy, in a clever way.

    He did. Kudos ATXCLIMBER.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jul 07, 2007 5:56 PM GMT
    Well, going to the extremes of chasing someones computer ID or whatever sounds desperate to me.
  • OptimusMatt

    Posts: 1124

    Jul 07, 2007 6:27 PM GMT
    HAHA, remind me...not to screw with ATX, lol

    I read your post, and the first thing that came to my mind was the "Scott Tenerman must die" episode of south park.

    I mean no offense, but I was laughing hysterically the entire time I was reading it.

    "The chili was good chef. I hadn't counted on that"

    ahahahahhaahhahahahahahahahahhaa

    lol. I'm surprised you gave it that much effort though. You must have really felt burned. *hug* sorry 'bout the crappy situation.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jul 07, 2007 6:59 PM GMT
    Being resourceful in order to find truth is a far cry from being a stalker. Maybe some are just a little jealous that they hadn't had the insight to do just that when they were tricked... Whatever the case, let's take heed that sincerity and genuine nature are the most desired qualities we can posess.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jul 07, 2007 7:02 PM GMT
    Did someone say "DESPERATE" Oh, RED, You did not.

    Yes indeed. Desperate. And i do not care what some of you other guys say.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jul 07, 2007 7:15 PM GMT
    "...Did someone say "DESPERATE" Oh, RED, You did not...."

    "Desperate" is someone putting up a whole set of phoney pictures in the hope of entrapping someone into conversation and, perhaps, a meeting. Someone who does that is lonely, desperate for attention, even if that attention is stimulated by a lie.

    "Desperate" is pursuing a relationship with someone to the point of invading their privacy AFTER you have been told to lay off.

    The last I checked, in this context, "desperate" means driven by irrational hopelessness. Seems like Mr. Liar is that, and ATXClimber is driven by "righteousness" :-) and "vengeance", both of which, in this case, are extremely clever, not violent, not self-righteous, and got the desired result...the guy got embarassed, got shamed, and got "gone." (Although, I'm sure he'll be back, or is back, under a different dishonest profile).
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    Jul 07, 2007 7:35 PM GMT
    ATXclimber didn't say, but it sounds like this person approached him to begin with, and remember this wasn't the first complaint against the guy. If you are suspiscious and just want to know that is not stalking a person -- I suppose it could be come obcessive, but it sounds like his desire was to know, so he could get away from the person if he was a fake.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jul 07, 2007 7:47 PM GMT
    I agree what atxclimber did was way much more thne I would ever do, however everyone is different.

    A friend of mine used to purposely go under false pictures and act as though he was someone else to hook up with someone. He would tell them the place (a public ice cream place) then he would go drive up in his car and watch the guy arrive and he would laugh his ass off. He found great enjoyment in this, I would hope something similar would happen to him to make up for doing that to people.


    So I see both sides, seeing how it can be a little over the top, but why not do this if ur really pissed? I would have never paid any kind of money though.

    Good for you atxclimber. Enjoyable read.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jul 07, 2007 8:02 PM GMT
    In ATX's profile, it says he's a videogame programmer (which is awesome IMO). Tracking people via IP address is simple enough and certainly nothing extreme. It probably wouldn't even be a challenge for someone like ATX. Its not a stalkerish at all, its more of a safety precaution. People deal with fakes online everyday (bah, I play MMORPGs). ATX is giving people who aren't as computer-savvy the opportunity to protect themselves.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jul 07, 2007 8:27 PM GMT
    How about, he's fake, fine. You live in a world with Billions of people.

    move on?

    sounds like it.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jul 07, 2007 8:50 PM GMT
    Go ATX!

    Going through all that makes sense if you are planning on meeting a person. I think its reasonable to ask someone to verify. Its not difficult. If you are trying to connect with someone through online, you should be prepared to provide some proof that you are genuine and do not be bashful about asking for reasonable evidence.

    Getting a request from someone like "please email me a picture of you with your car", or"...wearing a baseball cap" should not put you off too much. It is just a way of building trust.

    LostLover is not verified and based on his comments, I suspect his pics are not him. His two pics have completely different skin tones ( could be lighting). One is hairy the other not (could have shaved). The position of the arms in each makes it difficult to discern if the chest shape is inconsistent. These pics could be of the same guy, but that doesn't mean they are LostLover.



  • atxclimber

    Posts: 480

    Jul 07, 2007 9:13 PM GMT
    To be clear, what I did took like a half hour in a web browser. It's not like I'm hiding in anyone's bushes.

    He contacted me originally, we talked for a few weeks, I decided he was fake, I wanted to know who he actually was. So I found out. That's really it.

    My point, in fact, was that this is quite unlike stalking, and that I think it's important people be aware of the tools at their disposal when talking to people online to confirm that they're not liars.

    None of that stuff is rocket science. All of it is free or cheap. If you give a shit about meeting people you talk to online, why not just make it standard procedure?

    Also, I'm confused by responses like this:

    How about, he's fake, fine. You live in a world with Billions of people.

    move on?

    sounds like it.


    Are you harshing on me, or backing me up? I can't really tell. At any rate, I agree with you. As I said in my original post, I was writing mostly to let other people know that it's easy to verify information against the public record so you can quickly tell who is fake and move on.

    I'm not wringing my hands in the air, woe is me, I got burned, oh, I'm so mad. Yep, I got burned, and yep, it's irritating, but I'm not losing any sleep over it. There you go. You don't have to be fooled if you just use these tools. The public record is your friend. Information is handy. That's all.
  • DrStorm

    Posts: 185

    Jul 07, 2007 9:18 PM GMT
    I'm totally with ATX on this one - I've been online since 1991 and gawd knows the amount of time I've invested in fake assholes. Even a dozen or so using my pics in their profiles even a profile pretending to be me on damn escort site....so, when you spend a lot of time chatting/getting to know someone online only to find out he's totally fake it is somewhat frustrating and yes, you can move on and just let it go, but hey, I personally thank ATX for taking the initiative for getting RJ to remove this fake asshole. Some of us lead VERY busy lives and don't need out time wasted. the more fakes on here, the less likely anyone without a verified profile is ever going to be talked too. Or alternatively, we could demand that everyone who joins the site be verified...like that will go down well with some..remember, it only takes a few to spoil it for all.

    My easiest way of identifying fakes in your own city: try to meet them...there will always be an excuse at the last minute...RED FLAG => move on.

    I treat others like I want to be treated...piss on me and I will bite your hand.

    PEACE

    daWeatherMAn.


  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jul 07, 2007 9:24 PM GMT
    ATX,
    Just a note that some of the methods you mention aren't foolproof or completely accurate. Just for fun, I did a search for myself on Intelius.com, and as it turns out, according to them, I don't really live in California! But I've lived here for 3 years.

    The problem becomes more complex when you're dealing with a somewhat common name, as mine is.

    So, I'm all for doing some PI work if you think you're being duped, but it has to be understood that the data isn't always as clean and straightforward as you might expect.
  • atxclimber

    Posts: 480

    Jul 07, 2007 9:30 PM GMT
    red / lost_lover: I guess my original post made it sound like some really involved thing. It isn't. So I don't get stuff like:

    So, he wasn't 25 years old and his major crime seems to be that he was over-weight and had kids. Not quite Hitler is it?

    No, you're right... uh, did I say he was? Major crime? I don't get it. I didn't post that to attack him. I mean, shit, I explicitly left out all names and identifying information out of respect for his privacy.

    And it's not like I'm terrorizing the guy, I just looked up who he really was and filed an abuse complaint with RealJock, and they nuked his profile because, yeah, they'd already had a few complaints about him being a fake.

    The thing about stalking is it's necessarily about pursuing and continuing to pursue. Lost_Lover, if your friend's girlfriend trusted her boyfriend so little that she felt compelled to follow him around, she should have just dumped him.

    If I looked up this guy's info and found out who he was and started tailing him around town and leaving him heavy-breathing sexual phone messages at 3am, that would be stalking.

    Using public info to double-check what some guy online said about who he is, finding out he's a totally different guy, and then rolling my eyes and filing an abuse complaint? That's not stalking at all.

    Maybe you're just weirded out by how trivial it is to find information about people, but again, that took me almost no time and no more motivation than an inkling he was a liar and an idle curiosity to see if I could one-up him.

    OW: I did confront him (calmly and casually) over instant messenger, actually, and he totally panicked, instantly signed off, haven't seen him since.