Five years ago, a catfish was just something that tasted good with tartar sauce and chips. Nowadays, Catfishing is a ubiquitous term used to describe someone who lies online, usually for the purpose of “hooking” a love interest.
Online dating and social networking have become a large part of the overall dating scene and with the increasing popularity of sites specifically for dating and matchmaking, the rate of Catfishing has also risen. Here are five things you can do to help avoid being Catfished…
5. Use sites that have authenticity checks.
No one knows the exact number of sites on the internet, but it’s estimated to be somewhere around at least 4.2 billion pages currently. The best thing you can do to avoid meeting someone shady is to avoid hanging out in shady parts of the web! Look into dating sites that offer background checks for all their members or use popular social networking sites like Facebook. At the very least you know who you’re talking to has gone through a basic set of parameters to get approved.
4. Ask questions that require truthful answers.
If you really have questions about someone’s authenticity online, try and get answers to some tough questions. Get information from them about where they work, went to college, or even who their friends are. If you get suspicious simply start researching their answers to find out if there are any inconsistencies. Anyone who’s not trying to Catfish you shouldn’t hesitate to give you answers to the easy questions or have you reach out to people they know in real life.
3. Do your homework.
There are dozens of resources online to help you find out exactly who someone is. If you’ve been talking to a love interest on the phone or over email, do a simple reverse phone look up or a quick reverse email search. Any inconsistencies in their identity should show up rather quickly. Worst case scenario, pay the minimal fee to look up someone’s public, criminal, or court records to further confirm who they are. And admit to yourself that if you have concerns as big as these, the relationship may be worth letting go.
2. Check their photos against search software.
If there’s one thing the TV show “Catfish” on MTV has taught the world, it’s how to run photos through Google’s image search! Particularly if you’re concerned about someone lying about their appearance, searching “their” photos by simply dragging and dropping them into an image search can likely give you answers.
1. Trust your gut.
At the end of the day you’ve got to trust your gut. It’s that simple. If you’ve been talking to someone online and you have a feeling something’s just not right, you’re probably correct! Don’t take something as serious as your physical safety lightly, and if you do choose to meet up with a potential Catfish anyway, be sure to do it in a public place with a friend in tow.
The internet has opened up a whole new world of connections, dating, and matchmaking for singles all over the world. With this openness comes anonymity, sometimes to the point of harm. Bottom line: if you’ve got a feeling you’re being Catfished the odds are, you’re right.