Posted by Pascal on July 1, 2020 at 14:16
Online dating has opened a myriad of opportunities, whether you are looking for romance or friendship. Every day, millions of people log into their favorite dating website and look for people to connect with. All from the comfort and anonymity provided by their phone or computer screen.
But some people take advantage of this secrecy for their own, less-than-noble (if not downright nefarious,) purposes.
By creating a fake dating profile, usually with a bogus bio and pictures stolen from the internet, they hope to get something out of you. Be it attention, private pictures, or even money. This process is called catfishing, and it is never pleasant being on the wrong side of it. If it happens to you, it can leave you confused, embarrassed, betrayed, even heartbroken. Even robbed.
To protect yourself against it, here are 5 ways you can spot fake dating profiles. Use them to avoid being catfished and spend your time meeting interesting people instead. Real people.
Everybody wants to put their best foot forward in their dating profile. It is thus normal that they show you their best pictures.
But if all their pictures look too good, like they would belong in a fashion magazine, ask yourself: is this person a model? When their bio says they work as a construction worker or a dentist, would it make sense for them to have so many professional photos?
If you have any doubt at this point, learn how to do a reverse image search. If it leads you to a model’s portfolio, or a famous influencer’s Instagram account, that should make it fairly obvious that they are using someone else’s pictures.
Sometimes you will have to dig a bit deeper to find that out. If that’s not your cup of tea, there are other signs you can look for to identify fake dating profiles.
Sure, it’s exciting when you finally click with someone online and the conversation starts flowing. But if you feel like it is moving too fast, take a breath. You might be right.
A relationship that goes from 0 to 100 is not always a sign you are being catfished, but it is unusual, nonetheless. Most solid, long-lasting relationships are built over time.
Catfishes seek to take advantage of you. Maybe they are after your money, or something else. To get to that point, though, they first need to create intimacy and trust.
By contacting you several times a day, complimenting you on everything, flattering you and showering you with attention, they hope to dupe and lure you into trusting them.
If you match with someone online and they live within a reasonable distance, set up a quick date if you are both interested. If the person you meet is the one you saw on their dating profile, congratulations. You are not being catfished.
Catfishes, on the other hand, always have an excuse to avoid meeting you. Maybe their job sends them around the world, or they have family staying over, or they are not ready to meet face to face yet.
When you hear excuses repeatedly, be careful. They could be trying to delay meeting you just long enough to make their move. Maybe they are getting ready to ask you for money, or for personal pictures. When these requests come and you have never met them, keep your guard up.
If you are in a long-distance relationship, you won’t have the option of meeting your new love interest right away.
The next best thing is to video chat with them. But catfishes won’t do that either. Their photos, the ones you see on their dating profile, are not of them. In a video call, you’d quickly realize they are not who they say they are.
Instead, they will redirect you to text messages and emails. They might even have some fake social media profiles to give you, but for some reason, they will never move the conversation to video calls, or even Snapchat.
Look, camera shyness is a thing, sure. But if you start to notice some red flags, it might be good to set up a phone or Skype call and make sure everything checks out. Some catfishes might dance around the idea or make up excuses as to why they can’t do that. Others might flat out cut all conversations with you.
Let them. And move on.
Being on the receiving end of this treatment might be uncomfortable, but ultimately better than being stringed along waiting for something – someone – that wasn’t real.
When someone is being honest with you, their stories will usually be consistent with what you see. Sure, they might embellish a thing or two here and there, but you probably won’t catch them in a blatant lie.
However, a catfish creates a fake persona. They fabricate stories, and thus, it is more likely for them to slip up.
If you start to notice things that don’t quite make sense, you should not let them off the hook so easily. Push them a bit: “Hey you said you work for ACME, but they don’t have an office in your city, why is that?” or “You said you studied engineering, but work as a doctor now? How come?”
They might have a perfectly reasonable excuse. But if your gut tells you that something is fishy, it could be because you are dealing with a catfish.
Always use your best judgement when you are talking with someone you just met online. Sometimes we want to connect with others so much that we forget to protect ourselves.
One small red flag might be easily brushed off, but two or three can’t be swept under the rug. Once you notice these signs, don’t ignore them. Instead, start digging deeper. Do you really trust that the person you are talking with is who they say they are?
If you have legitimate doubts about that, ask them to alleviate them. If they really hate video chats, ask if they can take a picture doing something specific, like showing you their favorite shoes. Something that would be difficult to find in random pictures stolen off the Internet.
Question the inconsistencies in their stories. Maybe they’re just misunderstandings.
But maybe they’re not.
And if they can’t appease your doubts, or get defensive about it, there is nothing wrong with cutting them off. By doing so, you won’t give them the opportunity to manipulate you into doing something you wouldn’t normally do, like sending money or explicit photos to someone you have never met.
You will also save your time and energy so you can start looking for someone else. Someone deserving of these things. There are thousands of people online waiting to connect and forge real, long-lasting friendships and romantic relationships. Don’t let a catfish prevent you from meeting them!