Over the years, we have seen some fantastic additions to the technology industry and communication has now become easier than ever before. Using various different messaging tools and social media sites, we have more ways to talk with friends and family. As a result, this also means that we are meeting new people in a manner of different ways. Although this has its benefits, there are also drawbacks to this too because there is a real risk of being a victim to a “catfish”.
Typically, these people known as “catfish” stalk the internet pretending to be people that they aren’t. Then, once they have established communications with someone and a certain level of trust, they ask for money or some even just look for companionship if they aren’t getting it in their real life. Regardless of their aim, you always need to be careful when online because you could be talking to someone who is actually somebody completely different. Whether it is a relationship or a friendship that has been growing, you need to keep yourself protected and we are going to show you some fantastic ways to do so.
Webcam Chats – If you have been talking to someone online for a little while, they should have no problem turning on their webcam so you can talk face-to-face. If they dodge the webcam once, leave it a couple of days and then ask again. If they persistently refuse to talk via webcam whilst telling you that they are “falling” for you, it suggests that they aren’t who you think they are.
Online Search – Although you might find it a bit too invasive to do a little Google search, this is a great way to find out a little more about the person you are talking to. Nobody is saying that you have to hire a private investigator to find out all sorts of personal information, just complete a simple search and see what comes up in the results.
Facebook – When you first started to talk, they may have given you a link to their Facebook page or you may have looked it up yourself; the problem…creating a fake Facebook account is easy. However, creating a genuine timeline is not so easy so have a look at what they have posted. If you see posts, items that others have tagged them in, and pictures, you will be good to continue. However, a clear warning should be taken if the wall is full of app requests or even if it is completely new and blank.
Gain Help – When we first start flirting with somebody and we connect straightaway, we tend to go a little ‘blind’ which means that we miss some clear signs. If you can, read the conversations that you have objectively with no emotion involved and see if it comes across differently. If you cannot think this way, have your friend or family member read it and promise to trust their advice. In truth, they might be able to pick up on things that you have completely missed.
Trust Instincts – Again, we often forget to trust our instincts when our senses become overshadowed by love and emotion. Ever since early man, instincts have led us to where we are now so pay attention if you start to feel as though something is a little off.
Critical Thinking – Aside from your instincts, you also want to pay attention to common sense and follow rules that you have learned throughout your life. Often, most fake relationships could have been detected a lot earlier if a little critical thinking had been used. If you feel as though something isn’t adding up, investigate further and find the holes in the story rather than ignoring it.
Verified Dating Sites – When it comes to dating sites, these are the hub of fake profiles and many people have been fooled in the past. To prevent this from becoming a problem, many dating sites are now offering verification tools for those who legitimately use the site. By utilizing these, you can talk with people whilst safe in the knowledge that they have been verified.
Tags on Photos – Earlier, we said that pictures on a social media timeline provided proof that they are real. However, there is a key point to remember – tagging. When posting pictures online, nearly everyone tags their friends because they want them and others to see who is in the picture and let them know that the picture has been posted. If you see lots of pictures with no tags, this suggests that the profile is fake because these pictures could have been stolen easily.
Mind the Excuses – When we start to develop “feelings” for our online girlfriend or boyfriend, we tend to believe every excuse that they throw at us and this is where common sense and critical thinking is needed. If their house gets snowed under a week after they break their leg in a freak badminton accident, you should be suspicious and see these as signs that they are putting off meeting up.
Often, they will discuss how they really want to meet you but are currently enduring the worst luck possible. If you take all the steps above and they turn up to a date on crutches and in a leg cast, at least you can be gad that you took the necessary precautions.
Attention to Detail – Finally, you need to be on the look-out for little mistakes that the other person makes. If you talk over an extended period of time, they will have to remember a number of facts if they are lying and they always say that it is much harder to keep track of lies than truths. Even if it is something small like a change in their favorite food or their sister’s name, pay attention and find the evidence.
Summary – Ultimately, you will be staying safe as long as you keep these tips in mind and remain vigilant. Perhaps above all else, you should never ever send money across to somebody you have never met. Regardless of how long you have been talking and how much they ‘really need’ the money, the only way you should offer them money at all is if they meet face-to-face. If they aren’t willing to do that, you can forget about them and feel good that you avoided a catfish!