We are not talking about the kind you pull from a lake, but rather an internet scam targeting people on dating sites, game sites, and even on Facebook. This is a new term that is now listed in the urban dictionary and is defined as “to lure someone into a relationship by adopting a fictional persona.”
More often than not, the bottom line of this relationship is money. Eventually, the person with this fictional persona is going to ask for money. And people who have money need to be guarded and careful with their finances.
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Watch the Signs
There are signs to watch out for. If you are on Facebook and you get a friend request but no one else in your friend groups knows this person, delete this request. They are fishing. Usually, if you are a woman, this is a very handsome man in your age range. Delete, delete, delete. It’s 99.9% not their photo. And if you are a man, this is one good looking woman, again delete, delete, delete. Not her photo.
These people may even be from another country and they would LOVE to get their hands on your money. Honestly, who doesn’t love to get a friend request from an attractive stranger? DELETE.
Statistics of Catfish
Here are some statistics from these fake accounts on Facebook and dating sites that have been permanently deleted after complaints have been made:
• 82% said they were Catholic
• 63% said they were widowed
• 71% said they were women, so watch out gentlemen!
• 54% said they had a PhD
• 37% claimed they had a graduate degree
• 25% said their occupation was “royalty”
• 23% said they were self employed
If you already have one of these people, here are some more signs. Do they claim to be in love with you even if you have never spent any time together? Something is wrong. Do not let all the flattery blind you to the facts.
This isn’t your concerned kids talking to you, this is a fact-based article saying, the catfisher is a real thing. Do they seem to have a string of bad luck events? One such event is that their webcam never works. Or they can’t afford to Facetime. There is always a story as to why they cannot meet face to face.
Do They Live Abroad?
They may “live abroad’ or they travel often, but not to where you live– Nooooo. Now if they travel internationally, this is a big alarm. Because then they can say they’ve been kidnapped and need money wired asap. Don’t send money. This is a scam. You have already let yourself care about this person, but we are telling you, this is a scam.
The most popular places for these scammers:
• 28% said they live in Nigeria
• 23% said Ukraine
• 21% claimed the Philippines
The catfish may actually wait weeks, months or a year or two before asking for money, but the request will eventually come. They are grooming you and getting to know you. And you are getting to know the persona they are setting up so when they do ask for money, you will believe it is legit. Never give money to someone you have not met in person.
How to Catch a Catfish
Remember, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Enter his or her name, age, and location into TruthFinder to use the deep web to see if they are who they claim to be. If they show up in search results, open their profile to see if their photographs and social media presence match who you’ve been speaking with. If your online person has provided you with a phone number, use a reverse phone lookup to see who the number really belongs to. When you see who the number belongs to, you can use your TruthFinder membership if you have one to see who this person really is and find out the truth.
Our money and our lives are too important. Please save both and develop your web skills. We live and learn and live some more. If you have any stories about catfish, please share in the comments below so your stories might help others.