CATFISHING

Do you know the signs to watch for Catfishing?

Catfishing

A person who assumes a false identity or personality on the Internet, especially on social networking websites, as to deceive, manipulate, or swindle.

5 Signs You May Be Being Catfished

  • If they seem too good to be true, they probably are.
  • If they say they care about you and they act like things are getting serious after only a short amount of time, you might have just met a catfish.
  • If they do not know what Skype is or have problems using it or downloading it and you can only chat online, you have probably met a catfish.
  • If you've recently met them and they ask for money and give an excuse to have you send it to someone else, you have met a catfish.
  • If they contact you out of nowhere and you don't know them and then they try and romance you over chat and email, they are probably a catfish.

5 Checkpoints For Authenticity of A Prospective Online Relationship

  • Screen Name - The very fist thing you should do when you come across someone that could be a potential date is to research their "screen name"/"User ID". You can do this easily by going to Google Search and typing in the screen name with " on each side. Most people tend to use the same screen name (or similar variations of their screen name), so feel free to retry the same screen name with spaces. Take notes of other potential screen names. If you find the user on multiple websites, take the time to read through their profiles or content. In specific, look for inconsistencies (age, location, marital status, place of employment, etc.)
  • Full Name Check - Never go out with anyone you meet online without knowing their full first and last name. Then perform the same search as the previous suggestion (screen name), using their name. You will want to go through the results. Next, do the same search with nick-names. For example, if you are considering going on a date with someone named "William", do a search for "Will (last name)".
  • Facebook and Other Social Sites - Be sure to take the time to look up the individual on Facebook and other social sites (LinkedIn, Google+, etc). Pay attention to details like their "relationship status" or photos, To ensure that someone IS who they claim to be, do not hesitate to "Friend" them on a social networking website. If the individual refuses to accept a friend request, it is likely because they wish to hide something, they do not have access to the account they claim to be, or they do not have genuine intentions. Remind the individual that if things don't work out, they can simply "Unfriend" you. After gaining access the individuals profile, try your best to make sure it is legitimate and not a "catfish" (imposter/fake) profile. Look at the persons History/Timeline. If they just recently made the profile, have very few "friends", no "family" listed or photos that just seem bogus; have extreme caution.
  • Photos - Using the same search method as the first two suggestions, do the same, but instead search Google Images. You can do this by simply using the "Image Search" box located in the upper right. Be sure to Image Search all of the above mentioned items: screen names/user names, full names, nick-names, etc. You may be quite surprised at what you will find! From wedding photos to Scammer alerts!
  • Phone number - Using the same method as listed above, use Google to search the individuals phone number.

Victim of Catfishing...how much money were they swindled?

One victim of catfishing is a woman named Sue. She is 50 years old and is a nurse. She was catfished through a dating site known as Match.com. She had created and account 20 years after her husband had passed away. Sue was scammed out of $450,000 dollars. She states that the money she was scammed of continues to grow, as all the money that she gave away was not solely hers, she had also taken out loans.

Three Additional Scams People Need to Be Aware Of

The Fake Bank Email - If you receive an email from your bank asking you to visit a website, no matter how official it sounds, don't do it. If you are worried that it might be genuine and ignoring it could be costly, telephone your bank to check.

The Nigerian Money Scam - A reworking of the age old "Spanish Prisoner" scam, these emails asking for a small amount of money in return for a small fortune may seem laughably amateurish, but people are taken in and the fraudsters do make money - otherwise they simply wouldn't keep doing it. Ignore it and don't be tempted to reply - even to give the sender a cyber dressing down.

Facebook ID Fraud - This is a new one. Essentially, someone hacks a Facebook account and then sends messages to all associated "friends" asking for money to help in a dire emergency. Ask yourself if one of your real friends would ask you for money via a social networking site, or if they would give you a call. Don't take this kind of message at face value - check it out before you part with your cash!

References:


12 Signs You May be Getting Catfished. SocialCatfish.com. (n.d.). Retrieved Dec 6, 2014. http://socialcatfish.com/12-signs-might-getting-catfished-online/

catfish. (n.d.). Dictionary.com Unabridged. Retrieved December 06, 2014, from Dictionary.com website: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/catfish

Darby, S. (2014, January 1). 10 Scams that everyone should be aware of. Retrieved December 7, 2014, from http://www.money.co.uk/article/1002794-10-scams-that-everyone-should-be-aware-of.htm

Johnson, J. (2013, January 1). Catfish Victim Speaks Out. Retrieved December 7, 2014, from http://www.nbc-2.com/story/21222407/catfish-victim-speaks-out-about

Online Dating: How to Research and Investigate Before Meeting. Hubpages. (n.d.). Retrieved Dec 6, 2014 http://hubpages.com/hub/Online-Dating-How-to-Research-and-Investigate-Before-Meeting#