Online dating is now an accepted form of meeting new people. With busy schedules and long working hours, it has become almost impossible to meet people the old fashion way; in person. With more and more people taking to social media and dating apps, in particular, to find that special someone, a new form of cyber trickery has emerged – catfishing.
Catfishing is when someone sets up a fake profile using another person’s pictures, to lure unsuspecting people into connecting with them. The profiles are usually very impressive and the pictures portray a very attractive person. Many people get drawn to these profiles, strike up conversations with the person behind them without knowing any better, and very often get romantically involved. A large number of people have been duped into sharing personal information and even sending money to the person behind the fake profile because they firmly believe that this person is their soul mate.
How to spot if you are being catfished
To stop yourself from being catfished, here are a few signs to look out for:
Profile too good to be true: If a profile is simply too good to be true, then proceed with caution. If you are a woman and you find the profile of a man who is not only extremely good looking but also well-educated and flies planes for a hobby, bring out the skeptometer. Real people don’t have perfect lives and there is a good chance that something is amiss.
No regular selfies: By looking at the person’s pictures on their profile, it’s easy enough to tell if they are from real life. Closeup, professional looking headshots or unclear distant pictures should raise a red flag. Also, lots of pictures of scenery or sights from around the world and no shots of actual friends and family is a good indicator that that profile is fake. Regular people like to post selfies of themselves and with friends and family.
Vague about video calls or meeting in person: There is a normal sense of excitement when you meet someone new and you both hit it off. As you get to know the person, you start to look forward to meeting him or her in person. In the case of real people, wanting to meet the other person is a mutual feeling and it usually happens after a few chat sessions or phone calls. If on the other hand you are being catfished, then you will notice a pattern of the other person avoiding the chance to meet you, video chat or even talk on the phone. If this happens too often, then bear in mind that the other person might not be who they say they are.
Jumping into a romance: Be cautious if someone you have met online starts professing romantic feelings for you just a few days into your meeting. Catfishers are notorious for trying to lure people into a false sense of being loved and wanted and getting them involved in romantic relationships. If you haven’t met them in person or even video chatted with them, it’s a good idea to steer clear of any romantic notions or even that person altogether.
They need money: You have met this person online and have been chatting with them for a few days and everything is going great. Your interests match up perfectly, they say all the right things and you feel a real connection and then they ask you for money. Keep in mind that if you have never met this person in real life or know anyone who can vouch for him or her, then you are very likely being catfished. Whatever you do, don’t send the person money.
Exercise a little caution and look out for these few signs and it won’t be hard to understand whether you are being catfished.