A few decades ago, nobody cared about being catfished because it wasn’t a prevalent vice. Unfortunately, with the increase in social media interactions, it’s something to worry about.

Social media comes with certain people who present a false identity to keep appearances or fit into a certain class.

While that might be morally wrong, it’s not necessarily catfishing. Catfishing is when someone presents a wrong identity to form a relationship with someone. Catfishers are often frauds who seek a long-term relationship with their victims under a false identity.

Considering how painful it can be to find out the person with whom you formed a friendship or romantic relationship is not who they say they are, it’s vital to learn the signs you are being catfished. This way, you can save yourself from the heartache that follows.

If you are ready, look at the 9 signs you are being catfished.


9 Warning Signs You Are Being Catfished

1. They Avoid Phone Calls

This is the most obvious sign of catfishing.

Think about it: if someone is pretending to be someone they are not online, they’d surely not want to talk to you so you don’t find out.

Therefore, if you’ve been speaking to someone for a while online and they still refuse to let the relationship progress naturally to a phone call, you are likely being catfished.

In some cases, they may allow phone calls as that may not give them away, so insist on a video call.

2. They Avoid Meet Ups

Similarly, they will also avoid meeting physically. When you suggest a meeting, they will either come up with different excuses or agree but then be a no-show.

This doesn’t apply to long-distance as there could be many valid reasons why they cannot meet you.

So, in this case, you may need to watch out for other signs to ensure you are not being catfished.

3. They Love-Bomb

One thing most catfishers are guilty of is love-bombing. Physical attraction at first sight or first interaction is not out of place.

However, most genuine people are a little more cautious in approaching the object of their attraction.

A catfish, on the other hand, has no time to waste. They want to move the relationship forward quickly to get what they want, so they are likely to overwhelm you with talk of love and affection.

They are remarkably more affectionate when you ask serious questions because they hope it will distract you.

So, be careful when someone you haven’t seen physically is pushing for a relationship and sending an overwhelming number of love messages.

It’s strange to feel that strong an emotion for someone you just met online, so proceed cautiously.

Also ReadRed Flags to Watch Out for in a Relationship

4. They Are Vague

A catfisher wants to know everything about you but doesn’t provide their personal details. After all, the intent is to get something from you – usually money.

So, they want to know you are worth the trouble and can provide what they need. Therefore, they will bombard you with questions you may mistake for interest in you, but they are unwilling to supply answers to theirs.

If they genuinely want to know you, they will also want you to know them.


Warning Signs You Are Being Catfished


5. They Are Too Good to Be True

I am usually hesitant to say if something is too good to be true, then it is because I don’t want to inspire self-sabotage when something seems too good.

However, if something is too good to be true, at the very least, investigate. Don’t take it at face value before accepting what’s being presented.

Many catfishers have mastered the art of manipulation, so they know how to create elaborate stories about themselves and their situations to lure victims.

Also Read: Signs You Are Dating a Narcissist

6. They Ask for Money

More often than not, catfishers want money, so they ask for it.

I am hardly this direct about concluding on people because I realise they are complex. But my advice is to cut off anyone you haven’t met physically who is asking you for money.

However, if you want to help, never give large sums or give money out repeatedly. And needless to say, don’t share financial information with them.

7. They May Not Have a Profile Picture

A catfisher either has a blank profile picture, has only one picture that is likely not theirs or has not changed their picture in a long time.

But much more than that, they usually have very sparse interaction with others because they are not who they are anyway.

Also ReadHow to Know You Are Getting Played in a Relationship

8. They Often Have Few Followers/Following

Like the point above, they often have few followers and follow only a few people.

Of course, this singular sign doesn’t mean someone is a catfish, but if it’s coupled with the others, they are likely one.

9. They Have Elaborate Stories

Yes, some people have led exciting lives, and some have encountered situations that many can only imagine.

However, with a catfish, there’s usually nothing ordinary about their life. They always have one elaborate story or the other to share.

It is either different traumatic stories to draw sympathy or exaggerated stories to present a wealthy front, so you are more comfortable helping them when they ask.

A black man looking at his phone with sadness

How to Avoid Being Catfished

1. Take Online Relationships Slow

It’s not out of place to seek love and be excited about finding a potential partner. But there’s no need to rush.

So, don’t let anyone rush you into a relationship too quickly. Take your time, especially with one online. Get to know them and all they stand for before easing into the relationship.

Beware of people that are trying to push you into a relationship quickly.

2. Don’t Send Money

Avoid sending money to people you don’t know online.

Of course, this is different from contributing to a GoFundMe. Be wary of someone who asks you for money while forcing a relationship with you.

If you must, ensure it’s small and flee if they ask repeatedly. Again, don’t send personal information or nudes that can be used to blackmail you.

3. Do Your Research

There’s nothing wrong with conducting a personal investigation when meeting someone. In fact, it’s advised whether you meet them physically or online.

In historical African societies, families usually research the family their child wants to marry into before giving their blessing.

I believe this culture should be preserved, especially now. So search for their name online, do a visual search on their picture, and find everything you can about them before continuing with them.

4. Don’t Share Too Much Too Soon

If you are getting to know someone online, keep personal information close to your chest till you know them better.

Mainly, protect information that could give answers to security questions like your mother’s maiden name and other such questions.

5. Don’t Relate in Secrecy

There’s safety in multiple counsels. Don’t feel the need to keep the information that you are speaking to someone from trusted friends and family.

I was personally saved from being scammed by telling my brother about it. He heard the story and told me I could be at risk. When I carried out my investigation, I found out it was. Before speaking to him, it didn’t occur to me at all.

So, many times, we need fresh eyes. Yes, some people might be more paranoid than others, but there is sometimes safety in paranoia, especially concerning online interactions.