The Catfish Red Flags. With over 40 million people looking for love in all the wrong places, is it any wonder that scams would become commonplace?
Definition: A “catfish” is a person who creates a false online identity in the hopes of luring people into false romantic relationships. The recent Manti Te'o hoax is about a college football player, who somehow had a fake online girlfriend which CNN, has been plastering all over the news. Apparently, this girlfriend never existed. Catfishing is about being drawn in by some manipulative person (usually a woman) online and claiming to be someone she isn't. Now the executive producer of Catfish: The TV Show on MTV, advises you to think before you begin your next online relationship. Look out for these early warning signs that your love interest may not be whom they say they are:
The Modeling Profession
If anyone says they are a model, watch out. It means that they are recognized as a very attractive person. If the person you are talking to says they are a model, but also has another amazing career, he or she may be too good to be true. Models are generally very busy and travel a lot. Also, it's easy enough for a scam artist to access model photos online and post as their own.
If a person’s profile has fewer than 100 friends, and more specifically, if there are photos of the person with other people but the other people aren’t tagged, be cautious. These may be pictures taken off an unsuspecting person’s profile.
Traumatic Injuries and/or Illness
For some reason, we see car accidents, deaths in the family and cancer a lot in catfish scams. This is very common because the best way to avoid meeting up is by having a traumatic experience. It will make the other person say, “Oh, my God, don’t worry about meeting with me now. I will just wait until you are better.” This is a way of tugging at your heartstrings and making you feel guilty. "Sympathy is an incredibly strong emotion."
If a person can’t immediately send you pictures of himself or herself in this day and age, then you should proceed with caution. "You've got to expect and require them to show you to some degree that this is who they are," he says.
If a person cannot get to a webcam after repeated requests and attempts, then this is an early potential warning sign that they are trying to avoid you seeing who they really are.
NOTE: Do not get caught up in what you read from some stranger over the Internet especially if what the person says cannot be verified. Also, wouldn't it be better if you went out and met someone tangible as apposed to some unknown and unseen fictious creepy person over the Internet? The Internet can be a very good thing. However, anything that can be used for good can also be used for evil. So "buyer beware" is the operative word of caution, which should be used when meeting people on the World Wide Web. It is understood that some people do this because they love the fantasy that this type of meeting affords them, not to mention a free date. However, as one can see fantasy can become a dangerous thing if it is not tapered with wisdom and gold old-fashioned 'common sense.' Remember, there is nothing like the 'real thing.'