What Exactly is Catfishing?
Catfishing happens most often on dating sites and social media platforms. When a person pretends to be someone else in order to establish a relationship under false pretenses, they are catfishing the victim. The ‘fisher could be looking for a romantic relationship or something more criminal like stealing your identity or money.
No one wants to become the victim this type of cyberbullying, and you don’t have to. Below are five ways that you can protect yourself and avoid being catfished.
Catfishing: Ways To Protect Yourself
1. Do Research On The Person
If you are in communication with someone online that you don’t know, do some research on them. A quick Google search will usually do the trick in revealing information about them. However, this information is usually not in-depth. In a situation like this, it wouldn’t hurt to run a background check on your potential catfisher. Find out if the person is who they say they are, as well as general information like address and phone number, and criminal history.
2. Check Their Online Profiles
Whether it’s on social media or an online dating sites, really look at the person’s profile. There are some pretty dead giveaways that the profile is fake.
– Profile photo looks like a stock photo
– Has little to no details in the “About” section
– Their story details don’t add up
3. Don’t Give Away Your Personal Information
If you are chatting with someone online you don’t completely know, make sure not to give away any personal information. This includes your phone number, address, birthday, and so on. This is a precaution you must take especially if it turns out you are being catfished. If they have information about you, you are vulnerable to having your identity being stolen.
4. Don’t Send Them Money
Whatever you do, don’t send money to someone you just met online. Catfishers use persuasive techniques like playing the sympathy card, to con victims into sending them money. For example, saying they need to pay for a dying loved one’s medical expenses. If you are chatting with someone online and they ask you to send money that is a huge red flag. Want to learn more? Check out these popular money scams.
5. Ask To Video Chat With Them
When messaging with another, you can’t trust the photos they send you are legit. Are they really who they say they are or are they catfishing you? An easy way to find out is by asking the person to video chat with you. How they respond will give you great insight into who they really are. If they make excuses not to, most likely they are a catfisher. However, if they jump at the chance to video chat you and do so, they are most likely legit and not trying to scam you.
So, next time you start chatting with someone new online, take these precautions to avoid being catfished.
Watch the cyberbullying video below to learn more about catfishing and read our other helpful blogs on Safeguarde.