The internet is a great way to keep in touch with your friends, but it is also a way to get in contact with new people. The most obvious way to meet new people on the Internet is on dating sites. But you can also meet new people on blogs or forums. Some people who meet on the internet become friends, some even fall in love..
Couples who met each other on the internet is something from the last years, as you can see in figure 1. But it does not always end up in a good way. Some people go on the internet and pretend to be someone who they are not. They make a fake profile, they will steal pictures from other people to use it as their profile picture. The people who they are talking to will think they talk to the person on the picture. This does not always end up well.
Someone who uses a fake profile on social media sites to get in contact with other people Is called a ‘catfish’. The term is derived from the MTV-show called ‘Catfish’. The show is presented by Nev Schulman and Max Joseph. It started when Nev was catfished* himself. Now they help other people who think they are being catfished. (*Catfished = when you think the person you talk to is using a fake profile)
The show always starts with Nev and Max receiving an email from the person who thinks he or she is being catfished. That person explains how long they are talking to each other and why he or she thinks the other person is fake. Nev and Max will start their investigation, they trace the phone number from the catfish and they search on the web if the photos from the catfish show up on other profiles. After their search, they contact the potential catfish and they arrange a meeting between the person who thinks is being catfished and the potential catfish. This is not always a happy ending.
Apparently this ‘catfishing’ happens a lot, because the show started in 2012 and in 2015 they aired their fourth season! I think it is happening more and more because people are more online. Most people are on a social network these days and it is easy to start a conversation online.
So when you are talking to a stranger online, you have to be aware that this person is not the person who he or she says he is. Here are some signs you might be talking to a catfish.
Sign #1: If they seem too good to be true, they probably are
Sign #2: If the person does not know how to Skype or Facetime, so you cannot see their real face
Sign #3: If the person is always all around the world for their job, so it is very hard to make plans and to meet up
Sign #4: When the person does not have pictures of themselves with friends on it, or not many pictures at all
Sign #5: The most important sign, if you think you are being catfished, you are probably right
So always be careful with who you talk to on the internet.