Tinder to introduce background checks

Although the Tinder Swindler wasn’t necessarily a catfish, it could be argued that he did portray a version of himself that was not wholly accurate.

The documentary tells the story of how Israeli scammer “Simon Leviev” - who used numerous identities - to allegedly conned women across the globe as part of a massive Ponzi scheme.

Since the film dropped on Netflix, it’s led to people perhaps swiping a little more carefully in case their match turns out to not be who they say they are…

So what’s the deal with catfishing?

In a nutshell, a catfish is someone who has a fake online persona.

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If you’ve ever watched MTV’s Catfish, you’ll be familiar with tales of lonely people using someone else’s pictures to get attention, but the more malevolent type of catfish may attempt to scam unwitting victims they come across online.

How do you sniff out the fakes? We Thrift has shared six red flags that should raise alarm bells instantly.

Here’s how to spot a catfish in the wild:

1. Their bio is missing that human touch

Their profile might be totally blank and have no extra information such as their occupation or interests.

However, some may create elaborate backstories to entice people into matching with them, so singletons should remain cautious.

Many people often connect their other social media accounts with their Tinder profile, so if you cannot find the person on Instagram or Facebook, this is a red flag.

2. ‘Picture perfect’ profile pictures

Too good to be true? Probably. If you have a feeling you recognise the person from somewhere else, whether it be another Tinder profile or a famous celebrity, and most of their pictures look extremely professional and unnatural, swipe left.

It is likely the person behind the profile has ripped these pictures from the internet or somebody’s Instagram profile and copied their name and description into the bio.

3. Verification status

A few years ago, Tinder launched an ID verification function to prevent catfishing, meaning global users will be prompted to verify their identity prior to interacting with others.

Whilst it isn’t obligatory, it will help legitimate users prove they are the same person behind their pictures.

So, if somebody doesn’t have a blue verification tick next to their name, always be wary they may not be who they appear to be.

4. They only have one photo

Whilst this doesn’t always indicate a fake profile, if you only have one photo to form an opinion on someone, this is usually a red flag.

Psssst. Here’s a pro tip: If you can’t seem to work out whether the person in the picture is legit, screenshot the image from the profile and reverse image search it on Google Images to see if you can find the snap elsewhere.


5. Refusal to video chat

If you suggest it’s finally time to have a face-to-face chat and the person makes up an excuse like “their camera is broken”, this could be an indication they aren’t who they say they are.

Although, it’s important to remember the person could just be extremely shy and not confident enough to chat over a video call.

6. Refusal to meet in person

After a while, if it feels like the right time to meet up but the person refuses, this can be a sign they are a fake.

If somebody is genuinely interested in getting to know you, they will go out of their way to meet up in person.

At Indy100, we’ve heard quite a few “catfish” horror stories.

We previously heard of a woman who was catfished by her boss, and a man who was devastated to discover his online girlfriend of almost a year was actually his flatmate.

Some have adopted the persona of celebrities, too, such as Prince Harry and Keanu Reeves.

Beyond contending with catfish, dating can be a minefield. To learn more about trends such as ghosting and “Kanye-ing”, check out our guide of the seven most popular trends and why people do them.

If you're online dating, make sure you're familiar with these eight tips for avoiding romance fraud.

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