Dating apps are like the Wild West, so swipers beware! Today we’re going to teach you how to catch a catfish, so you will be a little safer online.

When online dating was in its infancy, it was like Fight Club. Nobody talked about it and everyone lied about how they met. There was a shared sense of societal shame. Try saying that five times fast. As online dating evolved from sketchy chat rooms to the apps we know today, so did society’s acceptance.

As it’s become more common, online dating has bred a whole new generation of bad dating behavior.

In its simplest terms, a catfish is someone who lies about who they are online. They use a fake persona or phony photos and reel in romantic partners online. There’s a whole MTV show dedicated to it

Listen to Your Intuition

If it feels too good to be true, chances are—it is.

If you notice red flags in the first few messages, let it go unless you want to catch a catfish.

  • The want to switch to another app quickly
  • There is an urgent family crisis
  • They’re suddenly traveling abroad
  • They ask you specific, personal or financial information
  • The things they say don’t match the information in their profile
  • They have multiple profiles or aliases

A common characteristic among catfish—they can’t spell. Despite often boasting post-graduate degrees, catfish will typically display poor spelling and grammar skills. Typos and shorthand are one thing. Maybe they’re in a hurry, maybe they just have fat fingers. But just pay attention and trust your gut.

Does their behavior and language match the persona they have displayed online? 

Take Action

The Federal Trade Commission reported a record $304 million lost in romance scams throughout 2020. That’s up 50% from the previous year.

Signs of a Scam:

  • They say “I love you,” shortly after meeting
  • They are from the U.S. but are living overseas.
  • They ask for money in an attempt to lure you off the dating site
  • They promise to visit but an emergency prevents them from doing so

When you’re online, lead with your head, not your heart. All of the cues we are privy to in person: body language, mannerisms, eye contact or validation of one’s appearance are absent online. A photo on an app isn’t confirmation that someone is real.

So, whatever method you opt to use to find love, be sure to properly vet them or employ others to do the work for you. There are plenty of fish in the sea, just don’t catch a catfish!

If you have been a victim of an online dating scam, click here to report it!