• Andy Paulucio

Online dating: How to spot a catfish?

A catfish is an individual who deceives others by using a false identity. They do this by creating a profile using pictures from someone else and making up a story about their past. They often seem credible. And if you do not know what to look out for, you might feel compelled to yield to their demands and become a victim to their deluding.

Without further ado, let’s take a look at some of the signs that could help you identify a catfish.

1- They will reach out to you. Once matched, the catfish will initiate the chat conversation in an amicable way. They will ask many questions and display a keen interest in you by being attentive and responsive to your text messages. (This is only relevant when combined with two or more signs)

2- They will use stolen pictures. Since catfishes are using someone else’s photos, you might find that their profile pictures (and the ones they are willing to share with you) may seem cropped and of poor quality. However, if the images are of good quality, it is important to notice if they appear professional (such as of a model). Individuals building their careers promoting their self-image publish pictures of themselves on social networks, and catfishes can steal these pictures to create a false identity.

3- They will provide you with “evidence.” Catfishes will often send you pictures (of the person they are impersonating) or other types of files without you requesting them. This tactic aims to avert any suspicions by forcing their credibility upon you.

4- They will be persuasive and persistent. Once catfishes have established trust, they will move on to request something from you (e.g., personal information, an intimate picture, etc.). They will be persuasive in their demands, and they will insist you comply with them. One of their persuasive tactics is to offer an exchange, in which they will do something after you have done it first. If they manage to convince you, they will ask you for more.

5- They will have an excuse. Catfishes will not engage in a video call to appease your suspicions, and they will always have an excuse for not being able to do it. They might resort to their "verified" status (which they can falsify) on dating apps to support their credibility, and they might even become hostile towards you for distrusting them.

If you are dealing with someone showcasing some of the signs mentioned above, but you are still in doubt, you could kindly ask them something as simple as taking a selfie in a specific pose or holding an object of your choosing. If they refuse and exhibit hostile behavior (as described in point 5), then you might be dealing with a catfish. I hope this helps!