While catfishing has been a term for many years, it seems that these horror stories from dating online tend to pop up more and more frequently in the modern era. Perhaps you have even heard of your friends getting catfished. This situation can be quite awkward when trying to meet someone online and can even be downright dangerous, exposing you to scammers, stalkers, or other people with nefarious goals. If you want to avoid being catfished while dating online, here are some tips.
What Does Getting Catfished Mean?
Most people likely already know what the term “catfish” or “catfishing” means. However, not everyone may have encountered this term. When dating online, a catfish is someone who takes on a fake identity when interacting with others, typically through a dating profile.
Catfish usually steal someone else’s photos and personal information in order to create a fake identity. Sometimes they simply steal photos publicly available on the internet and then create their own fake story to go along with it. However, the term always refers to the creation of a false identity.
Getting catfished occurs when someone uses this fake identity to lure in another person. If you feel that you are connecting with someone when dating online but they turn out not to be who they said they were, you are getting catfished.
Why Do People Catfish Others When Dating Online?
The reasons that people will create fake identities online to catfish others vary significantly. In the early years of online dating, one of the primary reasons for catfish was because someone may not be confident about how they look or their level of attractiveness. Thus, they may use older photos of themselves or even photos of someone else in hopes of getting a date, only to be revealed when meeting the person in the real world.
While this practice does still happen, it is no longer the major reason that people engage in catfishing. Today, most cases of catfishing are associated with scammers seeking to find someone to scam out of their money. Catfishing is a major part of the majority of online dating scams. These catfish will try to convince others that they have found their soulmate before trying to con them out of their hard owned money.
While there are other reasons why people may engage in catfishing such as stalking or trolling, they are less common. For most people today, the concern of catfish in dating online relates directly to the reality of scammers.
Tips to Avoid Getting Catfished When Dating Online
The best way to avoid getting catfished when dating online is to understand the signs of someone engaging in catfishing. Below are some of the best ways to avoid falling victim to scammers or other people engaging in catfishing.
Conduct a Reverse Image Search
One of the most effective ways of identifying a catfish is to conduct a reverse image search using the photos they use on their dating profile. In many cases, you will find they have been lifted from stock photos or from someone else’s social media. However, with modern AI software, some scammers have switched to using AI generated photos that cannot easily be sniffed out this way.
Schedule a Call or Video Chat
If you are growing suspicious that someone you are chatting with online may be a catfish, scheduling a call or video chat can be a great way to investigate. Scammers will typically find excuses not to do this as it would give away their true identity. If someone is very hesitant about doing this, you can conclude you are likely being catfished.
Be Cautious of Love Bombing
Love bombing is a modern term for when someone expresses strong feelings very quickly when getting to know someone. This is a common tactic used by scammers in order to put the person at ease, build trust, and make them feel as if they are falling in love. If someone seems way too into you too quickly, a bit of caution is warranted.
Meet for a Date
Of course, the easiest way to determine if someone is a catfish is to meet them in person. As always, first dates with someone you meet online should be done in a public place for safety reasons. If someone is reluctant to go on a date with you, particularly if they have seemingly strange reasons for not doing so, this is another warning sign.
Stay Safe When Dating Online & Avoid Catfish
These tips can help you stay safe while dating online and avoid falling victim to catfish and other scammers. In addition to saving your precious time, these tips can improve your safety and help protect your personal information and finances.