Catfishing is something that almost everyone is now familiar with, thanks to the recent infamous relationship between Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te’o and his tragically deceased “girlfriend”—who turned out to be an elaborate hoax. Official statements claim that Te’o was tricked by a bizarre Internet hoax in which he believed he was in a relationship with a young woman who did not exist outside of cyberspace.
The story follows that Te’o was fooled by a ‘catfish’, someone who invents an fake persona online in an attempt to trick victims. Whether or not Te’o’s account of this story is true, there are thousands of men who are being catfished into entering online relationships with non-existent women. The prankster might be a woman who is secretly married with children, or the mastermind may be a 40-year-old man with too much time on his hands. No matter who is typing on the other end of the chat box, it’s important to know how to spot a catfish before it’s too late.
1. She’s Perfect
Of course it’s nice to receive messages from new people who are interested in you; it’s a great ego boost. But look at her profile a little bit closer. If there are zero unflattering picture of her, she consistently looks like a 10, and seems to always be out having fun, why would she be spending so much time messaging strange men online? It just doesn’t quite add up, and this is the first and most obvious sign that something fishy is going on.
2. She Drops The L-Bomb
If a woman you’ve never met in person or even video-chatted with claims to be madly in love with you, it’s a big red flag. Real relationships require time for any type of connection to develop, let alone a strong romantic one, particularly if you were strangers before you met online. Catfish generally litter early conversations with lots of compliments to distract their victim from realizing the fact that they don’t exist.
3. You Never Meet In Person
Any woman in a romantic relationship wants to spend quality time with her man, in the flesh. If you and her live remotely close to each other, you should meet her in person (or at the very least have a face-to-face skype session) in order to strengthen the relationship once it becomes obvious there is a spark. If she constantly makes excuses as to why she can’t see you, or if you make plans and she flakes out on you, there’s a good chance she’s hiding something.
4. She’s Foreign
I’m not saying there’s anything innately fishy about foreign women, but a common tactic used by catfish is to tell their victim they live very far away so that meeting in person becomes nearly impossible. It’s extremely unlikely that you’ve met some isolated, European babe who is so lonely that she resorts to messaging completely random strangers on the Internet in search of love.
5. She’s A Damsel In Distress
All guys want a chance to play the hero at some point in their lives, which is why a damsel in distress is such a good cover for a catfish to use. It works because you become emotionally involved and concerned for your new online acquaintance, and they reel you in further by treating you as a confidant. As soon as she mentions any kind of financial trouble, your spidey senses should be tingling and you shouldn’t even consider sending her money if she asks.
The bottom line is, if an online love interest seems too good to be true, she probably is. Although it sucks to realize that perfect girl is actually some dude messaging you from his basement, the sooner you face the truth to sooner you can start perusing a real relationship with a woman who does exist.