10 Catfishing Signs To Look Out For 

Catfishing Signs To Look Out For: Online dating may seem thrilling, but it carries risks, especially with the rising trend of deception known as catfishing. 

Falling victim to catfishing can be emotionally devastating, leading to trust issues and depression. 

Single individuals are often targeted in catfishing attacks, where the catfisher tailors their false identity to appeal to their chosen target. 

To navigate the dangers of online dating, individuals must prioritize awareness and caution, recognizing the signs of catfishing to protect themselves from potential harm.

Read Also: The Pros and Cons of Online Dating

What Does Catfishiing Means 

Catfishing is when someone creates a fake identity using information and images, often stolen from others to trick and manipulate people.

This deceptive practice has been particularly prevalent in online dating platforms, where people can easily hide their true selves. 

Some catfishers engage in the practice for fun, while others have more malicious intentions, including stalking or engaging in criminal activities.

The term “catfish” gained popularity after the release of a documentary called “Catfish” in 2010, which was followed by an MTV TV series with the same name in 2012. 

Catfishing has persisted due to the anonymity the internet provides, enabling individuals to create misleading identities without easy detection.

Catfishing Signs to Look Out For 

As the prevalence of online catfishing increases, it’s crucial to identify signs of whether your online connection is authentic. 

Additionally, if suspicions arise, understanding how to prompt a catfish to confess becomes essential.

1. Profiles With Few Friends or Followers

Catfishers often lack friends or followers on their accounts, as they might use the account solely for catfishing and reserve their real accounts for genuine interactions. 

Building connections on social media requires time and effort, which catfishers may not invest to maintain the illusion of authenticity. 

Having fewer friends also minimizes the risk of exposure and questions about their identity.

2. Avoidance of Call/Video Calls

If someone consistently refuses to engage in phone or video calls, it could indicate a catfisher trying to conceal their true appearance or voice. 

They may offer various excuses, such as a busy schedule, illness, or travel. Persistent rejection of visual or aural communication raises suspicions of catfishing.

3. Static Profile Picture

One of the vital signs in catfishing is that catfishers may keep the same profile picture for extended periods to maintain their deceptive identity. 

If the person’s age in the profile does not align with their picture, it suggests a falsified identity. 

Repeated use of pictures taken at the same time may give the impression of agelessness.

4. Reluctance to Meet Face-to-Face

Catfishers avoid face-to-face meetups to protect their false identity. Refusal to meet in person, especially if they live nearby, raises suspicions. 

Even if the catfisher claims distance as an excuse, proposing a video call can help verify their authenticity.

While they might agree initially to video calls, they often back out at the last minute.

5. Inconsistent Stories

Maintaining a false identity involves crafting elaborate lies, making it easy for a catfisher to slip up. 

Inconsistencies may arise when details like their location or educational background do not align with their narratives. 

Sudden changes in their story, like being in your area unexpectedly, are red flags.

6. Requesting Money/Favors

Glaring catfishing signs to look out for someone who may seek uncomfortable favors, such as asking for money or pushing you to pay bills on their behalf.

If the suspected catfisher asks for money or gifts, it’s wise to decline such requests. Sending money to someone with an unconfirmed identity poses significant risks.

7. Hastiness in Getting Serious

 A catfisher may rapidly escalate the relationship, expressing intense love and proposing after only a few weeks or months of interaction.

They may attempt to win your trust by proposing grand gestures. Such overly committed statements from someone you’ve never met could signal catfishing.

8. Overly Perfect Persona

Everything about the catfisher seems too flawless, from professional profile photos to an impeccable lifestyle. The catfisher appears almost too good to be true.

9. Unrealistic Stories

 The stories shared by the catfisher become increasingly bizarre and unrealistic. They are adept at providing convenient explanations to navigate tricky situations.

10. Instinct 

Trusting your instincts is crucial. If you sense something is amiss deep down, it’s essential to heed that feeling.

How to Avoid Being Catfished 

Navigating online dating can be challenging, but following some rules can help you stay safe. 

Here are tips to ensure you are not being catfished: 

1. Secure Social Media Profiles

Utilize top-notch security settings on social media platforms. Regularly review privacy settings to protect personal data. Exercise caution in sharing information.

2. Don’t Overshare Information 

Avoid sharing private details, especially sensitive information like bank account details or home address, with someone only known online.

3. Smart Social Media Exploration

 Conduct a thorough examination of social media profiles. Signs of suspicion include limited friends, no tagged photos, absence of family pictures, and few posts.

4. Use Reputable Dating Platforms

Stick to reputable dating websites and apps that allow reporting suspicious profiles. Premium memberships often offer added security features.

5. Conduct Background Checks

If doubt arises, conduct a background check to gather solid information about the person. Confront the person with any suspicious details.

Use search engines like Google to check a person’s name, profile picture, and other credentials. A reverse image search can help verify authenticity.

6. Propose a Meeting

If the online relationship seems promising, suggest a meeting. Genuine interest will be reciprocated positively, while a catfisher may resist and provide wild excuses.

7. Encourage Video Chat

If meeting in person is not an option yet, suggest a video call to gauge their response. A virtual date can reveal more about them. 

If the person consistently avoids video chatting which is one of the clear signs of catfishing consider ending the interaction.

You can always explore other dating options to avoid falling into a catfishing trap.

8. Insist on Phone Conversations

Insist on having phone conversations to take a step towards confirming their identity. 

Conversations over the phone can unveil the real side of their personality, making it harder for them to provide calculated answers. 

Talking on the phone helps expose possible deceptions, a crucial step in dealing with catfishing.

9. Monitor Your Online Persona

Run an internet search for your name and set up Google alerts to ensure your online persona hasn’t attracted a catfisher’s attention. 

Utilize websites that notify you if your name or profile picture appears elsewhere on the internet. Promptly investigate and report any instances where your information is misused.

Read Also: Dating Apps: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

10. Share Dating Details with Friends

Keep friends informed about your online dating experiences, just as you would when going on a traditional date. 

Trusted friends can help assess the person, offering insights into potential catfishing. Sharing specific details allows them to raise concerns if any red flags appear.

11. Treat Uncomfortable Requests as Red Flags

Establish clear boundaries in your online relationship. Uncomfortable requests, such as asking for money or sharing intimate pictures too soon, should be treated as red flags. 

Politely decline such requests and recognize them as indicators of catfishing behavior.

12. Practice Patience

Be patient in the early stages of online dating. Avoid rushing into conclusions about a long-term commitment. 

Taking it slow helps ensure you’re not falling for a catfisher’s deception, as they often push for a rapid progression to achieve their motives. The responsibility of self-protection lies with you.

13. Establish Clear Boundaries 

If you’re not ready to completely abandon online dating, establish boundaries to avoid becoming overly emotionally invested before meeting someone in real life. 

This cautious approach helps prevent falling into the trap of fake relationships.


Is Catfishing a Crime?

Financial fraud, identity theft, or using someone’s identity for malicious purposes constitutes criminal activity. 

However, creating a fake profile and engaging in conversations may not lead to legal consequences.

What Should You Do if You Discover You’ve Been Catfished?

If you’ve been catfished, it’s crucial to sever all connections with the catfisher. Block them on your social media, report their activities, cease any financial transactions, and involve authorities if there’s fraud or deceit.

Why Do People Engage in Catfishing?

Individuals may catfish due to low self-esteem or to deceive others for financial gain. 

Catfishing can also be driven by a desire to harm someone’s reputation or partake in cyberbullying.

Read Also: 5 Reasons Why Dating Apps Don’t Work

Final Thoughts

Catfishing online is a tricky game where people pretend to be someone else. Learn to watch out for signs, like if they won’t meet or talk on video, or if they ask for money.

To stay safe, we can use video calls, insist on talking on the phone, and tell our friends about our online dates. 

This way, we build a shield against those who try to trick us. The internet is vast, and there are good people, but we need to be smart to avoid the tricky ones.

Given the potential harm caused by catfishing, especially by married individuals seeking online thrills, exercising caution is vital in online dating.

However, the worst part is trying to move on from someone who deceived you, stole your money, and shattered your hopes for a loving future.

In the end, it’s not just about knowing; it’s about doing things to protect ourselves. Be careful and make sure your online connections are real and honest.

We genuinely hope these tips prove helpful, enabling you to navigate online interactions safely and joyfully.

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