Dating and Relationship Advice

Online dating has become the new norm for how people form relationships in the 21st century. But with the growing popularity of dating apps and websites, a new phenomenon is also on the rise — catfishing.

To put it simply, catfishing is the act of socializing online using a fake persona, often through dating apps and websites. And it happens more than you'd think. MTV even has a television show, Catfish, which follows people who have been tricked into believing they’ve found the love of their life

Needless to say, catfishing can be quite the unpleasant experience. To prevent it from happening to you, we've compiled a list of five telling signs that you’re being led on by a catfish.

1. They Won't Let You See Them

Making up a billion excuses for not seeing each other face-to-face is a major red flag. You shouldn't start a new relationship with anyone if you've only communicated over text.

With free video calling applications such as Skype and Zoom, there shouldn’t be any reason that your significant other would have to hide their face. If you can’t meet in real life because they live far from you, you should at least try to meet over a video app — especially if you're considering a serious commitment.

2. They Ask You For Money

While some catfishers are only looking to form affable yet phony relationships for their own entertainment, others are in it for monetary gain. There have been many instances of people being catfished into sending money to their online love interests.

Often times, money-seeking catfishers will pretend that a family member has fallen ill, or make up a different story that will cause you to open up your wallet out of sympathy. This is the most obvious sign a person is trying to use you, so do not fall victim to this hoax.

3. It’s Too Good To Be True

Even though you try everything in your power to believe that it’s real — if you think it’s too good to be true, then it probably is. If the person you’re talking to tells you everything you've ever wanted to hear, don’t believe the hype. Chances are they are manipulating you for their own cruel games. In the long run, you might end up with a broken bank account — or worse, a broken heart. Ouch.

4. They're Always Traveling For Work

If you know the person in real life, then this might be believable. But if you’ve never met them, how do you really know that they are traveling for work? Unless they work for an NGO or multinational corporation, you shouldn’t fall victim to this lie. Ask them to send pictures of their adventures, to show that they really are traveling when they say they are. If they can’t provide any type of evidence, you might want to take a step back before you dive too deep in the relationship.

5. Listen To Your Gut, Not Your Heart

If you’ve ever been catfished while online dating, then you already know that listening to your gut is more important than listening to your heart. If your gut tells you something is up, you should probably listen to it. There are a million fish in the sea — and for some of these con artists, it’s always fishing season. Be smart and stay vigilant when using the internet to find your next partner.