How 'Catfish' Helped Me Fight Back Against Scammers
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How 'Catfish' Helped Me Fight Back Against Scammers

Because the truth is only a Google search away.

How 'Catfish' Helped Me Fight Back Against Scammers
Emily Stobs

I'm not sure if I know of anyone who is as obsessed with the show "Catfish" as I am. For the last year, I have watched from the first season onward to the more recent seasons. My eyes have been glued to the screen as Nev Schulman and Max Joseph put their Sherlock-esque detective skills to work in order to find out who is hiding behind their digital devices in some pretty suspicious online relationships. Perhaps my favorite series on TV to date, "Catfish" follows the journey of one person (with multiple people joining in on occasion due to some connection to the "catfisher") as they try to uncover the motivation behind their potential lover's lies and deception. I can tell you without a doubt that watching "Catfish" has made me less trusting of certain people in my life because I now understand the reasons behind their shady actions. The majority of the "catfishers" (just to simplify it for those who do not watch or know about the show) believe that they will not be loved and appreciated for who they truly are, so they craft up the persona that they think will be perceived in the best way. Nev Schulman knows this better than anyone else considering that he was "catfished" online in 2010. If you knew about the story behind his documentary "Catfish," which led to the creation of the series of the same name, the reason why these so-called liars or manipulators are given this moniker is because they are similar to catfish used during long boat trips to deliver cod. When the live cod would be contained and fishermen noticed that they began not moving much, they decided to throw in catfish to chase around the cod. If a fish becomes too immobile, the flesh becomes less appealing to the taste buds, similar to a pasty goo. The idea was that causing the fish to constantly be swimming would help them to remain fresh. When Nev heard this story from Vince, the wife of his very own "catfish," he concluded that this was true because she did, in fact, "keep him on his toes."

Not all of those who are on the show have selfish motivations behind becoming "catfish;" most are just insecure and do not know how to express their feelings in an effective manner. That is not to say that those online are still not looking to take advantage of you. Think back to when you received an email from a Nigerian prince asking for some amount of money just to survive. Or maybe, if you're like me and countless others, you get these emails from fake dating websites claiming how much someone wants to get to know you better. Scammers are a whole other level of "catfish" that prey on your emotions to get what they want, which is usually in the form of money and personal information. My parents were successfully scammed out of money from someone claiming to be from our computer company that found that our computer had a virus. It turns out that this is a popular scam in recent years. Just so you know, a computer company will never initiate a call to tell you that your computer has a virus! They don't have some central monitoring system that keeps track of all of their customers' computers and sounds an alarm when something is wrong. Unlike that situation, prior to that, another company tried to scam my parents out of money. They kept on harassing us with phone calls and we kept on saying that they would have to call back another time. I happened to be home alone when the company called again and played dumb in an attempt to get as much information as possible. I made up the excuse that I would tell my parents to call back (which they never did) and immediately put what I learned from "Catfish" to good use. Through a reverse phone lookup, I found that the number was not even a real phone number, but a VoiP. What this means is that the number was spoofed to appear as if it was legitimate, but it was no more than a few clicks on a website that generated this number. The number was also linked to multiple spam reports. Come later on when my parents were scammed out of their money, I put all of the pieces together and realized that the two separate incidents were likely from the exact same source. If I haven't convinced you yet on why you should watch "Catfish," let me take the time to do so now. There are many valuable lessons to take that will help you to navigate our rapidly changing world of technology. But most of all, Nev and Max are basically the best friends in your head that you will ever have! Nev will keep it real and Max has no problem calling out BS when he sees or hears it. Take that you slimy "catfish!"

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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