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Catfish: The Facts

posted Dec 11, 2014, 5:31 AM by Unknown user   [ updated Dec 11, 2014, 10:48 AM ]

KiaLynne Bland 

    If you have ever heard of the television channel MTV or are active on social media, then you’ve probably heard of Catfish: The TV Show or the term, “catfishing”. The TV series based on the 2010 movie, Catfish, follows Nev Schulman and his friend, Max Joseph helping hopeless romantics meet or find out the truth about their significant other whom they have been connecting with via internet.

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The term, “catfish” (not the actual fish) means to lure (someone) into a relationship by adopting a fictional persona, according to Oxford Dictionary. This basically means for someone to create a relationship with another person online while identifying themselves as someone they’re not. If the victim finds out that the person they’ve been talking to isn’t who they say they are, then they have been “catfished”.

The action of catfishing occurs on social media networking websites such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. The top five dating websites according to the eBizMBA Rank are, Match, PlentyOfFish, Zoosk, OkCupid, and eHarmony. These websites are also extremely likely to have the action of catfishing take place.

While the most reported incidents of catfishing are related to romance, it has been known for people to create fake profiles to seek revenge, form (fake) friendships, and to scam victims of their money as claimed by CBS News.

As stated by PawResearch Internet Project, one out of ten Americans have tried dating through the internet or through a dating app. Though 66 percent of users have gone on a date with someone they met online and 23 percent have entered a long-term relationship or married the person they met, 54 percent have felt like someone was proposing a fake identity to them. Facebook also has admitted that 83 million of its users are fake.

Teenagers, young adults, and women, especially those seeking self-esteem, attention, or affection, are more likely to experience the catfishing scheme, as they are more vulnerable.

Schulman, who was also a victim of catfishing, advises those in an online relationship with someone to meet up as soon as possible. “If someone is serious about pursuing a relationship, they will make the effort to see you.”

Image courtesy of: (fair use)

As far as the question, “why do people feel the need to create a fake profile?” goes, Shulman explains to CBS News, “A lot of the time, it’s because they themselves are insecure or unhappy, and so they’re looking to create a version of themselves as an escape to ignore or not deal with, or perhaps try to deal with some of the issues that they have.”

Schulman suggests Googling your partner’s name, basic information, Facebook friends, and photos to find out the truth. If anything suspicious comes up, you’re most likely being catfished. He also recommends asking your partner to send a picture of themselves holding a particular object. “If someone is using someone else’s photos they’ve downloaded and stored a lot of them and they’ll release them to you slowly,” continues Schulman. “But if you say, 'Hey can you send me a photo of you holding something very specific,' it's unlikely that they'll have access to that a photo of that person holding that specific item."

To avoid being caught in any catfish situation, Schulman urges people to form real life relationships instead of seeking online friendships or romantic relationships. “It all kind of comes down to self-esteem and self-respect and knowing what you want,” adds Schulman. Being confident and clear about what you want in an online relationship will also decrease the chances of being catfished.

    So if you are currently in an alliance or relationship with someone online, think about the signs that may tell if you’re being catfished: Are they repeatedly making excuses such as not having a webcam or having a serious injury or family matter as an excuse to not meet up? Are they not sending pictures of themselves to you? Or are they just posting several photos of themselves without friends on social media? If you find yourself asking these questions, take action quickly, as you may be involved with a potential catfisher.