Online Catfishing: 6 Ways to Avoid Fakes Online
More people than ever are using online dating sites to find a partner; you very well may be one of them. In fact, about 40 million Americans use online dating sites, with 27% of young adults using either a dating website or an app on their phone. It’s more common than ever to find a partner online. So, with how accepted it is nowadays, you may decide to try your luck.
However, while people are easier to access on dating sites, they’re also more likely to lie about who they are. The person you find on a dating site might be lying about a facet of his or her identity, or could actually be misrepresenting major details entirely. Here’s how you can avoid “dating” someone with a completely manufactured identity.
What Is Catfishing?
The first step to avoiding catfishing is to learn about it is. What does “catfishing someone” mean? It’s very simple. Essentially, catfishing is when people lie about their identity online to get people to date them. The reasons behind the lying could be as innocent as feeling insecure, or as nefarious as trying to scam people out of money or belongings.
The term “catfishing” came from a 2010 documentary about a man’s romance with a Facebook friend. After learning that he was being lied to, he compared his experience with the fisherman’s tactic of adding catfish to a cod tank. The catfish, who are natural predators, keep the cod constantly looking out for danger. This is similar to the way online liars make people skeptical of all internet relationships.
How Do You Find Out If Someone Is Catfishing You?
Just like any other scam, a number of signs can point to a lie. Here are the top six things that may indicate you’re being catfished:
1. Things are moving way too fast
If he or she declares love two weeks into your relationship, it’s a good idea to get a bit suspicious. Sure, it feels nice that someone is showing you such attention. But proceed cautiously, and ensure those proclamations of love are real.
2. The person has no other social media presences
If you’ve found someone through a popular dating site or app, it makes sense that he or she would be on other sites, including social media. It’s suspicious if the person doesn’t have another social media profile anywhere. Or, if there is another profile, it could be suspicious if that profile is private.
3. Personal details seem vague
If the only information you’re able to get is along the lines of “I hung out with friends,” then you have a right to be a bit suspicious. If this person truly cares about you, then he or she should be willing to share some details about life when you’re apart. Being vague often equates to hiding something.
4. The topic of money starts to come up
Although some catfishers only want the thrill of being in a relationship, many are in it to gain some type of monetary benefit. Beware if an internet fling starts telling you all about his or her money problems. If it comes up, go ahead and show compassion, but don’t delve deeper into the topic. If he or she continues to bring it up, then you might want to proceed cautiously.
5. You’re never able to meet up or video chat
If someone is pretending to be a person he or she is not, then it’s likely you’ve been seeing fake photos. If you were to meet up or video chat, the jig would be up. So, catfishers will come up with all sorts of excuses for why they can’t video chat or meet in person.
6. His or her background is elaborate and dramatic
While it’s certainly possible that you’ve met the greatest person on the planet, with a bevy of wonderful skills and a traumatic backstory that makes it all that much more dramatic, it’s unlikely. If the stories keep getting more and more outlandish, then now may be the right time to start asking for personal details that you can use to verify these claims.
How to Catch a Catfisher
Although there are plenty of signs that you’re being catfished, it can be hard to know for sure. That’s why you should use everything at your disposal to get the hard truth.
A public records site like PeopleFinders may just have all the tools you need to uncover someone’s real identity. On such a site, a simple people search may reveal if the person is really who they say there are. (And the PeopleFinders blog can give you even more ideas for how to utilize the site in your day-to-day life.)
Finding out that you’re being catfished is heartbreaking, but what’s even more painful is finding out about it too late–when you’re already emotionally invested. But if you pay attention to your online lover’s behaviors and check his or her identity sooner than later using PeopleFinders, you’re much more likely to escape catfishing in your online dating life.
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Categorized in: Scams