When it comes to online dating, people lie about all sorts of things in their profile, weight, height, income, you name it. Misrepresentation is so prevalent, a study revealed that 80 percent of online daters lie in their profile to attract their ideal mate. But catfishing – creating a completely false online identity in order to pursue a romantic relationship – is a whole other monster.
When thinking about catfishing, the story of San Diego Charger’s linebacker Manti Te’o likely comes to mind. He carried on an online relationship with a woman who turned out to be a catfish (not literally). But celebrities aren’t the only ones who need to watch out, catfishing happens every day and it could be happening to you.
Plans always fall through
Catfishers succeed by keeping the relationship online. They avoid meeting up at all costs. They may make plans and then those plans fall through in some sort of dramatic fashion. Car accident? Death in the family? Diagnosed with a rare disease? Yep, they’ve used all those excuses and then some.
They push for a romantic connection before meeting
The benefit of meeting people online is that it gives you an opportunity to know if you have enough mutual interests to meet in person. After reading someone’s profile, most online daters will let the prospect know if they’re interested and suggest meeting up for coffee to get to know each other better. A catfish on the other hand, will dive right into trying to develop a romantic connection before ever laying eyes on you in person. They’ll divulge personal things about themselves and start telling you how much they care about you right away. Typically here you’ve got a ‘nudes catfish’ on your line. What’s their end goal? Nudes. Either for personal gain or financial gain. They’ll probably follow up by blackmailing you with them – so please make sure you verify this person is real before sending them snapshots of your family jewels.
They have a sob story
The ‘financial catfish’ will have a sob story to tell you almost immediately. They do this to bait you into sending them money. The truth is, an emotionally stable person with healthy boundaries will not drop a sob story on you the moment you message them to say hello. If after a few brief exchanges you find yourself hearing a sob story with a sales pitch at the end, chances are you’ve got a catfish on your hands.
They make excuses not to video or voice chat
In today’s technological age, even the least expensive phones and computers come equipped with cameras. Refusing to video chat is a major red flag that you’re talking to a catfish. You’ve got even more trouble on your hands if the person won’t even talk on the phone. A popular example of this is ‘Dee Pimpin‘ a catfish who went around pretending to be the rapper Bow Wow, turned out to be a female, catfishing other women. Needless to say, she always refused to talk on the phone, knowing that her female voice would give her away.
If you’re still not clear if you’re being catfished or not, this picture from Instant Checkmate is perfect.