Ask Jodie - How Do I Protect Myself from Catfishing?

Ask Jodie - How Do I Protect Myself from Catfishing?

How to protect yourself from catfishing without deleting all of your dating and chatting apps.

I have received a number of ‘Ask Jodie’ emails recently, asking how they can tell if they have been communicating with a catfish (where someone lures a person into a relationship by adopting a fictional online persona) and also how to protect yourself from one without having to delete all of your dating and chatting apps.

Last week I posted the top 13 signs that you are speaking to a catfish online. I will now go into a little more detail and run you through 11 ways to protect yourself from a catfish.

(1) Look at the facts

Has this person popped up out of nowhere? Does their story make sense? Are their photographs too good to be true? Are things getting serious very quickly? The above can be the key signs of a catfish, so if you see one or more of these red flags, be wary.

(2) Paying could pay off

Something as simple as going for a subscription dating site could help to protect you from catfishing merely because, the scammers and catfishes are going to be less willing to give up their personal/bank details to the website which could trace back to the real person behind their computer screen.

(3) Protect your data

Your address, your vehicle details, your bank details and so on.

It seems obvious but scammers and catfishes are often master manipulators when it comes to siphoning the information they want from their victims. Even down to your social media profiles – check your privacy settings and make sure it isn’t open to strangers prying eyes.

It is better in this case to air on the side of caution and keep your personal information personal.

(4) Money, money, money

This one is straight forward. When chatting to people online, never give money and never pay for items for them. No matter what they say and how much you want to help them.

(5) Do your research

Social media is a powerful tool when trying to avoid a situation with a catfish. Is their social media status SOCIABLE?

Plenty of friends/followers, friends tagged in photos, friends and family interesting on their Facebook wall are all comforting signs that this is a real person’s profile.

(6) Verify their identity

Don’t be afraid to ask questions. If a person you are talking to online has become a friendly or romantic relationship, you have every right to ask for proof of who you are speaking to.

If they refuse, make excuses or cannot provide any, I would probably take a step back.

(7) Get a second opinion

A friend or family member could be the fresh set of eyes you need to get a clear outlook on a new online relationship. If they think it looks suspicious, it may well be. Love is blind, as they say.

(8) Phone, Skype, Meet

When chatting or dating online, it is important to progress the levels of communication at the same pace that relationship itself progresses.

This just means, after weeks or months of texting or instant messaging and you feel comfortable to do so, request to speak to the person over the phone or on webcam. You are then helping to put a voice and a face to the messages.

Once you have spoken on the phone a few times, chatted over webcam you might be thinking it’s time to meet up which leads me to my next point:

(9) Meet in public

Tell your friends and family the where, when and how and don’t forget to update them as your date unfolds.

If your new friend keeps making excuses as to why they cannot meet, let them know that you aren’t willing to continue communicating if they aren’t willing to meet up. A catfish won’t want to meet in person and uncover their real identity.

(10) Hire a professional

Not sure about someone’s identity? We offer a bespoke package with a one off set price to help you uncover the mystery around a person online.

Why not check out our Catfish Tracing Service to see how we can help you?

And last but not least:

(11) Trust your gut

If your gut is telling you that something isn’t right, don’t ignore it. If you are repeatedly suspicious, your intuition could be kicking in for a reason. That is what it is there for, after all.

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