Here are signs that you may be the victim of catfishing and they’re not that hard to recognize, if this post helps even one person, then its served its purpose.
1. The person on the other end of the computer (phone, tablet, etc.) is hesitant to talk about him/herself in any detail. In a normal relationship, both parties should be ready and willing to share most aspects of their lives openly and without hesitation, but a person who is attempting to catfish another person often goes out of their way at every turn to divert attention away from themselves and put it back on you – this is a big red flag! While this behavior can often be confused as sweet (that the other person cares that much about you/your life), more often than not (and especially in a catfish situation), its the persons way of avoiding talking about his/her life in a way that could potentially expose or out them as who they really are. On the flip side of that, if the other person is telling you things about him/herself that make them seem too good to be true (telling you he/she is a model, singer, actor, etc.) chances are that they are too good to be true and you should proceed with caution!
2. The person on the other end of the computer cant/wont send you more than a few pictures and the pictures they do share seem off. If the person that you’re in an online relationship with is sending you pictures that look like they’re straight out of a photo shoot, then they probably are. If you’ve been in a relationship with someone online for more than a year and you have only ever seen a handful of pictures of this person — THERES A REASON FOR THAT! Use your best judgment — if pictures look altered, too good to be true, blurred or worse, then ask that person to send you a picture of him/her holding a piece of paper with your name on it, it may seem like an odd request, but if the person is who they say they are, it should be a request that they have no problem following through with, if they refuse or get insulted because you seem to suspect him/her, then there’s a reason for it and that reason is usually that they are not at all who they say they are.
3. The other person refuses to video chat. This honestly should be #1. In 2014 there are very, very few people who dont have access to a webcam or other means of video chatting, most cell phones, tablets and computers (laptops) come equipped with built-in video cameras, so if the person on the other end of the relationship is getting online to talk to you or using a smartphone to text you, but insists that they dont have means to video chat, its probably just not true. If you’re serious about the person you’re in an online relationship with and he/she seems as serious about you, they WILL find a way to video chat with you, if for no other reason than to confirm that they are who they say they are. Its completely unfair for someone to expect you to just accept (without valid proof) that they are who they say they are, especially when it’s as easy as it is to FaceTime, Skype or Oovoo to confirm their identity.
4. The other person doesn’t have, or has a very limited, social media presence (few friends on their profiles, none of their Facebook, Instagram friends seem to actually know them in real life). We live in the social media age, where it’s as easy as typing someone’s name into Google and finding a handful of social media profiles attached to that person, so the chance that someone doesn’t have a social media presence at all is slim to none. If the person you are in an online relationship with doesn’t have at least one social media profile that they are active on, it should be, in my opinion, a big red flag. Similarly, having a very small social media presence, is also a red flag. Nev (from Catfish fame) says that if the person that you’re in an online relationship with has less than 100 Friends/Followers, it’s suspect, especially if you met this person via a social media network. If the person you’re in a relationship with online does have a social media presence, check out their friends/followers — are they people who live in the same town? Are they people who actively engage with the person on those networks? Are they people who went to the same school? If the person is genuine, it shouldn’t be hard to find at least a few people who can give a little more validity to the other persons story.
5. The other person seems to be a ghost online. If your suspicions have gotten the best of you and you’ve used the information given to you by the other person to look for them online and you keep coming up empty handed, you should definitely proceed with caution. Its damn near impossible to sneeze in 2014 without it ending up on the internet, if the person you’re talking to is given you real, valid information, it shouldn’t be that difficult to use that information to find that person online somewhere and confirm his/her identity! Im actually in the process of putting together a few of the best tools for finding someone online so if you have suspicions about the person you’re in an online relationship with make sure you keep an eye out for that.
6. The other person will NOT meet you. In most real online relationships, the end goal is meeting in real life and seeing if the feelings that existed online, are as real in person, so if the other person refuses to meet you (without a valid reason of course) then its a dead giveaway that something is off. There are, of course, circumstances (distance, other relationships, etc.) that could potentially keep two people from meeting, but if you’ve been in a relationship with someone for more than a couple of years, without any indication of ever meeting in the near/distant future its another big red flag.
7. The person on the other end gets very cold, quiet, even angry or sad when you ask for some proof that shows his/her real self. They could start crying, blaming you for not loving them anymore, calling you mean or rude, etc. and that’s another big red flag.
A liar would do anything to avoid getting caught, and catfishers are often pretty good actors.
One last thing: Never, I mean NEVER send money to people you have met online, let alone never seen on a webcam! No matter how they ask, no matter what they say or promise, no matter how sad their story might be, under NO circumstances send them money, EVER!