This past year, gorgeous actress Anne Hathaway’s relationship with Rafaello Follieri famously crashed and burned when he was exposed as a con man.

In fairness to Anne, it’s not always easy to tell whether a dude’s truly charming and sweet or putting on an act. “Guys who have little integrity or may not be a good boyfriend long-term tend to be slick and evasive,” says Diana Kirschner, Ph.D., author of Love in 90 Days. The following info will help you clue in better to lame guys, and lure in the good ones.

Spotting a Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing
If you’ve ever been duped by a less-than-stellar guy (as in, a perpetual mooch, a cheater, a liar) it’s not necessarily that you’re naive. It’s that many times, we’re attracted to the traits that cover up who the guy really is, according to Jessica Cassaday, Ph.D., and Ryan Browning Cassaday, co-authors of Stop Wondering if You’ll Ever Meet Him. For example, he’s super romantic right away. “Yeah, it’s nice for you, but it’s a sign that he’s over-compensating,” they say. “Men who claim they fell in love with you at first sight or pour on the charm immediately are often trying too hard to win you over, hiding the fact that they have no real potential to develop a relationship naturally.”

Some other red flags to look for early in the relationship: He gets very cozy on the first date, becoming inappropriately touchy-feely; he’s refreshingly talkative, but you realize he actually commands most of the conversation, rarely asking you questions about yourself; or he “futures” you on date one or two, using a sweet phrase like “someday we should drive to the mountains to see the snow” (this indicates lack of authenticity or a desire to sell something).

Reeling in the Good Ones
It’s important to ask yourself whether you’re unconsciously sending out signals that losers are picking up on. If so, you may need to change your frequency. For instance, most jerks will go after women who they suspect have low confidence and can be easily swayed. To entice motivated, kind, and faithful men, psych yourself up with positive self-talk before going out. “Research says that if you tell yourself you look hot in a dress or are having an amazing hair night, you’ll have less anxiety and better self-esteem, which will in turn attract confident men who like strong women,” Kirschner says.

In terms of location, there isn’t one guaranteed place to stake out a good catch. But as cliché as it sounds, philanthropic events tend to attract honest, reliable, and commitment-ready types, according to experts. Or, hang out with your network of friends, family, and coworkers (instead of hoping to meet a random stranger at a bar) because that’s how you’re likely to connect with good guys who you’ll gel with, Kirschner says.

One sign that a guy’s a good catch? If he mentions he’s close with his family. That means he’s more apt to be a stable, loving person who wants to make a commitment, Kirschner says. Another trick to use once you’ve gone out a few times: Check out his apartment. If booze figures prominently and he’s all about multiple flat screens and toys like video games and a pool table, he could be a player.

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