I thought I would do a post on how to avoid being a victim of Catfishing after watching the amazing new show on Channel 4 called ‘The Circle’
If you have not seen it briefly it is a new social media reality TV show where a group of 8 contestants are living in a block of flats and the only access they have to the other people is by a social media group called ‘The Circle’
They create social media profiles but some are creating false profiles in order to appear (so they think) more popular!
Never share private information about yourself online
Make sure that when you are using all types of social media eg Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter etc that you try not to show too much personal information about yourself and this can include all your hobbies, pictures, videos, bio information, where you live, your employers address etc. While of course we share certain information we need to remain aware that many people could access this information for their own use. A good example would be if you went on a dating site someone could research all your background information. The less information about your private life you share means you would not become a victim
Track your online personal details
One good tip is to set up a Google Alert with your name. Google will alert you when your name appears on the internet. This is a free service but there are other services out there which do cost. I have one for me name on Google and when my name appears on any webpage I get a link.
Act the same on social media as you would in real life
Always be aware that the person behind the keyboard may not be who them seem. Would you start a relationship with a complete stranger you met at the bus stop or in the supermarket; No you would not so why do we do it on-line!
Facebook – is there a very low Facebook friend count
While Facebook is a great social media platform is can also be used a lot for Catfishing. Does the person you are having a relationship online with only have a very low amount of friends listed. While this coud be genuine it can also be a Catfish warning. Often people catfishing create many fake friends accounts so they will use these fake friends to give them the illusion they are someone else. Creating a Facebook profile can take a lot of time and effort so that could be one reason they only have around 10 fake friends.
Check their online profile
Regardless of any social media platform or online dating site always check the person’s profile. There are a few things to look out for to check if their profile is fake and these include
- Is the photo genuine or are they using a stock photo
- How much information is in the about section – if little or no information then beware – of course they could still be updating their profile so if in doubt check a few days later to see if it has changed
- How real does their story sound
Do not send them money
No matter how much you think they are genuine on line (and the fact you have y et to meet them) never send any money to anyone you do not know on line. Catfishing people will play on your sympathy. A good example is that they need money to pay for a family members medical bill.
And finally remember if in doubt do not continue