As it is #GirlCode week, we giving you tips of how to be safe while online and not fail into the mania that is CatFishing. You probably thinking "What is CATFISHING?" well, it actually doesn't have anything to do with fishing.
A Catfish as: "Someone who pretends to be someone they’re not using Facebook or other social media to create false identities, particularly to pursue deceptive online romances."
Online dating scams are very much in news these days and this post is to spread the awareness about the Catfish and learn how to protect ourselves. You can empower yourself by starting to listen to your rational voice, and you’ll soon be separating the princes from the frogs like a pro. Here are some tips for spotting a Catfish:
1. Too good to be true – photos
– Do they look like a model? Do they seem way too perfect to be a normal person?
– Search their photos using Google search image – if you find the same images on lots of different sites linked to different names or if the images turn up on a stock photo site or modelling site, you might want to think twice
2. Too good to be true – life
– Don’t be too quick to believe everything you read. If they claim to be a brain surgeon and part-time pilot, who enjoys running monthly marathons and volunteering to save the children in Africa, your alarm bells might start ringing
3. Saying exactly what you want to hear
– Many People who have been Catfished say the person said all the right things. We all know that ‘real people’ have flaws and tend to say a combination of positive, negative and neutral things so look out for this
5. Too serious, too soon
– Real intimacy takes time to build, it is based on trust and deep rapport. If they move too quickly into the realm of love and commitment, try not to be flattered. This may be a sign that they are not really into it as you are.
6. Asking for money
– This should be a massive red flag (Like i barely know you). If they ask you for cash, this is an indicator that their intentions are based on something other than finding love – walk away!!!!
7. Very low Facebook friend count
– Check out their Facebook page as soon as you can. Often, when a Catfish sets up their false dating profile, they set up corresponding Facebook, Twitter and other social media accounts to show ‘social proof’ that they exist. If their other social media profiles appeared online around the same date, this could be an indicator of deception. If their Facebook profile has less than 100 friends or no people are tagged in their photos, this is also an indicator of a fake profile
8. Traumatic life events
– Many Catfish create elaborate stories to play on your sympathy, especially in the lead up to asking for money. Be aware of anyone who talks about major illnesses, traumas or unusual life events in the context of ‘feel sorry for me’
9. Excuses, excuses, excuses
– A key indicator of a Catfish is that they will not want to meet you in person (or via webcam). Be aware of anyone who constantly makes excuses as to why they can’t meet
– A good guide is to aim to meet in person within one month of connecting online, and always a public place. Bring a friend!!!
10. Trust your gut
– Most victims of Catfish report that there were many little signs, lots of times when their gut told them NO but their heart told them YES. This is one situation where it is important to listen to your intuition, it’s there for a reason. Your unconscious mind gives you hints when it suspects someone is not the real deal, listen to it!
So use these tools and be safe, but the best way to meet new people is going out there and mingle :)