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The Real Dangers Of Catfishing And How To Protect Yourself

Closeup Of A Business Man's Hand Using Cellphone Outdoor

I know what I experienced is not an isolated incident. I can’t even say that it will never happen again. Even though I just want to forget about my experience, move on and not give “this person” one more second of my time, I am not writing for me or for him, I am writing for “them.” The ones out there still catfishing.

Online each second, there are thousands of people out there on dating apps/sites who are pursuing meaningful and authentic friendships, relationships and sex ( let’s keep it real). These hopefuls put themselves out there. For the catfisher, people who are full of hope are the best prey. They (I) struggle with the question: Why would anyone go through so much trouble to lie about who they are online?

For those who have no clue what cat-fishing is … Here’s the 411.

A catfish is someone who pretends to be someone they’re not using Facebook or other social media to create false identities, particularly to pursue deceptive online romances.

Urban DictionaryWhy a catfisher to does what they do? It’s hard to say why a catfisher decides to do what they do. From googling around and also from personal experience, I can say some prevalent themes include: Self image insecurities, sex addiction, revenge, loneliness, curiosity or boredom.  I wish cathfisher’s could be prosecuted for stealing precious time out of my day. But other people do that as well.

The Dangers of being catfished.

As unequivocal as it seems being catfished’ is not a victimless crime and can cause harm mentally, physically as well as financial harm. During the ploy a person can become emotionally and/or financially invested in their online lover. It is emotionally devastating to the victim upon finding out that the person that they’ve been talking to is not the person they thought they would meet. As embarrassing as this crime is, the victim may begin to doubt their own decision making skills, may develop trust issues and also question the likelihood of getting into relationships. All in all being catfished can f*ck someone up. So if you are thinking about doing it to someone don’t !!

Here’s My Story

How I got cat-fished.  I decided to share this story not only because it was funny, but because I realized that everyone has a story to share. So I was on cough “Jack’d” cough just browsing. I had received a message from someone visiting Fire-Island who saw that I was “close”. The conversation flowed naturally and he wasn’t one of those crazy jack’-asses sending you nudes in 20 seconds asking you to fuck them.  So I finally asked for a picture, then and there should have been warning sign number 1 , but it wasn’t

 

The picture should have been a warning sign because the picture look oh so familiar. But, I glanced at the picture and thought nothing of it going to bed.  I had gone about my business and two days later he had asked to go out after work. I had thought nothing of it because I had gotten out of work early.  So I get there late and out pops this short guy. He kinda looked liked the photo but, there was something off. I decided to continue on with this date because I was hungry and had no intention of heading home early.  On the way home I opened the photo he sent and looked at it in detail only to realize that is wasn’t him. I did a google reverse image search, as seen on the show catfished, to realize that I that familiar face was none other than Bilal, the musician.

It took a minute to sink in that I had been catfished. A litany of feelings embarrassment, betrayal and most importantly angry as F8ck. Like any other angry black gay man I cursed him out demanding an explanation about whose picture he sent me and blocked him after getting a message that it was a picture of his twin.

My two cents With the invention of dating sites and apps, there has been this increasing lack of concern for others.  Behind a phone you can be anyone you want without regard for how any affected parties feel and quickly end a bad situation via the block button. Some people might not see a problem with this yet and that is ok for now. I truly believe that everyone has a deep desire to be seen and loved for who they really are. Catfishers, when you get comfortable with who you are and stop hiding behind false images only playing with people emotions, I feel love could then available to you.

How to Protect Yourself. These are a few tips to protect yourself against being cat-fished. It can help save your time energy and emotions.

  1. The first thing you can do to protect yourself is to run a background check.

  2. Ask to FaceTime/Skype, FaceBook Chat with your love interest. If they continually come up with excuses then that should be an automatic red flag.

  3. Run their images through a reverse image search ( i.e. Google Images, Tiny Eye) or ask your friends.

  4. Quiz them on what’s in their profile. Places they’ve been people they met.

 

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