Private Investigators Help A Prevent Catfishing Schemes

Catfishing Defined

Catfishing refers to using social media or other online communications to try to find a romantic match based on false information. People who catfish others often use pictures of someone else, outdated pictures or altered pictures of themselves to try to show a more attractive front for potential romantic matches. They may also take on someone else’s name, identity or characteristics and may conceal their own identity.

Communicating with a Catfish

A person who catfishes another may use a variety of communication techniques. They may communicate solely over social media like Facebook or Twitter. They may text or email. They may use chat rooms. They may call. However, in most instances, the person doing the catfishing does not make physical contact with the other because this would blow his or her cover and possibly review his or her real appearance or identity.

Goals of Catfishing

People who catfish may have different purposes for their behavior. Sometimes they feel lonely and simply want to connect with another person. They may think that they may not find a romantic match based on their own appearance or personality. Sometimes a person committing catfishing may by a teenager who is trying to have fun and trick others. In other cases, the motivation is more sinister. The person may be a scam artist who is trying to forge a romantic relationship with someone in order to swindle the victim. He or she may try to financially defraud the victim.

Identity of the Culprit

The identity of the culprit varies in every situation. Sometimes it is another person who is less attractive than the one depicted in the pictures. In other cases, the person committing the catfishing may be the same gender as the victim but pretending to be the opposite sex. Many catfishing cases have resulted in finding that the catfisher is actually a teenager or adult child living in his or her parent’s basement. Some cases involve experimenting with sexuality.

The personal information that the catfisher gives is usually false or modeled after a person that the catfisher knows in real life. The victim may start to discover holes in the catfisher’s story. When he or she presses the catfisher for more information, the catfisher may make up excuses for this or may start to withdraw in an attempt to conceal their identity.

Signs that You Might Be Getting Catfished

Recognizing signs that a person may be being catfished can help trigger the need for a private investigator. One sign of a catfisher is if he or she seems too good to be true. People who make up fake profiles often make them as extravagant as they want because they are living in their fantasy world. Another sign of a catfisher is if the person has a non-traditional job that would make it difficult to sustain a romantic relationship. Scammers who are trying to cast a wide net may list interests that relate to anyone. This allows them to appeal to more people. Long walks on the beach, getting dressed up for a night on the town or other activity that has mass appeals may be indicators of a potential scammer. Catfishers often push quickly for an exclusive relationship and will say that they love their partner very early in the process.

One of the most pronounced signs of catfishers is that they will refuse to meet in person. They may also refuse to engage in other types of communication that will show their real appearance, such as Face Time, video chats or Skype.

For catfishing scammers, they may ask for money early on. Since they may not have the same name as the one they are projecting, they may ask for this money to be sent in someone else’s name.

Help from a Private Investigator

A private investigator can help conduct an investigation to determine the real identity of the person on the other side of the computer. Individuals who may be being catfished may engage the services of a private investigator. During an initial consultation, the investigator may request certain types of information, such as the details that the catfisher have provided, whether the person has ever met with the catfisher in person, how the catfisher first made contact, the online sites that the catfisher and the person have been on together and what usernames the catfisher has used.