What would a young escort con/swindler look and behave like? And what her target most likely be like?
One of my very early columns was on just that subject; as you can see there are a number of different types, but I must point out that a con artist who can easily be identified as such wouldn’t be a very successful con artist. The best rule for avoiding sex work scams is the same as the best rule for avoiding any other kind of scam: “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.” Beware of lowball pricing and exorbitant promises, don’t be in a hurry and look for signs like a well-designed website, good reviews and a businesslike manner. Even if a lady doesn’t allow reviews, the fact that she invested in a good website and professional photos rather than relying solely on cheapie ads and motel-room selfies tells you she views her business as a business rather than as a con game, and that she’s in it for the long term rather than trying to get as much as possible as fast as possible before getting out. Similarly, a professional manner of dealing with clients tells you that she’s been doing this for a while.
Though some clients would tell you that there’s no such thing as a good Backpage girl, I disagree; I have lots of friends who advertise there, and some say it makes them more money than the pricier, more “upscale” ads do. A few years ago a regular reader told me he loved Backpage and had found plenty of good girls there; however, he kept the “too good to be true” principle in mind, looked at how she had written her ad, avoided ladies under 25 and took his time making the dates. That last is very important; both con artists and cops will try to rush you, so it’s better to avoid anyone who does.
The last part of your question is the simplest to answer, but the one people are least likely to accept. One of my university boyfriends used to say, “Nobody can take advantage of you unless you have larceny in your heart.” In other words, the majority of scams are based on the mark’s desire for a free lunch, easy money, something for nothing, or some other unfair advantage. If you’ve spent more than an hour perusing escort ads in your locale, you know what the going rate is; be willing to pay it and stay far away from “bargains”, “deals” and “specials”, and the chances of being fleeced are as almost as low as they are in any other business.
Without recommendations from friends, what’s the safest way for me to find out if an escort is real and not a cop? I’ve found a girl based near me; she seems to tour, has all positive reviews for years, has appeared in a recent documentary, and googling her name brings up Eros and only a few other sites linking hers. I’ve also googled escort busts in my area and come up pretty empty aside from a few streetwalker stings. I feel like I’ve done all the due diligence that I can to ensure my safety, but wonder if there’s anything else you could recommend?
If she has a years-long history and reviews, and appeared in a documentary, I think you can be pretty sure she is what she claims to be. Enjoy your date!