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.
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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.
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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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