There’s no denying that the last 30 years have been turbulent in so many ways. From global political events and wars to technological advancements, our lives are nowhere near what they were a generation ago. However, aside from tragedies like 9/11, the turn of the century has given us the widespread and fast internet. This new way of connecting and communicating is probably the greatest tech achievement since electricity.
However, as is the case with all inventions, the internet has its dark side. Communicating with someone without being face to face is the easiest way to scam a person. Sure, you can do it over the phone, but social media accounts or messaging apps all have personalized options that allow users to present themselves the way they like. Sometimes, these forms of communication bring out the worst in people.
Therefore, we’re here to talk about how to avoid catfishing. The term “catfishing” is pretty much self-explanatory. So if you don’t want to end up on someone’s predatory hook, check out the rest of our article. We’ll provide you with simple tips that will help you spot red flags and possible scams with ease.
What Is Catfishing?
Since the beginning of the ‘00s, internet dating and video chatting has become a huge thing among young people. From various MSN rip-offs to modern social media sites, the web is full of digital places you can meet others. Most of the time, you’ll connect based on similar interests, but it’s not the rule. Some folks go online searching for love and affection too.
Unfortunately, these people are easy targets for manipulation. Internet predators take advantage of naive people, either by blackmailing them over nude photos or ripping them off for money over their bank accounts. Namely, catfishing is pretending that you’re someone else so that you can gain the upper hand over the person on the other side of the web. It’s usually guys pretending to be young and attractive girls, luring in lonely souls looking for affection.
Victims of catfishing usually give away their credit cards, nudes, or send money directly to fake profiles. Creating false social media profiles and pretending to be another person is so easy that the web is full of them. If you’re a lonely person and a newbie online, you’re pretty much the perfect target for catfishers.
Nevertheless, there are ways to evade malicious accounts. It might not be easy for everyone since the lure and prospect of communicating with a hot girl is strong for some, but it’s possible. Hence, read on and learn how to spot red flags and avoid scams.
Check for Red Flags
The internet is a phenomenal thing for various reasons, but it also has numerous dark sides. It’s not uncommon to receive a message or two that proposes something lucrative or emotionally fulfilling. We can’t blame people for being naive since scamming people through emails or fake accounts was never this easy.
Although there’s no actual rule you can apply to catfishing, we can single out some traits of most scammers. Therefore, we’ve come up with a list of signs you can spot if you’re in contact with a fake social media account. These might not work every time, but they are a good starting point as you prepare yourself for spotting potential scams and malicious content while surfing the internet.
One of the most common signs that someone is catfishing you are profile photos. Usually, scammers will use a stock image of a young and attractive model (male or female) so that they can lure you in with good looks.
The thing is, you can see if the image looks like a photo from a professional photoshoot. The color, angles, and makeup will help you determine that. On the other hand, they might use photos of actors or actresses from other countries. This way, people in the US won’t be able to recognize them.
Another sign you’re being catfished online is if they quickly ask you to move your communication over to another platform. For example, fake accounts will ask for your number, so the two of you can talk over WhatsApp or Viber.
You see, most social media sites have their ways of spotting fake accounts. So for scammers to avoid being detected by, let’s say, Twitter, they’ll move their conversation from one app to another. This way, Twitter’s algorithm won’t be able to capture specific patterns in their messages.
Open and Direct
Online predators will mostly come across as more than open and direct. Once you reply, they’ll overload you with messages of affection and straightforward romantic intent. Being direct and wide open is an evident sign that something’s wrong from the get-go.
Just ask yourself how often people fall in love with someone after exchanging a word or two. Well, yes, not that often. Moreover, something like that is almost impossible online and in a chatting room in a matter of moments.
Bank Accounts and Money
Catfishing usually revolves around money. Therefore, if someone begins to talk about you lending them some green, it’s a clear sign of malicious intent. Scammers have no problem being direct about asking for credit card info, sending them money via PayPal or similar apps, and so on.
People who’ve just met online don’t ask one another for nude or incriminating photos and videos after a brief conversation. However, when you’re dealing with catfishers, it’s pretty common for them to ask you to send them such content. Once again, this is a clear sign that something’s wrong.
How to Avoid Being Catfished
Since we’ve talked about the red flags and signs of catfishing, it’s only fair we offer some tips on how you can easily avoid them. Of course, these tips might not work for every situation, but they’re a great starting point for fighting off malicious accounts and content online. So let’s check them out, shall we?
Reverse Image Search
Remember how we said most fake accounts use stock images of celebrities for their profile pictures? Sometimes they even use foreign models and actors too. Well, here’s the catch! You can always use their profile picture for reverse image search on Google.
This way, you’ll determine if the account is fake or not. If Google results show the image is all over the web, you’re almost certainly dealing with a scammer. It will also help you recognize celebrities or models you’ve never seen before.
Talk on the Phone
In case you suspect something’s off about your new online sweetheart, ask them to exchange phone numbers, so you can talk for real. You see, most catfishers present themselves as young and attractive women. But guess what — they’re guys. So, once you propose talking, they’ll usually avoid it by saying that they’re busy or not alone.
As we’ve said, they’ll frequently request your nudes. If this happens, stop all communication immediately and report them. No one sends their nudes to a random person, no matter how horny they might be. Just play it nice and cool because they’re only there to rip you off.
Sure, it’s easy to say “use common sense,” but you have to be sharp in these situations too. Ask yourself if something is too good to be true. There’s no coincidence online — there’s only intent. So if a young, attractive female asks you for a dick pick out of the blue, don’t bother replying.
Sharing personal information online is a big no. Credit card numbers, addresses, or any other kind of private info is dangerous. There are no words to emphasize enough how bad such actions can get. Therefore, beware of anyone asking for your personal info online.
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