Online dating is the new normal for many people and whether you are new to the platform or an experienced e-dater, it can be incredibly difficult to determine if the people you talk to are exactly who they say there are. Even the most sceptical people can be duped in an online arena where a lot of what we hear and see has to be taken in good faith. But with catfishing becoming increasingly common, how do you protect yourself from those looking to ensnare you in their web of lies?
Well, don’t worry because we’re here to help and during the course of this article we’ll guide you on how you can spot the sings of catfishing as well as the things you can do to protect yourself. First let’s look at what catfishing actually is.
What exactly is catfishing?
Catfishing is where a person creates a fake online identity on a social networking platform to target people they think are susceptible to fraud or abuse. It is most prevalent on dating platforms and is often used to dupe people into romantic engagements or for financial gain through fraud. The catfisher will often use details and photos that are not their to gain the trust of others for their own purposes.
What are the most common signs of catfishing?
Sign No 1: Constantly postponed meetings
If a person you are communicating with online constantly delays meeting you then this is a huge clue that they may not be the person they say they are. Of course, they may have legitimate reasons to postpone but if this happens repeatedly you have to ask yourself, “What have they got to hide?”
Many catfishers will avoid meeting up for as long as they can as this will reveal their scheme and highlight the lies they have been spinning.
Sign No 2: Avoiding video chat
A great way to find out if you are being catfished is to insist on video chatting with the people you are talking to. Most catfishers will be reluctant to speak to you in person as this will reveal who they really are. If they suddenly come up with a ‘broken camera’ excuse just before you are due to see them for the first time, it may be the moment to say goodbye for good.
Sign No 3: They ask for money
When have you ever received a request for money online that has come from a legitimate source? You wouldn’t think twice about deleting an email from a ‘Nigerian Price’ so why entertain a request from somebody on a dating chat? Most catfishers will play on the heartstrings and spin desperate stories of financial woe, often hand in hand with promises of meeting up. Don’t do it. Delete and block. There are plenty of more fish (who aren’t catfish) in the sea.
Sign No 4. Inconsistent stories
Our final sign of being catfished requires that you pay attention to what the people you meet online say. When a catfisher spins a web of lies it becomes increasingly difficult for them to keep their story consistent. Look for differences in what they say and when the contradictions become apparent get the hell out of the chat.