Catch the Catfisher.

In many ways, social media can be a godsend, especially if you live far away from families and loved ones or are trying to build a business and attract clients. However, it can also be a false friend where people gauge their own lives on the number of likes, friends, shares, and/or retweets or seek attention and validation when something has gone wrong in their lives.

I tend to share very little of my personal life on social media as I am in no need of validation or attention by all the likes, comments, etc. and I will never understand those people who like to share every meal, every detail of their lives. I will share anything I find inspirational and/or comedic, but nothing at the expense of other people. I used to be more active, but these days, I have better things to do to occupy my time. ,

The one thing that really frustrates me is the number of people who are presenting as a nice person and when I have engaged in conversations or taken the time to review their profiles I discover they are merely catfishers trying to con innocent people. Their mistake with me is that they seemingly think I am just a simple woman who is gullible and in need of friends. Wrong on both counts.

Recently, I have had men who present as officers in the U.S. Army or Marines making contact. One claiming to be a reitred General now working for NATO. However, when I take the time to review his photos or do a simple photo search on google, I soon discovered the photos actually belonged to a Lithuanian politician and NOT a member of the U.S. Defence force.

Then there was another “soldier” who mistakenly didn’t realise that in one of his photos where he wore a uniform there was a name tag identifying the true owner of the photos, who I did actually contact to warn him of the deception being played out with his photos.

Another more recently was a supposed Chinese businessman from Hong Kong claiming to now live in Malibu. His profile photo was of a Chinese man standing in a building with a unique architectural feature. Another quick search, and I was able to locate the actual building. When asked where the photo had been taken, he claimed it was in Malibu, not even close to where the building is actually located, in fact, in a completely different country.

These are only a few of those that I have discovered, and each one of them I have actually reported to the social media platform, mostly on Instagram. My only reason for doing so was because I know of people that have lost thousands of dollars befriending and then falling for the scams of people like these, and it is happening more and more regularly and that is sad and dangerous. Let’s face it child predators are catfishers who lure innocent children into their lives, and anything we can do to stop the behaviour is worth it.

Yes, there are many people out there, so called, ‘Influencers’ who merely thrive on the number of followers, shares, likes and retweets, and some make huge amounts of money because of it. However, I firmly believe it is about time the social media platforms insist on the identity of each account holder being verified so these catfishers lose the opportunity to scam innocent people.

If you merely want the numbers of friends and followers and don’t care who they are as people, then connect to as many as you like, I wish you all the best. But for those that use social media for true connections with people take the time to check the profile of the stranger who wants to connect, ask the questions, don’t just get caught up in the smooth talker with the compliments and flattery.

I am happy to connect with people and meet strangers but I will always do my due diligence on their profile and if, by doing that, they don’t resonate with me or who I am I will respectfully decline the invitation. However, to those that I discover are actually catfishers, then I will call them out politely and with a grin on my face.

There is no problem meeting people online, but I want genuine people who are happy to portray themselves as they are, warts and all. I don’t care what job a person has, how rich they are, how big their house is, or what car they drive. All I care about is how honest, genuine, and respectful they are. No one is perfect, least of all me, but I am proud of who I am, the lessons I have learnt in my life, and the wisdom I have gained.

So, for all those catfishers out there who assume I am a gullible woman, take a number, and you can be sure I will discover the truth about you. Be real people, but also listen to your gut, it you look hard enough, red flags will be flying high around catfishers. Wouldn’t it be good if there was a public platform to share these profiles to warn others? Now there’s a thought. 🤔🤔

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