Are you a fan of the online relationship? Have you heard of the notorious catfish yet? Well, I’m here to try to help you not fall into a catfishing scam. Read on to find out what a catfish is and what are the 10 signs you should look for if you think you’re being catfished.
What is Catfishing?
To put it very simply, catfishing is using a fake online persona to form relationships with people online.
Contrary to what a lot of people think, not all catfishers are out to get you. Sometimes, a catfish is nothing more than a shy and lonely person trying to form a connection without putting themselves in a vulnerable situation.
These kinds of catfishing aren’t really malicious. Yes, they are a betrayal. Yes, they still are considered social scams. However, they’re not necessarily dangerous, from a security standpoint.
The more dominant style of catfishing, however, is a lot darker. Many people use fake online personas to finance their day-to-day lives or to scam unsuspecting victims out of their money and time.
10 Signs of Catfishing
How can you tell if you’re a catfishing victim? Well, there is no exact science to this. However, if the person you’re talking to online is presenting some of the signs I mention below, you might want to re-evaluate that relationship.
1. Online Relationship is Progressing Fast
Most of the time, a catfish will try to progress the relationship as fast as possible. They will actively try to form as many emotional connections as possible within the first few interactions. This should be your first red flag. Real relationships, both online and in person, take time to develop. If they’re already confessing their love to you without you guys even meeting, you’re most likely being catfished.
2. You Only Communicate Via Text
This is one of the most obvious red flags you can find. If your only mode of communication is text-based, you have got a problem.
The internet has made connecting with humans all of the world very easy. Similarly, our communication tools have significantly improved over the past few years. Most everyone uses Skype, FaceTime, or any other kind of video service. If you can’t seem to get this person to agree to speak to you on the phone or on camera, you are most likely being catfished.
3. Some of Their Stories Just Don’t Add Up
Since catfishing is basically using a fake persona to establish a real connection, catfishers need to have some background information on their persona.
Pay attention to the stories they tell you about their lives and experiences. If their stories are too extravagant or just don’t seem to be logical, you are most likely being catfished.
4. They Seem Too Good to be True
People, real people, are flawed. They have odd quirks that you might just not appreciate all the time. They’re not always perfect.
Even the most Instagram worthy real-life relationships are not perfect. That’s just basic logic, to err is to human. If you’re talking to someone online who seems to be absolutely perfect, be wary. Are all of their pictures drop-dead gorgeous? Do they know all of your references and have interests that perfectly span yours? You are most likely being catfished.
5. Their Social Media Pages are Lacking
Here’s a red flag that beautifully compliments the other signs mentioned in this list. Most people use their social media pages religiously. In fact, all you really need is someone’s Instagram handle and you’ll get a pretty good idea of their day-to-day lives.
Check the person’s social media pages. Are they active online? Can you see any interactions with their friends? Are they being tagged in pictures from nights/days out? If you can’t really find a cohesive social media page, you are most likely being catfished.
6. They Ask for Favors, Financial and Otherwise
Riddle me this: If you’re in a situation that requires urgent financial help, who do you contact?
Usually, you’d ask your family or close friends for help first. If the person that you’ve very recently met online is suddenly asking for financial assistance, you’re most likely being catfished.
This doesn’t only apply to asking for money, though. Be wary of someone you just met who keeps asking for your help. It usually takes a while for two people to trust each other enough to ask for support. If this is happening really early on in the relationship, consider it a red flag.
7. They Have Too Many Excuses
So you met someone online. You hit it off instantly (red flag), they seem absolutely perfect for you (red flag), and you can’t wait to move the relationship to something a little more tangible.
You’ve tried getting them on the phone, or on camera, or even tried to meet up with them in person….and they keep throwing excuses at you. There’s always some reason or another that is preventing them from moving past the text-based conversations you’ve been having. Yeah, you’re most likely being catfished.
8. Minimum Daytime Interactions
Try to assess when these conversations are taking place. Are they mostly occurring at night? Do you have any form of communication during the day?
If all of your conversations that you’re having only seem to take place at night, after that person has finished off their day, you need to view that as a red flag. Don’t let someone convince you that they don’t have a few minutes during the day to drop you a line or a call. If you’re only talking at night, you’re most likely being catfished.
9. They’re Always “Traveling”
They seem to have a job that sends them all over the world on a regular basis. Because of this job, they can’t really talk to you (read: show you their face on camera) often. Also, for some reason, their travels never seem to be close to where you happen to live.
If they’re always “traveling” and don’t have time to prove their legitimacy to you…you’re most likely being catfished.
10. Their Interests are Too Broad
I want you to take a mental note of your interests. Most of the time, you’ll be able to state what your interests are in a couple of sentences. These interests, usually, are specific to you and your past experiences.
Now, if the person you’re talking to online has too many interests that cover a broad range of topics, consider it as a red flag. A broad list of interests can catch the attention of a far larger number of people. That’s why a lot of catfishers end up going as broad and general as possible when listing their persona’s interests and hobbies, it simply catches more victims. If this is happening to you, you’re most likely being catfished.
How to Stay Safe in An Online Relationship
To be very honest, an online relationship is a lot of hard work. With the rise of online dating websites, more people accept the idea of a long-distance e-relationship now. This has made things a little easier for catfishers everywhere because more people are now open to these kinds of relationships.
So, how can you stay safe while dating online? Here are a few tips that will help you maintain your safety on online dating websites:
- Don’t use your Facebook profile or your regular email to sign up to any dating service.
- Don’t use your debit or credit card online. Try to create an online wallet or use a prepaid online debit card for all your online transactions.
- Be wary of sharing too much personal information with people you meet online. Make sure that you give the relationship time to progress naturally before you start revealing your deepest darkest secrets.
- If you have any kind of suspicion regarding the person you’re talking to, try Google search the picture they have up. If the only results you can find are their social media pages, then you can let your guard down a little. You will be able to see if this person has stolen their pictures from someone else.
- Get yourself a VPN connection to make sure that your data is secure at all times. You’ll also be adding a level of anonymity online and you’ll be protecting yourself from possible hacks and attacks. I suggest only using credible and trusted providers like ExpressVPN.
10 Catfishing Signs – Final Thoughts
There you have it, some of the signs you should be looking for if you feel like you’re being catfished. Remember, outliers do exist. One red flag does not a catfish mean, necessarily. If you do find more and more signs popping up, though, cut off the conversation and cut that person out of your life.