There’s nothing more heartbreaking in the online dating world than falling for a catfish. Although most of us have heard tales of people getting caught up with a catfish, we could never picture it happening to us. However, it can be difficult to really know who we are talking too online when you only have a username and four pictures to go on. So you must be vigilant and keep your wits about you at all times. As a cheat sheet when you are unsure, the people most likely to assume the identity of another are as follows:
This person is going to look normal with regular, up-to-date pictures that look healthy and fun. They are going to get very emotional, very quickly. Expect some flowery prose about soulmates, honesty, or their God-fearing nature. Is this person talking about traveling for work, their personal tragedy, or how they want to talk to you somewhere more private e.g. yahoo messenger, skype, or text? Congratulations, you’ve hooked yourself a catfish!
As a side note, do not ever let some stranger question your humanity or guilt you into doing anything that makes you uncomfortable. You do not need to prove your trust to him by giving him your password or demonstrate your generosity to her by lending her money for a bus ticket!
If you haven’t cut off contact and reported this scammer by now you can expect some crisis where the person in question needs a plane ticket or some large chunk of change. But hey, don’t worry about him repaying you, right? He is an engineering consultant in Ghana and will surely bring you back a nice souvenir. Next!
Hey sexy 😉
The only reason a person would respond positively to a cheesy message like that is because they are fake. This person will have pretty seductive, borderline salacious, pictures and the tone of the conversation will be sexual right off the bat. Again, expect a skype request but this time for “adult fun”. Is their camera broken? How surprising…
This person is after nudes. Be very careful to whom you distribute compromising pictures of yourself. Report this person or if he or she looks like a model or e-celebrity and maybe try reverse image searching their profile pics with http://tineye.com/.
The Oblivious Catfish
This poor schmuck isn’t after your money, passwords, or nudes. They just so happen to think they looked bangin’ in ’03.
The picture will look old; either the quality will seem dated or *cringe* there will be pictures of pictures. Men might have non-ironic mustaches or puka shell necklaces and ladies will have out of date clothing and makeup choices. Technically, these are real pictures of the user, however it is a common complaint that upon meeting one user did not resemble the person from their profile.Without sounding totally gauche and asking them for a picture next to today’s paper, you can ask if they have any more recent pictures.
Have you ever been the victim of a catfish or know someone who was? Do you have any tips for people dating online regarding catfish? Let us know! We always love to hear from you.
PS; Suspect that someone you’re speaking to on PlentyOfFish might not be who they say they are? report them at firstname.lastname@example.org