A Complete Guide on Catfishing

The internet has become a vast space for entertainment, creativity, and information. With so much content readily available, it can be hard to tell the difference between what’s real and what isn’t.

People often use this to their advantage to exploit strangers. This article will help identify what catfishing is and provide valuable tips on avoiding becoming a victim of it. 


Catfishing Definition

Many people find themselves asking, “what is catfishing?” Catfishing refers to a person using a fake online identity to lure someone into a false relationship. It has become a common scam on dating websites to gain people’s trust and exploit the relationship for money or personal information.

In recent years catfishing in job boards has also become more frequent. Boredom, revenge, fraud, and grooming are just some of the many reasons people attempt to catfish. No matter the reason, catfishing is harmful manipulation, and anyone can fall victim.

Recent studies have shown that catfish have deceived 1 in 5 people. The effects of catfishing can be highly damaging to a person’s mental health and personal life. Anxiety, depression, and financial loss are regular outcomes for victims of catfishing.

Being lied to and tricked into a false relationship can be emotionally devastating. Being catfished can damage your ability to trust others and create healthy relationships.

Catfishing Signs To Look Out For

Understanding what catfishing is and identifying the signs can help lower your chances of becoming a victim. Recognizing the red flags can be challenging but are essential in maintaining a safe presence online. If you recognize any of these signs, you should consider searching people’s records for more information on the person.

  1.  Lack of Interaction on Social Media - Catfishers can buy followers on social media to make their accounts seem more real. Fake followers mean little to no interaction on posts or photos. An empty social media account or spamming of the same pictures or posts is an easy identifier of a potential catfish.
  2. Never Able To Meet in Person or Video Chat- A catfish will always have an excuse for why they can’t show you their face. They will probably say things like my car broke down or my camera isn’t working now. They might even make plans to meet up or video chat and never follow through.
  3. Asking for Gifts or Money - Catfishers looking for financial gain will often ask for money so they can come to visit but keep the cash instead. They might start by asking for small amounts or even gifts, and someone you’ve never met asking for money should be considered suspicious.
  4.  Conflicting Stories - A catfish is likely to use sad personal stories to manipulate you into feeling sorry for them. Catfishers often use vague information that most people can relate to. They create stories that don’t add up, assuming most people won’t notice. Look for inconsistencies if you’re suspicious of someone being a catfish. 
  5.  Love Bombing - Love bombing is a term for when a person tries to use an excessive amount of affection and attention to manipulate someone. A catfish will utilize this tactic early on to try and take attention away from any noticeable red flags. A copious amount of affection can feel excellent, but if it’s from a person you just met, it’s likely not genuine.

How To Avoid Being Catfished

Now that the question “what is catfishing” has been answered and we’ve offered some valuable tips to identify a catfish, it’s time to talk about preventative measures. Knowing what a catfish is happens to be just the crucial first step.

Catfish have been around since the beginning of the internet and probably aren’t disappearing anytime soon. Despite what you may think, identifying a catfish can be difficult, so having the right tools is essential.

The best way to avoid being fooled by a catfish is to take action as soon as possible. Here are a few options to help protect against a catfish.

  • Search people’s records - Websites like recordsfinder.com allow people to search other people’s records. You can see their public information such as criminal records, contact information, and social media. These websites give the option to use any available information on someone to search for a person’s public records.
  • Reverse image search - Reverse image searching is a significant first step to protecting yourself from potential catfishing. This method allows someone to see where a picture appears on the internet.

If someone uses fake photos to try and catfish, they will show up on the original owner’s profile. Even if the person has multiple images, it’s still possible they’re using someone else’s identity.

  • Never send money - Sending money to someone you don’t know or you’ve just met is always a bad idea. It’s common amongst catfishers to try and scam people out of money. To protect your personal information and your finances, don’t send money or gifts to anyone you’ve just met.
  • Never give out personal information - A common tactic used by catfishers is asking personal questions that might be answers to security questions or a password. Take your time to get to know someone before giving out too much personal information.
  • Get cyber-security - If you think there’s a possibility you’ve given out information that could allow someone to access your accounts, use a cyber security website to check. Using this type of website can help you identify a catfisher by checking if they’ve used any information to hack into your accounts. It allows you to receive notifications that let you know if your information is involved in a data breach.
  • Use common sense - When viewing a person’s profile or messages, using common sense can help protect yourself from a catfish. If a person you just met is already saying ‘I love you’ or they have an empty profile, they’re likely attempting to catfish you.

It’s easy to let emotions drive your decisions, but it isn’t safe in this day and age. Many people don’t secure their information and think it’s unnecessary. Identity theft and stolen funds are frequent outcomes of catfishing. Searching people’s records and using cyber security are excellent resources to use.

There are many reasons someone may be trying to catfish you, and most can be harmful. It’s best to ask questions and do your own investigating if you’re suspicious of a person. Taking the proper precautions and analyzing a situation can help prevent you from becoming a victim of catfishing.