Although many people have heard of catfishing, they may not know what it means or how to handle this. The popular show by the same name made the term more well-known. However, it’s still important to get an idea of what this means for the average person and how to address it appropriately.
What Is Catfishing?
This is a deceptive identity where a person creates a fake identity on a type of social networking service. This person may be targeting a specific victim for abuse or fraud. The practice became known on dating sites where people would post incorrect information and then show up for in-person dates where the other individual would be surprised.
However, today, catfishing can be more harmful as it is often used for financial gain. People from all walks of life including celebrities have all been victims of this fraudulent practice. You may be contacted by someone you think is a friend or someone else online and start a conversation that then leads to them asking for money directly or indirectly.
Signs You’re Communicating with Catfisher
Although there isn’t one way to determine if this is happening to you, there are some telltale signs that you’re not getting an authentic person. If you have an unknown person start to follow or message you and their profile picture looks fake or too good to be true, this can be a sign that something is incorrect. Additionally, the person likely won’t want to video chat as this will reveal his or her identity. Even if you try to set up an in-person meeting, they may constantly think of reasons why they can’t meet.
If the person has multiple profiles on dating and social media sites that don’t add up, then you should also be suspicious. Having different names or pictures between sites usually is a sign of trouble. Finally, if after only a few encounters, the person you’re speaking with starts to state significant affection, this is a bad sign.
In general, having any type of online conversation should always be handled with caution. It’s best to approach each online interaction with a fair amount of skepticism to avoid missing out. If you’re on a social dating site, then this may be more difficult as you naturally want to have conversations with strangers. It’s best to keep the conversations casual at first. If you feel that you’re interested in the person, consider setting up a secure phone call or video chat. This will allow you to have a better idea if the person is authentic.
Make sure that you avoid sharing any information that’s overly personal and especially any financial information. If the person starts to tell you about their needing money, this is a sign to walk away quickly.
Spotting Fake Online Profiles
If you think that a person may have a fake profile, it’s best to review their profile and note any inconsistencies. In general, a profile that is minimally filled out with only a single photo isn’t a good sign.
If the person has any contact information or provides you with contact information consider using Spokeo reverse phone lookup. You could also take advantage of their email lookup tool to get an idea if their information is linked with scammers.
What to Do After Catfishing?
If you know that the person is catfishing you, then it’s best to cut off any contact immediately. If the person contacted you through a social media site, then reach out to their help desk and inform them that you’ve been the victim of catfishing. They can do their own investigation and block the person from the site. If you have more serious concerns for safety, then you may want to reach out to the authorities. Although it can be challenging to stop this behavior, any activity that is dangerous or appears to be dangerous should be noted so an investigation can take place.
Hundreds of people have been the unfortunate victims of catfishing but you don’t have to be one of them. Taking your online privacy seriously is the first step. Whether you’re dating online or simply using social media, it’s best to use this advice to stay safe.
Maguire Haigh is a marketing manager for Spokeo. He is interested in the latest technology trends, marketing strategies, and business development. He also prefers traveling, exploring the world, and meeting new people. Maguire has great experience in creating and editing articles on different topics.