A catfish is an online scammer who pretends to be someone else, oftentimes to trick people into giving them money.
Many of these crooks pretend to have a romantic interest in their victims. They create fake social media accounts designed to pull in just the right targets.
When targeting older and middle-aged women they’ll pretend to be widowers living overseas. Claiming to be retired military is a favorite trick. when targeting men, they’ll be younger, beautiful women.
There are some sure signs you’re being catfished and I’m going to break down 4 of them. If any of your online friends tick any of these boxes, the odds are you are being scammed.
They Ask For Money
Whether you meet someone in person or online, it’s never a good sign if they ask you for money. If someone you’ve met online asks you to wire them money, send cash, or gift cards, it’s time to block and delete that person.
That applies to buying them stuff as well. If they claim to need a phone, TV, clothes… whatever it is. That’s a red flag for a scam.
If they send you checks you need to deposit, withdraw money, and send to them, it is also a scam. You’ve been drawn into money laundering. Call the police.
They Claim To Be Stuck Overseas
One of the most common tricks for scammers to pull is to claim that they are stuck overseas.
Among their favorite claims:
- They’ve been wrongly arrested and need bail money or a lawyer.
- They’ve lost a passport and are stuck in a foreign country unless they come up with money to replace it.
- While stuck in that foreign county they’ve fallen ill or had some type of accident and need money for medical care.
There will always be some reason they can’t get to where you are. If someone makes any of the excuses above, they are a scammer. Cut off all contact.
He or She Is Coming Into Big Money
A tried and true tactic of scammers is to claim they are coming into a lot of money very soon. Until they get their hands on that cash, they need some money from you to tide them over.
Maybe they have to pay taxes on an inheritance or some type of fee to get their fortune out of a foreign country. Many times they’ll aim high and claim to be weeks away from getting millions of dollars.
They’ll probably promise to give you a cut or buy you something fabulous. Anyone who tells you this story is almost certainly a liar. Cut off all contact immediately.
They Lay On The Guilt
If you refuse to send money, these fake friends will apply pressure. They’ll make you feel guilty for not helping.
Their sob story will probably get worse and worse to include illness, desperate family members, or impending death.
They might even have alleged friends and family members contact you to explain what dire straits they’re in.
Nobody is in dire straits. You are almost certainly talking to some 20-year-old in a phone bank in Nigeria. It’s his job.
If you’ve met anyone online who’s tried these tactics, call the police. If you’ve already sent money, don’t be embarrassed. Lots of folks are taken in, but it’s important to fight back.