NOW that we've told you what catfishing is, we're sure some of you are trying to figure how many of the thousands of Facebook friends are real.
Catfishers don't always stick out like a sore thumb, they operate like normal persons and so it may be difficult -- but not impossible -- to find the perpetrators.
Firstly, catfishers usually have their sights set on one person or a small few, therefore they aim to add people from your friend circle.
So, a catfisher may have a lot of mutual friends, just so you will trust them when the friend request pops up.
Other than the fact that Facebook warns us not to add persons that we don't know personally, there are simple ways by which we can find out someone's hidden agenda on the Internet.
The number of mutual friends that you have with the person is a big indicator -- adding a strange person with zero mutual friends is never a good thing.
In the event that you do have a few mutual friends with the person you can search the list to see if these 'mutual friends' are people you actually talk to. If so, ask these friends about this 'new' person is that's trying to be a part of your friend circle. Needless to say if nobody has ever heard of this person then maybe it's not a good idea to add them.
Photographs: Catfishers also usually use photos of models or some photo they found on Google and they have only a limited amount of pictures that look posed and fake. be wary of profiles with one profile photo or maybe only one profile photo of an actual person who is not a movie star or celebrity.
Their friends: They will have numerous photos on the profile, but none with anyone else, or even if it is a group photo nobody is tagged are also caution signs. Who does not have spontaneous photographs on their page?
Copyrighted?!: Some of the photos on the catfisher's profile may be taken from a magazine or is even watermarked by the photographer.
Contacts: A catfisher will never reveal their contact information. They never want to Skype, talk on the phone or meet up face-to- face. The will deny these invitations by claiming simple things like "I don't have a webcam" or "my phone is broken". It must be noted, however, that some catfishers will agree to talk on the phone or Skype with you, especially if the catfisher knows you personally. They may, however, get other persons to talk to you and pretend to be this fake person.
You want to do what?!: Catfishers also usually get to the point quickly. So their true reason for adding you will come out sooner rather than later. So, if their aim is to start a relationship with you, within days or a few weeks they will start to prophecy their undying love for you. Beware of persons who you barely know or don't know at all that are very interested in your personal details.
We all want to be online. It makes communicating a lot easier and more convenient. However, with every freedom comes responsibility and as Internet users and a part of the digital age, we have to be vigilant. Take the age old advice, 'don't talk to strangers'.