10. Use common sense.
In the first episode of the series, we met Sunny, a 21-year-old bubbly blonde who was convinced that she was talking to a model named Jamison from Mississippi. Though they’d never Skyped, Sunny was convinced that he was the complete package: Attractive, successful, and someone she was very compatible with. And, according to her, smart, too—Sunny wastes no time informing Nev and Max that he’s also in school to become an anesthesiologist, but since he’s always traveling for modeling gigs, he has to take all of his classes online.
Now, this should have been the first red flag for Sunny, as it was for Nev and Max. Anesthesiologists are physicians—they’re required to attend medical school and complete a residency in an anesthesiology program at a hospital. The poor girl could have saved herself a whole lot of time, trouble, and heartbreak (Jamison turns out to be a 19-year-old girl named Chelsea, which sucks) by just performing a quick Google search and/or using her goddamn head.
Hey, we get it—love, lust, infatuation, whatever, it pulls people’s blinders down. They want to believe that perhaps there’s some insane explanation for otherwise suspicious behavior, and they’ll tell themselves this often in hopes that it’ll eventually become a reality. But the important thing to remember, especially when trying to meet people in a forum so anonymous as the Internet, is to try and operate by the principle of Occam’s razor: The simplest explanation is generally the right one, and that explanation is that they’re lying through their virtual teeth.