Dating has drastically changed in the digital age. In the past, you were likely warned to stay away from people you met online. These days, however, many people meet their potential romantic partners online. This is largely influenced by the continued popularity of digital dating apps and online matchmaker services. But this shift in the norm doesn’t mean you are safe from being scammed.
Catfishing is a prevalent problem in the online dating scene. Defined as the “act of creating a false identity online to trick people into relationships,” this practice is so common that MTV has a reality show based on exposing catfishes. If you’ve fallen victim to this deception, it’s understandable why you may be hesitant to use digital dating platforms. But you shouldn’t let it stop you from finding love online.
Learn how to identify warning signs to protect yourself from these online predators.
They don’t pick up phone calls.
One of the most common warning signs of a catfish is their refusal to pick up phone calls. Although there are individuals who prefer texting over calls, it’s suspicious for a potential partner to constantly refuse your attempts at voice communication. Catfishes don’t pick up calls because it’s an easy way for them to get caught. Since they are pretending to be someone else, their voice can effectively reveal the lie to their victim.
They don’t want to video chat.
Much like with phone calls, their reluctance to accept video call invites is a red flag. It forces them to reveal their faces, which can immediately unveil their deception. While they might give you reasonable excuses, like their webcam is broken, their constant refusal for any kind of call is legitimate cause for suspicion. Don’t be afraid to nip things in the bud when your gut tells you there’s something wrong.
They have an odd social media presence.
Conduct a quick social media scrape of the person you are talking to online. Catfishes often set up fake social media accounts across different platforms. Here are some things to look out for when you look into their social media presence:
- There are multiple accounts with the same name.
- They don’t have that many friends or followers.
- There are very few photos of them.
- The photos they have seem to have been taken from Google.
They can’t keep their story straight.
It’s typical to get confused when sharing stories; it has probably happened to you a couple of times. But when the person you’re talking to constantly makes mistakes, it might be a sign that they’re lying to you. Catfishes can target more than one individual at a time; this causes them to get details mixed up.
Falling victim to a catfishing scheme can be an embarrassing or even traumatizing ordeal. But it shouldn’t discourage you from meeting people online, whether it’s for friendship or a romantic relationship. There are several ways for you to protect yourself online. It’s simply a matter of educating yourself on a catfish’s common patterns and using that information to avoid them early on.