I have been watching reality shows that I can be able to relate to after I figured watching the Kardashian’s wasn’t exactly relatable. I stumbled upon one particular series on MTV channel called Catfish. I later understood that “catfishers” are people who steal online identities and entire social circles to trick people into a romantic relationship over a long period of that time. I honestly thought that people who had such problems were celebrities until I watched this show.
The first story was of a normal religious man who seemed to have it all together from his Facebook photos and a catfish admired his life so much that he decided to fabricate his entire social life. After a while many women starting seeing this religious man as a fake in the small town he was from in Texas. What he didn’t know was that his reputation had been ruined by a catfish.
I was astonished at how much someone can destroy your life by stealing your identity. Your photos could be someone else’s life and you have no clue. What’s even worse you could be dating someone online and their whole life is nothing but a lie. With the different crazy stories I watched with stalkers impersonating other people and dating for so long without ever meeting I came up with warning signals that I gathered from the show.
1. Models: There a lot of models online nowadays. Their lives seem very perfect and they are seen as very attractive people. Some may be too good to be true. On the show one of the episodes was about a girl who hired a private investigator to find the guy she had been dating online for two years but had refused to meet as he was a model that was very busy. To her surprise they found out he was not close to being a model, he was obese but had very many photos of a certain model on his IG and all over his social media pages. It seemed that the guy’s weight had overwhelmed him so much that he had to understand how it felt to be seen as perfect online. Models are very busy and travel a lot to even keep chatting, so be weary when it comes to this profession. Insist on meeting up for coffee or something.
2. Facebook friends: What I noticed about the catfishes, they mostly had less than 200 friends and in their very many photos of them with other people had no tags. Usually if you take photos with someone else, chances are they will either comment or ask for a tag as soon you post your photo together. A person who has stolen someone’s online life would not want a huge number of friends as they will know. They often do not have any relatives as their friends as well.
3. Random traumatic experiences: One catfish on the show suddenly had cancer then his mum died and a lot of other tragedies occurred. This is used to delay meeting and they trigger emotions into the person they want a relationship because they are forced to feel bad. This is catfish manipulative trick and when you want to be there for them they go off for a bit and insist that they are too far to meet as well as many other excuses.
4. Can’t send photos: As long as you are on social media, you are expected to have a camera. If you ask for a photo and he/she refuses to send one, especially if their photos are all over their Facebook or Instagram then feel free to question that person thoroughly.
5. No webcam: S o possibly there’s a bit of distance between the two of you. But most phones have front cameras as well as laptops. If they are not accepting of the idea of using a webcam this is a big red flag waving your way.
There are so many people online nowadays and there is no certainty of who you are really talking to. The best way to avoid a catfish experience is to chat with people that you have actually met in person and do not waste your time if any of the above signs are present. Be sure to lookout for the show either at your DVD guy or on MTV.
Vanessa Raychael is a young writer passionate about writing. She is a student at Daystar University. She has written for the People newspaper as a fiction writer and she also hosts a show in a gospel station known as Vision TV. During her spare time, she likes nature trails, spending time with friends and going for events. You can check out her work on her blog nochills.blogspot.com