Catfishing – The Fake Online Identity

We all hear it from time to time again – wether it is in the news or within our circle of friends: Catfishing.

Not to mention since the Netflix series Untold: The Girlfriend who didn’t exist the topic has now come up again.

What exactly is Catfishing and Where does it Occur?

By definition, it is a fraudulent activity in which a person creates a false online identity on a social network, usually deliberately targeting a specific victim.

In easy words – it is the behaviour of pretending to be someone else and contacting others under that person’s identity.

It mainly occurs on online platforms such as social media – especially dating and social apps, where one can create a profile by adding pictures and chat with other members.

Some of the Reasons People Catfish

The reasons are usually very complex and varied – past bullying, a lack of self-confidence, the desire for attention as well as manipulative behaviour for personal gain are possible factors. All this can lead to stalking as well as bullying in order to regain the power and control they thought they had lost.

It is not uncommon for intimate insights to be demanded, which are then often disseminated without being asked. 

How to know when you’re being catfished

Identifying a catfish is important, especially since they tend to get personal and can try to cheat you financially.

➡️ The first red flag is, when they will refuse to meet you in person.

➡️ The second sign is, when the other person refuses to talk on the phone. The reason for  this is because it’s easier to understand a person’s intentions on a call than from a text message. 

➡️ The third sign is, when they refuse to reveal their face on a video call.

There are more signs than the above, but if any of these signs appear, be aware that you may be a catfish victim.

What can I do to Prevent Myself from Becoming a Victim

1. In addition to phone calls, also include video calls in which you can see the environment and other people, etc.. If possible meet them in person.

2. Question stories and research whether they are plausible.

3. Find out clear information about the person, such as ID picture, real-time pictures.

As soon as something seems strange, use Google Image Search and do further plausibility checks.

How we handle Catfishing on NETME

In one of our previous blogposts we showed how we deal with fake profiles. Additionally, we personally regularly review our user base to ensure that everyone can safely use NETME and fully enjoy the app.

In general, catfishing can only occur in spaces where there is no real interaction and everything is happening online. The solution to this, as simple as it sounds, is to actually meet IRL.

The way it is done on NETME, the chances of coming across a catfish person is equal to null. 


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