Catfish is a term that became popular in online dating after a 2010 documentary of that name was released in theaters. The documentary followed a young man who had met a girl online and fell in love without ever meeting her in person. When they finally met — spoiler alert! — the girl on the other side of the computer was not who she portrayed herself to be.
Social networks, dating sites and mobile dating add a layer of anonymity to everyone we meet. We may be wittier, more outgoing or personable when we are online. Since we are in a safe environment without the risk or rejection, we tend to let our hair down and become more amplified versions of ourselves.
However, this cloak of anonymity also becomes a tool for predators and con artists. Unsavory characters utilize the Internet as a way to lure people into their web of lies, tricks and ploys. Unfortunately, there is not a way to vet these people when you first connect online, but there are ways to keep your guard up once you begin to know someone a little better.
1. Google. Use it as your tool, your resource and a line of defense. If the Catfish is using a real person's identity, chances are there is other information out there online.
2. Take notes. If something seems "fishy," trust your gut. Ask questions about it and more questions until that "fishy" feeling goes away. Continue reading ...
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