How to spot a catfish – catfish meaning and advice | 붯

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How to spot a catfish

Dating websites and apps can be a great way to meet someone from the comfort of your own home, but some scammers use these platforms to win people's trust and take their money. If you're online dating, read these tips so you know how to spot a catfish.

What is a catfish?

A catfish is someone who sets up a fake online profile to trick people who are looking for love, usually to get money out of them.

How can I spot a catfish?

Watch out for these behaviours to avoid relationship scams and catfish.

They want to know your personal details

Someone asking for personal information, like your full name, address, date of birth or bank details.

Conversations that get personal very quickly

They're telling you they love you, but you've only been talking for a couple of days or weeks. Someone who quickly suggests talking by email, text or phone rather than via the platform where you met them.

You can't find any trace of them online

You've searched their name on the internet but they don't seem to exist. Or they do, but the photos don't match the photos on their dating profile. Someone who only tells you vague details about themselves, and nothing that can be fact-checked.

They ask you for money

Emotional stories in which someone asks for money, for example claiming that they’ve fallen on hard times or that their relative is ill. Someone asking for money in order to come and visit you because they live far away.

They ask you to keep your relationship secret

Someone asking you to keep the relationship secret or trying to isolate you from your friends or family.

They avoid face-to-face contact

Even if they live in another country, there are lots of ways to meet them online, such as Skype and Facetime. If they're avoiding showing you their face, this could be a sign that they're not who they say they are. 

Their stories don't add up

Watch out for inconsistencies in people's stories, and if something doesn't make sense, ask about it.

How can I avoid getting catfished?

There are things you can do to help avoid relationship scams and catfish:

  • Report and block: If you become suspicious, most dating platforms and social media sites will let you report a member. You should also be able to block any members that make you feel uneasy or unsafe.
  • Keep safe: If you arrange to meet someone, meet them in a public place and always let someone know where you’ll be.
  • Keep details private: Don’t share too many personal details, such as your full name, date of birth or bank details.
  • Money matters: Don’t send money to someone you’ve never met in person, no matter what reason they give or how long you’ve been speaking to them.
  • Check them out: Have a good look at the person’s profile and check they’re genuine by putting their name, profile pictures or any repeatedly used phrases and the term ‘dating scam’ into your search engine.

What should I do if I've been scammed on a dating app or website?

If you’ve lost money in a relationship scam or you think you’ve been targeted, report it to Action Fraud, either by or by calling them on 0300 123 2040

You should also report them on the app or website that you met them on.

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Last updated: Apr 08 2024

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