Opening your heart to someone new is never easy – especially when your only knowledge of them comes from a few brief exchanges on a dating app.
And experts say imposters are becoming more common in the dating world, following reports of women and men being duped online by con artists looking not for love, but financial gain.
Manipulation is easy if you have the right information, according to psychologist Honey Langcaster-James, who warns of so-called ‘love imposters’: ‘They are highly skilled in knowing what you like, and they say exactly what you want to hear.’
‘People don’t realise how much information they give away about themselves,’ she says.
‘Not just in the way you might think, like a name or address, but for example if you use any kind of dating app or just your social media profile.
‘In your pictures not only are you giving away a lot of information about what you look like, but in the background there might be things or in a particular place that says a lot about your socio-economic status.
‘You are unwittingly giving away information all the time about your level of affluence and other things like the type of family you come from, whether you are isolated and can be easily preyed upon.’
Honey cites photographs on walls in the background of pictures, or even books on bookshelves as clues to your background and interests that could be used to manipulate you.
And she says it isn’t only vulnerable people who can be duped, adding that ‘anyone can fall prey’ to an imposter.
Honey emphasises that people shouldn’t be put off using dating apps, or meeting people in real life that they’ve struck up a connection with online, but says it’s important to be savvy.
To mark the launch of new TV series Imposters on Virgin TV, Honey revealed her top warning signs to look out for to FEMAIL – and the best ways to ensure you’re being safe when dating somebody new.