I must admit I had not heard of the term Online Dating ‘Catfish’ until I started to research modern methods of dating to offer women advice on the new rules of 21st century dating and relationships.
If you’ve never heard of a Catfish either then let me put you in the picture … and this is VERY important if you’re searching for love through online dating sites, or considering joining one.
Now, I do not want to scare the living daylights out of you but I think it’s my duty as an educator and a coach to make you aware of these rotten, dishonest fraudsters so you can be on the look out. Forewarned is forearmed, right?
The majority of these predators are based in Africa, mainly in Nigeria and Ghana. But when they create profiles on online dating sites and social media sites they look like white Western-looking guys just looking for love.
They often go hunting around the Net and steal other people’s photos from their social media sites and invent a great profile and story that pulls their victims in.
They are VERY CLEVER and know the power of the emotional energy people put into online dating – sadly sometimes the rational part of the users brain is somehow overruled by the need to be loved, and this is where the vulnerability takes place.
Here are a few tips to help you spot the Catfish right away
Their photo seems too good to be true – almost like a model. Let’s face it, if they were that good looking would they need to be looking for love online?
One very clever way to catch them out is to do a search on the website TinEye to check and see if the photo has been uploaded somewhere else online. If the photo shows up in other places then they are not genuine
No photos on their profile – on some of the online dating sites you can not register until you upload a photo – but on some you can. No photo usually means they have something so hide, so be warned.
They have a perfect life as a pilot, brain surgeon or industrialist – again use your common sense – would they be looking for love online? Maybe, but just be on your guard until you know more about them.
False social media accounts with very few friends or followers. Catfish are being very clever and set up false social media accounts so you think you’re actually checking out a genuine person – but the whole thing is a SCAM, especially if they have very few friends on Facebook.
Be especially wary if they try to get you off the dating site to communicate with you by email or phone.
Most of these fraudsters will invent a hard luck story to pull at your heart strings for example, a relative needs urgent medical treatment, or they’ve had a car accident – then they ask you to give them money to help them out.
Asking you for money – you should NEVER part with any money and if you have any doubts then contact the National Crime Agency or the equivalent authority in your part of the world.
Do not be drawn into their hard luck stories – they are playing on your emotional state of mind. Also pay attention if they never use your name and also call you ‘Darling’ or ‘Baby’, this is a sure sign they are also contacting other women with the same story.
By always addressing you by a pet name they’re making sure they do not get mixed up, calling you by the wrong name could alert you something was amiss.
They are especially good at targeting the very vulnerable by looking for clues in their online dating profiles. Are you coming across as too desperate in your profile? Unfortunately, some women tend to pour out their heart felt pleas when looking for their soul-mate online.
You just have to take a look at some of your friends Facebook updates to get what I mean, right? If you think you’re coming across as a bit vulnerable then ask a friend to take a look at your online dating profile and make sure you are not sending out the wrong messages.
As I mentioned at the beginning of this longer long article, I do not want to worry you unnecessary about online dating and I do want you to have fun … but just look out for these ‘red flags’ of the Catfish and enjoy the adventure!