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What Is Catfishing?

Have you ever had the feeling that it’s too good to be true when talking to someone online? Or, have you never met the person but they are asking you for money? At Verity Henton, we investigate and uncover various catfishing scams for our clients before situations escalate. But, what is catfishing and what are the key signs you should look out for when online dating

What even is Catfishing?

So, what is catfishing? Though popularised by MTV’s hit series and the original 2010 documentary Catfish, it is a legitimate term that originated as early as the 1900s. Catfishing refers to someone online pretending to be someone else in an attempt to deceive them. Catfishers will tend to create complete fictional backstories and provide fake photos on social media or dating profiles. Where, in certain situations, can look very convincing.

There are many reasons why a person may catfish. Certain catfishers may feel lonely and paranoid about their looks, meaning they feel like they have to appear as someone “more conventionally” attractive to make friends or romantic partners. However, though this may appear innocent enough, it is still actively lying to someone and causing negative effects once the truth comes out.

The other side of catfishing is more malicious. A common incentive is purely financial, where the person doing the catfishing isn’t looking for companionship. They are looking to take advantage and convince their “pen pal” to send them money.  

Let’s take a look at some of the main signs you are being catfished…

Avoiding Calls or Video 

Catfishers try to steer away from situations where they might reveal their actual identity. As a result, they will never commit to a video chat or an in-person meeting. They frequently won’t even answer a standard call, especially if they are catfishing as a different gender. After all, even their voice might reveal something they don’t want you to know, like their gender or nationality for example. 

If you try to ring them, do they make excuses such as a “family emergency” or “can’t talk because they’re at work”? Will they never answer a FaceTime request? This could actually be catfishing warning signs. For more information on online dating, click here. 

Stolen Images

Their pictures can also be a massive giveaway when it comes to “what is catfishing”. In an online setting, if the person has professional-looking images on their profile, this is an early catfishing warning sign. There are two explanations for this. Firstly, they are using someone else’s photos, or even stock images that were taken off the internet. Or, they are trying to make themselves look better than they actually are.

In the case of stolen images, you may be able to find this out for yourself. Simply, using Google reverse image search, you can compare the images to see similar pictures and their origin. To achieve this, just visit Google Images, click on the tiny camera icon to upload a photo, or paste the URL of an existing photo, and then begin your search.

Cancel Plans

When online dating, look out for anyone that constantly refuses, makes up excuses or cancels any plans to meet in real life. This sign is a definite red flag for “what is catfishing”. Many actually may make the plans themselves, then bail at the last minute.

Look out for anyone on online dating apps that have elaborate stories and excuses. Especially if it’s a new excuse every time they refuse or cancel your plans. 

Asking For Money

Everyone occasionally needs a helping hand, but usually, this help should be sought from close family or friends—someone you have known for a long time. If you’ve been romanced online and the individual asks you to send money to them or a “friend,” see this as a huge warning sign for what is catfishing.

You should never give large amounts of money online to someone you can’t be 100% certain they are who they say they are. If you want peace of mind when online dating, why not hire a private investigator before making any sudden decisions?

Our Private Investigators in London and Essex

Verity Henton are a team of female private investigators in London and Essex. Yet, we are not just limited to the capital. We work nationally and even internationally. Our services offer a full range of discreet and comprehensive investigations, including cheating partners, background checks, tracing people and answering the question “what is catfishing”. 

For more information on our investigation services, get in touch today! Just fill in our form or give us a call at 01277 564007 (Essex) or 020 3916 5917 (London) to speak to our team today.