Since the turn of the century, we’ve been the witnesses of many global events and changes. From the September 11 attacks to the NSA scandal that shook the world, it’s been rather interesting, to say the least. But among those earth-shaking events and tragedies, there have also been some good things. One of them is the popularization of internet services among ordinary people.
It might seem strange to some, but almost twenty years or so ago, the World Wide Web wasn’t as dominant in our lives as it is today. The reasons for this are many (dial-up connections, general lack of knowledge, etc.). But now, almost everyone uses it, from your grandma to the kids in elementary school.
Unfortunately, as is the case with such revolutionary inventions, there must be some downsides. The availability of web services brought all sorts of shady characters online, looking to scam gullible people. From fake news to scam emails, if you’re not careful, someone will fool you in no time.
But we’re not here to talk about Nigerian princes looking to offload their fortune in exchange for your bank account. We’re here to help you avoid getting catfished by guys posing as young, lustful, and attractive females on social media and dating apps. Therefore, let’s delve a bit deeper into the world of fake profiles and accounts.
The Social Media Generation
Like we’ve said, the internet is not something new — it blew up in the late ’90s. Since then, many years have gone by, cultivating new generations of users. The newer generations grew as the internet developed, which made them digital natives. This meant they’d formed different skills and habits than their parents and grandparents.
But how did the internet and social media change the way we interact? Is the process of meeting new people that different than it was 20 years ago? Well, in short — yes. The internet gives us anonymity and a way to shield our looks and personal information from others if we feel like there’s no need for close contact.
In the mid-00s, social media platforms and apps began to pop up everywhere. First MySpace, then Facebook, and now Twitter and Instagram. They’re all great platforms if you’re looking to promote yourself and your ideas to the world. They also allow you to stay hidden behind a profile picture you choose.
This whole concept brought all kinds of manipulative and mischievous characters into our homes, aka — Internet trolls. These people usually hide behind fake accounts and cyberbully others by drawing an emotional reaction from them. They usually do this by fooling people into thinking they’re chatting with potential partners.
One of the perks of online dating is the lack of need for physical contact. You can always go to your app, message someone, and talk for hours in real-time. Moreover, you can also see each other using video chat. Hence, it’s no wonder why many young people tend to forgo dating in person and opt to have a digital relationship.
This possibility allows a person to date someone from the other side of the globe. You can make friends in Japan, Africa, or any other place you wish. As there’s no physical contact, you can hide anything you want. It’s a way to bypass real-life troubles, roleplaying a character you wish to be.
Your social media account is an empty canvas you can paint in whatever color you like. Furthermore, it allows you to live like a fictional character. Of course, there are dating sites that aim to connect people in person, but that’s not what we’re talking about here. Our story is more in line with Joaquin Phoenix in the 2013 Sci-Fi drama “Her.”
The Cat Is Out of the Bag
Unfortunately, this way of interaction can lead to many scams. The internet and social media haven’t only changed the dating game for the better. People like to fool others and use them for personal gain. Hence, they will introduce themselves as an attractive young woman and ask others for naughty content, which they’ll later use for blackmailing.
Sometimes, it seems too good to be true that some random good-looking person is willing to contact you for no reason. Sure, it can happen. However, most of the time, this is a warning sign you should notice. Unfortunately, not many people understand internet red flags the way they should.
It’s common to hear stories about young people being blackmailed for something they’ve done on the internet in a private chat room. Usually, these fake accounts would send fake, stock nude images. This way, they lure you into responding by doing something similar, like sending back dick pics, masturbation videos, and so on. They later reveal that they’ll share your information and media if you don’t do as they tell you.
These actions are illegal, and as such, they’re punishable by law. But cybercrime is tricky, and authorities can’t always track down people behind these accounts. Most of the time, they’re from an entirely different country. Therefore, it’s important to understand how to spot signs of catfishing and scamming.
Tips to Avoid Being Catfished
The internet is a beautiful yet disturbing place. It’s a great way to inform yourself on various topics, yet others can use it against you. Dating sites are the main focus of scammers looking to extract info on others and use it for their benefit. But there are ways to spot red flags and avoid ending up being catfished.
In case someone sends you an image you’re not sure is authentic, you can always use the reverse image search option on Google. It’s a simple method you can use both on your smartphone and computer browser. You immediately receive confirmation if the image is original and if there’s any copy of it online.
On the other hand, you can always consult with your friends or other people online to see if they know the person. Sure, it isn’t as effective as reverse image search, but it can be useful if the account you’re chatting with is from your area. Also, beware of people constantly shifting the direction of your conversation to the love life topics, nudes, sex videos, etc.
Another easy way to make sure a person’s not trying to catfish you is to use video chat. This way, you’ll be able to see if they’re the same person they claim to be. If they have something to hide, they’ll start making excuses, which can only mean one thing — catfishing.
Lastly, trust common sense. Be sure not to share your ID, credit card, or phone number without being sure who you’re dealing with. The longer you use the internet, the more you’ll be able to spot fake adds, accounts, and profiles. Sometimes, intuition is the best tool you have.