Ask the Counselors: “Catching A Catfish”

Dear Counselors,

My friend, Kelly was catfished recently by a potential boyfriend and she is now  afraid to do online dating.

Is there any psychology behind the appeal of catfishing and how does one protect themselves from  an online predator from a dating site/app.

Are there any warning signs one should look for to avoid being catfished?

Concerned Friend

Dear Concerned Friend,

When someone becomes a “Catfish,” they are obviously hiding something that they don’t want others to see or know about them.   A Catfish is usually very  afraid that others will judge them, look down on them, or simply not accept them for who they are.

Make no mistake, a Catfish is very smart and very manipulative. They spend their time creating fake identities, fake  profiles, stealing other people’s identities, and manipulating the social media networks, which creates a very dark web.

Google-search all images and phone numbers.   Check social media sites such as FB, Twitter, Instagram, etc. to validate their actual identity.   How many friends and followers does the person have? Double check, triple check their profiles; make sure the info matches up across all sites. Never send money, or share nude pictures, or personal information online or through text.

Also, ask lots of questions and take notes.   What city, town, state, country are they from?   Where did they go to high school? What year did they graduate? Where do they go to school now? Where do they work? Where do they hang out with friends?

Listen for clues, and if your intuition is telling you that things are not adding up correctly… then you’re probably tangling  with a Catfish.

Watch Catfish: the TV Show to learn more tips on what to do when faced with a Catfish.

Natascha Holmes M.A., LMHC, Art Therapy/Counseling

IAIA Counselors Greer McSpadden and Natascha Holmes can offer you advice about life’s issues. Is there something you’d like them to discuss? You can post a question in the comment box below, or email your questions to the counselors directly. You can also send your questions anonymously to [email protected]. Put Ask the Counselors in the subject line.


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