Online relationships have become more popular, and so has catfishing. A form of manipulation that almost always ends with someone getting hurt (35 percent of catfishing victims come down with some form of psychological problems), catfishing is a method through which con artists get to love on social media and build relationships by pushing a faux, fictional persona.
There are a number of reasons why they do this, some of which include: boredom, thrill, money scams (romance scams around the world involve losses that run into millions of dollars), and maybe even tests. Some catfish accounts have been set up to test the loyalty of a spouse. This one happens to be more common with women, as females run up to sixty-five percent of catfish accounts.
Whatever the reason, here are ten clear signs that you are being catfished online.
1. The Profile Seemed Suspicious at First
The onset of suspicion, no matter how slight, is usually the first sign that you are likely about to be catfished. If at any point when you viewed a profile for the first time you felt something wrong about it, as its details don’t add up, then it is probably best you assume you are being catfished.
For example, a profile whose location is set to Ohio but uses an Indian number is all shades of suspicious. Chances are, you are being catfished in that relationship.
Tip: it is a brighter red flag if you got a message from the said account even before you accepted the request. What did they have to say to a stranger that was so important they couldn’t wait until you said yes to their friend request, eh?
2. They Look Too Good/Too Rich
We aren’t implying that there aren’t genuine people who look pretty good on the internet. What we are saying is: if your online lover looks just too good, all his pictures crisp and sharp, then you probably should take a step back and observe.
Ask yourself this: why will someone in a Lamborghini want to spend the entire day texting someone in a different time zone whom he has never met before? Love? Likely. But why here? Why did the love come right where you are?
It is a much bigger red flag if you have seen the picture on Instagram posted by another account. He or she could just be a model for all it is worth.
3. Things are Perfect, But Too Fast
Online affection can be truly intense at the start. But essentially, it is not so different from what happens in real life. People have to get to know each other before they can truly say they love themselves. If your relationship skipped this phase of ‘getting to know each other,’ then it is likely you have gotten into a catfish relationship.
Ask yourself this: what do you know about your online lover? What do they know about you?
A big red flag is ‘a one-sided knowledge’ about each other. That is, you seem to know everything about them while they know nothing about you—vice versa.
4. You Don’t Know Their Friends
Catfish accounts are quite careful not to implicate others, so they try to keep names away from their conversations as hard as they can.
If in your relationship, he has never mentioned the name of his best friend or confidant, then you should assume it is a catfish account. It is safer to assume online relationships are catfished until you prove they are not.
Ask them to tell you their friends’ usernames. If they can’t tell you any, then you can cross your fingers and begin to detach from them.
If they are in the habit of ghosting you, then returning with excuses meant to gaslight, then you should assume they are a catfish account and you are in a catfish relationship.
Catfish accounts seldom catfish only one victim at a time. They sure can catfish as many as ten to twenty victims at once, especially if the purpose of the catfishing is to scam you or launder money. It is difficult to keep up with this many people, so some victims may get just enough attention while others get ghosted.
If your online lover has bailed on you more than five times, then returned with a flimsy excuse even when their profile read ‘Online’, then you may be dealing with a catfish.
6. Their Stories Don’t Add Up
As mentioned earlier, it is quite difficult for a catfish account to keep up with all his or her victims. There will often be some glitches—they may tell different versions of their story to the same person twice.
When you find that their stories don’t add up anymore, have another look at their profile. Does it seem genuine? If not, then it is safe to conclude that you are in a catfish relationship and begin the detachment process.
If you are smart enough, ask trick questions. Though catfish account owners are smart, they sure can be outsmarted. Ask trick questions to corner them.
7. Lofty Promises
Catfish accounts are notorious for lofty promises. They make these promises to further lure their victims into trusting them more.
The promises sometimes include monetary promises, but often, they involve a better, happier life. They often say things like: “When I get into your country, I will make sure I love you like you have never been loved before.”
All that emotional appeal is a red flag.
PS: there are times when people make promises they mean online.
8. No Video Calls
Thanks to video calls, you can have face-to-face conversations with your lover from miles away by just clicking a button. Isn’t that perfect? Of course, it is, to genuine lovers. But to catfish account owners, it is far from perfect.
There is always an excuse for why video calls are so far-fetched and evil:
- I don’t like my camera.
- I have social anxiety, so it is best you don’t see my face.
- I am saving my face until when we meet so, we can truly bond.
All these excuses are false, and you should not buy any one of them. Assume you are being catfished if your video call requests are turned down all the time.
9. No Voice Calls Either
This is most likely going to be the case if your real-life spouse is the one testing you. Don’t be surprised. Real-life spouses do create catfish accounts to test their lover’s loyalty.
No voice calls should trip off many alarms on your intuition. Why don’t they want to do it? What is so hideous about their voices that they won’t let their lovers hear them?
10. All Dates Get Turned Down
There are times when you find love online from just one city away. A city you can easily drive to and set up a date.
If you opt-in to drive over to meet your lover in their city but repeatedly get turned down, then it is very likely you are being catfished.
Just assume you are.
What to Do if You are Being Catfished Online
Here is what you should do if you have been convinced that you are being catfished:
1. Accept it is Fine to Hurt
The realization that you have been catfished and lied to by someone you thought loved you genuinely hurts pretty bad. There is no need to fight your healing process by feigning strength and going all: “It doesn’t even matter.”
Of course, it does matter. It hurts you. Let it hurt. It gets better. Much better after a while. After this, the good news is that you may never be catfished again because you would be able to sniff scams from miles away.
2. Take a Break From Social Media
Now is the best time to take a break from social media. Take up to two weeks off just after you block the catfish account. You can block them without any parting words. But for the sake of closure, you can also drop a couple of parting words.
Tell them how much hurt you are, and then just leave.
3. Report the Account
Protect someone else by reporting the catfish accounts. If you want to, you can make a post warning people that this is a catfish account and should be avoided.
4. Talk to Someone
It is helpful to talk to someone when it gets quite hard to deal with the hurt of being catfished, especially if you have lost money to it.
Don’t be embarrassed. Just speak to someone.
Catfishing can cause psychological problems. And it is more common than you think. This is why you have to be safe online. Only accept friend requests from a credible account, and don’t give out vital information to anyone who comes off as suspicious, no matter how much you might like them.