Catfishing has become so rampant online that it is becoming increasingly more challenging to trust people even when they seem real. With stories of catfishing going viral at times, it is not easy to allay doubts, especially when you meet someone online that you truly want to be real. If you want to protect yourself from being catfished, you should know the signs to look out for.
First, What is Catfishing?
Catfishing is the act of deceiving someone into having a relationship online by using a false identity. People do this for a variety of reasons. Some catfish to pull off a cruel prank, some do it because they want attention, some catfish as the first step to grooming and abduction, and some catfish to scam someone for money. Whatever the catfish?s reasons are, the practice of catfishing is deceitful and results in hurting someone. Below are the tell-tale signs that you are being catfished.
No Phone Calls
Because the catfish is not the person they claim to be, it is difficult for them to keep up the charade during a phone call. They thus avoid phone calls and will come up with a multitude of reasons to not have to answer phone calls. Some may leave voice messages instead of answering calls to prove that they are real but note that apps now exist that can alter someone?s voice.
Fake Photos or Questionable Photos
We are now at an age where we can reverse-image search photos and see if they are associated with an account or to identify the people in them. Some catfishes even use stock photos or model?s photos which are usually uncovered with a reverse image search. Also, if all the photos that someone share seem too professional, it can be a sign that you?re being catfished.
No Followers or Friends on Social Media
A relatively new account with no followers or friends is a sign to be wary of. Although shy or introverted individuals may have few friends or followers, someone like this who also has the other signs mentioned in this article should place you on high alert.
No Video Chats and Real-Life Meetings
If someone wants to be in a relationship with you but will decline a short video call or make up excuses to meet up in real life (barring a distance of hundreds of kilometres), then it could be that they aren?t who they claim to be. No matter how shy someone is or how nervous they are about meeting you, they won?t be proposing to have a relationship with you online if that is truly the case. A 3-minute video call shouldn?t be too difficult for them.
Stories with Too Many Inconsistencies
If someone claims to be from a certain area and can?t tell you anything about their town, or claims to be from a certain school and can?t disclose what year they graduated, then it might be time to take notes. You can use the notes to compare inconsistencies later.
They Seem Off
Someone declaring love without meeting you or wanting to be in an exclusive relationship with you too soon is not normal. If they make you feel uncomfortable, or something doesn?t feel right, it is best to listen to your intuition.
Asking for Money
Asking for a gift, a loan, financial help, or any form of money is one of the hallmarks of being a catfish. As a rule of thumb, you should never send money to anyone you have never met and spent time with.