Crime Watch: How to avoid becoming a victim of catfishing

By: 16 Morning News Email
By: 16 Morning News Email

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

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