Are you being catfished? If you’re at all suspicious that someone you’re talking to online is not, in fact, who they say they are, you could be a victim of catfishing. It’s important to know what catfishing is and to be able to identify warning signs so you can protect yourself against these online predators.
What is really Catfishing?
Catfishing is the process of creating a false identity in order to lure people into relationships online. The “catfish” refers to the predator who creates the false identity. Catfishing is abusive and deceptive. This practice was widely brought to light in Nev Schulman’s 2010 documentary Catfish.
The phenomenon shows no signs of slowing down. Today, there’s a whole television show based on the idea, the practice is featured in movie plots, and celebs have even shared personal experiences of being catfished.
Why do people catfish? The reasons are never good. Some catfish are lonely and want a relationship with someone they don’t believe they could have in real life. Some catfish are out to troll or harass their victims. Other catfish want to scam money from their victims, or the catfishing is the first step in a plan to kidnap or physically abuse them.
Whatever the case, you don’t want to find yourself a victim of catfishing. If you suspect you’re talking to a catfish online, you’ll want to cut ties with them as quickly as possible. Here, we’ve gathered Ten signs that indicate you’re being catfished, complete with insights from former catfishing victims.
Read on to discover the crucial red flags to watch out for.
1. They can’t pick up a phone call.
I have also had a catfishing experience: When I was a teenager, I role-played on the blogging site Xanga. Through the online community, I purportedly met a 20-year-old man named Corey from Long Island. These were the days before smartphones, so he gave me his number to text all day.
On his birthday, I tried to call him to surprise him with a birthday message, but he never answered. The voicemail message was generic, which prompted me to start questioning if he was a real person. Eventually, I found out an older woman from Michigan had been faking an identity and interacting with several teenage girls in this online community as well.
2. They have less followers or friends on social media.
In seventh grade, Alaina Leary, now 24, created fake MySpace and AIM accounts to flirt with a guy who was particularly mean and toyed with the emotions of her best friend. She used her real first name, but not real photos of herself. Although the facade lasted only two weeks, it taught her how to spot a catfisher in the act, especially since she had made several friends online who she knows in real life.
“The MySpace account didn’t have many friends, so that’s one sign to look out for if you’re being catfished on social media,” she explained. “The account was new and I didn’t bother to find ways to get a bunch of ‘real’ friends on there.”
Leary suggests that someone on multiple platforms beyond a dating app, such as Instagram and Twitter, is easier to verify because you can see how legitimate — or illegitimate — a following they have.
“The more consistent someone is across platforms, the more likely it is that they are who they say they are,” she added.
3. Their story doesn’t make sense.
Katelyn Burns, 35, was catfished on OKCupid by an attractive man who shared her same interests. Typically, she’s very distrustful in these situations, but “this time, dove right in.” The first red flag involved the details of his job.
“His location was listed as Arizona but he just happened to be moving to my specific town in a month to open a new office at his job,” Burns explained. “I began suspecting he was catfishing me when he wouldn’t answer specific questions about his job transfer. I live in a fairly small, niche beach town and it’s unlikely a national corporation would choose my town for a new office.”
4. They use fake photos.
If you’re unsure whether a person is who they say they are, conduct a Google reverse-image search based on the photos they’re using. If you find out the photos are linked to someone else’s profile, you’ve likely exposed this person’s lie.
Everything felt too good to be true, Burns stressed. “The confirmation came when I did a reverse Google image search on his pictures and found a different guy’s Facebook account,” she said. “His only public post on the account was ‘My account was hacked again.’”
5. They only upload professional photos.
After getting catfished six years ago, film and television producer Bernard Parham worked on the MTV’s reality show Catfish during seasons two to five. Beyond his personal experience, he learned the many tactics that catfishers use. An easy giveaway? Professional photos.
“Any profile with professional-grade photos, like headshots or comp cards, should raise your suspicion,” explained Parham. “Regular folks tend to use candids taken by their friends and family on their profiles.”
Leary adds that most people on social media upload multiple photos of themselves and their day-to-day activities. Be wary of those who have very few photos of themselves.
“It’s a lot less likely that someone’s catfishing you if, in addition to selfies, they also upload their succulent garden, pics of their cat napping, or the beach they just visited,” she explained.
6. They can’t meet you in real life or even have a video chat.
In eighth grade, Mike Funk, 27, began interacting with a boy named Brendan, who apparently lived and skateboarded in the same neighborhood, but Funk never seemed to see him around. The reason: He was catfished by someone he knew in real life.
“We had a snow day, and I tried to get Brendan to hang out with me, but he refused my invitation, despite being off school and supposedly living where I knew a giant snowball fight was taking place,” he said.
Parham also suggests pushing for a video call if you’re unable to arrange an in-person meeting, especially if the other person lives far away. If they won’t even video chat, that’s another red flag, and they’re probably not the person they’ve been representing themselves as on dating sites or a Facebook profile.
“Catfish will happily waste copious amounts of your time with excuses and fabrications,” Parham added. “It’s better to nip it in the bud than be taken for a ride.”
7. They request for money.
Another clear-cut sign you’re being catfished? Your contact will ask you for money. If they ask for a loan — or a flat-out gift — that is a warning sign.
Never send money to someone you’ve never met, no matter how small the amount.
8. They’re unimaginable.
If the person you’ve just met online is telling you they love you or engaging in other over-the-top behavior, this can also be a sign you’re being catfished. Attention like this can feel good, and that’s why predators make such huge declarations: to lure people into their webs.
9. Something just feels off.
Don’t be afraid to trust your intuition. If something about your new online pal seems off, pay attention to that feeling. It’s always better to be safe than sorry. If it doesn’t seem like a person is using their true identity, they probably aren’t.
10. They sound too sweet
They very last sign you should look out for is this, they moment you are being catfished you discover that they tend to sound too sweet and easy going, it doesn’t just feel alright, even when you get them angry they just wave it off and forgive you quickly without hesitation, juts know you are being catfished.
Catfishing is very bad, if you are a victim or you’re into catfishing people, for whatever reason either for fun or stealing, it feels so bad, there are real online dates. This article has exposed all their tactics so be scared no more, just ensure you follow all these steps listed here in other to discover whether you’re being catfished or not. Please share this article right now, you might be saving someone at the verge of being catfished.