The number one tip to avoid catfishing? Read on, you’ll be hooked.
I was on two talk shows recently and both addressed online dating and catfishing (here’s an edited version with solid dating safety advice). For those unfamiliar with the term, a catfish is someone who posts a fake online dating profile and fools interested parties hook, line and sinker (oh come on, someone had to say it).
It’s been the subject of a movie and an MTV show. In addition, it gained notoriety when Manti Teo’s friend pretended to be a woman online, then Manti Teo fell in love with the woman, and then he fooled everyone into believing that the woman had died – or something like that. All I know is that everyone – and not just Manti Teo – was fished in (I can’t stop myself).
All this talk of treachery has singles concerned. But is it really that troubling? I don’t think so.
Internet activities have always come with a risk of fraud. It’s nothing new, and it’s true whether you’re online banking or dating. In addition, as someone whose spent most of her life writing ads, I can honestly tell you that deception isn’t just exclusive to personal ads. When I think of all the products I’ve been persuaded to buy, I should be skinny, wrinkle-free, and my hair should be free of split ends. Oh and, by the way, I haven’t forgiven Reebok runners for dashing my hopes of having a butt like Beyonce.
Oh the lure (get it?) of things that are too good to be true.
When stories like these get reported across news networks, we end up with thinking the incidents are far more widespread than they actually are. In truth, catfishing is not common, it’s merely fascinating. Critical thinking begs the question: will your budding online romance really land you on Dr. Phil or Jerry Springer? Probably not. At best you might pick up a few good stories to share with friends.
In fact, I searched Google for the Top 10 internet scams and guess what? The list included everything from travel scams to phishing scams, but not catfishing. Know why? Because it’s not as common as the media would have us believe.
That said, you do need to show good judgement and common sense. Before you invest emotionally in a romance, at least meet the person first – and meet more than once. For that matter, meet the person’s friends too. In other words, begin to share time and your lives before you think you’ve found the one.
Women need to be especially cautious when it comes to the initial stages. My post, 10 Online Dating Safety Tips Every Woman Should Know, was crafted with the help of my local police and has since been picked up and posted on Yahoo Shine. I hope women and men will re-post it whenever they can. It’s important advice to women. It also helps men be more understanding of the challenges women face.
The biggest tip I can give you to avoid being the victim of catfishing is this, remember: virtual encounters are not real encounters.
On a final note
It may seem ironic that someone who writes the online dating profiles of others would write a blog about catfishing. However, some people just can’t find the words to describe themselves. They end up writing a dating profile that doesn’t truly do them justice at all.
My talent is in asking the right questions and then crafting dating profiles that bring your offline personality to life online. Better yet, I craft them in your voice by using your words, expressions and anecdotes.
Have a look at my examples of great online dating profiles. Or, better yet, get started by filling out the personality questionnaire then send me your answers. You’ll be amazed at what I can do with them.