How To Spot A Catfish – My Own Catfish Adventure

We hear this term “catfish” often with the popularity of online dating and social media.  Technology has made us all exposed, whether we like to be or not, to a plethora of experiences, both good, and bad.  One such experience is the catfish.  What is a catfish?  A catfish, essentially, is someone who pretends to be someone they’re not by using a false identity in order to get close to someone and/or start a fake and deceptive online romances with them via social media.  I know what that’s all about, it’s happened to me.  Well, kinda, sorta.  Someone attempted it and I let it happen, I knew what it was, but wanted to see what they would do and say, so I could share it with you my readers.  Yes, I put myself in the line of fire for the sake of learning, here is what I learned.

My Own Catfish Adventure

how to spot a catfishMy own catfish adventure started on FaceBook.  I have a pretty public profile because I don’t really post anything about my personal life on there, as such, I have a lot of subscribers and people adding me that I don’t know.  I don’t usually add people I don’t know, but people are free to subscribe if they wish to do so.  The people who add me are pretty random and they usually don’t interact.  Sometimes, some will send me messages and I don’t answer unless I’m bored or intrigued.  One such occasion I answered one man.  He was quite attractive and had several pictures on his profile doing different things.  OK, I was bored.  I checked out his profile further, it was a newer profile.  All his friends were women young and old.  He listed a hometown in the UK as well as a job, education and a telephone number.  I figured, hey, why not … this could make a good story!

So we chatted a bit.  Got to “know” each other.  I didn’t really give any information out that wasn’t public but chatted nonetheless.  He talked about his love of sports, his ailing father and his work.  Then, he started being poetic.  He would sing my praises all the time and how I brought sunshine into his life (um really, my short answers and words did that?).  Then, he started getting clingy, sending me weird messages all day like “You may be out of my sight,but not out of my heart.u may be out of my reach,but not out of my mind.i may mean nothing to you,but you ‘ll always be special to me….hello suzie!” and if I didn’t answer he would keep sending messages over and over and over until I responded.

Needless to say that started to annoy me and I told him to stop.  He did.  He stepped back a bit, but still would send me poetry and tell me how much of a blessing I was in his life.  He kept saying he’s never met anyone like me.  That I was so beautiful.  That one day we would be together.  Blah blah blah.  Ya sure.  I just stopped responding regularly.  One day I thought I would test him.  I asked him in conversation what time it was where he was, he gave the WRONG answer.  When I called him on it he said he didn’t see right on his clock.  Hmmm.  Then the next time I asked him what the weather was like where he was at.  Again, wrong answer completely.  Hmmm.  Then I asked him to send me a live picture of him.  He sent me one that was on his profile.  Ya.  Ok.  You know what else I noticed?  His vocabulary, the words he used, were not typical English, or even UK slang … it was different.  I speak to people from all over the world and I can tell where they are from.  This guy wasn’t from the UK.  His number was a satellite number.  All signs.

Hook, Line and … Never Mind

So I knew I had a catfish on my hands.  The funny part was that I wasn’t even giving him stuff to work with, but he kept going on.  One day, he sent me a random picture of himself.  I said “Hi how are you?“, he said “not good“.  I said “oh that’s too bad“.  He said “yes I am very sad today“.  I asked him “why?“.  He said … wait for it … “the bank seized his money and he had no money and he had to pay treatment for his father and pay his bills“.  “Oh that’s too bad“, I said.  He said “Suzie, my beautiful kind hearted Suzie, I need your help“.  HAHAHA … Ya Right!!!

So I responded “Sorry for your troubles but I can’t help you”.  He kept pleading and begging saying his father would die if he didn’t pay for the treatment. He kept going on and on, one message after the other “you can surport me with anything you have…trust me i will give you back i promise“, then “please am not asking for too much money….just surport me with what you have that’s all i asked please i know you can help me that was why i asked you“, then “hey you can put smile,joy,happiness to my face once again…thanks“.  What did I do? Why I blocked him of course.  I wasn’t going to “surport” him.

What happened next?  Nothing.  Until another person subscribed to me.  Very similar profile.  From the UK. He kept sending me messages over and over, but I didn’t respond.  Same type of messages the other one sent “A cup of hot hello, A plate of crispy wishes, A spoon of sweet smiles & A slice of great success – for u Enjoy they day! Good Morning!” WTF?? Another one … “A smile costs less than Electricity, but gives more light…Always smile as it is language which everyone understand…So keep smiling Good morning!” … wait wait another one LOL … “A true saying: when ur time is good,ur mistakes r taken as a joke..But when ur time is bad,even ur jokes r noticed as mistakes…..HAVE A NICE DAY .:-) Good Morning“.  What the hell?! Weirdos.  You think it’s the same person? I would bet on it.

How To Spot A Catfish

Well, who do catfish prey on?  Vulnerable and lonely women and men.  They keep adding and messaging them until they catch the one that will give them the time of day.  They tell them what they want to hear just until they think they’ve got their affection enough to attempt the money grab.  These catfish are masters at creating an ideal romance and the victims idealize them in their imagination.  They choose to believe in something that isn’t tangible.  My catfish was not very intelligent, I was very cold with him and didn’t give him reason to think I was interested romantically in him.  He still tried.  But it got me thinking, had I been someone else who was very lonely and in a vulnerable place in my life, would I fall for it?  It’s very possible.  That’s why I wanted to share my story with you.  But how do you spot a catfish?  Here are some tips to help you.  You probably have a catfish on your hands if they …

  • are very very attractive, not someone typically that would message you
  • get quickly attached to you and tell you everything you wanted and needed to hear
  • make you feel special and wanted
  • don’t have many friends on FaceBook (magic number is less than 100)
  • won’t meet in person or on Skype
  • seem too good to be true
  • always ask about you and your day, they seem a little too interested and a little too concerned (or angry) if you don’t answer
  • talk about an illness (theirs or someone close to them)
  • ask for money and promise to pay you back

Stranger Danger!

Be smart my friends.  Use your gut instinct … don’t let your loneliness or emotions or the feeling that you “struck gold” get in the way of reality.  I know how hard it is to be alone and lonely sometimes and that makes you vulnerable for any type of attention.  But, you need to make sure it’s the right type of attention.  These people are strangers!  Remember that!  Unless you’ve met in person and verified who they really are don’t trust anything they say to you.  That goes for anyone you meet online.  And for goodness sake DON’T GIVE MONEY TO ANYONE!!!! Don’t!!! Just don’t.  You’ve all read stories of women and men who got swindled for lots of money by these catfish.  Date smart and if you’re feeling lonely or vulnerable go get a hobby, try a meetup or call up friends and family.  You don’t need a stranger to validate you.  You are awesome on your own!!

Have you ever been catfished? Has there ever been at catfish attempt on you?  Would love to hear about it in the comments!

Your Sister in Dating Bliss,

Single Dating Diva

Copyright Single Dating Diva

46 thoughts on “How To Spot A Catfish – My Own Catfish Adventure

  1. Catfish – that’s a new one on me. Not sure the term has reached UK shores yet. I was always under the illusion that the scam artists actually bothered to meet you and woo you before they asked you to part with cash but the world has underwhelmed me again. Maybe this guy was too ugly in real life for that kind of pretense.

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  2. OH.MY.GOD. That’s just hilarious. Yeah… I get those types who can’t seem to really communicate sending me messages to my facebook page. My profile is extremely private. OY. Great post!

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  3. Oh Catfish… Never heard that term until recently on TV. I have a had a few lady friends relate such stories, and one that got bitten. Most go along the lines of “my life has gone real bad FAST” It’s quite amazing how people can fall for such stuff. Just hearing a story about someone crying about losing their job, their brother has cancer, their dog died, someone stole there car, their granddaughter was kidnapped by the mafia…….. One just has to think and realize no one can be that unlucky…. OH.. the other “tell” that you are being scammed… when you do offer money to your “new friend”, they will never take a check.. they want cash. One also has to think, why does your new friend not have relatives or friends to borrow that money from. I don’t have many friends or relatives, but I’m sure one of them would lend me money.

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      • Yes it is Suzie. But it’s easy to “armchair quarterback” such stories when you hear them. Still, you will always see such stories on TV programs like 20/20 – Lady falls totally in love with a guy long distance, meets him a few times, but never meets any of his friends or his parents….Well…. “Danger, danger Will Robinson” you know the rest of the story 🙂

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  4. And aren’t you being dishonest as well? “for the sake of learning”. You seemed to take great pleasure in this little experiment.
    And in your list of “how to spot”, anyone who isn’t popular (less than 100 FB friends) may be catfish?
    You are VERY judgmental SDD.
    (and for the record i have had this happen to me – sounds like close to the same person actually).

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    • Thank you for your perspective. Actually I’m not at all judgmental, I’m using my judgment to make the right decisions. I need to be able to judge whether or not someone is being truthful or not, as should everyone else. As for the FaceBook comment, it’s actually something that most warn about … a new account with not many followers that is open and seems a little off, that, my dear, is using your judgment. Thanks for stopping by!

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  5. This happened to a friend’s mother. She lives alone and is in her mid-sixties. I find these women to be the most vulnerable as they aren’t likely as internet savvy as Gen X & Yers and are just starting to use social media. Also, I highly recommend the book, “419” which is all about the Nigerian internet scandal. It’s amazing the lengths criminals will go to.

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    • That Nigerian scam stuff is over a decade or more old. I still get spam e-mails, and when I see Nigeria…. I move on. Anyway, those “mid sixties” (I’m almost there) ladies should have heard about this scam stuff – I have seen it a number of times on the TV over the years. People seem to be too much into themselves, and not looking out at the world – it is 2013 now. But I can see what your mean….I run into lots of 50 and 60 yo women, who still are following the rules of dating when they dated back in the 1950s and 60s.

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      • Yup, you’re right, that was over a decade ago, however it is still happening – point and case this post. The criminals may not be from Nigeria now, but they are still ruthless as ever and are attempting to prey on those who do not know any better. Some people aren’t as educated or may not having been Paying attention a decade ago, as these scams were not relevant to their lives. I’m sure you didn’t mean to come across as judgmental (nor did I mean to come across as ageist) but “should have been paying attention” doesn’t mean the act should be excused nor taking seriously as an ongoing issue that has yet to be resolved.

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        • Sorry Miss Sarah….. I’m just a “wise ass” … and an old one at that :-). I have found that lots of people are way to clueless when dealing with strangers…. and of course the age old saying that still is true…” If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is NOT true” But as one friend pointed something out to me when I said “the sky is falling”…. he said, scammers have been around for centuries, so there is nothing new…. except our 24/7 TV news and internet that shoves it right in our face. But remember my Dear Sarah…. “You may be out of my sight,but not out of my heart.u may be out of my reach,but not out of my mind.i may mean nothing to you,but you ‘ll always be special to me” Ha Ha…Again …Thanks for your thoughts, delivered in a very nice way! Have a good evening.

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  6. I read stories like this and wonder how people can be silly enough to fall for it, but they are preying on lonely people and it’s horrible.

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  7. okay so i need help. my brother ihas been talking to a girl from san francisco and were from los angeles. She fell in love with him after 3 months of talking on the phone and so did he. they talk all day literally,if hes taking a shower shes on the line holding for him. At te dinner table he talks to her with family around she doesnt want to let him go. About months ago she stated that she had a heart condition and she needed treatment so of course she asked my brother for money and he sent it so every paycheck he gets goes to her and hes left with nothing. Unfortunatley my brother is really hooked on her and I think shes false. pls help me to find out about this person!

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    • Wow that’s crazy. Thanks for sharing. I think the best thing is for you guys to take a road trip to go see her. Call her out on her heart condition. Let your brother say he wants to be there with her to support her and go to the dr with her. That’s the only way to know the truth. Good luck!

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    • I can’t wait to hear what happens….. Your bother’s friend will probably get very upset with your visit when you call her out. Get ready for some name calling. I was e-mailing a lady for 2 months, and only met her once duringb that time. She lived quite a distance from me, so I decided to break it off. NO… there was not any type of scam that I could see. Anyway, in our penpal e-mails for many weeks, in all of those messages, I was “Mr Wonderful” .. she could not say enough good things about me…… So…I finally broke it off…. and then her true attitude changed… I was then called very cynical and A “not so friendly person”… Anyway, you never really get to know anyone what well when doing the long distance stuff. OR…. as the saying goes “A Normal Person Is Just One You Don’t Know that Well”

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      • yeah I know I really have to think about this because my bro is really in love with this girl and she always says she going to come down to LA but something always comes up. I dont want my bro to end up heart broken because of this girl. I havent told him anything about it.

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        • Good luck…….. Nice that your brother falls in love so easily. BUT… It would be nice if he was in love with a “real person” Maybe he will learn a little on this experience. Yes, that clue that “she always says she going to come down to LA but something always comes up” That was a sign from my long distant friend that is was over between us…….. No way was she going to waste her time coming to visit me.

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          • yeah I know. Do you have any suggestions of how I can possibly tell him what shes really doing to him? because I feel really bad that he literally sends his whole checks to her plus now hes getting loans out to help her with her “heart condition.

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          • Hope Suzie can help….. Most people in that “wishful thinking” mode will not listen to anyone, no matter who they are. Crazy…..how someone can fall for a distant stranger, but have lots of loving people around them who want to help. Might be best to let the situation run it’s course. Wonder if she has done this to other guys…. Also. maybe a call to the SF police would help to see if she has ran this scam on others. Hopefully your brother knows her real name….probably not. If you Google her and find nothing….well….

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          • Yes, I know how you feel.. I have a good friend who was caught in a scam… A very loving and trusting lady, but after it was done, she told me all about it…. and it was so obvious she was being taken for a $5,000 ride – Cash that is…. always the scammers want cash. But it was interesting hearing the story with all the clues that were sprinkle in her tale. Funny how these scammers never have any close friends or relatives to borrow money off of – another give away!

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  8. “less then 100 friends on facebook” so I should go add 35 random stranger to make it so I’m not a fake page….ya that seems legit.

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    • Thanks for stopping by Dogon. You are misinterpreting what I said. If someone has less than 100 friends and they are all women/men of the same demographic as you … well you should be suspicious. When they don’t have any interactions and obvious friendships … then you should be suspicious. My mother has less than 100 friends on FaceBook but they are all obviously family and close friends. You will know when you should be suspicious, use your common sense.

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      • Oh my…I’m screwed 🙂 I have less than 100 Facebook friends! Ha Ha. I often wonder when someone wants to friend me on Facebook, and I can never figure out who the heck they are, since I do not see them as a friend of a friend or family. So I guess people just go out and ask to friend people out of the blue, just to get their count up!

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  9. Pingback: The False Sense of Security That Comes From Dating Online | Single Dating Diva

  10. Sounds exactly like the email I just received today. He seemed like a normal guy, though he did ask to switch to email (over messaging on the site) pretty quickly. I hadn’t heard from him for a good few days and suddenly there was this essay of an email. He rambled on and on with long run-on sentences, very little grammar, and randomly capitalized words. “Yeah,” I thought to myself. “I’m being baited by a catfish.” Phrases like ‘hope to read from you soon’, ‘I am into buying and Sales of Jewelry,gold,antiques and fabrics’ (odd range of items) and ‘Age, circumstances, Beauty, distance are NOT important’ are red flags to me. I bet they’re not – you can be anywhere in the world and take someone’s money! And it wouldn’t matter how old or good-looking they were! He also dodged my question “How long have you been in this area?” I am also following to see where this goes. . .

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        • Well Tom…. It has been awhile since I roamed the wilds of the personal ads……….. But my cousin, who is lady, has had her share of catfish experiences. I’m not sure what they may be up to most times. Some times it sound like they enjoy just F***ing with people. Of course some just want to scam you into sending money to them.- They always have a tale of whoa – my brother’s got cancer, the dog died, my car was stolen. my grand daughter was kidnapped by the mafia … and on and on. I hear stories of women getting scammed all the time, but after all the news about such stuff, it’s hard to feel sorry for someone who gets scammed into send money to a stranger, no matter how genuine they sound.

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  11. Here are a few pointers though:

    are very very attractive, not someone typically that would message you
    – so a good looking girl with photo’s made from her phone (so not the obvious studio photo’s) can’t message a regular guy? in fact, the only good looking people i see date other good looking people are celebrities. Go to town on a sunny day and you’ll see loads of handsome men dating normal girls or pretty girls dating average joes.

    get quickly attached to you and tell you everything you wanted and needed to hear
    – isn’t there a possibility that one’s character is so good someone gets attached to you? even in real life there are tons of moments that a girl is into a guy because of the way he is. attraction attracts attraction, and if a person is attracted to someone you can be sure that the other person, fish or not, can say things the other wants to hear. it happens all on the time when people get to like one another…

    make you feel special and wanted
    – isn’t that normal again when you’re into someone? isn’t that how lovers and friends seperate themselves from the other groups?

    don’t have many friends on FaceBook (magic number is less than 100)
    – like said before, not everybody has 1000 friends and rather keep an intimate circle of genuine friends over random co workers, people they saw at a cafe or someone who joined a class

    won’t meet in person or on Skype
    – this one is a dead give away, if someone truly likes you they’ll be happy to meet up.

    seem too good to be true
    – again, love works in weird ways. i used to date a girl who seemed to good to be true. we dated for 3 years until our indifferences got the best of us.

    always ask about you and your day, they seem a little too interested and a little too concerned (or angry) if you don’t answer
    – asking about ones day is polite, seeming too interested can mean they want to know you more and better, and when they seem concerned they may actually feel concerned. getting angry depends on the subject. i get pissed too when someone tells me things arent doing great and get me concerned only to be ignored for a week. if they get angry because you dont reply to a “how are you today”, than thats just dumb.

    talk about an illness (theirs or someone close to them)
    – as long as they dont exploit it it could mean nothing. it gives someone a heads up for behaviour. someone who’s relative just passed wont be as cheery as someone who had a good day.

    ask for money and promise to pay you back
    – this one is just plain dumb again

    so yeah i hate catfishes, no matter what reason. they mess with your head and make you feel great only to bury you later. however, regular people with real interest also may seem catfishy. thats why online dating is such a risk; you never know anything until youve meet. im chatting with a great good looking girl too who has few signs of a fish yet my gut says that some things are explainable. she also says specific things that i like in a girl and i never spoke about it, nor is it in my profile. it was a random chat so she didnt pick me out, nor did i pick her out, yet she seems to tick all the boxes. coincidence? maybe, but when rare eyecolors and specific locationwishes (like, VERY specific) come up without any information from me, i’d tend to think it could either be realor i’m being spied on.

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  12. WOW! I’m glad I came across your site. I thought of myself as a reader of people but this catfisher was good! But I didn’t know it until this morning when I got to thinking of different conversations we had and why he wouldn’t answer direct questions. He took would say “I’m not happy today”. He calls from a number in Amarillo TX and now claims he is in west Africa for work. Never calls me on a cell phone. And the number he calls from is a land line through Google.
    When he responded to my text this morning of “busting him” on being a scammer he became instantly angry and accusatory, so much for the list of why he loved me! LOL
    He actually called me from his “friends cell phone” but he wouldn’t leave a message, but I could hear him saying “hello?” and there was noise in the background.
    I’m glad I’m rid of him!

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    • I think I am being catfished right now. He is in Nigeria working on a multi-million dollar contract. He is a supervisor. He has called me on the phone once and once that I wasn’t there to answer. He is very nice. He is from Manchester, England. Has not yet asked for anything. It bothers me that he is saying he loves me when he doesn’t even know me. Today he asked for my E-mail. I’m afraid to give him any info. He only calls on the phone from my computer contract. I haven’t given him my cell phone #. Help!!!! I don’t know if he is really fishing or just likes me.

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      • Well he could be, or not. You haven’t got a lot of information about him, so you could keep talking with him. But don’t give too much information. Maybe you’ll figure out whether he is a catfish or not, if you keep talking to him. And you could do a little research. 😉 Just search his phone number, photo etc. on the internet. Good luck ❤

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  13. Dear Suzie, If somebody has been catfished and it is an emotional scam, should the victim pursue this incident for answers i.e if in the same country like Singapore (within kilometers) or simply give up and move on with life? Allow the catfish to walk? Or…..your advice?

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