Signs That You’re Being Catfished

It’d be nice to live in a world where everyone is 100% honest about their intentions all of the time, but spending any time on the internet will teach you that that is simply not the case.

Unfortunately, people lie when they can hide behind the internet. Sometimes they lie about small things that aren’t that important, but other times they lie about important things like their identity. And that, my dear friends, is called catfishing.

What Is Catfishing, Exactly?

man holding fishing rod
Photo Credit: Pexels
Photo Credit: Pexels

Consider yourself lucky if this is something that you’ve never been exposed to, because catfishing rarely ends well for either party involved. In simple terms, catfishing is when someone creates a version of themselves that isn’t entirely accurate, or perhaps they assume an entirely new identity using pictures or information that isn’t theirs.

Catfishing Isn’t Just A Symptom Of Internet Dating

pen writing letter
Photo Credit: Unsplash / Aaron Burde
Photo Credit: Unsplash / Aaron Burde

We’ve become more aware of the concept in recent years, though people have actually been doing it for years. If you wanted to, you could have just as easily catfished someone through regular old snail mail, and people absolutely did.

The Internet Has Definitely Made It Easier, Though

young man seated outside smiling at laptop screen
Photo Credit: Peels / Buro Millennial
Photo Credit: Peels / Buro Millennial

There’s no doubt though that the internet has made catfishing people a heck of a lot easier. You can portray whatever personality you want or only share the information you want people to know.

It Can Happen To Anyone

man in suit drinking coffee at desk looking at phone
Photo Credit: Pexels / Andrea Piacquadio
Photo Credit: Pexels / Andrea Piacquadio

Thanks to TV shows like Catfish, most people are aware of the concept of catfishing, but we often fall victim to the trap of thinking “it couldn’t happen to me.” You might convince yourself you’re being paranoid or look past signs because you don’t want it to be true.

The Signs To Watch For

woman seated with laptop on lap on facebook
Photo Credit: Pexels
Photo Credit: Pexels

If something feels a little off with your new potential suitor or you’re just getting a funny feeling in the pit of your stomach, you should probably listen to your intuition. Here are a few other things to watch for too, if you’re worried you’re about to become a cautionary tale.

All Their Social Media Accounts Are Recently Made

person signing into instagram
Photo Credit: Pexels
Photo Credit: Pexels

Be wary of people who only have social media accounts that seem to have been created recently. They might have 18 posts on their Instagram, but all of them are from the last 2 weeks, plus they haven’t even bothered to set a Facebook profile picture yet. These are reasons to be suspicious.

They Don’t Post Or Have A Lot Of Followers

neon sign lit up with 0 instagram likes logo
Photo Credit: Pexels / Prateek Katyal
Photo Credit: Pexels / Prateek Katyal

Another scenario could be that they have all the usual social media accounts, but there are no posts on any of them, and they don’t seem to have any use for them. Lots of people have a certain platform they favor more than others, but if they have a snap score of 12 even though they’ve had an account for three years, plus they have 2 friends on Facebook and no posts on Instagram? Alarm bells should be ringing.

It All Seems Too Good To Be True

good looking man smiling posing with jacket over shoulder
Photo Credit: Pexels / Spencer Selover
Photo Credit: Pexels / Spencer Selover

I’m not trying to make you paranoid about every potential love interest you ever interact with, but this comes down to your gut check. If this person you’re talking to seems a little too perfect or the whole situation seems a little too good to be real, it could be the truth.

They Can’t Elaborate On Things Listed In Their Profile

person waiting for tinder matches to load on screen
Photo Credit: Avishek Das/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images
Photo Credit: Avishek Das/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Even things as simple as getting details about the job they supposedly have or the city they live in is like pulling teeth. They change the subject whenever you ask about the hobbies in their profile and don’t like to talk about their job or anything about their life.

They Can’t Send You A Photo If You Ask For It

man in woods taking selfie
Photo Credit: Pexels
Photo Credit: Pexels

Maybe you’re starting to get a little suspicious, so you decide to ask them to send you a spontaneous selfie in the middle of a conversation. They probably stopped answering for an hour or two or gave you a reason for why they couldn’t send it at the time, right?

Video Chatting Is Out Of The Question Too

man seated in restaurant laughing at phone screen
Photo Credit: Unsplash / Austin Distel
Photo Credit: Unsplash / Austin Distel

It’s pretty common for people in a relationship to FaceTime or video chat, especially if you don’t live close to each other but still want to try to pursue something. If they refuse every offer to chat, you should be wary.

They Ask You For Money

man typing credit card number into laptop
Photo Credit: Unsplash
Photo Credit: Unsplash

This is probably the one sign that we’re all aware of as a major red flag when interacting with people online. No one should be asking you for money in the beginning stages of a relationship, especially if you’ve never met them in person.

They Make Plans To Meet Up Then Bail At The Last Second

young woman seated at table in restaurant alone waiting
Photo Credit: Unsplash / Artur Tumasjan
Photo Credit: Unsplash / Artur Tumasjan

You’ve connected with this person online, you feel like you’ve found one of the good ones, so you agree to meet up, but it never happens. They’re leading you on, making it feel more legitimate because they’re “willing” to meet up, but then something always comes up at the last minute and they have to reschedule.

Everyone Around You Seems Suspicious

two young women at coffee shop huddle around laptop smiling
Photo Credit: Unsplash / Brooke Cagle
Photo Credit: Unsplash / Brooke Cagle

It can be hard to see it in the moment, but you have to lean on the people who know you best. If all the people closest to you are pointing out that something seems fishy, you should listen to them.

They Reach Out To You First

facebook app on phone screen with one notification
Photo Credit: Pexels / Oleg Magni
Photo Credit: Pexels / Oleg Magni

Someone contacting you out of the blue to express romantic interest, especially in a more non-traditional way (e.g., on Facebook or over email rather than through a dating app) probably doesn’t have the best intentions.

They Won’t Take Your Phone Calls

woman leaning on table smiling phone to ear
Photo Credit: Pexels
Photo Credit: Pexels

There are different levels of commitment to catfishing someone. If someone is maybe just not being truthful about their appearance, they might be willing to talk on the phone, but if they won’t even do that, then it’s a major red flag.

All Their Photos Are Professionally Done

blonde woman posing hand in hair against white background
Photo Credit: Pexels / Spencer Selover
Photo Credit: Pexels / Spencer Selover

Every picture on their profile is super high quality, clearly professionally done. Most people usually toss in a selfie or a photo with their friends into their dating profile, so why does this person only have headshots or photos of them that are staged?

Reverse Image Search Is Your Friend

man using laptop at desk typing sentence into google
Photo Credit: Unsplash / Benjama Dada
Photo Credit: Unsplash / Benjama Dada

This is where you’re going to want to consider using reverse image search. Take those professional-looking photos and toss them into Google. You’ll likely have an answer about whether or not they’ve taken the photos from another person’s website or profile.

They’re Over-The-Top Into You

woman seated eating breakfast staring at camera
Photo Credit: Unsplash / Christina Moroz
Photo Credit: Unsplash / Christina Moroz

From the very beginning, they’ve been over the top in expressing their feelings for you. Someone who is trying to lure someone else will often compliment them a lot or make big declarations of love and affection because they want to convince you they’re genuine.

You Are Your Best Defense

woman seated looking pensive with head resting on ahnds
Photo Credit: Pexels / Min An
Photo Credit: Pexels / Min An

It seems repetitive, but trusting your gut in these situations really is going to be your best defense. Err on the side of caution if you suspect that you might be getting catfished. Keep your own sharing of personal information to a minimum, and don’t push past things because you feel like you’re overreacting.