5 Ways to Prevent Catfishing
You know the saying, “if it’s too good to be true, it probably is”? That applies to a lot of things happening online, and they’re mostly about scams involving money. There’s the Nigerian prince scam, lottery scam, and the make-money-fast scams. But what if it’s about a romantic relationship?
Ladies and gentlemen, that activity is called catfishing. And it’s something you don’t want happening to you. Fortunately, there are ways to identify if you’re being catfished.
Reverse Image Search
Though it may sound a little too technical, you may be unaware that you’ve already done this before. Reverse image searching is an image search functionality or tool that helps you find other sources of a specific image through major search engines and other websites across the web.
Google search by image can be defined as the most popular reverse image search engine that you can find on the internet today. You can either paste the URL of the image or drag a local image to initiate the search. Then it would give you a list of all the matching photos instantly along with a variety of other parameters. If you’re not satisfied with Google Images’ results, Yandex is another popular search engine with a strong background for reverse image search.
Sure, you can use it to track down the origin of a photo, find a particular product, or check out which celebrity starred in a specific movie. Still, it’s also useful for verifying whether you’re being catfished or not. All you have to do is upload their photo, browse through the results, and see if they really are who they say they are.
Social Media Audit (Stalking)
Stalking used to be defined as unwanted or obsessive behavior toward another individual. But because of social media platforms like Facebook or Instagram, stalking has become almost inevitable and is now more or less considered as a common habit.
So apart from checking up on the photos you and your potential catfisher have been exchanging with one another, you might want to do a little ‘social media auditing’ by checking on different social media platform accounts such as Facebook, Twitter or Instagram to verify if they are who they say they are. If you’re already friends with them, check to see if their followers or friends are real people and not bots. It’s also a good idea to check their tagged photos, likes, and comments as well.
And if things are starting to get intimate with that person but are still hesitant to share their social media profile, then that should be a red flag on its own.
Confirm Identity (Video call or Meet up)
The next thing you’re going to want to do to prevent being catfished is to confirm their identity. There are two main ways of achieving this:
The first, which is the safer option, is to initiate a video call to at least make sure that the person that you are talking to exists. Undoubtedly, there is still a chance that someone could just be impersonating your possible future lover behind the camera. So try to see if they can carry the conversation just like it was going in the chat. If they can’t, then there might be a chance that they are either shy or having a hard time going off-script. So if you’re still not convinced, you might have to go a little more personal with option number two.
We know that meeting up with your potential catfisher can be dangerous, so we highly advise you to take necessary precautions and at least bring another friend with you, or meet in public during the daytime in case things go south. Once you have confirmed that the person is real, you’re only left with a few other things to check just to be 100% sure.
Study the Answers
Once you’ve got the ball rolling with someone you’ve just met online, you’re sure to find yourself bombarding each other with questions to establish a better connection with one another. But this can be tricky as they could have already thought of the answers to questions you’re probably going to ask.
An excellent tactic to use in an event like this is to avoid asking basic questions and carefully study their answers to see if they sound forced or are starting to get redundant. Keep on the lookout for consistent answers. If the case isn’t true, you might want to start thinking twice if that person is real or not.
Trust Your Instincts, Talk to Your Friends
You are in control of your decisions, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get some extra insights from another perspective. If you’re comfortable enough to open up to your friends, they might be able to shed some light that you are unable to see. Who knows? Maybe they’ve been on the same boat before.
But ultimately, it’s all going to be up to you. Your intuition comes from a feeling that only you can experience. And because the feeling is so personal, nobody can influence your decisions if you are genuinely in touch with your sixth sense. So pay attention to your gut feelings. No matter how good something looks, if it doesn’t feel right, it’s best just to walk away.
Nobody likes being scammed, and the best way to avoid becoming the victim of catfishing is to equip yourself with the right information. Know the signs, learn from other people’s mistakes, and be smart. And I hope this article has helped you with that part.