How to Avoid Being Catfished

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Online dating
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The world of online dating isn’t what it used to be. These days couples all over the world are hooking up and getting hitched after first meeting over the Internet. Problem is, dishonesty runs rampant on online dating profiles and you need to ensure you’re not getting duped like a certain Fighting Irish linebacker did.

Millions of honest people every year are led to believe they have met the love of their life online, but in reality, they’ve been had by the catfishing con. Before eventually finding out that their dream date isn’t actually who they say they are, they find themselves forking out thousands of dollars to this fictional person.

If you want to avoid being catfished, you need to know what warning signs to look out for and what questions to ask. Trust us, you’ll avoid a whole lot of heartache and a drained bank account.

Profile Pictures

Image Via Flickr by Don Hankins

Photographs are the most deceptive part of a person’s profile. Be wary of fake looking profile photos that are seemingly perfect, because chances are they’re not. Another common trick that catfishers play is using an old photo that makes them appear much younger than they actually are.

Fact Check

Thanks to Google, you can now run what is effectively an instant background check on someone you’ve just met online to verify their true identity. Look for other social media profiles that can give you a fuller picture of this person’s personal life. If you can’t find anything be dubious, you’re either dealing with a technophobe or a liar.

Poor Grammar and Spelling

If you’ve ever been approached by a scam artist before, you’ll know exactly what we’re talking about. Many Internet scammers operate from overseas and speak English as a second language. Of course, everyone makes mistakes, but be vigilant for poor literacy skills. A common place for foreign catfishers to hang out are in the chat rooms and even on Facebook, so beware.

Protect Yourself

Whatever you do, do not give out personal information such as your street address until you have established an in-person relationship. Even if it feels like you’re talking to an old friend, this person is still a stranger. After all, meeting someone online might even be as chancy as the wild card playing a roulette game.

Meet as Soon as Possible

It is easy to deceive someone and keep secrets when your relationship is online based. Arrange to meet as soon as possible and make sure you do so in a public place. If meeting face to face isn’t possible in the short term then at least utilize Skype to get some face time. If the person seems reluctant to meet or keeps making up excuses then something fishy is definitely going on.

Ask Questions

Don’t be afraid to ask questions to help put your mind to rest. If the person is who they say they are then they will want to make you feel as comfortable as possible and will have no hesitation in providing you all that you need to dispel any fears or worries.

Tell Your Friends

There is nothing embarrassing about sharing your budding relationship with your closest friends or family. If you’re keeping them in the loop, they can help to identify any red flags that you may have missed due to your recent infatuation. If they do express concern, then take that concern into careful consideration.

We let people into our lives when we are our most vulnerable. Do not let yourself become a victim of catfishing. As the old idiom goes: better to be safe than sorry!

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