The creators of the internet probably didn’t plan for this, but the truth is, online dating today is a dangerous game- think of it as the Wild West. Decades ago, most relationships were built on the premise of close contact and real-life dates without any fear of fraud, but with the advent of online dating sites, the game has taken quite a wild turn.
Today, many individuals- both young and old sign up and set up profiles on online dating platforms where they can meet new people from far and near, and light a fire of affection or lust. This wouldn’t be an issue under normal circumstances because love is everywhere and you can find it just about anywhere- even in war, but many fraudulent individuals have decided to use the opportunity to dupe hopeless romantics of their money under the guise of passion and love.
Basically, if you join an online dating platform today, there’s every chance of you interacting with a catfish- no, not the freshwater creature that has whiskers around its mouth- but an individual who has taken the identity of someone else in an attempt to fool you!
What Are The Possible Aims of A Catfish?
Image Source: The Conversation
This is in no way trying to justify the concept of catfishing, but many individuals take on the image and identity of someone else (usually someone hot, beautiful, and sexually appealing) to experience the love, emotional thrills, and sexual escapades that they lack in real life. Catfishes are sometimes individuals with low self-esteem or poor physical appearances that make them unable to be with who they want, but instead of working on themselves and being patient, they decide to take on the identity of someone else. However, this is only a mild, and less dangerous form of online deception.
In severe cases, victims of catfishing get duped of their money because they initially think they are dealing with a true person with good intentions. Little did they know that sexy Mirabelle from San Francisco, California is actually a 20-year old man from God knows where. Probably the most dangerous catfishing of all is the one aimed at staging a kidnap, murder, or rape. In this case, the catfish asks his/her victim to meet up somewhere- a place where they can commit whatever crime and get away with it.
If you’re pretty active on online dating platforms, or you’re about to join one, you need to be able to protect yourself by being able to spot catfishes a mile away (not literally) or deduce an online lover’s true intentions from the way they interact with you.
Here are a few ways to know if you’re dealing with a catfish:
They Never Want To Show Their Faces In Real-time
Now this is commonplace for every catfish on online dating platforms. Yes, they may have a very appealing display picture, and will even send you pictures of themselves and their environment (erotic, circumstantial- anything that fits their game), but the moment you ask for a real-time image (like facetime), there’s always something. Most times they say their phone camera or laptop webcam is too faulty for facetime, or every time you facetime the screen is goes dark and you cannot see their faces- so you only hear their voices (which they might be faking too). They are always busy or pre-occupied with something when you ask to meet, and prefer to communicate via texting or phone calls. To make it seem like they care and truly want to meet, they might suggest linking up with you, and then back out at the last minute due to “unforeseen circumstances.” If you experience or are experiencing this with your online lover, do what’s best for your mental, financial, and physical health by cutting all communications and just move on- you’d be saving yourself a lot of catfish pain and regret.
They Are Always In Crazy Situations With Money Requirements
Image Source: Webroot
Catfish: *sends a picture of a broken arm*
“Babe, I broke my arm while doing the laundry today. I slipped, fell, and hit my arm against the wall. I’m so broke at the moment and I’m in a lot of pain. Really need to treat this x.”
A week later
“Hey darling, I woke up to a nightmare today. Turns out I hadn’t paid my rent for the month, and the landlord is threatening to throw me out. You know I have no family or friends to stay with and I can’t be on the streets! There’s a pandemic too you know.”
After another month
“So I was talking to my friend who is a big-time real estate agent, and he says there’s a huge opportunity in the market. All I have to do is buy a property worth $50,000, and in two months, I can put it up for sale at $200,000. Isn’t that great babe? Thing is, I have $20,000 and I just got off the phone with my friend Mike, he says he can loan me $5,000. I was hoping you’d be able to loan me the rest. I promise to return it with a ton of interest once I seal the deal. Love you b!”
You’re probably getting played if this or anything similar ever happens to you. Other times they may need your bank account details for something weird- don’t fall for it.
It Seems Too Good To Be True
Image Source: The Post Crescent
There’s no such thing as human perfection. So if you meet a total stranger online that meets all your requirements, pictures are always flawless, and they seem to be there for you all the time, you’re most likely being catfished. If it feels too good to be true, it probably is too good to be true. Cut all ties with such individuals before they get in your head.
Their Knowledge of The English Language Is Poor
For someone that claims to be from somewhere like New York City, and a native English speaker, you’d expect them to have good command of the language. However, that is not the case with many catfishes, especially those that hail from non-native English speaking regions. So, if you notice a dearth in grammar, vocabulary, and sentence structure- block the party involved and move on with your life.
Social Media Profiles Are Relatively New
In a bid to confirm their legitimacy, catfishes create fake social media accounts and tell you to check them out over there- don’t fall for it. Check the date the social media account was created, number of followers, and account history (likes, retweets, posts). If you notice any irregularities in any of these aspects, you’re probably dealing with a catfish.
They Get Lovey Dovey and Exaggerate The Relationship As Soon As Possible
In order to put you on lockdown, catfishes call you sweet names like “sexy, honey, darling, mamacita, handsome, my lady, and whatnot” as soon as the first or second text. It is a deceptive mechanism aimed at making you feel comfy with them, and to create a pathway into your heart. Once you notice this, try to downplay their moves or just cut all ties. Anything you do, make sure you don’t fall for it.
Stay Cautious and Know The Warning Signs!
The internet has become a really dangerous place, with predators lurking around and targeting innocent individuals like yourself. Protect yourself by carefully analyzing the possibilities of your new friend being a catfish. In fact, follow this rule:
“Every new online friend is a catfish until proven otherwise.”