Don’t Get Reeled in By a Catfisher
Singles over 50 are the fastest growing segment of online daters — and the most likely to be scammed by a “catfisher.”
By Bela Gandhi, Smart Dating Academy, Founder & President
Singles over 50 are the fastest growing segment of online daters — and the most likely to be scammed by a “catfisher.” A catfisher is a man or woman who creates a fake identity to bait people into romance and out of money. Lots of smart people have been catfished or have had a near miss. Here are some big warning signs to look out for.
Clues You’re Dealing with a Catfisher
- Photos are too good to be true
If anyone seems too good looking, like fashion model good looking, hit pause. It’s easy to steal someone else’s photos and post them as your own. Investigate by using reverse image search to see where else those photos might exist.
- They live far away or out of state
Catfishers are trying to lure you into the murky waters of cyberlove. It’s much easier to come up with 100 reasons why you can’t meet if you’re out of state, right?
- They want to get you off the dating site ASAP
Catfishers will ask right away, or quickly, to get off the site and onto a personal email account. Why? Once you’re off, the sites can’t track the correspondence anymore.
- It’s too serious, too soon
When Romeo wants to become your boyfriend right away over email, and pulls his profile down when he hasn’t met or even Skyped with you, that’s a red flag. Catfishers also want to know a LOT about you so they can appear to understand and love you. They glean information about your wants, needs and vulnerabilities so they can say just the right thing. Interestingly, they often reveal very little about themselves. They’ll say, “Oh, I’m just so boring, and I just can’t get enough of you!!” Or they’ll go for your sympathy with “I’ve been hurt in the past, so I’m slow to warm up.”
- They won’t webcam
If a person refuses to Skype or webcam after you’ve been talking for one to two weeks, this is an early potential warning sign that they’re trying to prevent your finding out who they are.
- There’s always an excuse
Catfishers don’t actually want to meet — they can’t reveal their real identity. So they often make up crazy stories involving accidents, serious illnesses, or deaths in the family. The goal is for you to feel bad and stay “off their back” about actually meeting up. They keep these stories up to make you feel guilty, and to keep you hooked. At a certain point, they may even guilt you in to sending money.
- They ask for your money!
Anyone who asks you for money online is a scammer. Whether it’s $1 or $100,000 — run. Remember, they’ll try to guilt you into thinking they need the money, and they’ll give you a very detailed story as to why they need it RIGHT NOW.
Trust your gut when you’re dealing with online romance. Not everyone who emails you from out of state is a catfisher. Take each situation on a case-by-case basis. If you see someone who hits many of these points, and your gut tells you something is wrong, cut the catfish off of your line.