Imagine falling in love online, only to find out you’re dating an imposter. If the concept isn’t terrifying, it may not have happened to you… yet! The risks that most online users may encounter a catphish are very real. If you socialize or date online, beware! Catfish want your attention, so they can con their way to your wallet or even “phish” your information with fake redirects and links. This is what to look for to protect yourself.
What is Catphishing?
Cat-phishing (also known as “catphishing” or “catfishing”) is when someone you’ve met online is not whom they claim to be. This type of deceptive practice often originates from other countries like Nigeria. While romance scams and catphishing can also happen domestically, foreign scammers are often using trickery to get your money. It’s not a pastime, it’s their actual day job and they perpetuate the con through the use of romance playbooks, which tell fraudulent romance scammers what to say to win your heart and steal your wallet.
How to Protect Yourself from Catphish
Most victims don’t realize they’re being deceived until it’s too late. This might mean that they’ve let their connection with the catfish become the focal point of their life, given away their heart, or found out that the catphisher was a scammer who stole their money or financial identity. To protect yourself from this type of financially and emotionally devastating con, do the following.
- Seeing is Believing: Decide that you will never give your heart or money to anyone you have not met in person and really taken time to get to know. Scammers can send fake, stolen photos or even alter the audio in stolen videos.
- Financial Data: The moment someone you don’t know in real life (or have met through the web) asks for your financial information and/or a loan, consider this a major red flag. If you feel tempted to give them a loan, confide in someone you trust and do your research with a thorough background check.
- Drama: Catphish will always make excuses about why they can’t video or phone chat. They will claim they are out of town, or location for work, or have other dramatic reasons they claim they can’t meet. If they seem to keep you on an emotional rollercoaster, you’re almost certainly dealing with a catphish!
- Cons: Catphish sometimes continue cons for months, if they expect a big payment. Other catphish only flirt or con you long enough to get you to click on an email link which will download malware on your device or steal your information, through a practice called phishing. Report these scams through the FTC.
Social Catfish is Here to Help You!
If you have found yourself in the midst of a catfish time, really take the time to find out who it is you’re actually interacting with. Trusting the wrong person can be dangerous and heartbreaking. Treat your online connections like you would want a loved one to. Be careful, move slowly, and avoid a long-distance dating relationship with anyone you haven’t met. Social Catfish allows you to search by name, username, email, phone number, and more. Uncover the catfish who might be pulling the wool over your eyes.
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