These days those looking for love will go online to meet “the one.” It may not be the meet-cute from rom-coms but it is the most realistic way people meet each other. However, delving into the online dating world comes with its own host of issues when it comes to being scammed.
Here are some tips to avoid being catfished on the most romantic day of the year.
What is catfishing?
Catfishing is the practice of creating an online persona to trick another person into a relationship. Sometimes people catfish others to extort money from them, other times its the act itself that is the end goal.
How to spot a catfish
Most of us want to believe that the people we connect with, even online, are genuine and interested in our best interests. However, there are some tell-tale signs that your new online love may too good to be true.
They are incredibly beautiful
While you may think you’re a great person who deserves someone with the looks of Heidi Klum or Kendall Jenner, for most of us model beautiful people might just be a stretch. This is not to say that you may not be lucky, but if all their pictures look like they are from professional modelling shoots it might be that they are stealing someone else’s pictures.
How to double-check: An easy way to verify this would be to download and reverse image search in Google. If the picture comes up tagged in other places with a different name then you’ve definitely caught them out.
They won’t video call or meet-up in person
This is a big one, since they are not using images of their own face they won’t want to have to do a live call or meet up. They often come up with a myriad of reasons why they can’t see you face-to-face and while these may seem convincing it is a major red flag.
How to double-check: The best option would be to initiate multiple attempts to see them, making them come up with more and more excuses.
They are not from your country
This is the easiest way to avoid having to meet and is often the excuse these scammers use.They might actually be in another country or just pretending to be. If they are from another country or travelling you might want to take care.
How to double-check: They could slip-up with geotags so be on the look-out to see if they are tagged somewhere when they claim to be somewhere else.
They chat you up first
Talking to someone online does offer some distance but still is quite nerve-racking. Since the catfish is keen to get this relationship going, they will likely make the first move.
They claim amazing credentials
Since they are trying to attract people, scammers will make themselves look as best as they can. This includes amazing credentials and achievements. According to dating site SeekingArrangement.com, 37% of scammers claim to have a doctorate.
How to double-check: It is difficult to check-up on the credibility of someone’s credentials but depending on their claims a quick Google search can be helpful.
They ask for money or assistance
This is the big one. While some who catfish are just looking for a relationship but don’t feel like they would be successful using their own images, others are out to extort people. Be very concerned if the person you’re talking to online asks you for money or assistance that seems beyond the scope of even a normal relationship.