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How to avoid a Catfish situation

So much of what we do today is based online. We shop online, we socialise online, we learn online, we order food online and we can even meet our partners online. 
Years ago, this would’ve been completely foreign notion. The fact that most of our lives could be outlived from the comfort of our home on a laptop or phone. However, today we’re not going to be talking about online shopping or how amazing tertiary education can be if you study online... Today we’re going to be talking about being ‘Catfished’, and about meeting partners through online dating sites and/or on social media.

Now, for those who are unaware of what the term catfish means or haven’t seen the hit documentary, it’s a term that is used to describe someone who creates an account on Facebook, Instagram or a dating service using someone else’s images to create a profile that is not them. There are many different reasons as to why people do this, some are because they want to pretend to be someone else for a bit (maybe because they’re potentially ashamed of who they are) but others can be more dangerous reasons. In fact many people catfish for the sole purpose of financial gain. 

So how do you avoid a catfish situation? How do you ensure that the person you were talking to online is truthful, reliable and really who they say they are. 

Fact and Information check.

Every dating website or social media page will allow and force users to have a profile page. This page will then have information about the person you’re interacting with. So, one of the best things that you can do to protect yourself from a potential scammer or catfish situation, is to have a look at the information they’ve given you and to fact check it. Is the University they attended real? How many photos does this person have of them self? How old did they say they are, and how old do they really look?

You might find nothing, or you might re-find information that you already knew, but if something doesn’t line up then you should definitely question whether or not it’s the truth.

Ask for proof.

If you have never met this person in real life, and all your dealings with them, albeit romantic or business, are online it’s never a bad thing to ask whether or not the person you’re talking to is really the person you’re talking to. Asking them to send a quick photo, or even ask them to meet you in person, because it is nothing to be ashamed of. If they can’t do something small like take a quick selfie and send it, then something is definitely very (cat)fishy. 

Don’t engage financially.

If the reason you’re talking is at first romantic, but then becomes financial, be cautious in how you move forward. If you’re partner needs money to buy plane tickets or for a phone bill they need pay because it will ‘help them talk to you’, that’s their problem. If you had to work to pay your bills, so can they. And if they really have feelings for you, they’ll do what they can to make it work, not make you pay.

Don’t buy in to people who are asking for money for small favours, because you never know how many guys or girls they have on the line doing this to. 

Catfish situations are becoming more and more of a common occurrence, which is why it’s becoming more and more important for you to be on the lookout for someone who might be wanting to catfish you. Now, we are not trying to spark paranoia, nor do we want you to question every single interaction you have with someone online. 

However, we do believe you should be cautious of those that you meet online, because although some may have the best intentions, often there are those who don’t.

If you’ve experienced a catfish situation, or would like us to investigate a certain catfish situation for you, feel free to contact us for a free quotation. We’re happy to de-big any theories or concerns you might have about the person you’re interacting with, because we’re always here to help.

Ryan Lim