What is Catfishing? 9 Signs to Spot a Catfisher in 2022!

With cybersecurity becoming an ever-growing concern, it is not surprising that scammers are looking for new and innovative ways to take advantage of victims. One such scam involves catfishing; when cyber criminals pose as someone they’re not, to extract personal information or money from their victim.

In this article, we will discuss the dangers of catfishing and how you can protect yourself from becoming a victim. We will also provide tips on identifying and avoiding scams like this to keep yourself safe from these attacks.

What Is Catfishing?

Catfishing is a scam in which someone uses online platforms, such as social media, to convince someone else to meet them in person for sexual exploitation or romantic relationships.

Catfishing can be done with anyone, regardless of their physical appearance; users often create fake profiles and use photographs that are not their own. Catfishing aims to exploit someone’s vulnerabilities to steal their personal information, financial resources, or both.

There are many different types of catfishing scams, but some of the most common include the following:

1. Fake Facebook Profile

In this type of scam, a user creates a fake profile on Facebook and posts pictures that are not their own. They then attempt to lure someone they know into talking with them by pretending to be a close friend or acquaintance.

2. Mail Order Bride

In this scam, a user creates a fake online profile and poses as a woman looking for marriage. They will send you emails asking you to meet them in person to marry you.

3. Love Fraud

In this scam, a user will create a fake online profile and pretend to be interested in you romantically. They will then start sending you messages and asking you out on dates.

How Do Catfishing Scams happen?

The first step in any catfishing scam is to create a fake online identity. This can be done by creating a fake persona on social media, creating an online account with a fake name and email address, or even using an existing profile from another website or forum.

Once the catfish have created their fake identity, they need to find someone they think is vulnerable. This person can be lonely, have low self-esteem, or seek validation from others. 

The catfish then starts to groom the victim, befriending them and flattening them to gain their trust.

Once the catfish has gained the victim’s trust, it will ask them personal questions about their lives and relationships. This stage aims to get the victim to share personal information so they can more accurately create a fake profile for the victim on various websites and forums. 

Once the catfish has gathered enough information about the victim, they will start requesting financial assistance or access to sensitive information. This could include requests for money transfer services, password recovery services, or access to bank accounts.

Suppose the victim agrees to help out in any way possible. In that case, the catfish will take advantage of this by stealing sensitive information or funds that are supposed to be used for legitimate purposes.

In some cases, victims have even been blackmailed into working as “mules” – transferring money back and forth between scammers and their victims without knowing.

9 Signs of Catfishers in 2022

Online dating and conversations can be a great way to meet new people, but they can also be a cesspool of deceit and manipulation. Between fake profiles and sly tricks, it’s hard to tell who you can truly trust. These 9 signs will teach you whether you’re getting catfished online.

1. Won’t Have a Voice Call/Conversation.

If someone you’re chatting with online doesn’t pick up when you call them, it could mean a few things. For one thing, it could be that the person you’re talking to is offline or not having any phone service.

It could also mean that the person you’re chatting with isn’t really who they say they are.

Some scammers use fake profiles and identities to lure people into conversations and never intend to meet in person. Sometimes, scam artists will even take down accounts or stop responding once they realize someone is suspicious.

If someone you know is getting catfished online, don’t hesitate to contact them and warn them about the danger. They might not be aware of the risks involved until it’s too late.

2. Avoiding Real-life meetups or Video Chat

Catfishers want to avoid any interaction, whether real meetups or video calls. Being reluctant to meet in real life or even in video calls makes it easy for catfishers to get away with the scam in case they are caught.

A catfisher will find thousands of excuses for not meeting up or communicating in person whenever you talk about a meetup or video call. The scammer might say that they are too busy, they are travelling, there is bad weather, or they don’t have the time and so on.

This can also be a big warning sign if you’re having some good conversations with someone, and even after that, you don’t get to see each other, at least in a video call, if not in real -life.

3. Odd Social Media Followers or Friends.

The online profile you’re chatting with might be fake if it’s pretty new and has fewer posts or an odd number of low or high friends or followers, considering their active presence on the social media application you’re chatting on.

This can be little but an initial sign that you’re being catfished. 

4. The Story Doesn’t Add Up.

Many often expect a story that fits a certain mould regarding online relationships. For example, you might expect your online partner to be someone who shares your interests and has similar values or is just like you.

However, in catfishing scams, to be the person you like, your online date may need to make changes in their story on the go. This can result in stories that don’t add up with the scenarios they’ve told you before.

For example, if your online partner has told you that they’re a doctor but suddenly starts telling you that they’s a veterinarian, it might be a sign that they’re not who they said they were. 

Similarly, if your online partner suddenly starts talking about their childhood struggles and how they overcame them, this may be all just a facade to get close to you.

5. Using Someone Else’s Photos.

Online dating can be a great way to meet new people but can also be risky. If you’re feeling strange about someone you’ve been chatting with online, there are a few warning signs that you may be getting catfished.

One of the initial signs is if the person you’re chatting with is catfishing, you could be that they are using pictures of someone else in their profile or even using fake pictures altogether. If the person you’re chatting with keeps asking you questions that they know you can’t answer (like your full name or hometown), it’s probably a sign they are not who they say they are.

If you’re feeling unsafe, taking a step back and assessing the situation is important. If you think you may have been catfished, don’t hesitate to contact a trusted friend or family member for help.


Beware if the person you’re talking to starts making you do strange things, like requesting sexual pictures. This could be another sign that this person is not who they say they are and may even be dangerous. If something feels too good to be true, it probably is.

6. Using Only Professional Pictures.

Another sign of you getting catfished could be the person you’re chatting with has only professional photoshoots pictures in their social media profiles.

Using professional pictures in their social media gallery, they might wanna lure you into a relationship, thinking they are a more serious person. Still, in reality, they are just using someone else’s pictures.

7. Asking for Deep Personal Information.

If someone you know is asking for deeply personal information such as your social security number or bank account information, they are likely getting Catfished.

Catfishers often target people they know well, like friends and family members, to get more information about them. They may pose as someone you’ve known for years or even a romantic interest.

Once the catfish has your trust, he or she will ask you to send money or share personal photos and videos.

If you think a Catfish are targeting someone you know, don’t hesitate to speak up. Let them know their unsafe actions could have serious financial and personal consequences.

8. Quickly Showing Strong Feelings

If you’ve been noticing strong feelings from someone you’ve been speaking to online, but they’re not following up or responding to your messages as they should, you may be dealing with a case of catfishing.

While it can be difficult to identify catfishing- whether because the person doing it is good at acting like they’re into you or because they may have fooled you into thinking their feelings are real.

For example, suppose the person starts talking about things they don’t know about you or your life or starts making decisions for you without consulting you. In that case, they’re likely using your conversations to build a relationship to later exploit it.

If these behaviours continue after you’ve made it clear that those interactions are not what you’re looking for, it might be time to take a step back and reconsider who this person is before getting too attached.

However, if the person genuinely seems interested in getting to know you better and meeting in real life, there’s no need to worry- just proceed with caution and be sure to ask questions when meeting up in person so that nothing goes wrong.

9. Ask for money.

If someone starts asking for money without any prior relationship or communication, it’s likely a scam. This person might promise you a romantic relationship in exchange for money or ask for large sums of money upfront. If someone asks for your financial information (like your bank account number), it’s also a red flag.

These scams can take many forms, but the key thing to remember is that people asking for money from you probably aren’t interested in forming a relationship with you. If something feels too good to be true, it probably is!

How can you avoid being a victim of a catfishing scam?

There are a few ways to avoid becoming the victim of a catfishing scam.

The first step is to be aware of the signs that you may be being scammed. Some of the most common indications of a catfishing scam are unexpected requests for personal information, sudden changes in behaviour or conversation, and unexpected money transfers.

If you think you may have been scammed, the best action is to report the situation to your local law enforcement agency or online security company. Be sure to include as much detail as possible about what happened, including any suspicious email addresses or websites involved in the scam.

Another way to protect yourself from scams is to closely monitor your online presence and never give away too much personal information online. Always use caution when responding to emails that seem too good to be true, and be especially wary of requests for financial information or access to sensitive files.

Conclusion

The catfishing scam has become a growing concern in the cybersecurity world. With social media providing an easy way for scammers to prey on unsuspecting individuals, we all must be aware of the dangers and take appropriate steps to protect ourselves. 

Catfishing is just one of the most common phishing scams in cyberspace; read these top cybersecurity tips for 2023 to securely access the internet.

 

FAQs

1. What is Catfishing?

Catfishing is a cybercrime where criminals take advantage of people. They pose as someone they’re not to lure someone into a false sense of security, then rob or scam that person.

2. Who are the most common targets of Catfishers?

Compared to other victims, generally, young boys and teenagers are the most common victims of catfishers.

3. What are some common catfishing scams?

Online bank fraud, lottery, and love frauds are some of the most common catfishing scams.

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