Catfishing is a common scenario in various online dating sites and social networking sites. It is the act of creating a false identity online in an attempt to lure a target.
The “catfish” engages in a fantasy or creates a make-believe background story with the sole intention of deceiving, swindling or double-crossing a victim online.
In some cases, the catfish’s intention besides defrauding a victim is to seek revenge or to carry out identity theft.
How Catfishing Happens Online
Catfishing exploits the reality that some people are willing to ignore the red flags which indicates that a friend or colleague may not be who they claim to be.
In online dating and cyber relationships, such warning signs include denying the opportunity to meet in person and refusal to engage in video chat or even voice calls.
A catfish may even come up with stories to avoid meeting in person such as being out of town or having a business trip overseas.
Bolder attempts to trick a victim include claiming to have a serious injury or being in an emergency situation in order to request for some money.
It all starts with persuading the victim to believe in their stories and to earn their trust.
To facilitate all these plans and actions, a catfish usually posts attractive profile photos and comes up with an impressive personal profile that does not add up.
All these are for the sole purpose of deceiving their victim/s.
How to Spot a Catfish in Online Dating Sites
A “catfish” is someone who pretends to be someone they are not using social media or online dating apps to fabricate false identities and pursue false and deceitful online romances.
Here are some tips on how to easily spot a catfish online;
Uploads photos that are too good to be true
Someone who appears to be way too perfect and flawless for a normal person may be a catfish.
Search online to check if you’ll find the same pictures on other sites under different names or if the photos turn out to be stock images online.
Refuses to have video calls and dismisses the idea of meeting up in person
Outright refusal to meet up or engage in video call session is a warning sign that you might be talking to a catfish.
This person may be trying to win over your trust and confidence in order to carry out his/her next plan. This is something that you should watch out for.
No photos in profile and says “no” to webcam
Someone who has no photo online (or on his/her profile) and does not want to chat with a webcam may be hiding something.
You should start feeling suspicious about this person because online dating is all about getting to know each other and making real connections.
Therefore, an online account that does not have a photo should make you feel doubtful. Chatting with this person might only expose you to certain risks and we all know that the internet is the hub for fraudulent acts.
This only goes to show how much you need to be extra careful when using online dating apps. An empty profile that doesn’t reveal anything about the person (with no followers or few connections) could be more suspicious than a seemingly perfect dating profile.
Too much, too soon
A person who’s asking for too much too soon might be up to something.
For instance, someone who suddenly professes love out of the blue; or someone who asks about personal matters all of a sudden may have other goals in mind other than finding a real date.
Genuine intimacy takes time to establish and it’s based on trust. If a person is too intent to move too quickly into the real of relationship, don’t be flattered. This could be an indication of deception and fraud.
Requesting for money
This is the ultimate red flag in online dating and clearly defines the motives in catfishing.
However, a lot of people who are desperate for love and attention end up becoming victims of such schemes.
Without any doubt, they easily give in to the requests of a catfish while being blinded all along by the seemingly perfect character.
If you don’t want to fall victim of such bluff and treachery, walk away and block that person the minute he/she makes the move to request for money.