Finding a date online has never been straightforward, let’s be honest. When COVID-19 started, it did however force many to truly try online dating, remote style! It started being the normal way for people to meet online. Even though you couldn’t go on actual dates, these online dates took a new step forward.
The challenge that comes with online dating, is how do you know who you are really talking to? Hopefully, they don’t resemble an actual catch fish..but joking aside, the risks are damaging and some people really do get hurt.
What does Catfishing mean?
Catfishing is a word used to describe someone who is pretending to be someone else online, usually to either scam you or to trick you into doing something that you wouldn’t normally do. Some of them can be really nasty and evil scams!
These Catfishers will try and develop a short or long-term relationship with you and totally lie about their real identity. They can be male or female and some do indeed are sexual predators who try and trick underage.
Catfishers lure people by making themselves sound like the most perfect, attractive people on the platform you are using. They will have perfect pictures, a highly interesting (almost unbelievable) background, a good job and lots of money. Don’t get suckered in by these lies!
These Catfishers can be anywhere online but are more common on dating sites and where someone out of the blue has approached you on a social media website. They are literally fishing for victims to steal from and humiliate.
How do you know you are being Catfished?
Many people date online, it’s absolutely nothing wrong with that! in fact, most people initially meet online these days. However, it’s important you remain safe and look after your personal safety and data online, never be too over-giving with your information, no matter how friendly the other person may seem. Just remember, anyone can pretend to be someone else online!
There are some scary stats on how many single women are catfished each year, and they sometimes end up losing their whole life savings! You need to protect yourself so you don’t become a stat! keep an eye out for these signs:
1. They wont talk to you in person
One of the first signs of a Catfish is they will not talk to you via webcam or on the phone and avoid any possible meet-ups. If the person is from another country, they may not want to speak with you due to their accent or voice (may not be the sex you think they are!). They are also very sketchy about giving you other IDs such as social media links.
Normally, once people start chatting for a while online, the next natural level would be to either chat on the phone/video or meet in real life. If they’re a catfish, your date will really try and resist all of these.
2. Are all the pictures too perfect?
Perfect pictures. No one has perfect pictures, perfect smiles all the time. However, with filters, it is harder to work out if they are real or not. You need to keep an eye out for pictures that look too good, too professional, as they could be stock images, also if they cant create a new picture/selfie ‘on the fly, that is a big indicator.
3. They sound like superman!
Catfishers are good at telling stories. They are con artists after all! They spend their waking hours telling stories that you can believe and be impressed by. It’s only when you are hooked on their hero story or sob story, will they start reeling you into their actual reason for speaking to you. If they sound too good to be true, they are usually fake!
4. I love you..can I have some money?
Catfish generally want someone out of you, typically money, or to steal your identity. They don’t want to spend too long doing this, as it’s a business to them. If they profess their love without actually meeting you, you need to consider the fact they are either a little strange, or you will soon find yourself being reeled in for a scam.
Typically, catfishers will attempt to build a friendship quickly by researching you online, checking what usernames and online profiles they can see, and then marrying up their interests with yours. A little after declaring their love, they will suffer a tragic situation that requires money. Keep an eye out.
5. Cant spell, or gets the basic if / but / you / I mixed up?
You know what people in your area talk like, in personas well as the slag and mannerisms when talking via online chat. If the way they speak doesn’t sound quite right and the common words used are not local to where you are, it’s a good chance they are out of the country.
6. Can I borrow some money…I have an emergancy..
HaHa. The oldest trick in the book. Golden rule..please don’t give people who you don’t know, money! They will give you every sob story in existence, just to hit your sympathy point. Just walk away. Catfishers have been known to develop relationships for 6 months or more before asking for money, but they will do it. If you’ve not met them in person, and they are ticking off some of the points listed above..stay clear. There are more fish in the sea, just stay away from catfish!
A good way of doing your checks is to use a people search tool like UserSearch, to see how their online identity is looking. Most people have multiple accounts, with friends, many lifetime pictures over years, and normal social life. If their profile is looking quiet, with too-perfect pictures, you’ve probably found yourself a catfish!