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If you’re not familiar with the concept of a Catfish, it’s both an MTV show and an online phenomenon. Catfish are people who meet someone else online and enter into an online relationship with them, but by lying about who they really are. The MTV show helps people track down their Catfish and reveal their true identity.

Some Catfish are insecure and hide behind an attractive stranger’s photos to give them a bit of a confidence boost – deceptive, but it’s easy to sympathise. Others are a bit more sinister though, and deliberately seduce people into an online relationship with a different name and identity.

Tinder is what you make of it – a place to hook up casually, or a place for more serious relationships. Like any online platform though, there are Catfishes to be found. Here’s how to spot them.

Reverse Google Image a picture of them and look for duplications

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This is always the very first thing that Nev and Max seem to do on MTV’s Catfish, so much so that I don’t know why people who go on the show don’t just do it themselves, and save the embarrassment of being caught out on camera.

All you need to do is have an image to search, go to Google Images, and click the little camera in the search bar. You can then upload the image and Google will look for duplications all over the internet. Some people with reasonable followings on Instagram have found their images are repeatedly stolen by many different Catfish – the fitter someone is, the more popular a choice they can be.

GOOGLE-IMAGETinder doesn’t let you actually save images from people’s profiles, but a lot of people give out their Instagram or Facebook on their profile. If your conversation switches from the Tinder platform to another messaging platform, you could request a picture through there instead.

Repeatedly insist on meeting them and call it quits if they won’t

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If your Google image detective skills have drawn a blank, just be pushy. If they won’t meet you, they’re either just not that into you, or they’re still trying to work out how to get around the whole ‘I’m not who I said I was, actually’ thing. Whichever it is, it doesn’t bode well for a long-lasting relationship.

Some people will lurk on Tinder with no intention of meeting anyone, and others will meet up with so many people it’s as though they’re having a competition with their own genitals.

Sort the Catfish from the genuine people with a simple drinks invitation before you invest any more time in someone who turns out to be someone entirely different.

They have one photo on their profile and they’re stupidly good-looking

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Welcome to the danger zone.

If someone is really, really ridiculously good-looking, in the words of Derek Zoolander, and their profile features just one image of themselves, they may not be who they say they are. Really good looking people are generally in people’s photos a lot, and they’re selfie-taking machines, so where are all the examples of their glowing cheekbones?

There’s many a theory and discussion behind how many photos to use on your Tinder profile. Use all six? Some think it looks either too try-hard, or like you’re never at home. Use just one or two? There are suspiciously too few photos of you in the world, or not many that you feel comfortable sharing. There’s something wrong with you.

Harsh, but true. Beware the one-photoers.

They seem too good to be true? They probably are.

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Like electronics deals and ‘cheap’ online subscription services, some people on Tinder are too good to be true.

Gorgeous, single, massively into you and good with words? Amazing. They won’t meet up with you and their phone’s “always broken” so you can’t video chat? Bad start.

A Catfish has to be pretty extraordinary to keep someone hooked on them, otherwise why would they bother to be virtually strung along? Pay close attention to your potential Catfish and what they’re actually offering you. And remember, there are plenty more actual fish in the sea.

Improve your own profile

Sometimes it’s difficult to write about yourself and essentially big yourself up, it’s always easier to get someone else to write it.  Someone who can perfectly sum up your most attractive points and articulate it in a way that is going to make you more desirable.

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