What to Do if You’re Being Catfished
You meet someone online, but something doesn’t seem quite right. They seem to lead an abnormal lavish lifestyle. They are constantly traveling, their photos look like they’ve been in magazines, and seem to have an amazing job, but suddenly… that all changes. They start asking you for money out of nowhere, they refuse to meet you in person or video chat with you, or they keep changing plans on when they will meet you one day. You start to think that you’re being catfished and aren’t sure if the person you are talking to is who they say they are. Here are some things that you can do if you’re being catfished.
What is Catfishing?
Catfishing is when someone pretends to be somebody they’re not on the Internet. They usually steal photos from social media influencers and pass them off as their own pictures. Some people do this because they are lonely, self-conscious, experimenting with their sexuality, or want attention without knowing where to get it.
There is a type of catfish called a romance scammer, where they form a romantic relationship with someone in hopes of stealing money from them. They usually come up with a fake emergency or an excuse as to why they desperately need money.
Since the victims are so in love with them, they provide the romance scammer with whatever they need thinking that they are helping. The romance scammer doesn’t stop until they have completely drained their victim’s bank account.
What Do You Do If You’re Being Catfished?
Remove Your Information and Stop Sending Them Money
Don’t send anyone that you’ve met online and personal information about yourself. Along with this, make sure you aren’t sending any money to someone that you have just met online.
Catfish can use your personal information to commit identity theft and pretend to be you in order to get their hands on your financial information. They also ask for money without stopping until they can drain your bank account and steal your funds.
Report the Catfish to Law Enforcement
If you have sent them money or information, contact law enforcement immediately. They will file a report and perform an investigation to try and track the scammer down. They might be able to get your money back and help you through repairing your identity. It is important to keep in contact with the scammer and take screenshots as evidence.
You can also report the catfish to these various areas:
- IC3 will work with the FBI and investigate the fraud.
- Facebook will investigate the catfish’s account and in some cases, delete their profile.
- Twitter will look at the catfish’s profile and remove their profile if they sense a threat.
- Dating sites will have an option to report someone’s profile if you suspect they are a catfish.
Make Sure to Be Wary of People You Meet Online
Don’t add anyone on your social media profiles that you don’t know and make sure to be cautious when online dating. Video chat the person you are talking to or meet them in person to verify that they are who they say they are.
If someone online is asking you for money or personal information, don’t give it to them. They will only continue to ask you for money until your bank account is drained. They will only use your personal information to commit identity theft, there is no other reason as to why they would need any of your information.
Verify That You’re Being Catfished With Social Catfish
If you suspect that you’re being catfished, run a reverse search using Social Catfish! You can look up any name, email address, phone number, social media username, or image to see who it is you’ve really been talking to. This will allow you to verify that you’re talking to a real person or just a catfish.
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