19 signs of a catfish — How to spot a catfish in the computer age?

I’m sure we’re all familiar with the term “catfish”—a person who pretends to be someone else.

Catfishes go for a dime a dozen on social media and dating platforms; nowadays, it’s more shocking coming across a real person.

So, what are some signs that help spot a catfish? Is it their weird images? What about their odd behaviors? Let’s take a look!

– What is a catfish?

A catfish is a person or entity that creates a fake online persona (e.g. social media networks) to interact with other people for specific intentions.

  • They achieve their goals by using fake identities, and images, or altering their own to appear more “attractive”.

According to Statista, one in ten adults in the US has interacted with a catfish—8% of the men said they had sent money to a catfish.

1. A catfish’s profile doesn’t have many pictures.

A catfish’s profile doesn’t have many pictures

A catfish’s whole identity revolves around the pictures they use online. They usually use pictures of gorgeous people to appeal to others.

But because that’s not them (and they probably found a random image on the internet), they don’t have a lot of pictures of the people they’re impersonating.

Use SwindlerBuster to do a face search before doing anything else.

2. Getting them to send selfies is impossible.

For similar reasons that I mentioned above, a catfish doesn’t send real-time selfies of themselves.

I’m talking about candid pictures in casual settings, even though you’ve been texting for a while.

3. Their photos are weirdly cropped and/or have low quality.

It’s almost as if the very thing they use to lure people in, also gives them away.

But, yes—if the person you’re talking to has low-quality, weirdly-cropped, and suspicious pictures, they’re most likely a catfish.

Watch out for this, though, as catfishes are becoming smarter with each passing day!

4. They won’t video-chat if their lie depends on it!

Of course, it could also result from being shy, cautious, or having low self-esteem, but I’m talking about a person always refusing to video chat.

It’s most likely because they’re catfishing you by using another person’s photos; by video chatting, their cover will get blown.

5. A catfish rarely picks up the phone.

Similar to video calls, a person who’s catfishing dreads answering a call because usually, they lie about their gender or age as well.

This is pretty common with money scams—a scammer impersonates an attractive woman, using her pictures to lure men in.

Though, more organized scammers can use voice changers, or even catfish using their female colleagues’ identities.

6. Someone who’s catfishing will most likely avoid physical meet-ups.

Someone who’s catfishing will most likely avoid physical meet-ups

I’m talking about someone refusing to meet up with the partner they met online, not just a stranger.

They have been talking for a while, and as a result, a serious relationship has been formed—yet, the catfish still declines dates.

There’s a high chance a person is catfishing their partner and attempting to hide it by not meeting up with them.

7. If they do want to meet up, they pick a sketchy place.

If you’re talking to a person online, and they have a date planned out in a sketchy place, I recommend not going through with it.

Always, always meet with new people in crowded, well-lit, and familiar places, just to be safe from the many dangerous catfishes roaming the cyber space.

8. There are a lot of plot holes in their stories.

Catfishes tend to lie about their daily routine and overall life; they try to sound as interesting as possible so they fabricate their life story.

For example., the catfish you’re talking to might’ve told you that they have a certain car brand some time ago.

But fast forward, they send you pictures of another car.

9. They ask for personal details way too early on.

A pretty huge chunk of the catfish community are scammers.

A catfish who’s hoping to benefit in some way will ask us for personal details (e.g. credit card info, contact details, name/last names, residential addresses).

Credit cards are the most requested information among catfishing scammers, and I’m sure a lot of us have experienced it.

10. They ask for money and other similar “favors”.

As I said, a lot of scammers catfish for financial gain, and at times, they don’t even try to hide it.

Right off the bat, they ask for financial aid. They might even have a convincing sob story—none of it is true.

11. They’re too nice right off the bat—it’s called love-bombing.

Another obvious sign: catfishes are way too flirty to the point where they look suspicious.

Because they’re trying to attract people, catfishes usually put on this fun and flirty facade, which, sadly, a lot of people fall for.

A catfish will try to steal your heart and manipulate you to view them as trustworthy because they want something in return.

12. A small social media presence is a possible sign.

Small social media presence is a possible sign

A catfish doesn’t interact with other people or post photos—that’s because their profile is fake.

Their account has a small number of followers, yet they follow many people.

Everything about their socials is just so inorganic:

  • No candid/casual photos;
  • No interaction with other users;
  • A small number of followers;
  • No comments, posts, shares, tags, or mentions;
  • Only a sexual/flirty bio, etc.

13. They don’t add people on other social media.

If, say, we’re talking to somebody on a dating app (or any other social media platform), our initial thought would be to ask for their other handles.

A catfish will never give their socials or phone number away, no matter how long you’ve known them.

They want to minimize the chances of their lies being found out, or they simply don’t have other profiles due to the fact their whole persona is fake.

14. Not being verified on dating sites is usually a bad sign.

Dating apps are catfishes’ turf—that’s where they often go to carry out their romantic scams.

However, the good thing about certain dating apps is that they verify their users’ identities in some way.

Some dating apps require users to send some sort of ID or real-time picture for their team to review.

15. You know almost nothing about them and their life.

On top of not knowing their friends and family, catfishes also never talk about their personal lives (their work, hobbies, etc.).

If they’re lying about their identity, they won’t let you in on their life because they don’t want their lies to unfold, so forget having any of your questions answered.

16. They can’t be found anywhere online: a fake identity.

They can’t be found anywhere online a fake identity

You can try searching for a catfish online, however, you won’t find anything.

Looking their name up on socials will result in either failure or a completely different person.

17. Their texts are short, filled with typos, and have odd patterns.

If you think you’re being targeted by a catfish, pay attention to their texting habits.

  • Are they unnecessarily short, with many abbreviations? Do they have many typos and grammatically incorrect elements? Do they have odd patterns such as excessive and inappropriate usage of emojis?

A lot of catfishes/scammers are bots or foreigners, so that explains it.

18. They send you quite a lot of links.

Never, and I repeat, never click on links sent by strangers online.

If the person you started talking to suddenly starts sending links and insisting you open them, they’re most likely catfishes—hackers, more precisely.

19. Everything about them seems so perfect. Suspiciously perfect.

Because catfishes aren’t using their real identities, they’re able to craft the perfect (fake) life.

Their profile seems too perfect: from their appearance and daily life, up to their personality, everything is flawless.

They’re too good to be true, and that’s because they’re not true.

Spotting and outsmarting a catfish: Useful methods.

You might be wondering if there are any ways to find out if a person is catfishing—I’m happy to report that the answer is yes.

  • 1. Ask them to send a specific photo while doing something. If they’re reluctant, they’re likely catfish.
  • 2. Ask them a weird question if you suspect they’re a bot. A human will spot the oddity and address it, a bot will go along with it.
  • 3. Do a background check on them by searching their name and last name on Google or Spokeo.
  • 4. Reverse search their images by using our tool SwindlerBuster Face Search.
  • 5. Try having a video call with them. If they’re catfishing you, their mask will fall apart.
  • 6. Be cautious of the (in)consistencies in their stories. Do not ignore any contradictions on their part.

And remember: safety comes first!

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