Technology has evolved a lot in the past decades and it started to play a tremendous part in our lives. Most of us have a smartphone and an account on at least one social media network. And, with the rise of technology, even dating started to develop a digitalized form. This is how online dating became popular among both young and old people. Do I agree with it? Not really, but people like it and for some of them it’s efficient, but other people have had really bad experiences with it: from meeting total weirdos to meeting people who seemed okay online and turned out to be awful in real life. The latter has become a huge problem today, which is known as catfishing. So, let’s find out more about this problem and how to avoid it altogether.
What exactly is catfishing?
To make matters clearer, catfishing is basically being deceptive while creating a profile on social media, mostly with the goal of getting in a romantic relationship. The scary part is that this deception can seem legit: from fake photos to fake biographies. Some people are so sick that they commit to their online persona and it’s impossible to distinguish a genuine person from a catfish.
The term became popular with the rise of the MTV documentary with the same name, which tackles this exact same issue. Find out more about it here.
How they act and why?
A catfish usually steals photos and personal information from other people and they “assume” this new identity. Usually, they invent a name so they will seem more genuine. Some of them either want a romantic relationship or money and personal details from someone (phishing). But I won’t get into the latter, because I think that most internet users know about this, as it’s been around for so long. What is difficult is identifying a catfish who seeks your romantic interest.
Even though it’s difficult, there’s a pattern. To my knowledge, they tend to be flirty and they quickly start engaging in romantic behaviour. They try very hard to be genuine and are willing to fake everything just to reach their goal. Isn’t this sad? Well, yes. It’s depressing and, with the rise of social media, this phenomenon spirals out of control.
Why are they acting like that? It happens because of many, many reasons, mainly lack of confidence and a lot of insecurity. These people hate their lives so much that they’re willing to become someone else in order to have any sort of fulfillment in their life. This affects both parties, if you ask me and this phenomenon has to stop. However, I don’t think it’s the case.
How to identify a catfish
Even though it seems impossible, since catfishing is a huge problem, there are many ways through which you catch a catfish. I will write about some of them. For example, as I mentioned above, they push the relationship quickly and they tend to come very strong, but you’ve just started talking. This is a huge red flag and something to be treated with caution.
You should also take into account that, despite being extremely bold and friendly when you’ve talked like two times so far, a catfish won’t reveal their face. So, if you want to catch a catfish in the act, suggest Skyping. If they refuse…well, you know where you stand.
In addition to all these signs, you should be very careful because, while they tend to say a lot, they are very vague in their communication. So, if someone talks a lot, but doesn’t seem to say much, they’re most likely a catfish. For example, if you ask them a specific question and they beat around the bush without giving a straight-to-the-point answer, that’s bad news.
To answer the question in the title, and, from what you’ve read here, yes, catfishing is a main problem and we should contribute to stopping it. So, what should we do? Well, we should be careful with what we share online, because who knows who sees it. If someone from the internet seems to be too good to be true, that’s probably the case. If you find yourself in this situation, cut ties with the person immediately. It will be better in the long run.