What is the latest online dating scam Catfishing?

10 Jun 2016

Concerned about catfishing? Here’s what you need to know…

Catfishing is one of the fastest rising online dating scams, something that more and more people are falling victim to every year. If you want to ensure you don’t begin an online relationship with a false identity, we’ve put together everything you need to know; what catfishing is, how to spot the signs and what to do if it’s happened to you.

For those of you who don’t know, catfishing is….

‘Catfishing’ is one of the latest dating scams online – the practice of creating a false online identity, and using it to carry out a digital relationship with an unsuspecting partner. Usually, some details about the person will be the truth (the city they live in, for example). However, the majority of the information presented will be a lie – including the photos they use and their interests.

In most cases, the person will have used stock images or images stolen from another person to create a fully formed social media presence using this fake information. To most users, it will look like any, ordinary Facebook profile or Twitter account; which is why most people who do fall victim to catfishing don’t realise the truth until a lot further down the line.

One intriguing thing about impersonating someone in the dating industry is that there are usually no criminal intentions behind the practice. Those creating false online identities to begin relationships are, for the most part, not attempting to steal money from those they befriend or trick them into revealing personal information; they are genuinely trying to form a relationship. However, for the person who has been tricked, the betrayal can often run too deep, and these relationships rarely have a happy ending.

How to spot signs you are being catfished

One of the most tell tale signs of catfishing behaviour is a refusal to meet face to face. Many people who have been tricked in this way reported that even after months – sometimes years – of online communications and phone calls, their online partner refused to meet up in person. Very often, meetings would be planned and arranged, only to then be cancelled at the last moment. Obviously, the people behind the fake online identities weren’t ready to give up the lie, and thought playing along with a meeting would be enough to string it along even further.

Another key sign of this behaviour is a mismatch of information and details; timelines that don’t add up, facts that suddenly change, and social media posts that seem strange. Even when people are deeply committed to a lie, there can be too much false information to keep track of, and things are bound to slip. If things seem out of place, it’s because there is probably more to that person than meets the eye…

What to do if you have been a victim of catfishing

If you have fallen victim to catfishing, the damage will be more emotional than anything else. For that reason, it’s difficult to be able to take any action; this person hasn’t tried to steal from you or trick you out of important information. It’s not as though you can report them to the police for theft.

However, the emotional scars from this type of situation can be incredibly deep and long lasting, so they’re something you want to avoid at all costs. If you spot any of the signs, or have any uneasy feelings about an online relationship you’re in, ask our team here at Global Investigations to conduct a background check on your behalf. That way, if no concrete information can be found based on the details you have been given, you’ll know that something is not right, and you can either confront the person for answers or walk away from the situation once and for all.

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