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how to spot a catfish online

How to Spot a Catfish Online When Dating

Does your potential bae look like a runway model? Do they only send you photographs with a ring light on like Rebecca of 90 Day Fiancé fame?

Do they never take your online conversation offline? Well, my friend, you probably caught a catfish when online dating.

Rule of thumb: if your online “relationship” feels too good to be true, it probably is. To save you some time, energy, and the agony of another date that doesn’t look like his photos IRL, here is how to spot a catfish online.

Red Flag 1: They won’t send you any photos.

It may not seem necessary to send photos when your online dating profile is full of pics, but those pics can be from years (or decades) ago, or of another person entirely. Ask them for a recent photo (hold up a newspaper with today’s date, dammit!). If they make excuses (I don’t look my best!) let it go…for now. But do ask them to message you a photo the next day during work hours. (Cause don’t nobody look raggedy at work.) If they still refuse, mark that off your “how to spot a catfish online” checklist.

Wait, what if they share their Instagram profile with me? No, go, ma’am! Not if you’ve yet to meet them in person. Who’s to say they did not use another person’s IG photos for their online dating profile? You just don’t know. So, demand that pic like you’re holding a date with them for ransom!

Red Flag 2: Their iPhone camera is always “broken.”

Nowadays, everyone has a smartphone – unless you’re under the age of 7 or 70. Actually, scratch that: kids and grannies run around with iPhones too. Exhibit A.

That’s why using the “my phone’s camera is broken” excuse is a catfish red flag. FaceTime me from your abuelas phone! No iPhone? Ask the 7 year old for an Android.

Extra tip: if they do video chat with you, but the room is always too dark and they’re barely visible, they’re probably not who they say they are.

Red Flag 3: They offer to send you money.

What is this, Only Fans?

As generous as people may be, there are very few who hand over their money to someone online that they’ve never met. If they deposit a check into your account (cause you gave them your routing and account number and firstborn child) and it bounces back, congratulations, you’ve been scammed.

Red Flag 4: They ask for top secret information.

The minute they ask you for your address, bank information, or even your social security number (yea, they push it sometimes) run for the hills. Cause…indetity theft.

Red Flag 5: They disappear from time to time.

You talk on the phone for weeks at a time (finally, you are offline!) and, suddenly, he disappears for a week or two. They text again out of the blue, and you give them the benefit of the doubt. After all, this isn’t a relationship. But the pattern continues, specifically when you ask to see them on video chat and/or in person. This person is either in a relationship or not at all who they say they are – or all of the above.

Red Flag 6: They never ever want to meet you in person.

You’re meant to get offline when online dating because texting someone for months on end does not a relationship make. Consider it a catfish warning when they make excuses for meeting in person, even if you suggest going for coffee or tea or even a walk at a park. They are definitely hiding something if they don’t ever see you in person.

The same goes if you’re finally going on a date and they stand you up. They either don’t look like their photo, aren’t single, or don’t even live in the same state!

Red Flag 7: They only contact you at specific times of the day.

If you only hear from them during work hours and on weekdays, they’re most likely in bed with their wife at night and on weekends.

Red Flag 8: Their social media is full of cat photos or weird memes.

You do some sleuthing and find your online bae on social media, only to find they have 5 friends on Facebook or their IG profile is full of random memes and photos. So, not them. Time to block, move on, and let out a sigh of “good riddance.” Cause this catfish got-got!

Written by Alanna Gonzalez

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