5 Signs You’re Being Catfished

Jalesa Campbell
Updated Feb 19, 2021
1 min read
If you’ve met someone online, you might be wondering whether they’re genuine or just taking you along for a ride. Here are five signs to look out for and what to do if you suspect you’re being catfished.

Without a doubt, the MTV show “Catfish” has made the term “catfishing” popular, but the practice has lived long before the start of the show. In the television show, Nev Schulman and Max Joseph work with individuals who have never met their significant other in person. When they begin to suspect something’s not quite right, Schulmand and Joseph help them uncover hidden truths about their significant others.

What is Catfishing?

If a person is deceptive about their identity while trying to date you, that is catfishing. They may use a fake name, images, videos, or other information to mask their true identity.

Why Do People Catfish?

If you’ve seen the television show, you’ve probably recognized that some individuals mask their identities for malicious reasons and that others mask their identities for reasons involving self-esteem. LoveIsRespect.org shares that sometimes people catfish “because they don’t feel confident in who they really are, so they pretend they’re someone else. Then, if they start falling for the person they’ve started an online relationship with, they’re scared to reveal themselves.” On the other hand, some people catfish because they’ve been hurt by someone else, and they want to get revenge.

Whatever the reason, the practice can hurt both parties involved. If you suspect that you’re being catfished, here are five signs you should look for.

How to Tell If You’re Being Catfished: 5 Simple Ways

  • 1

    They Don’t Want to Talk Over the Phone

    This might be one of the first signs you notice with the person you’re talking to online — they don’t want to talk over the phone. For you, it’s bound to be a  let-down because you genuinely want to hear their voice and get a better understanding of how they communicate and process things. For them, it’s a cover-up to potentially keep you from figuring out their voice doesn’t match up with what you’ve heard elsewhere online , or to keep you from hearing their voice out of a lack of self-confidence. Either way, this is a tell-tale sign that something’s wrong.

  • 2

    They Make Excuses for Face-to-Face Contact

    Another obvious sign you’re bound to notice is that they won’t FaceTime you or make an excuse for not being able to meet with you physically. If they’re not who they’ve depicted themselves to be on the internet through the photos they’ve shared or the videos they’ve shared, then they definitely don’t want you to find out. This is probably throwing a lot of question marks for you, and one way you can back-check who they say they are is through a reverse image search on Google. SearchEngineJournal shares a step-by-step process on how you can do this.

  • 3

    They Try to Speed Up the Relationship Process

    Unless you’re an extremely open and welcoming person, it’s pretty weird when someone you haven’t known for long presses the fast-forward button on your relationship. It’s time to bring things to a halt. A few things to consider here are:

    • Has there been an equal balance and share of personal information between you two?
    • Have you both seen each other face-to-face?

    If the answer is “No” to both questions, then you need to reconsider before allowing them to speed up the relationship. In many cases, they’re seeking something from you like money or may have malicious intentions if they’re seeking more information about you without investing equally in the relationship themselves.

  • 4

    They Ask You for Money

    Bam, there it is! They’ve popped the question, the money question that is. And usually the question isn’t “popped” in an obvious way. He or she might start talking about a hardship or a sudden change of events in their life. They might also express that a relative or friend needs financial help of some sort. Typically, they’re trying to get you to let your guard down by way of emotion so that it’s easier for you to say “Yes.” When this happens, it’s time to take a step back and reconsider what’s going on.

  • 5

    You Have This Strange Gut Feeling That Something Is Off

    Similar to hearing someone strike an off-key on the piano while playing a song, you might get a feeling that something is off. Psychology Today paints a clear picture of what’s going on in our minds when we have what’s called “gut feelings.” When you feel a notion that something’s off or strange about a situation, usually you’re comparing that situation to something that you’ve seen before — essentially, you’re using your intuition. If the person you’re seeing online has ticked off any of the four previous signs or you’re finding patterns that relate to negative scenarios, then it’s time to reconsider the relationship. As the familiar saying goes, “If it quacks like a duck, it’s a duck.”

Am I Being Catfished? What to Do if You Think You’re a Victim of Catfishing

If you suspect that someone is being deceptive about their identity and pulling you along for the ride, then there are several things you can do.

  • Consider the information they’ve given you and do your online research. Try googling their name for any online information you can find. Also, you can do a reverse image search.
  • Try to get them to open-up. Try to learn as much about them as they’ve learned about you, and see if they’re willing to talk to you on the phone and meet with you face-to-face.
  • Be frank with them. Let them know how you feel, and tell them where you stand.
  • Let them go. Tell them you’re no longer interested in a relationship. You can be candid and kind about it.
  • Get the police involved. If things begin to take a terrible turn, such as harrassment, let the local police know.

Safety and Security Reporter

Jalesa Campbell

Jalesa is one of Safety.com's staff experts on home security, natural disasters, public safety, and family safety. She's been featured on Today.com and elsewhere.

Like what you've read?

Share it with your friends