Online safety should always be a priority when looking for love. Often we can take it for granted, especially when it doesn’t come in the usual predatory way. When we search for love, we have this sense of hope and vulnerability about us, which can make us perfect victims for a ‘catfisher’. If you haven’t heard of the term, then allow me to explain. Catfishing is when someone fabricates an online profile or fake identity in order to start a relationship with someone. Whether you have seen the documentary “Catfish” by Nev Schulman or perhaps heard the Casey Donovan story, it’s an all too common problem. So why do people decide to catfish someone? Well it could be for several reasons, whether out of loneliness, a mental sickness, boredom or to try and scam you. The fact of the matter is it is a real threat and that’s why you need to be savvy about the following signs:
1: They sound too good to be true.
We all want the fairy tale, let’s face it. However, if someone who you have never met says all the right things and promises you everything without having met them in person first, then you need to be wary. No one is perfect, yet there are some pretty awesome people out there looking for the same thing as you. The difference is a real person will come across more authentic in their conversation, they won’t be agreeing with everything you say just to please you.
2: They won’t want to meet up or video in person
This is because they aren’t who they say they are, so will always have a reason as to why they can’t see you in person. Online dating is a great way to initiate introductions, but the relationship should always start off line when you have gotten to see and know each other in person.
3: There are holes in their stories
If someone is telling your different stories and things just aren’t adding up, then chances are they aren’t authentic. Listen to what they say. Are they coming up with wild overly dramatic stories? Most catfishers will use fabricated dramatic stories in order to try and build an emotional attachment to you through empathy. Their goal is to draw you in hook line and sinker so that you feel ‘connected’ too them in a deeper way.
4: They don’t really have a social media presence
OK whilst not everyone is into social media, it is a very common habit amongst most people. Chances are if someone is trying dating apps or online dating, they also use social media. So, if you did a quick search and found very few friends and photos on their Facebook page, this can’t be a good sign. A real person will usually have a documented life outside online dating which includes family and friends present and evident.
5: They are asking for help or money
This is probably pretty obvious, but if someone asks for financial assistance before you have even met them in real life…something isn’t right! The thing is catfishers always have another agenda which is self-focused. They aren’t transparent or honest and are living through fictional lives they have created. It doesn’t matter if you have known them for 3 months or 3 years, if you have never met the person in real life, you cannot be sure that they actually are who they say they are.