Tech Talk: Catching the Catfish

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     Finding your true love, your next partner, a new friend or connection might not be something that you would relate to tech; however, our online social lives grow each year. With the increased use of the online network, there has been a rise of catfish scammers and other online dangers. Not the bottom feeder fish in a pond, but the people who create fake profiles online and interact with others with this fake identity.

     It used to be a big issue contained in the rise of online chat rooms and then dating apps, like Tinder. However, now it isn’t limited to just online dating apps. People with fake identities or lives online have spread into other networks like Facebook, Instagram, and any other online platform.

     Most of the time, these people use stolen pictures they found online or from other people and information that makes them more appealing, hoping to try and deceive whoever they’re trying to talk to.

     It used to be just people who used it as a way to escape from their own loneliness or inability for them to form a relationship with someone. A considerable amount of important information about us is now stored online: pictures, banking, where we are and much more. Groups of people have started to take advantage of social platforms to try and scam users.

     You can avoid falling for a catfish by taking precautionary measures to confirm their profile is truly theirs. The easiest thing to do is google search a photo they’ve sent. Google has the capability to find the origin of a picture if it’s been used online.

     Download the picture and paste it or upload it to Google, it can show you if that picture is being used by someone else or if it’s a stock photo.

     You can always ask difficult questions that can’t just be searched online, like details of the area you’re in since most of the time catfish aren’t from around your area.

     It’s also important to pay attention to details. If they’re a scammer, most of the time, they’re pushy and try to be manipulative or try to move the relationship quickly by putting pressure on you. It is important to note, if they have bad grammar, or they type like one of Shakespeare’s plays, then you most likely have a foreign scammer.

     You can always ask them to take a picture of them doing something specific like balancing a peanut butter, jelly and banana sandwich on their nose as proof they are who they say they are, because no one just makes a peanut butter, jelly and banana sandwich on the regular.

     Keeping in mind your online safety is important and being aware of things like scammers or catfish can only help in reducing the risk of falling for something like that. In an era where part of our lives are tied online, learning about online dangers as they evolve and change can only be beneficial.

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