Internet

Published on February 21st, 2019 | by Diogo Costa

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How to stay safe from catfish scams on dating apps

A few years ago, little was said about relationship applications. Most commonly, two people would get together by themselves or, alternatively, it was via a third intermediary like a friend, some acquaintances, a late-night trip to a bar or the classic chatroom, quite usual in the 2000s.

Nowadays, dating apps like Tinder, Grindr, OkCupid and others are some of the most-used ways for people to find love. However, it is necessary to be careful when meeting someone on the Internet, as it can be really dangerous should the other person not be who they say they are.

A popular catfish story starts back in 2010, when New York filmmaker Nev Schulman documented his saga in search of a girlfriend he had met on the internet. However, the girl did not exist, and everything ended in a big emotional blow for him.

Ariel, Schulman’s brother, recorded every step of this “relationship” and, as a result, the filming gave rise to the documentary Catfish and the reality show of the same name, produced by MTV. It was from there that the term became synonymous for people who became victims of this ambush.

Quite often, it is not very difficult to recognise a catfish. The biggest flag is when the other person does not want to be with you (or, when they do, they do not show up), but other warning signs include excuses for not to have audio and/or video conversations, and when the other person keeps their social network profiles hidden from you.

Behind catfishing may be really harmful intents. An apparently simple photo may be infected with viruses to attack your machine, and made-up stories about “financial difficulties” of your virtual crush can convince you to send money and being extort without even realising it.

Should you encounter difficulties in realising if your crush is telling the truth, know that there are experts on the field that can help. Social Catfish is able to sweep the Internet and find all there is to know about someone, which provides you with a clear indication over if that seemingly special person is who they claim to be.

Another common problem of Internet dating and social networks is when someone else steals your photos and uses them to catfish others. To find out if this is happening to you, check out the reverse image search functionality provided by Berify, which can help not only to avoid the misuse of your photos, but also save other people from being catfished.

While dating should be absolutely encouraged, doing it online can have its problems, so try to be as safe as possible when talking to strangers on the Internet.

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Biologist, writer, tech guy, musician and photographer. Only the first is for real, though.



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