Online Dating Scams, Red Flags, and What is “Catfishing”?

Australia If you have engaged with internet culture in recent years, you have probably come across the term “catfish”, first coined in the documentary of the same name. A catfish is someone who uses false information to cultivate a persona online that does not represent their true identity. This commonly involves using stolen or edited photos, usually taken from an unwitting third party. Catfish will use this information to create a more appealing version of themselves, then engage in continued one-on-one interactions with another person or people who are unaware of the deception. Falling prey to catfish In the documentary, Nev Schulman learns that a woman with whom he has developed an online relationship over nine months is actually fake. Another married woman who originally claimed to be her mother has used pictures from a model’s account to create the complicated, phoney relationship. There have been several high-profile cases of catfishing reported in the media since then. Singer Casey Donovan, in her memoir, wrote about a six-year relationship that turned out to be fake — in her case, the catfish even lied about her gender.

‘Are You Real?’ — Inside an Online Dating Scam

But lying about who you are — and your affections — solely to get access to someone else’s personally identifying information or money is a more dangerous form of catfishing not often highlighted by the show, and it’s on the rise just in time for Valentine’s Day. In fact, we might as well officially call this version of it “catphishing,” and add it to the growing roster of other notable phishing scams.

The most famous catfishing victim, Notre Dame football star Manti Te’o , didn’t lose much more than his pride in his ordeal, but other victims haven’t been quite so lucky. Former Denver Nuggets star Chris Anderson faced a criminal investigation after a woman pretended to be him online and scammed and blackmailed more than a dozen victims including a woman with whom he had a real-life relationship.

As the Better Business Bureau has noted, these scams are on the rise in part because they don’t cost the scammers very much. Many online dating sites are free to users, fake photos are easy to find and a little investment — like in flower deliveries , which don’t require the person ordering be present — can net more in financial returns from the charmed women or men who fall under a catphisher’s spell.

Plot[ edit ] “They used to tank cod from Alaska all the way to China. They’d keep them in vats in the ship. By the time the codfish reached China, the flesh was mush and tasteless. So this guy came up with the idea that if you put these cods in these big vats, put some catfish in with them and the catfish will keep the cod agile. And there are those people who are catfish in life.

And they keep you on your toes. They keep you guessing, they keep you thinking, they keep you fresh. And I thank God for the catfish because we would be These “catfish” usually intend to trick an unsuspecting person or more into falling in love with them. The term “catfish” is derived from the title of the previously-mentioned documentary, in which filmmaker Schulman discovers that the woman with whom he’d been carrying on an online relationship had not been honest in describing herself.

MTV and the Catfish film’s producers, Schulman and Joseph, help people who are emotionally entangled with someone they have never met in real life.

5 Ways to Spot a Catfish Scam This Valentine’s Day

These deep emotional problems they have experienced have caused them to escape into an alternate persona in the online world. At first, it did not appear it would turn out that way. Kya was the one who had contacted Nev and Max. She had been talking online to a guy named Alyx. The problem was she had been using a fake name and fake photos of herself.

Kya eventually came clean to Alyx and he quickly forgave her.

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Online Dating Blog

SHARE Every so often a reality television show comes along that genuinely captures my attention from start to finish. It is based off of a documentary film where the narrator of the current television show, Nev Schulman, went to meet his online love in person only to be shocked by the deception he found.

He was heartbroken to find he had really fallen for no more than a mirage. While it may initially sound trivial, if not superficial, the implications of such an occurrence are profound.

Careful — you could be getting catfished. What Does Catfished Mean? So what does it mean? According to the entry, it means: The husband told him a story about the fishing trade, where cod would be transported in giant vats from Alaska to China. So, catfish were added to chase the cod and kept them fresh. The husband told Schulman that everyone needed catfish to chase them around and keep them on their toes — and the name of the film was born. As four in 10 Americans look online to find romance , catfishing runs rampant.

Catfishers may be bored, lonely, or even scam artists living in another country.

Introductory letters sent by Russian scammers

There have been many people scammed into thinking that they are talking to one person, while the person on the other side of the screen is lying about his or her identity. I also enjoyed hearing the stories that each person had to share. Watching someone finally meet the person they had been talking to for years was a good feeling. The show has released only a few episodes, but it reflects the reality of online dating—there are so many people who do not know whether they are talking to the same person they have seen in the pictures on social media sites.

Anyone can become a victim to the lies, but not everyone is willing to learn the truth.

Here’s how it happened. Before she knew it, her savings were gone. And the man of her dreams? He might not even exist. A short message sent on a Thursday evening in early December , under the subject line: Later, when she puzzled over their relationship, she’d remember this. She had contacted him, not the other way around. That had been a fateful move; it made everything easier for him.

But she didn’t know that yet.

Catfishing

One could argue that the network even re-branded itself off the success of its reality TV programming. Since its initial foray into reality TV with the first season of The Real World in , MTV has succeeded markedly in capturing, packaging and exploiting the excesses of youthful immaturity in ways that make most of us cringe. More often than not, hopes of romance and true love are shattered when one party is revealed to be lying about their identity. Before the MTV show, catfishing stories rarely left the confines of internet dating sites and chatrooms.

I used to go catfishing with my grandpa all the time when I was little. These are some of my fondest memories. In the online world, catfishing is when someone lies about who they are to lure people into a romantic relationship. People catfish either as a cruel joke, to get revenge on an ex, con others out of money, or for many other reasons. If an online match does any of the following things, your spidey senses should be tingling.

Their Profile Has Little Information The whole point of online dating is to get to know people and for them to get to know you so you can find a compatible date or partner. Watch out for online daters who only post one photo or photos that are blurry, or are take from the side, or show them wearing a hat, or those kinds of things. A profile with no photo or only a couple is a red flag. That person might be pretending to be someone else and trying to hide who they really are.

Are they in front of a white background? Look for specific details about yourself that they pulled from your profile and used in their message to you, including your name, location, and interests.

How to Catch a Catfish Online: 17 Tell-Tale Signs & What to Do

First there was the documentary and the MTV show. So what is it? There are a lot of reasons why someone might become a catfish.

There are plenty of Internet evildoers who aren’t showcased on MTV, and their stories are often just as jaw-dropping — sometimes even heinous. Marissa Williams was dangerously irresponsible on the Internet, according to AL. She routinely invited strangers she met there to her home for drinks or sex. When her aunt, who was housing Williams, finally had enough, she decided to teach the girl a lesson.

To shake her up, she created a fake suitor named “Tre ‘Topdog’ Ellis” — but the surprise was eventually on her. As soon as Williams began communicating with Topdog, she allegedly revealed how much she hated her family and then devised a plan: Topdog would come kidnap her — and kill her aunt in the event the woman tried to stop the abduction. Eventually, Williams reportedly even offered “Topdog” a decisive plan of attack that would also leave her cousin, her aunt’s fiance and the family dog dead.

Minneapolis Star Tribune The distrustful hands of the law: Police are meant to protect the public, but former Minneapolis officer Bradley Schnickel was sentenced to 30 months in prison for doing quite the opposite. According to the Minneapolis Star Tribune , Schnickel posed as a young man named Brady Schmidt on social networking sites in an effort to convince young women to have sex with him, even telling girls as young as 12 that they were “hot.

Miami Heat star Chris “Birdman” Andersen was flying high two years ago — until the day he came home to find authorities, including the Internet Crimes Against Children Unit ICAC , had searched through his possessions for clues that could connect him to an illegal act. According to Newsweek, police wouldn’t tell Birdman what they were seeking, but the news quickly led to him being called a child molester across social media.

Four Awesome Catfish Success Stories

They might be scammers who are out for money, an ex seeking revenge, or someone who is just plain bored. Catfish highlights both sides of Catfishing, and has inspired hundreds of people to come forward with their own stories. Both victims and Catfishers themselves have shared their experiences all over the internet, and not all of them are quite as PG as those on the show. Even private profiles allow “friends” to access your photos, and there are no regulations on what they can and cannot do with them.

You will be after you read these insane Catfish stories!

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Catfish


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