How To Check If Someone Is Catfishing You – Online dating is an undeniable part of finding love in the modern world. By the end of 2020, more than 32 million Americans used online dating services, and the industry is expected to surpass one billion dollars in revenue by 2021. But it can come down to all the allure the online dating world has to offer. Dangerous when it comes to online fraudsters.
A scam known as catfishing has caused damage to individual victims and entire businesses. Catfishing is a form of online fraud that involves using false identities to lure unknowing victims into a relationship with the intention of gaining access to money or personal data. Unfortunately, the consequences of these scams are often financially and emotionally devastating for the victims – it’s impossible to recover any money they’ve lost, and the emotional toll is difficult to cope with.
How To Check If Someone Is Catfishing You
Check out our infographic below or click one to learn the warning signs you should know before a catfisher does any harm, and tips from cybersecurity experts on how to protect yourself in the world of online dating. Links below to read a specific section.
Ways To Spot A Catfish
Catfishing occurs when people create a false identity online in order to exploit people who join a dating site, usually by manipulating them for financial gain. The term “catfishing” comes from the cybercrime term “phishing,” which is when someone uses a fraudulent identity to obtain personal information such as passwords or credit card details from an unsuspecting victim online.
Catfishing is becoming more prevalent on dating sites, where targets seeking a romantic relationship may be more emotionally vulnerable—and thus vulnerable to the catfisher’s lies.
There are many different motivations that drive someone to commit catfishing scams, the most common being financial gain. A fraudster may trick a victim into an idealized online relationship, eventually attempting to send the victim money.
Catfishers have access to personal information or certain data that can be used to commit crimes such as fraud or identity theft. Catfishers may attempt to breach data from a specific organization, and they will target victims who work at that organization to gain access to secure information.
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Catfishers may aim to steal victims’ photos and personal information for use in future catfishing schemes.
Dealing with strangers online always has its risks, but many people have found success and found love with online dating. However, it can be difficult to discern between a genuine budding online relationship and a masked relationship with the intention of exploiting you. If you’re in a relationship in the online dating world, make sure you know these warning signs to help you spot catfishers before they do any harm.
If you meet someone in an online dating environment, it’s okay to ask questions about yourself to get to know each other—it’s normal! However, you can get a feel for potential thieves by the questions they ask and how long they spend in the conversation.
It’s an immediate red flag if they ask for personal information early in the relationship. For example, asking what you do may seem innocent, but if they want to know what company you work for and how much you earn, you should take it easy. There is no reason for them to know such personal details and it is best not to disclose information about your salary or the company you work for.
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One of the signs that a thief is at work is if you make plans to meet face-to-face and they cancel at the last minute. They can drop out of an in-person meeting for any reason, such as car trouble, family or work emergencies.
Of course, not everyone you meet online wants to screw you over, and last-minute cancellations happen to everyone. But if you plan and reschedule and they cancel again, this should raise a red flag. Not being able to meet in person is a classic element of scammers’ schemes, and the constant cancellation of schemes raises suspicions.
If you’ve talked to someone online and everything about them sounds like it couldn’t be true, it probably is. This could be anything from a high-profile job they claim to have (or say, a professional model or bodybuilder) to a gift or a luxury trip the two of you take.
It can be hard to figure out, but always trust your gut. Catfishers often make big claims or promises to lure you into their web, so if something gives you the slightest bit of concern, trust your instincts. The same goes for their profile photo: if every picture you see looks like it’s from a magazine, it’s not who they say it is.
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Some people like to put it in a flattering way, especially when trying to impress someone online. But there’s a line between being charming and overdoing it, and it’s not uncommon for a catfisher to go overboard in flattering and charming ways in hopes of making you fall for them.
A good rule of thumb is to treat your online relationship the same as your real life relationship. If you go on a first date with someone in person and at the end of the night they tell you they love you, it’s really disappointing. This line can be blurred when talking to people online, but be careful with too many compliments when you’re sitting down with them in person.
If you’re chatting with someone online and suddenly start talking about their financial problems, proceed with caution. Catfishers are known for all kinds of wild stories, and if they start telling you about a strange situation that is currently causing them financial problems, you should consider this a red flag.
If you think about it, most people looking for a romantic relationship usually want to put their best foot forward and make a good impression. Spilling all the details of their recent money problems is not the way to impress a potential partner, and if someone is trying to date or have a real relationship, they won’t let you know how they broke up.
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If you talk to someone who wants to make sure they’re in a lot of financial trouble (and they could use some help getting out of it after all), you might take that as a sign of potential thieves trying to rob you. For you and your wallet.
Just as someone avoids every attempt to meet you face-to-face, refusing to join a video chat can also indicate that someone is worthless. If you have suggested a video meeting and they have canceled or declined more than once, this raises suspicions.
Video meetings are a common way for online daters to get to know each other better before meeting in person. This isn’t an unusual request, and if someone repeatedly refuses to show their face but wants to connect with you online, it’s safe to assume they have something to hide and may be targeting you for a scam.
The easiest way to sniff out a catfisher is to look at their social media accounts. Because catfishers operate using fake or fraudulent identities, they usually don’t have very robust social media accounts. Give the person an online search and check for relevant social profiles. If you don’t find anything, that’s a potential early warning sign.
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If they have a profile but lack activity or information, that could be a red flag. Note their friends or followers and check out some of their profiles too—do they look like real people with regular account activity? Some phishers clog their accounts with fake bots or followers as a way to appear more legitimate.
Finding love online always comes with a degree of risk, and there are steps you can take to better protect yourself and your data and reduce your chances of falling victim to catfishing scams.
It may seem like a given, but catfishers are very convincing and may ask you to hand over personal information online that you shouldn’t share with anyone, let alone strangers online. Start by keeping your full name a secret until you meet in person. Also, avoid sharing other personal details:
Additionally, it’s wise to do a Google search about yourself and see what details about you are already circulating online. The phone number and email address are open if you’ve used them to sign up for multiple online accounts.
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