Do you think you’re being scammed by an online Catfish lover? These are 9 tips to help you find out if you’re being duped!
Are you being duped by an online lover? If you’ve been dating someone online and something is starting to smell a bit fishy, then you could be falling victim to a Catfish!
If you’ve been living under a rock for the last 5 years, then you don’t yet know that the term “Catfish” was coined by an indie film of the same name, wherein Nev Schulman believes he’s pursing a relationship with an attractive young girl online, but he has really been nabbed into a sick romance with a middle-aged mother and her cast of make-believe characters. Post-movie Catfish madness, MTV got a hold of Nev, hosting a show outing manipulative online Catfishes and exposing their stories on TV.
How to spot a Catfish
So what does an online Catfish do? What are the tell-tale signs of being duped? And how can you hunt down your online lover to find out if they’re actually a liar? For those not up for outing their business on a TV show, here are 9 ways to catch a Catfish.
#1 Google their name and e-mail. One of the easiest ways to track down your online lover is to do a Google search of their full name or their e-mail address. There may be no results, or there may be pages full! Make sure you put quotation marks around your search word, as this will ensure only the specific word, e-mail, or phrase you searched will come up in the results.
#2 Pay attention to details in photos. If you’re truly suspicious that your online lover is too good to be true, have a good look at their image gallery. Do they never seem to age in their photos? If their gallery is real, they’ve likely had social media for years now, and their gallery should reflect that: aging, different hair lengths and color, as well as having friends in photos.
Check not only for friends in photos, but also see if the friends are tagged. If their whole gallery is just a collection of selfies, with no other people present, then your online crush is either a narcissist or a fake, in which case, you’d be a fool to continue dating them online. [Read: 16 signs of an attention whore to watch out for]
#3 Do a Google image search of their photos. The majority of Catfish don’t use their original photos, preferring to use the Facebook or Instagram albums from an unknown model or even photos from complete strangers! To do a Google search, simply drag the photo in question into Google Image Search and see what comes up. Odds are, if your online lover is faking, you’ll see their image come up on other websites.
#4 Check out the friends list. How many people are on your crush’s friends list? There’s a delicate balance of the number of friends your crush can have without seeming suspicious! If your online love only has 15-30 friends, yikes! If your friend has 1000+ friends? Even bigger yikes! Consider yourself in the safe zone if the person you’re pursuing online has an average number of friends.
Check out the people on this person’s friends list. Are they active on their social media? Do they only log on or make posts around the same time that your crush does? Do they have lively photo albums, with tagged friends and a healthy interaction on their wall? Keep your eyes open to suspicious friend activity!
#5 Check out the Catfish’s interactions with their friends. Many social media users would often have conversations through the comments section of a post. Real friends who post real comments on posts would usually mention inside jokes or things that they often do together, as well as the occasional “I miss you” or “let’s hang out.”
On the other hand, people who comment on a Catfish’s posts would be more inclined to just leave a quick comment or compliment. There are no hints that the commenters have ever interacted with the owner of the profile.
#6 Fishy jobs spell out C-A-T-F-I-S-H. Does your online lover have a suspicious job? This is a common trait of online fakers. Common jobs include models, music producers, actors, photographers, artists, and even freelancers. If your online crush doesn’t seem to be affiliated with any company that you can Google, it may mean that they’re faking their job to lead people on.
#7 Have you spoken over the Phone or Skype? If your crush doesn’t know how to Skype, or refuses to talk over the phone – you definitely have a scammer on your hands. My grandpa uses Skype, and he’s 82. There’s no way a young person using social media doesn’t a have a camera or doesn’t know how to use at least one video chat application.
#8 Are they asking for money or gifts? There’s a fine line between Catfishing and online scamming. If your crush is asking you for money to pay phone bills, rent, groceries, or if they are hinting at or blatantly asking for expensive gifts, then you not just have a Catfish, but also a giant user on your hands! Block! Delete! [Read: 11 signs you’re being used for sex or money]
#9 Do they tell ridiculous stories to avoid meeting? Are you and your Catfish living in the same area, yet you haven’t met yet? Many Catfish come up with elaborate stories as reasons not to meet you, such as getting into a car accident, losing a loved one, variations of either themselves or their loved ones falling victim to cancer, or other more outrageous lies. Watch out for flimsy or over-the-top excuses!
Hook, line, and good thinkers! Why do people Catfish?
If you’ve finally nabbed your Catfish and confronted them as a liar, try not to lose your cool. While some online fakers think of Catfishing as a game, the majority of them simply want to escape the life they’re living. The reasons for their faking their appearance usually has to do with deep emotional issues, life tragedies, and personal insecurities – so try not to be too harsh if the girl or guy who feels like an ugly duckling wanted to try out life as a super hottie for a night!
If you’ve been Catfished, the best thing you can do is move on! Even if your Catfish seems to have a heart-wrenching story for why they lied to you, you can’t continue on in a “relationship” where there is no trust. Fool you once, shame on them. Fool you twice? Shame on you!
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