The world of online dating isn’t an easy one to navigate, particularly if you’re new to it. Yes, using dating websites and apps opens you up to potentially meeting people you would never have otherwise come across in your daily life, but there are also plenty of scammers and outright creeps in the online dating world.

One of the biggest risks that you face when you date digitally is that you’re being catfished.

You’re being catfished if you’re interacting with a real person online, but they’ve created a fake profile. For example, maybe someone doesn’t look the way they present themselves in their pictures, or they don’t have the high-flying lifestyle they convey.

Some people who catfish because they’re just lonely and maybe want love or romance in their lives. For others, their intentions can be more nefarious.

If you’re the victim of a catfisher, no matter their motivations, you’re going to feel deceived and betrayed. You’ll probably also end up feeling embarrassed and like you wasted time investing in a relationship that was essentially fake.

The best thing to do is try to avoid being a victim in the first place. With that in mind, below are six signs you’re dealing with a catfisher.

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1. They Never Show Their Face

It can sound obvious that if you’re talking to someone online and they don’t want to show their face, it’s a red flag, but you might be amazed at how willing some people are to accept this.

Someone who’s catfishing you might come up with all manner of excuses why they can’t show their face in a FaceTime call, for example. They might say they’re shy, they’re busy, or their camera is broken.

If you want to believe it, you might convince yourself it’s true.

In reality, if someone is truly interested in you, they should show their face within the first week of interacting. If they refuse, it’s a good idea to move on from the relationship.

2. They Don’t Answer Phone Calls

In addition to not wanting to video chat, it’s common for someone who’s catfishing you not to answer regular old phone calls either. There’s a fear on their part that their voice won’t match what they’ve portrayed. You could find out from a voice call someone’s a different sex, age, or nationality, for example than what they’ve told you online.

3. Their Photos All Look Professional

Unless you’ve somehow found yourself in an internet relationship with a bona fide influencer or celebrity, it’s a red flag if all the pictures they have on their dating and social profiles appear to be professionally taken. If someone has something like a headshot as their photo, you might have a problem on your hands.

Most people upload a fair amount of photos onto their social media accounts, showing what they do on a day-to-day basis.

If that’s not the case, dig a little deeper.

You can use the photos and run a reverse image search on Google to see if it’s showing up anywhere else.

4. Their Stories Don’t Add Up

If someone’s story is puzzling to you, or it seems like something is missing or not adding up, there’s probably an issue. They might not even be catfishing you, but that doesn’t mean there might not be other problems.

Creating a relationship with someone online in the early days shouldn’t be difficult, and you shouldn’t be left scratching your head, wondering what’s going on. If you are, it’s best to walk away.

5. They’re a Love Bomber

If you’ve never heard of a love bomber, it’s essentially a term for someone who’s excessive and goes overboard in the initial days of a new relationship.

Love bombing is often a manipulation tactic, and it can very often be an indicator that someone isn’t who they say they are.

Early on in the relationship, the person you’re talking to might seems extremely attentive. They could lavish you with praise about everything, and they could seem very emotionally attached right away.

6. They Don’t Have a Lot of Friends or Followers on Social Media

Finally, it’s normal to do some snooping when you’re talking to a person you met online.

As part of this, take a look not just at what’s on their social profiles but also at their friends and followers. Are they few and far between? Do the people that are following them seem like their profiles could be fake?

It’s 2022, and most of us have pretty extensive social media footprints. If you’re talking to someone who doesn’t, while it doesn’t have to mean they’re catfishing you, the chances do go up.

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