Catfishing is when someone creates a false online identity with the intention of luring people into deceptive relationships, usually so they can be exploited for money.
Hey there, Steve here and welcome to this week’s private eye post on catfishing.
Since COVID lockdowns, we’ve seen a sharp rise in all types of online scams, but especially catfish attempts.
Earlier this week, my wife’s friend told her about a new man she’d met online. It was so obviously a catfishing scam, I wondered how she could have fallen for it.
She never once asked herself, “Am I being catfished?”
Here’s what happened to her:-
- She met a man online
- He was based in New Zealand
- He asked her to go and inspect some houses for her
- He wanted to give her his bank details so she could buy the house for him
Now, I’ve summarised the salient points, and I’m sure it’s immediately apparent that something is clearly wrong.
After all, how many people you haven’t met will give you their bank details?
But what you must not forget is that this happened over a period of time. They chatted and spoke a lot. You know, really got to know each other. 😉
And for my wife’s friend, it seemed fresh and exciting, too.
So, don’t fall into the trap of believing you’re immune to this type of scam. You really have to strip things down to what’s happening and remove all of the emotional stuff before you can see what’s really going on.
The signs below are what you need to keep a lookout for…
Disclaimer: This information is for general educational purposes only and may not apply to all situations — everyone is unique after all. For help with an individual situation, please contact us —the first call is free, and we may just be able to put your mind at rest!
#1 – Get Serious
Is your new dating chat turning very serious, very quickly?
I know some people believe in love at first sight. And I too have heard stories of things working out for people who meet and start a relationship this way.
What I haven’t heard of is love at third chat.
(Doesn’t it sound ridiculous when I say it like that?)
But if you believe you just met your soulmate, and you’ve been chatting with them solid for the last 3 days, it doesn’t seem quite so weird in the moment.
#2 – COVID
Catfishing scammers would previously have had to come up with solid reasons why they can’t meet in person. It used to be they would travel a lot.
Nowadays, they have the perfect excuse — COVID. They can’t travel because they can’t quarantine and so on.
Now, this is a highly credible excuse, right. After all, it sounds genuine enough.
But if you have never met the person you’re speaking with, the same rules apply.
#3 – Choice Words
Many scammers are overseas. India, Nigeria and other African countries seem especially popular.
The longer they try and scam people the better their english gets. But there’s always the slip ups in grammar. And the use of words which wouldn’t be chosen by a native english speaker.
#4 – Profile Poverty
You meet the perfect guy and the first thing you do is check out their profile.
You look at their friends and family to get a sense of who they really are. Only you find that their friends make comments that look a little strange. Have another look. Read them out loud to yourself. Do they sound like comments made by people who really know your new guy. Or are they made by strangers?
#5 – Got The Look
Is your new man hot? Like, really good looking?
I’m sorry to disappoint you but the chances are he’s a fake. Catfishing scammers use this as a way to attract lots of potential victims to their profiles.
If they’re doing this, they will also have reasons they can’t video chat with you.
Whenever we ask clients what is giving them suspicions, they usually say something like they just know it isn’t right. It’s all too good to be true.
Catfishing scams don’t work on logic they work by exploiting emotions.
So, what you must remove your heart from the situation and use your head. Strip out the emotion.
If you see any of these signs please, whatever you do, don’t give someone you don’t know any money.
If you’re dating someone new, and things are moving as you’d like them to, but you want to make sure they are who they say they are, just use our background check service.
Follow us on Facebook for more information on avoiding getting catfished, and how to get help if you think you need to.
Until next week,