As we know...people are often not who they appear to be online...even when certified by this site...I've had men with certified photos and company websites featuring those photos be complete frauds. Anywho try to always be safe following the basics...meeting in public places, never letting them know where live, last names etc...
Remember Google is your friend...
you can Google a person by name
you can Google their photo images
you can Google phone numbers
you can even Google weird phrases that seem borrowed
Chances are you aren't the first person they are working...LOL..some one out there has seen their photo or name before and will save you a lot of time.
Lastly...if they don't want to meet -- there is always a reason -- never a good one. That concludes this public service announcement...except I am pondering publicly shaming the guys that thought Google and I weren't besties...
You used to be able to reverse image search the images on here to verify they are who they say they are, but no more. However I have learned a lot from the show Catfish and have gotten better at detecting the scammers, but its not 100%. I always love the ones who send me requests for their friends who don't have internet, lol
Wow you are spot on there Happygigglygirl watch a program here, you're no doubt familiar with it, called Catfish with Nev and Max and their television crew. It is amazing the amount of people whom portray themselves as something they are not in order just to live out the fantasy while it lasts, only problem is the fantasy eventfully becomes their reality because they are not upfront from the get go and when they emotionally lead on another person, that person does not let go so easily.
So yes it happens for sure in a minority of cases.