Catfishing involves someone striking up an online relationship with another person. The problem is that the catfisher is lying. They aren’t just embellishing the truth to make themselves look better. When a person is catfishing, they create an elaborate persona. In most cases, the person doing the catfishing is setting a trap that’s designed to help them get some money from the victim.
Catfishing is becoming a huge problem, both in California and around the world. With more people using social media networking sites and taking advantage of online dating platforms, catfishing crimes have surged. In 2022, approximately 23,000 catfishing crimes were reported to police stations around the United States. It’s estimated that the collective amount of money lost in the reported catfishing crimes comes to approximately $605,000,000.
It’s likely that the number represents just a small number of the catfishing crimes that took place in 2022. In many cases, the victim is too embarrassed to admit that they’ve been duped by a con artist.
The good news is that there are some early warning signs that you can use to help you identify if you’re speaking with someone who is genuinely interested in striking up a connection with you or if you’re dealing with a catfisher.
They Aren’t Interested in Video Chats
Yes, there are some honest people out there who genuinely don’t like video chats, but most of the people who don’t want to video chat (or meet in person) are launching a catfishing scheme. They far prefer to send you fake photos.
It Appears That You’re the Only Person They’re Interested In
Take a couple of minutes to scope out the online presence of the person you’ve started chatting with. Does it appear normal or do they only have one or two friends and limited visibility? If there is very little social activity besides what they’re sharing with you, it’s time to cut communication.
The Photos are Off
Take a close look at the photos you’ve been sent and try to determine if they seem genuine or if they feel a little off. Catfishers will never send you a picture that reveals their true identity. They usually use extremely formal-looking photos or they’ll send stock photos. In addition to making sure they can share a background story for each photo, make sure the person featured in each photo is the same.
The Conversation is Odd
Most catfishers are running multiple scams at a time. As a result, the communication you share with them can seem a bit like a form letter. The reason for that is that they use a standard conversation that works for all of their victims. If you aren’t getting responses that make sense, show a strong desire to make a connection or if it just feels a little weird, then it’s time to sever ties.
The single best way to make sure you’re never a victim of a catfishing scheme is always listening to your instincts, adhering to safe dating practices, and never giving money to an online acquaintance.