By Justin Lavelle, BeenVerified.com

When you hear someone say that they met their significant other online, you wouldn’t think twice, as online dating is one of the leading ways singles meet potential suitors. Although it’s commonplace to meet people online, there are always risks associated with dating people you don’t know. You might end up connecting with someone who has a fake profile and is more interested in scamming you rather than determining if you’re Mrs. Right. But how do you know if you’re dealing with someone who has a fake profile? And what are the red flags you should look for? Fortunately, there’s relationship advice to navigate the online dating scene and figure out if you’re dealing with prince charming or prince alarming.

Relationship Advice: Tips to Help Protect Yourself When Dating Online

1. It’s a big red flag if your online interest asks you for money, especially if it’s early on and you’ve never met face-to-face. Scammers will often ask for money on behalf of a sick relative, a short term loan to pay rent, or travel money to visit you if he lives out of state.

Related Link: Match.com Studies Singles in America

2. Be careful if he avoids meeting you, especially if he says he will be out of the country. There’s a reason that scammers don’t want to meet face-to-face. If they’re running a game, they will come up with all kinds of excuses to avoid meeting. Some may use work travel as an excuse, others may say they have shared custody of his kids and it’s his weekend to keep them, or that an ill mother needs to taken care of. Listen to this relationship advice: Pay close attention to what they’re saying.

3. Dating experts say to meet relatively quickly in person and in a public place. It’s advantageous to meet face-to-face to see if you have chemistry and if he is who he claims to be. It’s far easier to walk away from a bad situation before you feel an attachment. Choose a place that has foot traffic in case you need to call out for assistance. Always tell a friend or family member where you’ll be and what time you’ll be there. It might be wise to have a bail out call come 30 minutes into your meeting, just in case you need an escape strategy.

Related Link: Julie Spira Discusses ‘The Perils of Cyber-Dating’

4. Accept the fact everyone tells lies, even little white ones, so decide where you draw the line. Online daters want to put their best foot forward. Men may say they’re a couple of inches taller than they are in reality, and women may not accurately describe their body type. Many online daters accept superficial lies as part of the deal. My dating advice is to decide what is acceptable for you.

5. To avoid identity theft scams, try Google’s reverse image search. Take a few minutes to search the profile’s pictures, and if the reverse search shows up across hundreds of pages, it’s highly likely that the person is being deceitful and is using someone else’s images as his own.

Related Link: Relationship Expert Reveals What to Do Before You Begin Online Dating

6. When chatting online, make sure the flow of conversation makes sense to ascertain if you’re talking to a live person or a robot profile. Mix up the conversation; see if the person continues to track with you. If they’re unable to switch gears, it could be a robot responder giving predetermined responses.

7. Relationship experts say if his profile is comprised of only one photo and the text is basically empty, they could be a scammer. People who don’t want to be held accountable to the content of their profile will simply leave it blank. If they’re too lazy to take the time to self-disclose and post some self-descriptive text, then you should probably take a pass.

8. If his Facebook account has fewer than 100 friends, there’s a reason to be suspicious, especially for younger users. Most people on Facebook have more than one hundred friends. There could be an explanation; he may be new to social media or a teacher that is trying to remain private. Delve deeper into his reasons. This doesn’t necessarily apply to older users, as the average person over 55 is more likely to have smaller amounts of followers.

Related Link: Online Dating Advice: When To Jump Back Online After A Breakup

9. If people claim to be famous or know famous people, it could be to lure you in. Some women get star struck and might continue in conversation with someone they aren’t interested in if there is hope of meeting someone rich and famous. Take their stories with a grain of salt; don’t continue the dialogue if you’re not truly interested.

10. Research as much as you can about the person before you meet face-to-face. Search their name on Google, search all social media profiles and ask friends if they know them. You might find out that the person has a criminal record or may be in a serious relationship and love already! Also, you can do a thorough background check on the person via BeenVerified.com, which consolidates information from public data sources to make it a one-stop shop for accessing personal information.

Justin Lavelle is the social media and blog content director for BeenVerified.com. BeenVerified is a leading source of online background checks and contact information. It helps people discover, understand and use public data in their everyday lives and can provide peace of mind by offering a fast, easy and affordable way to do background checks on potential dates.  BeenVerified allows individuals to find more information about people, phone numbers, email addresses and property records.