Top 10 Ways To Spot a Catfish

Here are the top ten ways to find out if someone is catfishing you.

They’re your dream date. You’ve been texting non-stop. They’re profile pictures seem legit…but something feels off. Are you being catfished?

Anyone who’s spent time searching for love online has probably dealt with a catfish at some point or another. In fact, one survey revealed that around 1 in 3 people have been catfished online, and 20% of those victims actually sent money to the catfish.

If you’re newly single or this is your first time dipping your toes into the waters of online dating, it’s a good idea to get clued up on how to spot a catfish. Fake profiles are always lurking in the depths waiting to catch anyone naïve to their tactics. 

Before you swipe right, check your potential match for the following catfish clues.

🤳 Their pictures are a too perfect 

Some people are blessed with the gift of good looks – but when someone looks suspiciously too airbrushed to be living in your area, it’s time to do some digging.

First, download an app called Veracity. This intuitive app is great for checking images from Tinder, Grindr and others. Take screenshots of their pictures and use Veracity to reverse-image-search. The app will scour the internet for other instances of that picture. So, if they’ve stolen their pics from someone else, you’ll see it in the matching results. You're welcome!

📹 They’re never down for a video call…

It’s late, your flatmates are out and you’re looking to get to know your crush a bit better. So, you ask to FaceTime, but they give you a line about how “now isn’t a good time.” Then, you try again the next day and, surprise surprise, they’re too busy... Then their phone is low battery. Then their camera is broken. Then they’re out and have no 4G…

It’s time to face the facts. They don’t want to meet IRL or FaceTime because they aren’t real. 

🌒 …Then they’re suddenly available at stupid o' clock

After making excuses all day, they slide into your DMs at 3am? Something is starting to smell really fishy…

If they’re only available at unsociable hours, it’s a sign that they’re living a double life. The reason they didn’t chat during the day is because they were busy living their actual life. Now it’s night, and they’re suddenly free to talk endlessly about how strong your connection is? Please.

👻 They’re invisible online

In this day and age, it’s just not really conceivable that a young person would be on a site like Tinder but have no trace of a presence on Insta, Twitter or even Facebook. Check their IG – how far back to their pictures date? How many followers do they have that aren’t just spam accounts?

It’s one thing for someone to have dead profiles that have been collecting dust since 2016, but it’s quite rare for someone to have no social media presence at all – so if that’s the case, don’t hesitate to quiz them on why.

🤔 Their life is a series of unfortunate events

Some people really do have it hard. But why is it that whenever you seem a little hesitant, they bring out the big guns and tell you a sob story about their past? This is a classic deflection tactic, and it’s also really emotionally manipulative. There’s still a chance that it could be true, so don’t immediately call their bluff. Just take note of their reaction. If it happens again or their stories become a little too outlandish to be true, hold the line – you might have caught yourself a catfish. 

📓 Their life story has more plot holes than Riverdale

We aren’t suggesting you pull out a corkboard and start connecting events with red string, but it won’t hurt to make notes when they talk about their life story.

Unless you’re a Hollywood actor, playing a character is hard. It’s really easy to get caught up in your lies and forget which lies you’ve told. By keeping notes, you can catch them out if you suspect they aren’t who they say they are.

💸 They ask you for money…

This one is a huge red flag. If the person you’re flirting with online is in financial trouble and you’re “the only one who can help”, it’s time to cut them out of your life and block all contact. Be careful, because they might not directly ask for money, but hint that they’re struggling. If that’s the case, offer your sympathy and suggest they take out a loan or a credit card. Someone they met online should never be an option. 

🌍 …But their job lets them travel the world

So, what – they’re a global jet-setter but they need some cash to cover them for the next month? Isn’t it weird that they have literally no one else who can loan them some money? Isn’t it strangely convenient and unsettling that they’ve cut ties with all friends and family?

Let’s be honest, it’s a little weird. Would you feel comfortable asking someone you haven’t met for money? Usually, catfish play the jet-setter card to avoid having to meet IRL. So, if you ask to hang out and they “suddenly have a work thing in Milan”, call them out. 

👀 Someone you know is acting sus

We’ve watched enough of MTV’s Catfish to know that, from time to time, the people stringing you along are your nearest and dearest. There’s no need to act totally paranoid or spy on your mates, but if someone you know has started acting a little off around you (and there’s no other reason for their behaviour), keep this in mind and be alert.

They might seem overly interested in your relationship with this new person, as these conversations could be helping to inform their catfish strategy. Don’t throw accusations, but stay vigilant. 

⏩ Things are moving way too fast

You might have a connection, but if they’re already talking about moving in with you, getting married or even having kids – hit the brakes and get out of there. When a catfish pulls this move, it can get you emotionally invested early.

The more emotionally invested you become, the less likely you are to see the signs and the easier it is for the catfish to get something from you – photos, videos or even money. 

How do you spot a catfish online? Share your wisdom with our community over on Instagram!

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