Did you know August is National Catfish Month?
Have you ever watched the Catfish TV show on MTV? If the answer is “hell yes, I love that show”, then you know what this is all about. It’s not the Catfish with the weird looking whiskers and the ugly facial features; it’s the more sinister one that creeps around online and hides behind a flawless facade. They will lure you in with sweet text messages, flirty emoji’s and some emotionally loaded life stories. They will prey on your weaknesses and play to your insecurities. Don’t be a victim of their mind twisting games.
If you meet someone online and they ask you for gifts or money, check yourself before a catfish wrecks you.
Crazy Catfish True-Story
A seven-year-old girl, Kiari from Ireland said she had a terminal illness. She had legit photos on Facebook and even received comments from people who personally knew her. She preyed on generous souls and received various gifts and donations from complete strangers.
One of these kind strangers, however, smelled something catfishy when he was informed that Kiari’s camera was “broken” for a third time during a soppy Skype session. He launched an investigation. Turns out the girl in the photo’s name was Megan and she did have cancer. Kiari pretended to be Megan, just to reap the financial reward.
Now if that isn’t sick, what is? Fortunately, this crazy catfish got caught, before she could hook more innocent souls with her unforgivable lies. But how can you ensure that you don’t fall prey to one of these aquatic fraudsters?
Here are 7 rules (not guidelines- rules) to abide by if you wish to remain “uncatfished”.
If they seem too good to be true, they probably are. Catfish usually make up fake stories in order to impress their victims or make themselves sound interesting. They will say things like “I have a house in Hawaii, because I love to surf”. Meanwhile, they still live with their parents and the only surfing they do is on porn sites.
If someone online asks you for money and they have some heart-breaking story to cover the reasons behind their dying wish to collect some moola-Watch out! That’s a huge red flag! Rest assured, they will take your money and magically disappear like a mud-stain after an Omo wash.
WARNING: KEEP YOUR BANKING DETAILS TO YOURSELF
So you’ve been texting for months now and he never wants to call, Skype or meet you in person? There is always some kind of arbitrary excuse. The phone is always broken, the Wi-Fi signal is terrible, the computer has a virus and the iPad got stolen…
Excuses are big catfish alerts!
Online scammers and catfish usually have broad profile of interests so that they can appeal to as many people as possible. If they seem to be a Jack of all trades, beware! You can have different interests, without going to the extreme. Extreme interests are well known Catfish qualities. They are true fishermen, casting a wide net with as many different types of bait as possible.
Are they a splitting image of Ryan Gosling or Jessica Alba? Not to burst your bubble, but someone with star status like that would probably not spend hours entertaining you with silly text messages and a range of endless lovesick emoji’s. If the picture looks fake or filtered and Photoshopped, it probably is.
Hint: Use Google Reverse Image Search to see, if the picture is the real deal.
If someone lives thousands of miles away from you and they hardly ever travel, they might be hiding their identity. They might use tired lines like, “absence makes the heart grow fonder” and “distance means so little when someone means so much”. That’s pure bullshiz! They don’t want to meet you in person, because they are as fake as a pair of China-shop Converse.
If someone seems to be falling for you and pushing the relationship forward without having talked to you in person or after just a little contact with you, they’re probably trying to catfish you. Remember real relationships take time. You don’t fall in love after just a day of texting.
So now that you can spot the catfish crawling online, you are probably ready to get your Agent Mulder (X-files) on. Do your research, follow your gut and NEVER agree to meet an online “text pal” alone on a dark dodgy street corner. Your life is worth more than a risky encounter with an online predator. Remember, being catfished is not confined to women, children or wealthy people. Predators don’t necessarily care, they will take what they can get.
Be careful, be vigilant and be smart.