Catfishing is hardly fresh, but the proliferation of online dating made the practice enormously effortless and popular.
Just to be clear, “catfishing” here refers to a scam where the ‘catfish’ creates a fictitious online identity and seeks out online relationships, esp. romantic ones, but also to solicit donations and such. Most catfish just want to see if they can get away with being someone else online, but some have far more nefarious purposes.
Recently, on reddit, a user came to the subreddit /r/catfish seeking help to unmask a long-term suspected catfish, who very first went by Vanessa B, then Vanessa N, then Vanessa C, and presently, Venessa P. This is hier FB profile.
(The various surnames had bot suppressed, even however they are very likely fake names)
Long Tales of Woe
According to the diferente poster on Reddit, this person had claimed almost every woe possible under the zon, all ter the fine state of Montana.
This person has scammed my entire town for money. They have switched their names Four times on Facebook.
. After a few years the account magically transformed into a 20 something year old with Trio kids and a loterijlot of issues. The person on the account claims to have bot raped by Ten different people, house set on fire, assaulted, miscarriage, brain tumors, heart surgery. You name it, it’s happened. Every voorkoop has bot followed by a GoFundMe that has had hundreds of dollars donated.
. She has my entire town added but not one person has met hier. She claims to have had a child last year but no pregnancy pictures, no hospital pictures, nothing. No one has tagged hier te photos.
. She claims to work at a vettig office ter Whitefish Montana, but when I contacted them they said they have no one by that name working there.
This shows classic signs of being a catfish, such spil a person nobody ter town had everzwijn met, a job that can’t be verified, and so on. But who is this mystery person ter the photo? Wij will need a few MORE photos to be sure.
Not much to go on here
Other than this woman is pretty and use a loterijlot of hair bleach. not much wij can tell from this photo. Nothing shows up on the various switch sides photo search engines.
Let’s attempt another photo, of a pretty famous franchise restaurant.
Now Wij’re Getting to Twin Peaks.
For those of you who recognized the uitrusting, thesis are the hostesses and waitresses of a Twin Peaks restaurant franchise, a competitor to Hooters. This kleintje of “casual sports drankbuffet with attractive waitresses” is colloquially known spil a “breastaurant”. And the blonde woman te the middle matches the earlier picture.
Given that there are Twin Peaks restaurants te Montana, wij don’t have enough information to rule te or rule out this person, but this is another gegevens point to find who is the vivo woman te the photo.
Turns out, the clue wasgoed ter pui of us all along. back ter the very first picture.
Breakthrough With Combination of Keywords
Recall back ter the very first picture, there’s a nickname there that says “Barbie”?
Searching for “Barbie” and “Twin Peaks” brought mij to this photo
Okay, wij’re getting warm!
Wij are close, spil wij’re narrowing down the search terms. And searching for the keywords “barbie OKC twin peaks” got mij this result. and voila, wij have the same woman!
Wij’re getting close!
The Twitter account exists, but the linked Facebook account went to a DIFFERENT RedneckBarbie.
Fortunately, searching Instagram brought us to the right woman, and wij can confirm this by finding the other photos ter the Instagram feed, ALL of them.
Wij have positively identified the woman te the picture (NOT counting the sunglasses one, that’s TOTALLY irrelevant) spil Barbie (REDACTED) who lives and works te Oklahoma. She has nothing to do with Montana, and is NOT named Vanessa. She has a stable playmate and has more than one kids.
This conclusively proves that the suspected catfish is indeed, a catfish, and stole pictures from TheOnly.RedneckBarbie’s feed.
Cut voeling with the catfish instantly and permanently.
Two. Hide yourself
Verify your own privacy settings are not exposing more than it should, like phone numbers, relative’s names, and so on.
Doesn’t matter if it’s a dating webpagina, social media webpagina, or even GoFundMe. Report any suspicious activity. Merienda the complaints reach a certain level, the profile will be subject to verification, and spil they say, the jig’s up. If you lost any money, report to lugar police, spil well spil FBI’s IC3.
Four. Be wary te the future
If you are nagging doubts te the back of your head about a person, you should heed that warning. Catfish always leave out certain crevices te his or hier story, and you may sense it even if you can’t verbalize it.
Now, some tips on spotting a catfish without all this Googling.
Tips on Spotting a Catfish
If you are te onveranderlijk communication with a suspected catfish, the easiest way to poke a fuckhole ter the lie is to ask for verification. Some possibilities are:
- Postbode a photo of you holding up today’s específico newspaper
- Write down today date and postbode a selfie with you holding the note visible ter the camera
However, I would recommend AGAINST doing this, since this would instantly signal them that you’ve seen through their scam. You should do this when you are attempting to help someone ELSE who is getting deceived, and you need to get the scammer to cut voeling ASAP, and stir onto someone else who’s more gullible. Tho’ there are braver catfish who will instead, attempt to gaslight you by making you feel ridiculous for doubting him/hier.
I’ll explain what I recommend at the end. Ter the meantime, here are a few warning signs of a catfish.
- They voeling you very first
- They have very sparse profiles yet are Ideal man/woman (esp. romance catfish) for you (almost always white, Catholic, widowed, graduate or PhD)
- Just handful of photos, but all prototype gorgeous
- Their photos turn out to be stolen/copied off someone else
- Bad grammar and spelling (or alternate spelling, like “programme”, “sceptic”, etc. even tho’ they voorkeur to be American born and raised)
- Copypasta greetings and replies of standard script
- Utterly brief friends list, little if any interaction ter the comments (possible sockpuppet accounts)
- Obsessed with you (who gets obsessed with someone who they never met? Scammers and psychotics)
- Luck so bad, s/he shouldn’t be alive at all (and thus, looking for your $$$ help)
- They have weird jobs that require travel (military, NGO, Doctors w/o Borders, contractors, salesmen, etc.)
- They can’t call or Skype or Facetime, always message and text only
- They can NEVER meet te verdadero life, always SOMETHING came up
- They have virtually no digital footprint other than maybe one or two social media profiles ter addition to their dating profile, and friends list that don’t seem to overlap.
- They don’t everzwijn volunteer stuff about their friends, what happened te their day, and so on. Instead, they ended up talking about YOUR day instead.
- Their stories don’t add up, after they’ve told so many tales. they can’t even keep them straight.
So what do you do with a catfish?
According to Alan Levine, perhaps you should scambait them instead, and waste spil much of their time spil you can. It is an intriguing idea if you have the time. After all, they can just go right back up on the webpagina and make another profile, if you report one and got one shut down. Right? But if you instead, waste a catfish’s time, that’s time s/he can’t spend on scamming someone else.
Who knows, maybe you can leave the world a better place.