We've all heard the catfishing horror stories (I mean, there's even a whole show about it), and if you're like me, you've always thought, "God, that could NEVER happen to me. I wouldn't be fooled." But the reality is, catfishing is real and there are people out there who are darn good at it. So, to make sure you never catch yourself a catfish, here are the 7 signs to look out for when you're chatting with someone online.
First, some of you may be wondering, what does it mean to be "catfished." Well, that's simple. A catfish is someone who's lying about who they are online. Maybe they made a fake profile using someone else's picture and name. Some catfishing can be fairly harmless. Simply a lonely person who wants to make friends but isn't confident enough with themself to use their own picture and info, but catfishing can also be a lot more sinister. So, it's important to know the signs of a catfish so you can get ahead of the con.
1. The relationship is progressing very quickly
Often a catfish will come on really strong because they want to reel you in quickly. After only a few chats, they might already be telling you that they're falling in love or that they could see themselves spending their whole life with you. A catfish wants to gain your trust quickly in order to manipulate you to get what they need. So, if they're being over the top and it feels ridiculous, it probably is.
2. They never want to video chat or talk on the phone
You're been chatting for a few weeks and you want to take things to the next level by video chatting or talking on the phone, but they refuse. Maybe they say their phone camera is broken or they have bad service. A catfish will come up with all the excuses in order to keep the lie going. So, if they continue to deny your request to FaceTime or chat on the phone and they keep making excuses to avoid it, you may have caught a catfish.
3. They won't give you their social media info or when they do, it's very suspect
Come on, everyone is on social media, so if your online friend claims they aren't, that's something to be wary of. OK, maybe they're too cool for Instagram, but they aren't on TikTok, Twitter, or even Facebook? Definitely consider that a red flag. Or, they do give you their social media handle, but it's just a little...suspect. Maybe they have close to zero followers or they never post. Or, the photo they sent you is the only one on their Facebook. Come on, you're a pro at social media, so you know when something seems off. These are all signs that the person you're talking to, doesn't actually exist.
4. Their stories seem a little too good to be true
If they're telling you wild stories about their past relationships, their travel experiences, and their immense wealth, these are all signs that your online friend may be trying to manipulate you to win you over. Be extra critical when they're telling a story, ask questions and see if the story seems legit and holds up to your questioning. Sometimes, if it feels too good to be true, it probably is.
5. They ask you for money
If someone you're talking to online asks you for money, that's it. Get out. Right now. You barely know this person, they won't video chat with you, and their stories seem ridiculous. DO NOT give them money or your bank account information. If they ask for money, that should be a sign that that's all they were working toward the whole time. Cut off that connection ASAP.
6. Your friends are suspicious
Sometimes, it's easier to assess a situation from the outside looking in. So, if you tell your friends about your new pal and they aren't as excited as you thought they would be, it's probably for a reason. If your friends are suspicious, you should probably listen to them.
7. Your gut is saying something is wrong
Always listen to your gut, especially in situations like this. If you think something seems weird, and if they're ticking off many of the items on this list, end the relationship on the spot. It's better to be safe than sorry.
Luckily, there are resources now for people who are the victim of catfishing. If you think you may be getting conned, try looking up your new friend's profile on socialcatfish.com. That will hopefully provide you with some information so you can proceed accordingly.
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