Presented by BetterHelp.
In the age of technology and social media, long-distance and online relationships have become more and more popular. Due to the distance and the lack of security that many online sites have, catfishing is a phenomenon that happens quite a bit more than we might think.
If you have an online relationship and feel that something might be off, it’s essential to be able to catch the first signs of a catfish or false profile before things get too serious or dangerous. Being catfished can be scary and difficult to deal with. If you want to learn more about online chats and how to get help, check out BetterHelp today for more expert advice.
They Don’t Have Many Photos
Oftentimes, catfishes use limited photos from someone else online. These could be photos of someone famous or simply photos they found on someone else’s social media profile. It could even be photos of a relative that they’ve set up.
If you notice that they are lacking photos or have one “perfect” model-like headshot, it’s likely they’re faking their profile. Ask them for a specific photo of them holding up their name, date, and time on a piece of paper.
Another quick and easy way to catch a fake profile is to do a reverse image search of their profile image. You can do this on Google easily, and it will show you any matching photos that come up on the web under any other names or profiles.
They Seem “Too Perfect”
Even though it’s possible to meet your soulmate online, someone seeming “perfect” and “made for you” right off the bat is a red flag, whether they’re a catfish or not. Many times, catfishes and people who simply have poor intentions will mimic your behavior, interests, and way of speaking to make you more attracted to them and to hook you in.
If you feel that something is off, you’re likely right. Everyone has differences in a relationship, and it’s okay to not be “perfect” for each other in every single way there is to be perfect for someone. Catfishes often look for people who have had failed relationships and are sensitive, and want to be loved. If you feel unlovable, it might be a result of your attachment style. Look out for people who have an avoidant or overly anxious attachment style online.
They Seem “Out of Your League”
Like the last point, catfishes will often seem “out of your league.” Whether this means that they’re claiming to be Katy Perry or that they simply aren’t in your “usual” dating pool, it’s something to look out for.
Perhaps they claim to be a 22-year-old Russian model who makes millions. If you’re a 65-year-old man from Kentucky, it’s possible that you wouldn’t have likely met this person if they were real, and you may want to consider their true motives.
Even though love is possible between any two people, certain relationships are considered “rare” for a reason.
They Refuse To Video Chat Or Call
One of the biggest red flags of catfishes is that they refuse to join a video call or call you on the phone. Some catfishes will talk on the phone but refuse to show their face. They may tell you that their internet at home isn’t good or that they’re too shy to join a call. Or perhaps they will simply tell you that they won’t do it.
Before meeting someone in person, always video chat with them first, and judge the level of security you feel when speaking to them. If someone refuses to video chat with you or prove they are real, it’s time to cut things off.
They Skip Out On Plans Frequently
Since catfishes usually have ulterior motives in relationships, they likely won’t follow up on plans. If you do plan to meet up with them, they may simply not show up. You may find that they ghost you for a few weeks sometimes, without explanation. These behaviors are huge red flags.
They Ask For Money Or Gifts
Some catfishes simply try to “date” people online to get money out of them. Many people have started an online relationship with someone they claim to love, and they end up sending them thousands of dollars, only to be catfished and blocked.
Never give out your credit card information or send money online. If someone asks you for a gift card, it’s likely a scam. Do not send large amounts of money internationally, even if you trust the person you’re dating. Plan to meet up with them and start a deeper relationship before deciding to financially support someone.
In the end, it is your money, but many scammers have taken thousands of dollars from people who thought they were their lover.
They Don’t Introduce You To Their Life
It’s also a red flag if the person you’re talking to doesn’t make an effort to talk to you about their life or introduce you to those they love. Even in long-distance relationships, you’ll likely speak to their parents over video chat or learn more about the people in their family early on.
Scammers will often claim to be “private people” who don’t want to tell you much. They may also claim that their family has abandoned them or isn’t in their life.
They Claim To Be Someone Important Or Famous
One of the most obvious signs of a catfish is when someone claims to be a celebrity or someone important, such as a prince or political leader. Even though it seems obvious, many people fall into scams every day, thinking that they’ve entered a secret affair with someone famous.
Remember, it’s extremely unlikely that you are dating someone powerful or famous. If you were, they likely wouldn’t be texting you from a random number or using an account with the famous person’s photo. They’d also likely video chat with you and meet you pretty soon, assuming they had money.
Their Time Zone Seems Different Than What They Claim
If the person claims to be American but seems to only be online late at night or early in the morning, it’s likely they’re not in an American time zone. Always check when they’re online most and compare it with what you know of other time zones.
They Don’t Want To Meet You in Person
Finally, if someone doesn’t want to meet you in person or refuses to, they’re likely a fake. Even if they are someone real, if you want the relationship to be serious, and the other person doesn’t, it’s likely not a good fit.
In the end, it’s essential to enter relationships that build you up and make you feel secure. If someone isn’t looking for the same thing as you are, it’s time to reconsider.