A little while back I decided to venture back in to the online dating world to see what new adventures it may hold.
I knew what it meant to 'swipe left' and to 'swipe right'; I knew how to set search parameters… I've even navigated a few dates. Though before getting to the dating part there are some really important things to look at…
I also have a few of my own rules of thumb. Things like:
- Look for people who write a little about themselves
- Skip profiles that don't have a clear shot of their face
- Skip profiles that seem over sexualised (coz nothing says 'I want a long term relationship' quite like that photo of your cleavage… 🤔)
- If they don't get back to you within 24h then forget it and move on
- Don't be afraid to start the conversation- just say Hello
- Trust your gut instincts
- Write a little about yourself and what you're looking for
There are of course all the basic safety things too:
- No banking details or money exchange
- Start simple
- Get to know them
- Chat via the app/site – don't give any personal contact details (email, address etc) and only give your phone number if/when you're ready to have a phone conversation with them
- If you decide to meet them then pick a public place and tell a couple of your friends where/when/with who you're meeting
This week I also added a new rule:
*** Use reverse image search for absolutely any potential matches to help in avoiding Catfish ***
A Catfish is someone whose profile isn't legitimate… it could be false pictures, false data… anything that gives a misleading impression of the person you're chatting to or what they're after.
If you go to google (click images), and then 'drag and drop' the profile photo of your potential match, then the interwebs will show you where else that image has been posted. This is super super handy…
I had a suspicion about someone who contacted me recently through a dating site. So today I decided to use the reverse lookup… and I found the profile photo they were using belonged to a young girl who had died in a car accident a few years ago!
Some >>>insert derogatory expletive descriptor here<<< had decided to use the photo of a deceased woman to lure potential dates/matches. In my opinion this is a really low thing to do. Just awful, and it makes me a little sad (and a lot angry) to think there are people out there who would do such a thing.
Apparently over 40 million of us are looking for love online, so it's good for us to know what to keep an eye out for…
Some other signs of a Catfish could be:
- Getting serious very quickly
- Asking for overly personal information
- Avoidance of answering personal questions
- Asking for money
- 'Grooming' in to explicit conversations/behaviours
- If you ask for a phone call or to meet there will always be a reason why they 'can't'
- Something just feels 'off' about the contact
If you find a Catfish:
Report report report… and block them.
Dating apps and sites do their best to weed out the Catfish (some better than others), however they can't catch 'em all. If you find a Catfish, then the site will investigate their profile. Reporting them can also save other users from being exposed to them. Blocking them is also a good idea… I don't know about you, but I want no contact with someone who lies to me or thinks they can exploit me in any way!
I'm sure there's a LOT more to be said on the topic of Catfish and Online Dating safety. If you have any other tips or tricks to help 'sort the wheat from the chaff' then I'd love to hear them!
With love from my crooked curve of the world.