First thing’s first, what is a catfish? A catfish uses Facebook or other social networking sites to create false identities, particularly to pursue deceptive online romances. If you’ve been involved in an online romance recently, you may just want to take some cautionary steps especially if he seems too good to be true. Here are some giveaway signs of a catfishing con man:
He’s too good looking
The photos or short videos that he sends are not only visibly pleasing but also sexually alluring.
He’s available 24/7
Is he available for online conversations 24 hours a day, seemingly jumping at any chance to continue the previous conversation and disregarding obvious time zone differences? This is a very important sign to pay attention to. If he is a) genuinely a working professional, and b) sleeps, eats, and does other routine tasks like everyone else, there would be notable lapses in time.
He sweet talks, a lot
A love scammer declares love very early in the relationship. Does he always agree with you and readily takes your side? This is a clear bait technique, involving consistent use of words and phrases that flatter and emotionally support the target victim. Another giveaway is conversations that seem too scripted to be natural.
He has an attractive online persona
Most people who catfish declare that they are citizens of developed countries, usually Western ones. In some cases, he will claim that he is either travelling or living temporarily in another country for business, volunteer work, or for a particular cause. These reasons catch the interest of potential victims as they sound glamorous, exciting, or noble.
He asks for money
Requests for money and/or gifts come into the scene very quickly, often within two weeks of initiating contact.
*This article first appeared in Her World Malaysia July 2016 and was written by Carmen Chow, who consulted the expertise of Joel Low, director and clinical psychologist at The Mind Psychological Services and Training