How to Tell if You Are Being Catfished [guide]

One of the most popular misleading activities on the ever-expansive platforms of the Internet is catfishing. Most people aren’t fully aware of the concept. What is catfishing? Why do people do so? How to understand if I am being catfished? How do I protect myself from getting catfished by someone? 

How To Know If You Are Being Catfished

Why is this article helpful?

This article discusses the various aspects of catfishing so that readers can become aware of it on the Internet. Furthermore, we will provide you with all assistance you need regarding the matter so that you can use your facilities without fear of getting catfished.

What is catfishing?

With innumerable profiles on various social networking sites, it is not always possible for us to be sure of the authenticity of every person. As a result, many people pretend to be others on social media, creating fake sites and profiles. The main target of these people is to harass or scam others personally, financially, and in many other ways. 

Catfishing on dating apps

When we come to the dating app sector, catfishing is prevalent in the form of romantic fraud. People creating false identities and chatting with people are called catfishers.

The person who is being lied to is the one being catfished.

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Ways to Identify a Fake Social Media Profile:

  • Check if they have ample information.
  • Check if they have trustworthy profile pictures.
  • Check their timeline.
  • Check their textual behavior with you.
  • Check if you are uncomfortable interacting with them.
  • Check their friend list.
  • Check if they are known to you.
  • Check if they update their information regularly.
  • Check if they are too much interested in your personal life.
  • Check if they ask you to send them photos.

Why do people get catfished?

The reasons for people turning into catfishers are varied and may have several perspectives. Looking from a psychological perspective, people in isolation have difficulties connecting with others in person. They are not socially active and often follow the path of catfishing to boost their self-confidence. 

  • Personal insecurity: This is one of the main reasons for catfishing. People with low self-esteem often try to validate themselves by creating fake profiles on social networking sites and being dishonest/illegal. When someone thinks they are not satisfied with their physical appearance, wealth, or social status, they use the fake profile of someone else to boost their ego. 

What to do?

Therefore, if you are communicating with someone on an online dating app, a background check of that person is mandatory before you take things further. Check whether the information on their profiles, including their pictures, is real. This way, you can protect yourself from becoming a victim of catfishing.

  • Money fraud: People create fake profiles to promote a business that doesn’t exist, and when you make payments, they receive the money. Suppose you are new to a social networking site. In that case, you are easily targeted by people who initially ask you for a small amount of money and, according to your responses, increase the amount over time. 

What to do?

A person you’ve not known on social media for a long time or haven’t met in person, asking you to give them money is the first sign that they might turn out to be a catfisher. Your immediate response to these people should be to remove all contact and block them, if possible.

  • Fake identity: The fact that anybody can create a social profile with any name or photo without any need for verification gives space to more catfishers who try to hide their identity. Moreover, in many cases, if you have blocked or severed contact with the person’s original profile for some reason, they may create fake ones to keep track of your activities.

What to do?

Eventually, they may harass you in various ways, and therefore, it is very important that you only interact with people who know you well and who are trustworthy

  • Harassment: If a person you don’t know is blackmailing you on a social networking site, you must consider yourself being catfished by that person. Online harassment is very common nowadays, and people need to be more aware of the concept of catfishing to protect themselves from becoming victims of this unnecessary harassment.

What to do?

While posting pictures and updates, you need to be careful and ensure that nobody can misuse them later on. 

  • Unusual romantic interaction is one of the most common reasons for catfishing on dating apps. You are overwhelmed by the passionate texts of an individual that you agree with everything they say. But later, you realize they have communicated with you through fake profiles, and you start wishing you hadn’t taken things further.

What to do?

Background checks and security measures can save you from becoming prey to romantic catfishing on online dating sites.

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Tips to Improve Online Security:

  • Secure all your information on Cloud
  • Secure your online transactions.
  • Secure your emails
  • Use antivirus.
  • Avoid public server connections
  • Clear your cache memory.
  • Secure your social media privacy.
  • Avoid clicking on unknown links
  • Learn more about cyber security.

How to understand if someone is being catfished?

Even if you are new to social networking and have the slightest idea about catfishing, here are some signs that can help you identify a catfisher online quickly. You can keep these points in mind to make sure you can use your profiles safely without fearing being catfished.

  • A catfisher will avoid face-to-face interaction: You can always identify fraud on the online platforms if they are reluctant to speak to you in person or even via video call. Since their main aim is to hide their identity, they will never want to have direct communication with you.
  • A catfisher has a static profile picture: A person using a fake profile doesn’t bother making edits or changes. So, if you see someone whose profile was the same display picture for a very long time, or if someone uses vague photos, there remains the possibility of that person being a  catfisher.
  • A catfisher creates frequent profiles, so they are very recent: New businesses do have authentic social profiles, but whenever you look at a catfisher’s profile, the overall presentation will give you the idea that something is off about it. Therefore, thorough background checks and authenticity investigations are very important before you start interacting with an unknown person, whether for personal or professional reasons.
  • A catfisher will be very eager to communicate with you: These people are always in a hurry to extract benefits from you, and therefore, they show extra interest in speaking to you. Therefore, when you find an unknown person on social networking platforms being too pushy in their interaction with you, be aware and do your checks to find out if they are a catfisher.
  • A catfisher will constantly ask you for your personal information: When you find someone too friendly with you on the Internet, just to ask you to share your personal details, they are bound to be catfished. A scammer will constantly ask you to give them your bank details, address, and other personal stuff that is of no practical use to any of your friends or acquaintances. 
  • A catfisher has very few followers/friends: Since awareness regarding catfishing is slowly growing, most people would avoid such fake profiles. Therefore, you can always identify a catfish by looking at the number of followers or friends they have on social media platforms. This can be a final clue to help you judge a profile’s authenticity.

Ways to Find out For Free if Someone Is Catfishing You:

  • Reverse Image Searching-To reverse image search on your phone/laptop, follow these steps:
  • Go to Google Chrome
  • Go to the website and find the image you want to verify.
  • Tap and hold it
  • Tap on Search with Google Lens
  • Choose how you’d like to search
  • Tap on an object of the image if accessible and select it
  • Use a segment of an image
  • Scroll down to find related search results.
  • Background Check- You have access to some of the finest background check sites to help you identify a fraud profile on social networking sites. Websites like Spokeo, 411 Background Check, Pipl, etc., are helpful if you want free choices. They offer you in-depth details and authentic backgrounds and ensure that every data is up-to-date. You can find public records and data.

Details to verify in a profile:

You can verify several pieces of information like their phone numbers, email addresses, criminal histories, education and job background, friends and associates, property and businesses, etc. Also, you have other professional sites that may charge you a price, but they are worth trying when it comes to the question of your security on online platforms.

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Tips for Better Online Dating:

  • Know what you want.
  • Let your profile speak about your needs.
  • Have clear photos.
  • Have free interactions.
  • Have interesting first messages.
  • Communicate with people who are genuinely interested in you.
  • Be honest and polite.
  • Meet them in person once you are comfortable.
  • Define the relationship.
  • Maintain security and privacy

Ways to deal with catfishers

Until now, we have detailed information regarding the concept of catfishing, how to identify a catfisher or know if you’ve been catfished. However, with technological advancements, smart and tech-savvy catfishers may over-smart you, and getting away from their influence can be tricky. We thereby point out some methods by which you can prevent yourself from being catfished by fraud profiles.

  • Restrict/ Protect your online profiles- Most social networking sites come with security measures to keep you safe. For example, you can choose your audience while posting on Facebook/ Instagram, depending on whether you want your pictures and posts to be public or only friends. You can also lock your profiles, ensuring that only the people you know can follow you. 
  • Avoid detailed personal communication- Even if you interact with someone you don’t know personally, ensure you do not share necessary personal information. For example, bank details, property information, or even family matters must not be discussed with people you meet online. Again, maintaining privacy and discretion is the best way to avoid getting catfished.
  • Evaluate credentials: As already discussed, always run a background check on someone you speak to online. Look for their details, verify their names and profile pictures, and only interact with them when you know their authenticity. If you plan to meet any of these people in person after talking to them online, always stay cautious and do your research upfront.
  • Use trusted sites: Be it for shopping or dating, or communicating, always use apps and sites that are genuine, approved by all, and trustworthy. When you see an app or site being used by millions of people and approved by Google, you can safely use them without worrying about catfishing. Always be cautious about who you talk to and what you talk about.
  • Try video chatting: If you are thinking of having a friendship or a relationship with someone you’ve met online, always go for video chatting in the initial phase. This ensures that the person you are speaking to is genuine; therefore, there are no chances that you would be catfished by them further.
  • Interact only when you are comfortable: If talking to someone online gives you a bad feeling, trust your instincts and remove that person. Always interact with known people and think wisely if someone is making you feel uncomfortable. Always remember that you are the only authority that decides who can interact with you.

Some lesser-known facts about catfishing:

  • According to statistics, 35% of catfishers try to make profits through their fake profiles. They create false identities to extract financial advantages, which is more common on dating apps.
  • According to studies, 73% of catfishers pretend to be attractive and well-established people, while 20% pretend to be fake celebrities or models.
  • According to statistics, 10% of online dating profiles belong to catfishers.
  • According to statistics, 91% of people were cheated by fraud profiles, while 53% of people had to suffer huge financial losses.
  • According to a survey, around 83 million accounts on Facebook and Instagram belong to catfishers.

Conclusion

It is very important to ensure that there are no possibilities of catfishers harming you through online social platforms, financially or otherwise. Therefore, the safety measures discussed here must be implemented by everyone because the risk of getting catfished is a matter of great concern on various online social sites.

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Apps for Efficient Background Checks:

  • TruthFinder
  • Intelius 
  • Instant Checkmate
  • Spokeo
  • US Search
  • InfoTracer
  • PeopleFinders
  • BeenVerified
  • GoodHire
  • Backgroundchecks.com

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