If social media and online dating sites/apps aren’t the main way people are meeting in the 2020s, they soon will be. Online connections are becoming more and more mainstream. The common way that people today meet and interact. And while some people date and may even marry those they meet online, most will not lead to that result, just like in real life. Also, similar to real life, there are scammers out there. Frauds. Players. Charlatans. You know, those who will do a bait and switch—pretend to be a certain kind of person to get attention, money, sexual interactions, and/or whatever else they wish from you. A relatively new term for scammers online is called “catfishing”, defined as: a fake or stolen online identity created or used for the purposes of beginning a deceptive relationship (source: https://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=catfish).
The simple but not necessarily easy task with an catfish (scammer) online is to 1) detect them, and then 2) cut ties with them as soon as possible—no explanation needed. Simple, but not necessarily easy. In this brief article, several warning signs will be given to detect possible catfish online. The more you know, the better you can assess them for what they are and eject out of future interactions.
Signs of Probable Scammers/Catfishers:
1) Their pictures are fishy (pun intended). If they have very few pictures, and the picture(s) they have posted look like an image of a model, they are probably a scammer. Conversely, when someone posts multiple pictures of themselves both alone and with other people in both casual and formal situations, that is much more trustworthy and believable. One way you can detect a phony image online is to download their posted image, and then upload this image to test it on a reverse image search site, such as www.tineye.com. If you put their picture to the test and you find it actually posted elsewhere on random places on their internet—especially on a stock photo page—the image is fake and they are scammers. But even if a tineye search doesn’t find the image, if it seems fake as described above, it probably is. A person posting a fake image of themselves is always a scammer of some kind. 100%.
2) Personal details are fishy. Their personal details about themselves are vague, minimal, contradictory, and/or don’t make sense. If someone claims to live in an exotic, expensive place like Beverly Hills or Manhattan, they probably don’t. If they said they went to Harvard or Stanford, they probably didn’t. If they say they own or business or are an entrepreneur but are vague on what business they supposedly own, this is probably a lie and made up as well. If they post a city that they supposedly live it that you’ve never heard or and can’t pull up online, that is fake. Most of all, if you see broken English in the way they describe themselves, assume they are scammer, rather than just someone with a bad vocabulary.
3) Interactions are fishy. If they quickly express love and affection for you, that is catfishing bait. You’ve never even met this person! They can’t love you because they don’t even know you. The same if they quickly start talking about marriage and moving to be with you. Huh? You don’t even know this person other than a few pictures, a little description of themselves, and a little conversation. Also fishy: if you ask them direct, relevant questions and they don’t ever answer and address those points, hoping you will forget or let it go. Or, the answers contradict or don’t make sense. Finally, extremely flowery, flattering, affectionate language is very fishy for them to toss out to a stranger on the internet. Assume a scam.
4) Requests are fishy. The most obvious sign of an online scammer/catfish is a person you are interacting with online asking you for significant things. And I mean, anything: money, gifts, favors, sexual interactions, etc. Usually, scammers will interact with you just long enough to where they think they have your trust, then they will ask you for something notable. That is how the game works. Often to justify their request, they will lie about supposedly being in a crisis and needing ____ (money, whatever) to help them get out of the crisis. I don’t think I’m going out on a limb here to say that all such requests are a scam. The bigger the dilemma they tell you they are in to justify the request, the more they reveal their scam. If they truly were in a big life dilemma, why would they reach out to a random person online to help them? They wouldn’t. They would ask a close family member or friend.
For the record, I enjoy online interactions myself with others and I recommend that for you as well. However, please have your radar on for scammers at all times. When you decipher that someone is a scammer, simply eliminate them out of your life immediately. No need to even tell them, no explanation necessary. Just ghost and block them. Scammers are dangerous, exploitive people and no interactions go well with such people in the end. Protect yourself and use wisdom and discretion as you get to know others online. And remember, “…neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man, in the Lord.”—1 Corinthians 11:11.
P.S. If you can questions, comments, or a future article request for me, feel free to contact me at email@example.com.
About the author
Hello, my name is Dr. Randy Gilchrist (aka "Dr. G"). I am a licensed clinical psychologist, a licensed marriage & family therapist, and a certified hypnotherapist in private practice in Roseville, CA (www.dr-rg.com), practicing since 1997. Also, I am happily married in the temple (Manti) since 1996 and have 4 sons. I am a volunteer writer and contributor to LDS Dimension. I use my training, education, and experience to share insights with LDS Dimension on all things of interest to the LDS dating community. Please read my articles and columns on this site to assist you in your online dating journey. Also, to be considered for an answer in a future Q and A column, please email me your dating/relationship oriented questions to firstname.lastname@example.org. Finally, I also offer a powerful, effective worldwide custom hypnosis recording service just for LDS Dimension members for weight loss, pornography, and many other issues of concern to those in the LDS dating community (please learn more now at www.dr-rg.com/lds; email me questions to email@example.com).