It is a fact that the COVID-19 pandemic forced us to go online whether it be working from home (WFH) or meeting people online. Another pandemic that is hardly ever addressed among users is cybercriminals and their ever-increasing sophistication in tricking unsuspected victims into scams.
From social media to online dating websites and apps, unfortunately, every platform is plagued with fraudulent profiles and crooks waiting to take advance of vulnerable people especially when it comes to online dating.
These are otherwise known as ‘catfish’. While it’s never been easier to find “love” and in some cases, only takes a few clicks on a screen, we can be just about anyone we want to online. This means you need to have your wits about you, and if something seems too good to be true, it probably is!
If you’ve been lucky enough to find a match and have started conversing, alarm bells may start ringing. Whether it’s their photos, what they say they do for work, or the lifestyle they lead, here are some ways to determine whether a date is catfishing you.
Run a Background Check
One of the best things you can do to ensure a date isn’t catfishing you is by performing an online background check. Sure, this may seem a little extreme, but if you have reason to doubt their validity, it’s time to take matters into your own hands. Sadly, online dating scams can and do occur, so don’t hesitate in taking this step.
If you’re looking for more information on a date and want peace of mind, you can run a background check using Check People. Top10.com has a review on Check People, which scans a variety of public records, such as phone book listings and criminal records. You can read more on checkpeople.com including what it does and how it can help you.
Do Online Reverse Image Search
When you chat with someone online, the chances are you were initially drawn to them by their photos. However, if their photos don’t seem legit or you believe they’re of someone else, now is the time to perform an online reverse image search. All you need to do is grab a photo of the person you’re speaking to, click copy, and paste it into Google. Within seconds, the database will compare the photo with millions of others on the internet. Should you find a match, it will show up instantly.
Should you find a photo linked with a different person to the one you have been speaking to online, we’re afraid to say you are talking to a catfish. You may want to call them out on it, but to save any hassle, it’s worth blocking their profile and moving on.
Pro tip: Russia’s Yandex image search provides the most accurate results when it comes to reverse image search.
Google Their Name
As well as performing an online reverse image search, simply entering their name into Google may come up with surprising results. Of course, if you’re speaking to a John Smith, the results will be endless, but if they have an unusual name, you will have an easier time validating their authenticity.
If the person’s name doesn’t flag up anything suspicious, you can go one step further and try searching for their online dating username. Even if nothing alarming shows up, that’s not to say they’re definitely who they say they are.
Head Onto Social Media
When you factor in that over 4 billion people worldwide use social media, there’s a very good chance the person you’ve been speaking to uses at least one social media site too. Whether it’s Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter, searching for their name on social media can help in putting your mind at ease and checking if you’re being catfished or not.
If you have been speaking to someone through online dating, some platforms only allow you to make an account via Facebook. This means it’s worth heading onto the app to do some research.
Ask for a Video Chat
In 2022, just about everyone owns a smartphone, and with that comes a camera. This means if you have any concerns that you’re being catfished, it may be time to ask for a video chat. If the person on the other end of the screen is above board and the real deal, they shouldn’t have a problem chatting to you on video. However, if they are reluctant to do this, it’s a major red flag that you’re being catfished.
You may find they prefer to chat on the phone instead. But, this doesn’t mean they’re in the clear. If you can only hear the other person and not see them visually, they really could be anyone in the world! Be persistent about having a video chat. If they won’t budge, it’s time to move on.
Speak to Friends and Family
When you chat to someone online, you may find yourself falling for the person, even if you’ve never met them! Sadly, this may make you look at things through a rose-tinted lens. Therefore, it’s wise to ask your family and friends for advice.
Your friends will understand your concerns and should knock some sense into you if you’re going with your heart over your head.
While the internet can be a powerful tool for finding love, it also houses people with bad intentions. Sadly, people operate behind fake profiles to lure money out of victims. To stop this from happening to you and ensure the person you’re talking to is who they say they are, the strategies above can help.