Avoid Being Catfished in Online Dating
Have you ever been catfished in online dating? Here are 3 tips to help protect you and keep you safe online.
Online dating is a wonderful method of courtship, to help you foster a romantic relationship. Online dating sites should be used as a tool that helps build an authentic, in-person relationship. Many people have become emotionally involved with online strangers and eventually find the people they’ve corresponded with aren’t who they said they were. MTV has even created a show, “Catfish” on the subject of the elaborate lies that strangers tell online. The show is named after the deceitful act of catfishing in online dating, where people create fake, online personalities. Here are three ways you can protect yourself from catfishing in online dating.
3 Tips to Avoid Being Catfished in Online Dating
1. Social Media Privacy Settings
The person you begin your correspondence with on the online dating site may search for your other online information. Make sure your social media sites are private or only display limited information. If your suitor has ill intentions and isn’t trustworthy, it’s likely he’ll conduct research on you for more personal information. Reference LifeLock’s Facebook page, which will update you on the latest security trends that will help you protect yourself from a catfish situation or identity theft. Even if the person seems like an old friend, still treat them as a stranger and keep intimate personal information private. If the catfish asks you many questions about yourself, but won’t reveal much information about his personal life, be weary of his intentions. Another warning sign would include any moment when he is defensive about the questions you ask.
2. Video Chat or Meet in Person
Once you’ve met someone you connect with and you’ve had frequent text correspondence, ask if he/she will video chat with you. You can utilize either Skype or Google Video Chat for your face-to-face meeting. If he/she declines the video chat invitation or continually cancels your video chat date, a red flag should go up. Inquire why he/she won’t video chat with you and suggest you instead meet in person. An appropriate time for an in-person meet up would be within the week that you’ve begun your communication. When you meet, make sure it is in a public place. Recommend a nearby coffee shop as a spot for your first meet up. Make sure you emotions don’t become too involved before you’ve actually met the person. Constant communication with the person could fool you into an emotional bond, which would make your relationship solely an online relationship.
After someone contacts you on the online dating site, put his or her name through a search engine and research their online involvement. See if he/she has online accounts on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram and make sure his/her photos aren’t only of him/her alone, but rather with family or friends. See if he/she is tagged in any of their friends’ photos. You can also do a reverse image search, where you can copy the URL of a photo and see if the photo matches up with the profiles of people with a different name. Spammers and catfishers will often use the same phrases on multiple posts. Google search any text he/she has sent you and make sure the exact phrase hasn’t been used on different social media platforms. If it gets a bit more serious, you may want to dive deeper. You can easily order a background check on the person. There are a number of background check sites that will provide you with quick results and the assurance that you’re not being fooled.
Have you ever been catfished in online dating? Please share your experience in the comments below.