Catfishing has been talked about a lot in the media lately.
In this week’s Crime Watch, Lt. Cindy Kilgore shed some light on the problem and how you can avoid becoming a victim.
Kilgore says the term "catfish" is used to describe someone who has created a fake social media profile to deceive someone, typically on Facebook or Twitter.
Other important info about catfishing:
- May have been scammed or bullied themselves, thrive on drama
- Typically done to create a fantasy life, rather than to defraud anyone financially
- Be suspicious if contacted by a stranger to engage in a relationship
- Be suspicious of claims of glamorous profession, circumstances
- Often claim to have traumatic injury or illness as an excuse not to be able to meet
- Question to think about: How much do they know about their “illness” (legitimate sufferers are usually very knowledgeable)
- Be suspicious if they can’t readily provide a photo of themselves, or avoid video chat
- Be suspicious if they ask for money, too much personal information, any account information
- Other questions to think about:
How long ago did they activate their Twitter/Facebook account?
How many friends/followers do they have?
Have they tagged photos of friends?
If they do send a photo, have they told you not to post it?
- These and other scammers target the vulnerable, those who want to believe in the goodness in others (like the people on street corners holding “help needed” signs), elderly, recently widowed