What Does Catfishing Mean?

Last Updated on August 29, 2022


Catfishing has increased in frequency over the past ten years due to the growth of social media and online dating. More than 23,000 US citizens claimed to have fallen victim to catfishing in just 2020. Furthermore, catfishing has a terrible financial impact. Over $605,000,000 worth of damage was recorded by the 23,000 victims. Nigeria, behind the Philippines, has the second-highest reported number of romance frauds worldwide, according to a recent Techshielder survey.

But exactly what is this risky catfishing activity that you’ve heard so much about? What are the telltale indications of catfishing? What should you do to avoid it? In this blog post, we will address each of these queries.

What is Catfishing?

Catfishing is the practice of using data and photographs, often obtained from other people, to fabricate a new identity. In other instances, a catfisher will claim to be someone else while stealing their entire identity, including their appearance, birthdate, and location. The catfisher then makes use of this identity to dupe people into joining their network or transacting business with them online.

Sometimes a catfishing attack targets just one individual. In these situations, a catfisher may create a persona they believe will appeal to their intended catfishing victim. Catfishing has long been prevalent on websites and forums for online dating. People frequently fabricate some portions of their profiles to entice their targets because catfishers can conceal any or all of their genuine identities without being confronted. In order to appear more appealing, they frequently do this by using someone else’s profile photo.

How Catfishing Works

Catfishing is a practice that has been around for a long time due to how simple it is to create a false identity online. After the 2010 publication of the documentary Catfish, the term “catfish” gained popularity. After that, in 2012, MTV debuted the TV programme “Catfish.” They frequently assisted clients in determining whether or not their online partner was a catfish.

Catfishing is a social engineering scam that involves one or more criminals using deceptive methods to obtain personally identifiable information (PII) from unwitting victims.

Generally speaking, catfishing occurs when a fraudster establishes a long-term relationship with their victim online while posing as someone else. This can be accomplished by creating a false persona or by using the photo and personal information of another person.

In certain circumstances, the fraudster may be driven by a desire to just test the deceit as a form of fun mischief. In other instances, their motivations may be monetary, with the intention of stealing the victim’s information and either selling it on the black market or utilising it to make purchases themselves.

The likelihood of catfishing has increased as more individuals look for human relationships online and as the number of online dating services increases. From a variety of sites, including social networks and stock picture libraries, fraudsters can quickly find images and personal information. Even photorealistic representations of inexistent persons can be created by them utilising contemporary artificial intelligence (AI) software.

These resources can then be used to communicate online, creating a relationship that appears trustworthy and sincere from the victim’s perspective. Sadly, a scammer can then take advantage of this confidence to obtain important financial and personal information.

Signs You Are Being Catfished

Online, there are countless accounts of people who have been catfished, and while the details may vary, the warning indicators are always the same. Here are eight indicators that you are being catfished, along with advice on how to avoid it.

The relationship progresses quickly

The majority of catfishing stories you read will demonstrate how quickly and strongly a person can seduce their potential victims. You are probably being catfished if, in the first few discussions, the other person seems to be rushing the connection without ever having met you.

They never want to show their face

There is a significant probability that someone is hiding their genuine identity if they appear sincere but only wish to communicate via phone or writing (or, similarly, if they constantly discuss meeting in person but persistently run into obstacles that prohibit them from doing so).

Social media usage is sparse

Social media accounts are no longer proof of someone’s identification. They might be a catfish if their accounts have few friends and few postings (being tagged in friends’ photos is most helpful in this research).

They ask for money

Everyone occasionally needs a helping hand, but usually, assistance should be solicited from close relatives or friends—someone you have known for a long time. If you’ve been romanced online (remember, you’ve never met in person!) and the individual asks you to send money to them or a “friend,” see this as a huge warning sign.

Their “job” sends them around the world

If the person you met online has a “career” that requires them to frequently travel (especially to regions like Africa or the Middle East), take note. Not everyone who travels for a living is a scam artist. These people may be using this as an excuse to avoid engaging in face-to-face discussion, and those who claim to be stranded abroad frequently ask for money.

Proper grammar is lacking

Do not be hesitant to probe more if someone claims to be from an English-speaking nation but there is evidence of poor language skills. A catfish will likely stop communicating with you and start looking for someone else to con.

They have elaborate stories

Catfishers are skilled at playing on your emotions in order to win your sympathy or your money. Early disclosure of childhood trauma to a total stranger should be taken as an attempt to establish an emotional connection. Catfishers often create elaborate justifications for why they can’t use Skype yet again or even why they require an urgent money transfer. Watch out for people who have this habit online.

Tips on How to Avoid Falling Victim to Catfishing

Request a face-to-face encounter within the first week if you two appear genuinely interested (anything like Skype or Facetime works if they live far). Delete the link and be happy you saved yourself time and suffering if they reject, keep making excuses, or never answer.

Never send a stranger you met online or someone you don’t know repeatedly big or irregular sums of money. Never divulge the details of your financial accounts either!

Be intuitive. Understandably, it is easy to fall blindly in love with someone who claims to have feelings for you, is wealthy and has a sweet tongue but it should get to a point where they are a little too good to be true. especially when you’ve never met. Think twice before doing them a favour or sending them any money.

If you want to be sure, there are services such as socialcatfish.com for people who think they are being catfished. The service can do some investigating and determine the validity of a person’s social media profiles. Like anything in life, it’s better to be safe than sorry.

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