How to Spot, Handle, and Avoid Online Catfish
You’ve probably heard of them, if you haven’t experienced one for yourself. Catfish, a form of deceit used to ensnare victims into a romantic connection under a false guise. They come in all shapes and sizes. From fake photos, fake biographies, and even fake social networks, these people use dating mediums to portray an image of someone they are not, and adjust it to suit their purpose. This purpose may simply be to entertain their boredom, but other times it is more serious, with the intent of identity theft, fraud, or revenge.
So how do we protect ourselves against this 21st century issue? Well, you have two tools available to you. For one, you can teach yourself about the warning signs of a catfish. Your other option is to let the dating apps do the work, and choose to use one that protects you from these perpetrators.
Because we want you to be safe in all mediums, we will discuss what to look for first and what to do when you are suspicious. Below is a list of common warning signs when interacting with a catfish:
- Glamorous professions
- This can range from being a model to being an engineer. In general, they don’t tend to have average jobs.
- Model-like appearance
- Look out for professionally taken photos, or just ones that seem especially out of the norm.
- Dramatic reasons not to meet in person
- If you’ve been talking for a while and haven’t met yet, why? If they always come up with dramatic reasons not to see you, that’s a warning sign.
- Can never speak via webcam
- Your backup when the case above happens is to speak via webcam. With easy accessibility to this technology through our phones and computers, this person should be able to put in face time if they are who they say they are.
- Grammar is not consistent with education level or profession
- Catfish come from all over the world, and thus will have varying degrees of fluency. If they claim to be native speakers with an impressive education and/or career, the way they communicate should reflect that.
- Far fetched stories
- They may try to gain your sympathy by opening up about traumatic experiences early on. Look out for far-fetched stories that are used to bring in your emotions. Especially if…
- They ask you for money
- Some Catfish have the sole purpose of manipulating you into providing them income. If this person you have not met is asking for some pay, no matter what the reasoning, it’s a warning sign.
- They get serious with you quickly
- If they quickly dive into deep feelings for you or deep trust with you, look out. Without meeting you beforehand, it is probably a tactic to gain your trust and attachment.
What to do
- Trust your gut
- If it feels to good to be true, it probably is. You can provide an ultimatum of face-to-face contact or ending communication. You can also do some more research.
- Use Google images
- Google images allows you to drag a picture into their search bar to see what hits come up. If you find someone with the same picture as the person speaking to you, and the name is different, something isn’t right.
- Check the details they’ve given you
- Did they receive some impressive award? Did they achieve an incredible accomplishment? Claims such as these can be verified by looking it up online.
- Don’t send them any information, block them from social media
- If you suspect you are being catfished, protect yourself. Don’t allow them access to any of your private information, and block them from sources they can use against you.
- If you gave them money, contact the police
- You have to protect not only yourself but also others that they are targeting.
If you want to bypass all this, your second option is to use an app like Chekmate, where fake profiles are ensured not to exist.
Through Chekmate, your information is protected. Keep your conversations in app before meeting, and you don’t have to worry about unsafe users accessing it. Not only that, but Chekmate’s core values are transparency and security, so you can feel confident that the person you are speaking to is genuinely that person. Relax and enjoy your time. Dating should be fun, not stressful or dangerous.
When it comes to dating apps, it’s best to play it safe. Learn what to look for and how to handle threats, or simply use Chekmate to enter a sphere of secure and authentic connections where you don’t have to worry. After all, it’s the 21st century. With the new threats the Internet and dating apps bring to the table, new resources need to be brought to trump them. So that’s exactly what we’re doing.
Welcome to Chekmate. Game. Set. Matched.