What is a catfish?

A catfish is someone who is someone who is impersonating another by using social media and other ways to create false identities. They use these identities to pursue deceptive and destructive online relationships.

All of us generally make jokes about serial killers or just about anything but the risk of running into an online dating “catfish” is far greater. You might think you’re chatting to someone famous or rich but in reality, it might just be another Average Joe trying to scam you out of your life-savings.

Catfish warning signs.

There are a few ways to detect a catfish before you’re dragged into a deep, dark abyss full of heartache and suffering.

  1. The individuals picture looks a bit outdated or just roughed up.
  2. One or two photos on an online dating profile doesn’t make a lot of sense if the person is supposed to be hot.
  3. All of the photos are taken from strange angles to put the person into perfect light.
  4. The person seems too eager in comparison to the beauty they portray.

Researching a catfish:

Researching someone online is relatively quick and easy. Facebook is a great place to start. If your so-called “catfish” has a few profiles across multiple social media platforms, it’ll be a snap to find it.

Here are a few ways for you to get the info:

      1. Ask the person if they have Facebook. People are more open to friendships on Facebook and they use it for just about anything. Just set up an account with a limit as to the information you display. Before you add the the person, dig through the profile. It’s the easiest way to find out a bit more.
      2. Google the Username your partner is using. People tend to use the same account details across multiple websites.
      3. Take one of the images and run it through Google’s image search and see if something turns up.
      4. Try search strings on Facebook such as the person’s name and city like: “Women named Michelle who lives in Los Angeles.” You can also try different phrases but it depends on the information you have.
      5. If you have the individual’s email address, you can run a search for that as well.

How do you escape from a catfish?

Take a bit of advice from women on this. It’s not uncommon for a friend to phone about an hour or two into a date. The idea is for you to make a somewhat graceful exit without stirring up a hornet’s nest.

Will your date realize you’re lying?

If the person is a catfish then there’s no problem. It’s not like there’s a major problem in finding dates. Your escape plan isn’t meant to draw suspicion away but it’s more about your safety and it allows both of you a chance to save face.
Please note that the catfish is the one who misrepresented themselves, so you have nothing to feel guilty about.

How do you determine the truth from the lies?

It’s not a sure-fire way but being straightforward is the best option. There are numerous ways for you to get the truth in a friendly, lighthearted manner.

The one way is to ask the person about the authenticity of their images. Make sure you get the right message out but also make it clear that you want an honest answer.

Another way to catch a catfish is by making up a bogus story about a bad experience from meeting someone who didn’t live up to their profile. If this individual is misrepresenting themselves, they might get nervous, give themselves away or simply pull a disappearing act.

When in doubt, get a glimpse.

Using a program such as Skype or your Gmail’s video calling can get you a quick video chat before you meet up. There are, however, two major problems here. It might create a bit of a barrier to meet-up with this person and any awkwardness might make the catfish disappear. Always keep it short and sweet.

Your first date offline.

A first date with someone you’ve met online, should always be low-pressure. Never try to go for the whole dinner and a movie thing right away. It displays a bit too much expectation in someone you do not know yet.

Something brief and calm such as a cup of coffee or a cocktail will send a message that you won’t be staying long. Most individuals will know you’ll go somewhere else after the meeting but it also gives you the opportunity to make an excuse your date is not what you expected.

This type of approach will generally make a good-looking person more prone to accepting. A little white lie can also help you.

Don’t let the whole idea of a catfish, scare you off and make you throw away your chance at finding love. It won’t hurt you to put in a little bit of thought into the matter. “Expect the unexpected,” as they say. With these simple tips, you can get out there without worrying about a thing. Just keep your eyes and ears open at all time.