As dating apps become more popular, there are often fake profiles made by real people to trick other people. These profiles are known as catfish profiles.
Since the MTV show Catfish, the online dating world has been exposed and awoken to people who create fake profiles to trick other people.
In this article, we will look into the world of catfishing and why it can cause people real psychological harm.
What Is A Catfish?
First, we need to talk about what a catfish is and how it got its name.
A catfish is an online dating profile that appears as if it’s somebody when it’s someone completely different in reality. The common scenario of catfishing is someone creating a fake profile with fake pictures and a fake bio to trick another person into falling in love with them.
These people behind the catfish have agendas such as making it be a big joke or actually trying to ruin people’s lives through creating fake profiles.
There are two types of catfishes that we’re going to identify in this article…
The Fake Profile Catfish
The fake profile catfish is someone who makes up everything about the fake profile. The name, the bio, the pictures are of a real person, but someone completely different, and even the age is fake.
This catfish can usually be spotted out (which we’re going to cover later in the article). This is the worst type of catfish because if you start to feel an emotional connection, it always has a sad ending when the person finds the truth.
The Old Picture Catfish
This catfish is more common in today’s dating app world and has more than likely been experienced by people who use dating apps.
An old picture catfish is a man or woman who uses old pictures to enhance their dating persona. For instance, if a person has gained a lot of weight in the last 5-6 years, they may use pictures taken before they gained weight.
This will make it appear as if the person is skinny when they are a lot bigger in reality. Doing this will obviously taint the relationship from the start.
How To Spot A Catfish
There are certain things to look at both on their profile and through conversation to spot a catfish.
The world of online dating had completely changed from when it was 10 years ago. It’s much easier to find out about a person, especially if they’re real, by simply doing a google or social media search.
These are our best practices to find out if you’re dealing with a catfish.
Check out our complete Tinder User Guide here.
No Profile Picture
The first and most obvious is any profiles that do not feature a profile picture. These are the most telling as the whole point of swiping to the right, or the left is seeing if the person has a profile picture.
We highly recommend skipping right over the person if they have no pictures to show of themselves. Even if the person says they’re brand new, all mobile apps recommend you put your pictures in as soon as you sign up. Bypassing this is a huge red flag.
Having 2 Or Less Pictures
Only having 1-3 pictures is also a sign of a catfish. Most of us aren’t the most photogenic people in the world. However, in the age of selfies and group photos, it’s easy to take more than 2-3 pictures that can show off your style.
We recommend if the person has fewer than 3 photos, ask them to send you an updated live photo or something recent so you can be sure it’s a real person on the other end.
Old Blurry Pictures
This pertains mostly to the old picture catfish. Typically people who have gained weight or look drastically different than what they would present day.
When we talk about old, grainy pictures, we mean pictures that tend to look like they were taking with a digital camera and not with the clarity of a smartphone.
If the user has 1 or 2 of these, it could be because they’re stuck to a picture that they really like. If they have more than 3 of these pictures, it’s probably because they’re hiding something.
Odd Picture Angles
The angles are one of the best ways for catfish to hide their weight or anything that’s happening below the chest line.
These pictures are often taken by girls that try to hide their weight by simply showing a picture of their head and chest and completely hiding their stomach and lower half of the body.
These pictures are often taken by a higher-up angle and only cover those portions of the body. Often there are multiple pictures from the same angle.
If you’re dealing with a person who has 5-6 pictures from this angle, there’s a good chance they’re hiding something below the camera.
If you’re a person who posts these types of pictures, be sure to put in a few full-body shots; leave no surprises for the end-user!
Best Way To Protect Yourself From A Catfish
We have a few methods that can help protect you from catfish profiles. We always recommend trying at least one of these methods before you actually commit to a date.
Ask To See Current Pictures Or Social Media
Asking to see current pictures or social media profiles is the best way to judge if the person is real or not. It’s tough to fake friends, fake family, and fake events. Instagram or Facebook is usually a good judge to tell if the person is real.
These photos also have dates attached to them, which allow you to see when the picture was taken and how much different the user actually looks.
Use Another Mobile App Like Snapchat
If you’re under the age of 30, Snapchat may be the appropriate next step. If you’re a male, wait until you get a comfortable talking relationship with the girl before you start asking for her Snapchat. There is a consensus that if you ask too soon, you’re probably going to be asking for something else.
Snapchat is great because it allows you to see real-time photos. You’re able to see what the person looks like right off the bat and if the person is real or not.
It’s a great useful tool that could save you a lot of time in the future.
In conclusion, it’s much easier to spot catfishes than it was 10 years ago. With the powers of social media and Snapchat, users can dig a little bit deeper about their matches and get the correct information they need to meet for a date.
We recommend doing your due diligence before committing to a date. It’s common to ask for this information, so don’t feel awkward or shy asking for it. Get all the necessary information before you decide to move forward.