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The dating scene has drastically changed over the last decade with more people jumping on the online dating bandwagon. There are thousands of online dating sites worldwide with millions of users. A survey of dating site users shows that 66% of singles use online dating services to expand their dating pool.
The rise of online dating services has however brought the problem of lying and dishonesty. Reports from Psychology Today show that one in two people lie or exaggerate on their profile. Another report shows that 54% of people believe that someone has presented false information on their online dating profile.
Catfishing is one of the most common forms of online dating scams. The dangers of being catfished include being tricked into a false relationship, fraud, extortion and cyberbullying among others.
What is Catfishing?
Catfishing is a deceptive activity where a person, known as a catfish, creates a fake identity on a social network account to win another person’s affection.
How Do You Know If You’re Being Catfished?
A catfish uses different tricks to trap his/her victim. Here are some common telltale signs to look out for:
1. A new or incomplete profile – a catfish limits the number of photos and has less personal information on their profile. Additionally, they refuse to send pictures of themselves or usually send false pictures.
2. The modelling profession – does the person use a profile picture that looks like a model? Or do they claim to be a model? If someone claims to be a model or has a profile that seems too good to be true, watch out.
3. No webcam – if you can’t get a person to video chat with you after repeated attempts or requests, he/she could be a catfish. Additionally, if the person claims they do not have access to a webcam (unusual in today’s era), that’s an early warning sign that they don’t want you to see them.
4. Unable to meet – a catfisher normally makes plans to meet with you but will later back out. They will give a range of excuses including illnesses, car accidents, or the death of a family member.
These are only some of the signs of a catfisher that you need to have in mind as you undertake online dating activities.
If you believe you, a friend or a relative is a victim of catfishing; you can hire a private investigator to conduct a catfish investigation. The investigation will include a background check on the suspected catfish.
Catfish Background Checks
While you can do a Google search for your potential date, it will not provide sufficient details of the person. Are They Safe has access to far more crucial details that will tell you who a person really is. These include:
• Criminal history such as identity theft, sexual and violent crimes
• Financial/credit history
• Employment history
• Reference checking
• Public records databases
Are they safe will conduct a comprehensive catfish investigation to help you find out the individual’s real name, date of birth, marital status and number of kids among other details.
The Process of Conducting a Catfish Investigation
1. Free consultation – submit your case via phone, email or the online contact form. We’ll ask for details required to assign your case to an investigator.
2. Conduct background investigation of potential date – after consultation, the investigator will contact you to collect more information about the case. He/she will then conduct a thorough catfish investigation of your potential date.
3. Report of findings and results – once the investigation is complete, the private investigator will document all findings and provide you with a written report together with any court-admissible evidence.
We also urge victims of potential catfishing scams to also log the crime with Action Fraud.