What is catfishing?

A laptop depicted in birds eye view, with a pair of men's hands at the keyboard.
Despite even the best efforts, no one can be sure who is actually sitting behind the screen.


Catfishing is when someone creates a fake online profile pretending to be someone else, sometimes with the intention of taking advantage of you. They could use fake pictures, fake information, and even make up fake profiles of “friends”. These fake accounts can look very real.

Although this is more likely to happen on dating sites, it can happen anywhere online – including social media.

How to Spot it

A person who is a catfish might:

  • Only have a few pictures up and they all look really good
  • Seem too good to be true
  • Only have one social media account
  • Have a low number of friends or no followers at all
  • Refuse to video chat or makes excuses why they can’t
  • Seem to care a lot about you in a really short period of time and want things to get serious
  • Ask you for money and make excuses about why they need you to send it.
  • Not show up when you arrange to meet them
  • Not meet you even after months or years of chatting

Revealing the truth

How can you really tell if someone is who they say they are?

If you have any doubts about someone’s online identity try this:

  • Ask for a video chat.
  • Ask the person to take a picture holding a sign with their name on it
  • Look at their other social media sites

If this person makes up an excuse for why they can’t do this, or why they don’t have another site, they might be a catfish. If this has happened to you, know that you’re not alone. This happens to other people too, because the ‘catfish’ can be really convincing. You might feel embarrassed, angry or tricked.

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