Are You Being Catfished? 10 Signs to Look For

Catfishing is something that happens increasingly as new technology and social media platforms grow in popularity. It’s never been easier for people to create double, often fake, lives on the internet in order to impress, or create a relationship with, other people online. According to The Week, 38% of those asked in March 2023 , between the ages of 25-34, admitted to being misled by a fake social media profile online at one point or another.

Most of the time, there aren’t any implications or consequences for those doing the catfishing, but for those on the other end, it can be financially, emotionally and mentally damaging. It’s never been more important for internet users to confirm, sooner rather than later, whether or not they’re being catfished. We’ll go through everything you need to know about catfishing, together with some signs that could indicate that you’re being tricked.

What is ‘catfishing’?

Catfishing is when someone creates a fake profile online, claiming to be someone else. They’ll then use that as a facade to talk to other people on the internet who have legitimate accounts. Those who are unsuspecting will begin to talk to the person behind the fake profile, often conjuring new friendships or relationships. Catfishing can last anywhere from a few days to even years. According to Discover Magazine, of the 20 people they asked who had been catfished, it was revealed that the longest relationship lasted for three years.

Why is it called ‘catfishing’?

There are many reasons as to why this act is called ‘catfishing’. Some believe that it comes directly from a documentary that aired in 2010 where Vince Pierce was interviewed, who happened to marry his ‘catfish’. But the television programme actually coined the term through fish shipping between America and China. Suppliers found that the cod would arrive in better condition if they were shipped with catfish; a natural enemy of cod.

Pierce himself stated that; “there are those people who are catfish in life and they keep you fresh and I thank God for the catfish because we would be droll, boring and dull if we didn’t have somebody nipping at our fins”. From this documentary, the MTV American television programme, ‘Catfish’ aired.

It featured Nev and Max who travelled across the country looking to help those who believe that they’re being catfished. They would then use their skills to confirm or deny their suspicions. The show has been running for the last twelve years and it’s still proving to be just as popular as when it first aired.

Why do people ‘catfish’?

The exact reason as to why people ‘catfish’ isn’t known, this is because people will do it for different reasons. From revenge to money, catfishing is often used as a way of getting something out of someone, or as a way to deal with something that’s happened in the past. It might also be that those who are doing the catfishing are unwell or unstable mentally or emotionally and so the situation needs to be dealt with delicately.

That’s why it’s always a good idea to leave it down to the professionals. Delta 74 Private Investigations are pleased to carry out the services necessary to determine whether or not you’re being catfished. We will then deliver the news to you in a way that’s sensitive and dignified. If you think you’re being catfished, choose Delta 74 Private Investigations to help you with the situation.

Am I being catfished? - 10 signs to look out for

It can be difficult to know whether or not you’re being catfished, but there are a few signs and red flags to look out for if you suspect a catfish. Here are ten things you should be keeping an eye out for if you’re wondering “am I being catfished?”.

1. They don’t pick up the phone or refuse to use Facetime

This is usually a solid sign that someone isn’t who they say they are, more so if they refuse to video call with you. Not having a phone call with you could indicate that they’re an opposite sex to the one they’re portraying, for example, but then it could also rule out that it was them on a video they may have sent you that wasn’t theirs to begin with. Either way, it could expose them, so if they’re refusing to call you or Facetime with you, then it’s likely they’re a catfish.

2. They don’t have many followers or “friends” on social media

A medium-sized or even a large following online could add credibility and validity to a social media account. It suggests they have real-life friends and acquaintances who are following them on the internet as well as spending time with them in real life, so chances are, they are who they say they are. If, however, their following is considerably small and the accounts that are following them look fake, then it could indicate their online account is also fake, making it even more likely that you’re being catfished.

3. Their story doesn’t add up, or it’s too good to be true

According to a case study in Teen Vogue, a woman called Katelyn was catfished by a seemingly “attractive” man who claimed to share the same interests as you. But red flags started to pop up when he began talking about his job. Apparently, his location was listed as Arizona, however, coincidentally, he had plans to move to her town within a month for a new job. But when she started asking more questions about his job, the location of the new office and who he worked for, the more defensive and dismissive he became.

Eventually, she came to the conclusion that she was being catfished. The story itself was far-fetched because her town was very small and close-knit, so she would have known that a large corporate company had moved in. Not to mention, it was also too good to be true. If you find that there are holes in their story or if it’s something unbelievable, then it could be that you’re being catfished.

4. They’ve been using someone else’s pictures

This one would be harder to prove because, as far as you’re aware, the pictures they’re displaying are legitimate. However, there are some ways to determine whether or not those pictures have been stolen. Sometimes, there might not be many of them, or their profile isn’t very historic, with photos dating back years, rather than months. Instead of suspecting whether or not a photo is genuine, you could do a reverse image search on Google.

5. They never send casual selfies

When people are chatting online, or if they’re just started dating, it’s natural for someone to send a casual selfie. It could be of them at home, on a night out or on a day trip somewhere. It’s something that’s fun and friendly to do while you’re getting to know someone, but if they’re not doing it for you, then this could be a huge red flag. While it’s not a sure way of determining whether you’re being catfished or not, it’s enough for suspicions to arise.

6. They’re reluctant to meet up with you in real life

Sometimes, it takes several of these signs to occur simultaneously before it becomes obvious that someone is being catfished, but being reluctant to meet up with you in the real world is often one of the first red flags to appear if something is amiss. It might be that you never make any actual plans to meet up in real life. If this is the case, it could be that you’re being catfished.

7. They continue to make plans with you & then repeatedly cancel

Another way to determine whether you’re being catfished or not is when you keep making plans with them only for them to continually cancel on you. Where they might have a good excuse to begin with, or they have a genuinely legitimate reason for not meeting up with you, if it happens repeatedly, then it’s a bad sign.

8. They ask you details about your personal life but don’t share anything about theirs

You should never pass personal information onto anyone, even those who you know. This includes things like your bank information, your National Insurance number and other pieces of sensitive data, like your passport number, for instance. Where there should be no reason for anyone to want to gather that sort of information on you, if someone online does ask for it, do not give it out. Likewise if they ask you for personal information, from your address to your shoe size. If they’re a catfish, they could be using that information for anything. You might also find that they hold their cards very close to their chest, giving little away about their own life.

9. They’re asking you for money

Catfish will sometimes have an ulterior motive for what they do. Often, it’s for some extra cash. According to a survey conducted in 2019, 35% of those asked said they encountered a catfish who was trying to execute an online scam. A different study found that around 6% of those who had been catfished incurred financial losses of between £1,000 and £10,000. Those statistics show that there’s a financial motive for catfishing over the internet. If they’re asking you for money, then it could be that they’re catfishing you.

10. Your gut is telling you there’s something “off”

Sometimes, your gut tells you everything. If you have a general feeling that something is “off”, then chances are it is. Trust your intuition in these cases, whilst also piecing together some of the signs you may have come across. One sign on its own might not be a clear indicator that something is wrong, but if there are several different things happening at the same time, then it’s likely you’re talking to a catfish.

Delta 74 Private Investigations are on hand to carry out a wide range of different PI services. From background checks and lie detector tests to people tracing and cohabitation investigations, you’ll always be able to count on us to help. For further information about what we do, get in touch with a member of our professional team today – we’re always pleased to hear from you.

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