Reshuffling your plans, doing your makeup, taking the train, getting to your date and then quickly realizing he catfished you is a disheartening feeling. For anyone who doesn’t know what catfishing is, it is when a person is dishonest about their photos or other personal information. This is often done to make oneself appear younger or to come off as more successful to meet the date’s expectations. Unfortunately, it’s extremely dishonest and is a scummy thing to do, wasting your date’s time. According to Metro, catfishing can happen to anyone and occurs more so to men. In fact, 43% of men have been a victim of catfishing, while only 28% of women have.
Here are 20 ways to avoid being catfished on dating apps:
1. Never Give Money
It’s not atypical for someone on a dating app to ask to be Venmo’d or for you to pay for their gas or public transport ticket so they can meet you. Unfortunately, the likelihood of them meeting you is low after you send payment as they may ghost you soon after receiving payment. Don’t fall for this scam. Would you even want to go out with someone who is begging for money on date number one?
2. Ask for Their Instagram
Everyone nowadays has an Instagram, unless you became addicted and had to forcibly delete the app. By asking for their Instagram you can get a snapshot into their life. Hopefully, they have a few photos displayed, and not only food pics. Unfortunately, not everyone will share their Instagram, especially if they don’t know you.
3. Profile Photos Closeups
If all of their photos are closeups, that can be a warning sign. Often people will only take photos closeup to get the best angle and not show what they truly look like versus a photo that’s head to toe. If this is the case, you can always ask for their Instagram.
4. Filters on Photos
With filters can you ever know what the person looks like? Not really, as it removes any sort of blemish or mark. If your prospective date only has filtered photos, ask for a non-filtered picture. If they refuse, take it as a warning sign for a catfish or someone uncomfortable sharing what they look like.
5. Video Chat With Your Match
This may be uneasy for some people to FaceTime/video chat before the date, but it’s the best way to see if they’re who they say they are. Apps like Filter Off or Bumble use video chat to prevent any sort of catfishing. Yes, it may be uneasy but what’s better, trying it out and feeling uncomfortable or showing up to the date only to realize you have been catfished?
6. Google Them
If you have their full name or their phone number, you can do a quick search that can pull up results on the person such as their age. It’s not atypical for people to lie about their age when you first meet up. They do this because they’re insecure about sharing their real age. If you’re scared to share your age with someone younger, don’t date them.
7. Don’t Do Distance
Don’t create an online relationship with someone if they’re in another State and they convince you that you two will meet in the near future. This can lead to a total waste of your time and they may be a catfish. The chances of you two never meeting are high unless you video chat from square one and build a friendship from the start, not on the text!
8. Go on a Date
Don’t solely have a texting relationship. Again, it’s a total waste of time. You’re on a dating app to meet. It’s easy to hide behind a profile and have a good texting game. Try to convert your texting relationship into an in-person date like coffee or drinks and see if that person is who they say they are.
9. Be Curious
Ask your prospective date about what they do for work. It is okay to inquire. The chances of them lying to your face is less likely than them exaggerating about it on their profile.
10. If They Change Their Story, Unmatch Them
If you realize that their story is changing from the start, for example, they admit to lying about something on their profile, stay far away. If they’re willing to lie to you at the start, it’s not unlikely they’ll lie in the future as well.
11. Trust Your Gut
As the saying goes, trust your gut. If you feel uneasy after conversing, you may not be in the wrong even if they sound perfect on text. Texting is not a good representation of the person.
12. Don’t Only Trust Them Over Text
If you only have a texting relationship and have never met them or video chatted with them after speaking for awhile, that’s a red flag. Set up a date ASAP or get them on a video call. Some people are masterful at texting, while in-person they may not be who you had imagined.
13. Understand What’s Real and What You Want to Believe
Before you meet in-person do yourself a favor and don’t create a fairytale story about them before you know them. Meet and surprise yourself. You may quickly realize they’re not a fit or even worse, a catfish. On the other hand, they may be the man or woman of your dreams.
14. Don’t Go to Their House on the First Date
This seems obvious, but for safety reasons don’t go to his or her house on the first date, especially if you only know one another over text. They may seem perfect, but you need to know who is behind the profile before taking that step.
15. Word of Mouth
If you and your prospective date have mutual friends on Facebook and Instagram, there is no harm asking someone what they think of them. This can be extremely biased, especially if you’re asking someone who doesn’t have your best interests at heart. Use common sense and use this tactic if it makes sense.
16. No Photos
If the person has no photos of themselves, throw up a red flag. Who has a dating app without photos? Their excuse may be that they’re uncomfortable and don’t want their coworkers seeing them on an app. If they refuse to send a photo to you after your match, do yourself a favor and unmatch them. Who has time for that? They may be a 50-year-old living in their mom’s basement or worse someone underage.
17. Use Reverse Image Search
If you’re wary of their photos, use reverse image search on Google. It’s free and fairly easy to do. Save their photo on your computer, go to google images and drag that photo into your browser. If it’s a stock photo, it will show exactly where the photo is from displaying the URL.
18. If Someone Expresses Their Love Quickly
If someone falls for you after 5 minutes, this may be a red flag and a catfish. Also, do you want someone falling for you off the bat before they know you? If your answer is yes, you likely shouldn’t be on dating apps and focusing on yourself a bit more. But all jokes aside, be cautious of this.
19. They Call You Perfect Right off the Bat
Similar to the previous point, if they admire you from the start, it may feel good but again this is a red flag. Get to know who they’re and conversely show who you are.
If you feel like they’re a master manipulator before ever meeting, be wary. They may just be a catfish. If they can easily manipulate who they are as a person, that’s not to say that they can’t manipulate you. Unfortunately, anyone can be manipulated. See the red flags and stay far away.
This list is not to scare you, but rather inform you of how to avoid being catfished on a dating app. Be smart, trust your gut, and do a little vetting. If you have stories that you’d like to share, submit them to firstname.lastname@example.org