What is catfishing and how can we protect ourselves?

What is catfishing

The rise of online dating has significantly opened up the amount of opportunities to meet future partners, particularly for single mums who may not be able to get out much because of caring for young children.

Incredibly convenient and simple, there are endless different dating website and apps to try your luck with. However, in all the fun and excitement it’s easy to get carried away and forget that there are some potential dangers to look out for too.

One of these is catfishing.

This term is used to describe when someone has created a fake identity online with the intent to pursue someone romantically under false pretences. Some catfish do so because they don’t wish to reveal something they see as potentially negative about themselves, and some do it just for the fun of it.

Unfortunately, others have more alarming agendas, such as wanting to coerce someone into doing something they wouldn’t normally do – like give money or send intimate photos – or are trying to gather enough information to commit fraud identity.

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But even if the catfishing is not particularly sinister, it can still be extremely hurtful and frustrating when you’ve invested time in someone online only for them not to be who you thought they were. It can also make some women feel very vulnerable and impact their ability to trust anyone again, especially if they have already suffered a traumatic break up.

Catfishing is a somewhat scary concept, however don’t let it stop you from using dating apps and sites. You just need to protect yourself.

 

To avoid being catfished follow these tips:

 

  • Never use the Internet for online dating while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

 

  • Block anyone suspicious.

 

  • Don’t leave it weeks, but take time to get to know someone and check that things ‘add up’ before ‘meeting up’ in real life.

 

  • Do a background check – Google a potential date if you have enough details. You can also use searches created for potential dates as well, thanks to the increase of online dating apps.

 

  • Look for red flags, such as spelling mistakes and bad grammar on a profile when someone has stated they’re college or university educated.

 

  • Be wary if they mention recent traumatic life events (such as the death of a partner or child), as many will fake stories such as these to make you feel you feel sorry for them and therefore be more trusting.

 

  • One of the biggest indicators of catfishing is when a person makes excuses to not meet up, won’t do a video call, and even avoids all conversation about when to meet up. So, if they’re putting off a face to face date it could mean they have something to hide.

 

  • If a profile photo looks like a Hollywood movie star or model and appears too good to be true, use Google images to check the profile photo. If it comes up on another site that makes you feel suspicious, or it’s out rightly a magazine cover model, you are being potentially catfished. You can also use Catfish reverse image search apps.

 

  • Always remember, if it’s too good to be true it probably is.

What is catfishing?

And then there’s kittenfishing

Another thing to be mindful of too is kittenfishing. It’s quite likely you’re even guilty of this yourself! A much lighter version of catfishing, it’s when someone embellishes or improves their profile to make themselves more appealing online – such as using a photo from ten years ago, adjusting their age, or lying about their education or profession.

Generally, people who kittenfish aren’t meaning to be harmful, they simply want to present the best version of themselves they possibly can to increase their odds for meeting someone. This doesn’t make it any less annoying though when you meet them in person.

And if you are tempted to kittenfish yourself, just remember that at some point potential dates and future partners will uncover the real you, so a true reflection of who you really are is always best.

What is catfishing?

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