How to Catch a Catfisher

How to Catch a Catfisher

Pesky, fake people on the Internet make it hard to enjoy sometimes.
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In the last decade, online dating has gone up from three percent to six percent. Online dating begat catfishing.

According to Urban Dictionary, the term "catfishing" means:

The phenomenon of internet predators that fabricate online identities and entire social circles to trick people into emotional/romantic relationships (over a long period of time.)

The term was coined by the 2010 documentary, "Catfish," and soon a television series followed.

One study shows that one out of every ten dating profiles are fake, but are mostly attributed to hackers, not catfishers.

There are four commonly-found motivations for catfishing, and those are revenge, loneliness, curiosity, and boredom. In other words, they do it for no good reason whatsoever.

They also tend to exhibit similar traits and characteristics, including, but not limited to:

Compulsive lying,

History of abuse or victimization,

Unloved or rejected demeanor,

Low self-esteem, or

Malicious intent.

Catfishers are most commonly found on four platforms: dating sites, social media sites, instant messaging/chat apps, and social meeting sites/apps. There they are able to fabricate an entire life and friend group to throw any potential victims off.

There are ways in which you can learn to identify catfishers and scammers alike. They are simple, but effective at weeding out the fake people on the internet.

Do they seem as if they are just too good to be true? They more than likely are.

Do they have flashy or glamorous, cushy professions?

Check for any and all social media for photos, comments, retweets, or any other type of personal activity, etc. Did you know you can often find out to whom a number belongs by typing the number into Facebook or Google?

They often have very dramatic reasons for not meeting up as planned, and keep you on the hook by promising that you will meet them later.

They refuse (or it's very difficult) to send pics or video chat with you. A vast majority of people online are doing so on their smartphones.

Speaking from personal experience, being catfished isn't fun, even though I figured out my particular situation within the span of a few hours, no harm done. My case was a very mild one. There are very extreme cases far worse than mine. I was able to figure out the catfisher's name by following the steps provided above.

Keep those tips in mind while surfing the internet and talking to strangers, and you should be alright and catfisher-free!


Cover Image Credit: Digital Trends

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A Letter To My Go-To Aunt

Happiness is having the best aunt in the world.
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I know I don't say it enough, so let me start off by saying thank you.

You'll never understand how incredibly blessed I am to have you in my life. You'll also never understand how special you are to me and how much I love you.

I can't thank you enough for countless days and nights at your house venting, and never being too busy when I need you. Thank you for the shopping days and always helping me find the best deals on the cutest clothes. For all the appointments I didn't want to go to by myself. Thank you for making two prom days and a graduation party days I could never forget. Thank you for being overprotective when it comes to the men in my life.

Most importantly, thank you for being my support system throughout the numerous highs and lows my life has brought me. Thank you for being honest even when it isn't what I want to hear. Thank you for always keeping my feet on the ground and keeping me sane when I feel like freaking out. Thank you for always supporting whatever dream I choose to chase that day. Thank you for being a second mom. Thank you for bringing me into your family and treating me like one of your own, for making me feel special because you do not have an obligation to spend time with me.

You've been my hero and role model from the time you came into my life. You don't know how to say no when family comes to you for help. You're understanding, kind, fun, full of life and you have the biggest heart. However, you're honest and strong and sometimes a little intimidating. No matter what will always have a special place in my heart.

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Ideas On Proper Social Media Use

Social media, like any technology, should be used in the right way.

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Everyone hears conversations about social media every day. Maybe it is about what a "friend" posted or a funny video that got shared. The one I am starting to hear more is that social media is affecting their health and disturbing their sense of inner peace. At one point, I thought the only people who said something bad about social media were older people, especially ones that dislike new technology. Now, I hear my peers talking about deactivating Facebook or Instagram accounts because of how intrusive it is. I myself have felt the negative effects of social media.

Obviously, there is no black and white answer on how to approach this. But social media is just like anything else we enjoy in life, it has to be used with moderation. Just like social media, you can spend too much time eating, exercising, playing video games, drinking, etc. Moderation is something that every human being has to strive for. Moderation with social media has become an important goal everyone should pursue. I would like to share some of my personal suggestions on ways to enjoy social media in a healthy and wholesome way.

My first suggestion is to limit social media use to the weekends. I began doing this after noticing how much I wasted time during the week checking Facebook. It prevented me from focusing on assignments and studying for my classes. Social media also distracts you from paying attention to the friends closest to you physically. If someone needs to contact you, they have your phone number. As a result, I have been more productive and attentive to my friends and family.

Second, limit the number of posts you read on your newsfeed. Depending on the number of "friends" you have, your newsfeed will have a seemingly infinite number of posts to read. You can't read every single one. Consider that when you also post something to your newsfeed and you don't get a reaction or like. It is not because people don't care, it is because of the heavy internet traffic for social media posts that they skim on their feed.

Third, don't have social media on your phone. In the past, when I made a goal to cut down on social media time, I kept failing because it was on my phone. The temptation was too great. Then I figured it out, uninstall it from your phone, problem solved. I only check social media on my laptop. I understand that there are certain situations where it needs to be on your phone, but I believe those situations are rare. As I mentioned before, if it is urgent, people can call or text you. Give your phone number to someone you think may have to contact you.

Fourth, do not use social media for political or religious discussions! The only exception to this is commenting on a political page, like President Trump's facebook profile or a Democrat Party page. However, I stay away from those anyway because people are insulting each other, never discussing the issue. Either way, social media posts are usually short, which makes it impossible to have a productive conversation or even have your mind changed. Let's be honest, when has a tweet or Facebook post changed your mind on an issue? I used to post about politics in the 2016 election, trying to change minds. And guess what happened? Not one person changed their position. I only had the same people agree or disagree with me. The only wholesome political conversations I have had are with people face to face, not over Facebook. Plus political posts are almost always negative. Why go on social media if it only makes you more pessimistic or angry?

These are just some of my ideas. There are other speakers out there that love to share their suggestions. Perhaps you should brainstorm ideas on how to lessen the negative influence of social media in your life.

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