Cosmopolitan - South Africa
Relationships Dating Social Media Catfish Image Credit: Cosmopolitan - South Africa
Relationships Dating Social Media Catfish Image Credit: Cosmopolitan - South Africa

Five Telltale Signs You're Being Catfished

When I received an e-mail from ‘Luke miller’ detailing the tragic death of his mother and father when he was just a child, I had many questions, such as: who TF is Luke miller? Where did he get my e-mail address? And why is he messaging me? Turns out he was a catfish … and it’s likely you’ve been approached by a catfish, too. Find out what they are – and how to avoid them.

Lisa Katz

The Urban Dictionary defines catfish as ‘Internet predators who fabricate online identities and entire social circles to trick people into emotional or romantic relationships (over a long period of time).’ Ugh – don’t people just suck sometimes? According to relationship coach Shelley Lewin, ‘In the best-case scenario, it’s about being bored, lonely and having low self-confidence. In the worst-case scenario, it’s a way to scam those who are looking for love out of their money. Sadly, even the brightest of people can get caught out as they get wrapped up in their own hopefulness. Don’t let your desire for love cloud your rational judgment. A general rule of thumb: if they seem too good to be true, they probably are.’

FYI, catfishing can happen anywhere online: on Tinder, on WhatsApp, on Skype, on Facebook. So don’t drop your guard just because you’re not on a specific platform – and take note of these signs.

1 They refuse to have a video or telephone call

‘I met a Spanish widower, Santiago, on Tinder. He lived in Cape Town’s Gordon’s Bay with his two kids, and worked in construction,’ says Bulie, 31. ‘He said he was finally ready to date following the loss of his wife. After chatting to him constantly for more than two weeks (via Google Hangouts, mostly), I started wondering why I’d never heard his voice. When I asked him to call me


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