No doubt online dating seems adventurous and exciting. But remember that the world of online dating is full of deception and if you aren’t careful, then it can lead to a lot of serious consequences. One activity of deception which is becoming rampant on the Internet is catfishing and it can break your heart if you truly fall in love with the fake person you have met online. So you must keep in mind the tips given in this article to avoid getting catfished.
What is meant by catfishing?
Knowing about catfishing is important before you learn the ways of saving yourself from catfishing.
Catfishing is basically a phenomenon in which a person fabricates fake online identities just to trap and trick other people. The person uses the power of technology to hide his/her true identity and gets involved in romantic/online relationships. Usually such a person is called an online predator/catfish whose aim is to scam innocent people online.
Many people resort to catfishing to extract money from others or get hold of personal information of others and use it to their advantage. While some catfish fake their identities in order to hide negative things about them from someone they are pursuing romantically, some even catfish just for the sake of having fun as well.
After the release of the documentary movie ‘Catfish’ in 2010, it was revealed that many people on the Internet had been duped in the manner in which the protagonist of the movie was fooled. The documentary triggered widespread interest in the phenomenon of catfishing and an MTV show was made to reveal how catfishing was becoming common in the online dating world.
Getting catfished can be quite frustrating and heart-breaking experience for a person who has invested a lot of time and energy in an online relationship which in the end turns out to be a lie. It can make a person feel vulnerable and he/she might not be able to trust anyone else once again. Therefore avoiding such a deceptive activity should be your top priority while dating online.
Characterstics of people who catfish
Due to the booming online dating industry, catfishing has become extremely common. Catfishing is no longer confined to things like faking the age/height/weight or using old photographs, etc. to pursue someone romantically. It has moved on to sinister motives like extracting money or taking revenge on someone.
- People who use catfishing technique are bored, lonely or seeking revenge
- Their level of self-esteem is low; they are compulsive liars and might have been abused at some point in their life
- They live in their own fantasy world and are addicted to some false persona
- The catfishers usually belong to the age group of 11-55 years
- The hunting grounds for the catfishers are dating websites, chatting apps, social media websites etc.
If you want to find true love on the Internet, then you have to keep your eyes and ears open so that you do not fall into the trap of these catfishers. Enjoy the perks of online dating, but do not forget about its downsides as well.
Related reading: 5 confessions of people who had revenge sex
Warning signs you are being catfished
Since more and more people are resorting to catfishing online, how will you be able to recognise if your loved one is genuine or not? Do not worry, as we give you certain signs of catfishing which will help you catch a catfisher easily.
- Weak social media profile: A catfisher’s social media profile will not be convincing. It will either be incomplete or be completely new. His/her friend list will not be long and posts on his/her profile will be meagre
- Would avoid meeting you face-to-face: Even after chatting with you for months, he/she will make excuses to not meet you in person and will also avoid video chats. The catfisher might agree to meet or video chat with you, but he/she will definitely ditch the plan at the last minute
- Does not take time to get serious: A catfisher might get serious about the relationship with you too soon. He/she will shower you with declarations of undying love and even propose to you after just a few weeks or months of chatting
- Unrealistic stories: The stories that the catfisher tells you will become more and more unrealistic and bizarre. He/she is always ready to conveniently give you an explanation and get out of any tricky situation
- Too perfect: Everything seems way too perfect about the catfisher – right from his/her professional profile photos to his/her impeccable professional life
- Asks for favour: He/she might even ask for uncomfortable favours from you like he/she will tell you to pay bills or will push you to send money to him/her
- Gut feeling: Deep down in your heart, you get feeling that something is definitely wrong with this person, and you must trust your instincts
It is essential that you take care of your heart and yourself when you opt for online dating. Catfishing has the ability to destroy you not only monetarily but also emotionally. So be smart and avoid getting fooled by a catfisher.
15 tips to make sure you don’t get catfished
Online dating is not a cakewalk and it has its challenges. But you know what the worst thing is? You trying to forget someone who lied to you, stole your money and gave you false hope of having a loving future together. Thus, if you are interested to avoid such a situation, then follow these 15 tips to make sure you don’t get catfished.
1. Keep your social media profiles well protected
All social media websites have certain top-notch security settings which you must take advantage of. Review your privacy settings every month and make sure your personal data is well protected. Always be cautious of what information you share on your social media profiles.
2. Do not divulge any private and confidential information to anyone
Even if you have been talking to a person for a very long time, it does not mean that you share with him/her every detail about your life. Ensure that you do not divulge information, especially confidential information like bank account details, home address, etc. to someone you have met online and not in real life.
It is always better to be safe than sorry.
3. Take the help of Google to assess the person’s credentials
Google can help you check the person’s name, profile picture and other credentials. If a Google search comes up clear regarding the person you are dating online, then it will be great. But if it doesn’t, then you must pay attention to the warning.
4. Explore the person’s social media profiles smartly
If the person hardly uses social media accounts, the profiles have a short friend list, few or no tagged photographs, no pictures with friends and family or everyday whereabouts, few posts, then something is definitely suspicious. So explore the profiles carefully for any of these signs.
5. Always use well-recognised dating websites and applications
In order to avoid being a victim of catfishing, you must always use reputed dating websites and applications. Use the ones which allow you to report suspicious dating profiles so that you can not only save yourself but also others from the catfishers.
6. Verify the information you gather through a background check
The moment you feel a little doubtful about the person you are dating online, you must take steps to get a background check done on him/her. This is important to get rid of all suspicions and start a serious relationship based on full faith and trust.
7. Try to set up a meeting with the person as soon as possible
If you think that the online relationship is going well, then there should be no harm in proposing a meeting with the person as soon as possible. A person who is genuinely interested in you will also show equal enthusiasm in meeting with you. But a catfisher will try to evade such a meeting request by making wild excuses.
So be aware.
8. Encourage the person to have a video chat with you
In case the person is not yet comfortable with the idea of meeting with you face-to-face, then you can encourage the person to have a video chat with you through Skype or other video chatting apps. Even if after repeated attempts and requests, the person avoids video chatting with you, then something is amiss.
9. Insist on having phone conversations
By talking to the person on the phone, you will be able to at least take a step towards confirming his/her identity. You will probably get to know the real side of his/her personality, as the person will not be able to give calculated answers. Therefore, insist on having phone conversations with the person.
10. Keep track of your online persona
By doing so, you will ensure that your online persona is not used by a catfisher. For example, there are websites which let you know if your name has been searched anywhere on the Internet or if your profile picture has been used anywhere else. So use such websites.
11. Be aware of social media policies and local laws
There are special social media policies which are violated if someone uses fake identities, so you can use such policies to your advantage and report the perpetrator. Even local laws are there which make it illegal to impersonate someone else’s online persona. Thus, you must be aware of these as well.
12. Share the details about your dating life with your friends
It will no doubt be embarrassing for you when you tell your friends that you are dating someone online. But they will actually help you judge the person well. So share certain details with them and see if they have any doubts regarding your guy/girl.
13. Ignore uncomfortable requests from the person
Since you are dating online, it does not mean that the person has all the right and authority over you. He/she cannot ask for requests like pay his/her bills or give some money on loan, etc. from you. The smart move on your part is to ignore such requests and politely decline them.
14. Learn to be patient
Even if you get butterflies in your stomach when you talk to this person and he/she always has the right thing to say to you, you have to learn to be patient. Do not jump to conclusions regarding spending your life with this person. Take it slow and ensure that you are not falling for someone who is just an impersonator and a cheat.
15. Opt for offline dating
The best way to avoid catfishing is to opt for offline dating. Real life presents a lot of opportunities to find true love. So you should go out, meet new people and try to find the love of your life through real-life opportunities. Offline dating can make you feel safe and secure and help establish long-term relationship.
We sincerely hope that these tips turn out to be helpful for you and allow you to meet people online safely and happily. There are good people out there on online platforms as well. So do not miss the chance to meet them, by taking proactive steps to avoid catfishing.