Technology has allowed for great strides especially in human socialization. Now, in a few button clicks or screen swipes, you can make a new friend. People no longer have to remain limited to the social circles and environments around them. However, this wonderful aspect of getting to know new people from the comfort of your house came with a massive online con; catfishing. Catfishing happens when someone lures you into an online friendship or relationship under false pretences like giving fake photos and details of themselves. Some people do it for fun while others try to defraud their victims via long con techniques. To avoid being a victim, here are a few tips.
Do vigorous research of the person
When you meet someone online, always make sure to do as much research on him or her, as possible. Google the details they provide to countercheck and confirm. Look them up on social media platforms and other online forums that they may appear. When the details do not add up, take it as a red flag and reduce or cut all communication. People, who do not have social media presence or a few photos of themselves, are worth your suspicion. Do not assume their lack of visibility to be a need for privacy. It may be assign of their illegitimacy.
Move to voice and video calls as soon as possible
Whenever you make an online friend, the conversations naturally gravitate towards inboxes and text chats. However, when the friendship starts progressing fast and further, try to incorporate voice and video calls. These are some of the surest ways of confirming that the person you see online is the same on the other end of the phone. Be very wary of individuals that always have excuses about making and receiving calls. They may not want you to blow up their cover.
Ask for external advice and vetting
Online friendships and relationships can be very enticing and thrilling. So much so that we get lost in that world and forget to keep in touch with our physical and real environments. Most catfishers use that advantage. To avoid falling into a trap, always let someone else know about your newfound interest. Tell them everything about the individual, show them photos and let them help you carry out research. Furthermore, ask for their honest vetting and opinion so that they can point out any warning signs you might have missed. You should do away with any individual that tells you to keep your friendship a secret.
Listen to your gut and don’t share out sensitive information
Most importantly, always listen to your gut. If you find yourself always questioning what an online friend said, or wondering why their details do not make sense, then you should probably cut communication. Do not make excuses or assumptions to defend sketchy behaviour, and do not let them disappoint you more than once. In addition to this, never share your sensitive information to an online stranger no matter the circumstance. Most of the catfishers use sickness or family crises to get money from their victims. Do not allow yourself fall into that guilt tripping trap.