Just like any other adventure, you have to be ready to face challenges in online dating. As you go along, you will encounter a variety of obstacles – from overcoming issues with yourself to dealing with stalkers. Among these problems, one stands out the most and is causing annoyance, disappointment and heartbreak to many people around the world. This problem is called catfishing.
What exactly is catfishing?
Catfishes are people who create fake online identities with the objective of luring or tricking people into having a romantic relationship with them. They pretend to be someone they are not by putting together other people’s names, photos, jobs, life stories and other personal information. Creepy, right? This kind of people are always present no matter what kind of dating site you go, be it General dating, European or Filipina dating sites.
The term was actually coined by an Indie movie starring Nev Schulman, where his character falls for an attractive young woman he met online, but was apparently a middle-aged wife with kids. The film was released in 2010, and has now been turned into a show where Schulman answers questions regarding online dating and discusses how to avoid the fate of his character in the movie.
Nobody knows for sure why these catfishes exist. Nobody understands what these scammers get from devoting their time to making someone fall in love with a non-existent person. But, one thing is for sure – catfishes can cause the most painful heartbreaks and disappointments that anyone could ever experience.
How to Identify a Catfish
The best way to avoid falling into the traps of these scammers is to know how to identify them early on. Here are 4 ways on how you can do that.
- Do an extensive research on their screen name and see if they do exist.
Use Google, Facebook, Twitter, and other social networking sites that you can think of. Look at the information that your searches bring you. Do the name, pictures, and details match their profile? Are they consistent all throughout several social media platforms? If your answers to these questions is no, then you have to look for another person to talk to online.
- Pay attention to their photos.
Most catfishes use the photos of attractive young adults and models to get more attention. Cross check the photos with their other social media accounts and see if they match. But, just to make sure, you can also use Google Image Search to check the entire web. The search engine can tell you if there is another person using that photo or if it is from a stock image marketplace.
Also, see if they have variations in their photos – selfies, photos with friends, photos with family, and photos of them doing different activities. If they post the same photos in different platforms, chances are they don’t own that face.
- Ask to chat with your web cams on.
In the virtual dating world, talking to someone with the web cam turned on is an excellent way to get to know each other better. It allows easier communication between both parties. Catfishes often refuse to turn on their web cams and make up reasons – like their web cam is broken, or they don’t have one.
- Ask them to send pictures on the spot.
Some people might refuse to send pictures early in your relationship because both parties have not established trust yet. But, when you have been exchanging messages for quite a long time and he or she still refuses to send pictures whenever you ask them, then there may be a more complicated reason why and that could be because they’re a catfish.
It will never be easy to avoid these catfishes, but if you really want to try online dating, then you have to accept that they do exist. Use these guidelines and avoid them if you can. You may not be able to identify them during your first few days of communication, but hopefully you will do so before you invest your time and emotions into a relationship.