What does it mean if you have been catfished? Catfishing is a term used to describe the act of using a fake online profile to enter into a relationship with another person to take advantage of them in some way. Catfishing has become a familiar enough online scam that many people are aware that it exists, but despite this fact, many people still end up falling victim to it.
People who run catfishing scams are often skilled at manipulation. They can spot someone that appears vulnerable and lonely, and then they will work to gain that person’s trust so that they can take advantage of them. How can you prevent this type of scam from happening to you?
When you get a phone call from an unknown number, you can use something like Spokeo to do a phone number lookup. But a phone number search isn’t going to help you when you are being targeted through a social media platform or dating app, so what can you do about it?
Realizing That You Fall Into Online Dating Scam
Most people know that when something seems too good to be true, then it probably is. Catfishers will look to create profiles that are designed to be as appealing as possible. They’ll use photos and videos of attractive people that they claim to be, and they’ll be very personable and friendly if you contact them. On top of something looking too good to be true, there are a few other signs that someone may be trying to lure you in with a fake profile.
If you start talking with someone online and they ask for money, don’t contact them again. That’s one of the surest ways to know you are being catfished. If they try to initiate a romantic relationship with you quickly or feed you a sob story about a hardship they are enduring, that’s another red flag as well.
The bottom line is that you need to be on the lookout for people that seem too good to be true, people that ask for money, people that try to initiate a romantic relationship quickly, and people that tell you a sob story to elicit your sympathy. Are any of these red flags conclusive proof that you are being catfished?
No, but they are close enough to a certainty that you should break off contact with this person immediately. It’s also a good idea to ask for a phone number from the person that you are talking with. If they provide it to you, a quick phone number search with Spokeo will tell you if the phone number is legitimate, and who it belongs to.
How To Avoid Being Catfished On Tinder Or Match.com
Online dating has become very popular in recent years. Some people are looking for a casual fling; others are looking to find that special someone to spend their life with. Do you know who else loves using online dating apps? Catfishers. Catfishers know that people on dating apps are looking for some form of a romantic relationship. That means that the people on these types of apps are prime targets.
If you want to avoid being the victim of a catfishing scam, there are a few simple common sense practices you should employ:
First, don’t send anyone money. Ever. Second, don’t ever give out personal information of any kind to someone you’ve just met online. Remember, this seemingly perfect person is probably a criminal that doesn’t care about you at all; they just want your money.
If you do find someone that you enjoy talking to online, take things slow. Make casual conversation, but don’t tell them a lot about you. If you feel like the relationship may develop further, then you could suggest a video chat. If someone doesn’t want to talk to you in video chat, it’s probably because they know that you’ll quickly determine that they are scamming you.
When you are on social media, or a dating app, make sure that you are vigilant and are on the lookout for fake profiles. There are a few ways that you can tell that an online profile might be a fake one being used by a catfisher.
One of the best ways to spot a catfisher on social media is to see how many friends or followers that they have. If they don’t have many, this is a red flag. You can also do a reverse image search. This works for social media or dating apps. If you find that their profile pictures are being used elsewhere, cut off all contact immediately.
What Should The Victim Of Catfishing Do?
If you figure out that you have been catfished, you probably feel more than a little embarrassed. What you need to do now is move past the embarrassment and get into damage control mode. If you sent this person money, you could file a police report, but the honest truth is that the money is probably long gone.
You should definitely change all of the passwords that you have to any accounts you have. Even if you never shared these passwords, and hopefully you didn’t, you can never be too careful. Catfishers are experts are getting you to divulge information to them about you that they will then try to exploit.
Also, make sure that you block this person from your social media accounts and dating apps. You may feel like sending them nasty messages, but this won’t help your cause at all. Your best bet is to simply walk away and try to move past it.
If You Are The Victim Of Catfishing Use It As A Learning Experience
Being catfished hurts. Here is a person that you thought loved you, that was always there for you, that you planned to spend your life with, and it turns out they were just trying to steal your money.
The sense of betrayal that you’ll feel can be overwhelming. Once you get over the initial shock and take steps to limit any damage that the scammer could do, you should use this situation as a learning experience. Remember what happened to you so that in the future, you’ll be able to spot warning signs that will prevent you from becoming a victim again.
Author Bio: Maguire Haigh is a marketing manager for Spokeo. He is interested in the latest technology trends, marketing strategies, and business development. He also prefers traveling, exploring the world, and meeting new people. Maguire has excellent experience in creating and editing articles on different topics.
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