We apologize in advance if the following information delivers a devastating blow to your romantic aspirations. But that Catholic Native-American widow you met online with a PhD who's from Nigeria and descended from royalty?
There's a possibility she just might not be who she says she is.
I know. I know. Shocking. Crippling. We'll give you a second to collect your breath before you continue reading.
OK. As I was saying, the Internet -- and online dating sites in particular -- are full of creeps hiding behind invented personalities. This is hardly news. But what is news is a breakdown of exactly which identifying traits in a person's online profile are most indicative that you're dealing with a phony. For instance, all the descriptors mentioned in that opening paragraph.
Dating site and sugar daddy-finder SeekingArrangement.com says it's banned 60,000 user accounts for fraud in the last 10 months alone. Working with a background-screening service, they came up with "The Face of Fraud," a list of the profile features most common among those banned users. In other words, do not wire cash to any sweet-talking, self-proclaimed Ukrainian engineer.
Of those 60,000 banned accounts, Seeking Arrangement found the following:
-- The most common religion claimed was Catholic, comprising 82% of fraudulent accounts
-- 71% were female, 29% were male -- sorry fellas
-- The most common relationship status was "widowed," used in 63% of cases
-- 28% said they were from Nigeria. Other "red flag" locations: Ukraine (23%) and the Philippines (21%)
-- The most common occupations were engineer (26%) and royalty (25%). Note that anyone claiming to be royalty should not only be immediately ignored/laughed at, but also thoroughly lacks creativity. And who wants to be with someone that unimaginative anyway?
-- 36% claimed to be Native-American, the most often-cited ethnicity
-- 54% said they had a PhD. Because if you're going to lie, might as well go all the way
So there you have it. The very worst online profile ever. Avoid anyone claiming any of these things at all costs.
And if by chance you really do happen to be a Philippine queen with a PhD in engineering, wow, tough break. Perhaps you should just log off and try your luck at a bar instead.
Follow Jonathan Anker on Twitter @JonFromHLN