7 Warning Signs You’re Being Catfished

How to Prevent Being Catfished - Making Sense of Security

How to Prevent Being Catfished

Catfishing is a term used to describe the practice of creating a false identity online in order to deceive someone, usually for personal gain or to carry out some kind of scam. 


This can involve using fake photos, names, and other personal information to create a completely fictional persona. 

The term originated from the world of fishing, where fishermen would place a fake bait or lure on their fishing line to attract and catch unsuspecting fish. 

Similarly, catfishers use fake personas to attract and manipulate their victims. Catfishing can have serious emotional and psychological consequences for victims, as they often develop strong feelings for the fake persona and feel betrayed when they discover the truth. 

It’s important to be cautious and vigilant when interacting with strangers online, especially if they seem too good to be true.

What’s Catfishing

Catfishing is used when someone creates a fake online identity or profile in order to deceive and trick others into a romantic or emotional relationship. 

The term catfishing is commonly used in the context of online dating, social media, and other online platforms where people can communicate with each other.

The person who engages in catfishing may use fake pictures, false information, and even pretend to be someone else entirely. 

They often do this to gain the trust of their victim and manipulate them emotionally, either for personal gain or simply for the thrill of it.

Catfishing can have serious emotional and psychological consequences for the victim, and it is generally considered a form of online fraud or harassment.

It’s important to be cautious and skeptical of online relationships, especially if you have never met the person in person, and to take steps to protect yourself online.

Warning Signs of Catfishing 

There are several warning signs according to Social Catfish that you may be the target of a catfisher, but the most common and well-known signs are:

  1. Catfishers will contact their victims at odd hours of the day, often using the excuse of being in a different time zone. Catfishers want to quickly figure out if they’re building trust or if the victim is on to them, so they love bombs all day and night.
  2. They may make inappropriate requests, such as for explicit photos, as a way to blackmail their victim. A potential love interest won’t generally request explicit photos at first, but a catfisher will constantly make this request!
  3. Catfishers are intentionally vague in their communication and will never reveal details that can be verified. Catfishers will never reveal details that you can prove—that’s one of the prime ways to identify a scammer. They keep their responses generic and are intentionally vague so you can’t detect outright lies. They’ll tell you they live “outside of Boston” but won’t give you an exact town, or they might tell you the city where they (supposedly) went to college but not the name of the school.
  4. Their photos may be awkward or unrealistic, and they may also use stolen photos. It’s worth noting that some scammers also use software driven by artificial intelligence to create personalized images of people who don’t exist
  5. The person is too good to be true if they share many of your interests and seem perfect for you.
  6. If the person only communicates with you via text and refuses to have a conversation, it’s a warning sign.
  7. If the person redirects you to an OnlyFans account or another website, it may be a phishing attempt.

The Psychological Motivations for Catfishing

Catfishing, the practice of creating a fake online identity to deceive others, is a behavior with a wide range of motivations. 

Social catfish offers some of the most common motivations for catfishing:

  1. Attention and validation: Some individuals catfish to gain attention and validation from others. They may feel insecure or unfulfilled in their real life and use a fake identity to create the illusion of popularity or desirability.
  2. Revenge: Catfishing can also be a form of revenge. Individuals who feel wronged by someone may create a fake identity to get back at them or to make them feel embarrassed.
  3. Entertainment: For some, catfishing can be a form of entertainment or a way to pass the time. They may enjoy the thrill of deceiving others and creating elaborate stories and personas.
  4. Financial gain: In some cases, catfishing can be a way to gain a financial advantage. Scammers may create fake identities to lure victims into financial schemes or to gain access to personal financial information.
  5. Power and control: Some individuals engage in catfishing to exert power and control over others. They may enjoy manipulating and deceiving others and feel a sense of satisfaction from their ability to do so.
  6. Psychological issues: Catfishing can also be a manifestation of underlying psychological issues, such as low self-esteem or a lack of empathy. Individuals who engage in this behavior may struggle with forming authentic connections with others and may use catfishing as a way to compensate for this.

Take Steps to Prevent Future Catfishing Scams

After experiencing a catfishing scam, it’s important to take steps to protect yourself and prevent future scams.

Here are some actions you can take:

Be cautious when sharing personal information online. Avoid sharing sensitive information such as your home address, financial information, or social security number

If you’re unsure about sharing information, ask yourself if it’s necessary and if the person you’re communicating with has a legitimate reason for requesting it.

Research the people you meet online before sharing personal information or meeting in person. Use search engines and social media to verify their identity and confirm that they are who they say they are.

Set boundaries with people you meet online. Be wary of people who try to push you into sharing information or meeting in person before you feel comfortable.

Use caution when using dating sites or apps. Be wary of profiles with incomplete information or suspicious photos. Report any profiles that appear to be fake or suspicious to the site’s administrators.

Educate yourself about common tactics used by catfishers, such as creating fake social media profiles or using stolen photos. Knowing what to look out for can help you avoid falling victim to future scams.


In conclusion, catfishing is a deceptive practice that can have serious consequences for victims. It involves creating a fake persona online to deceive someone for personal gain or to carry out a scam. 

While catfishing is often associated with romantic relationships, it can also occur in other contexts, such as business or friendships. 

It’s important to remain vigilant and cautious when interacting with strangers online and to be aware of the warning signs of catfishing, such as inconsistencies in their stories, reluctance to meet in person, or an unwillingness to provide personal information. 

By being aware of these red flags and staying vigilant, we can help protect ourselves from falling victim to catfishing scams.