So I don’t really watch MTV. At all. Mainly because 16-year-olds with babies and 20-something-year-olds who fuck on TV to be famous and talk about being like, “so pretty” don’t interest me much these days.
But Catfish was/is one of those weird cultural things. It became a widely-known concept because of the whole Manti Te’o fake girlfriend thing last year. I had it happen to me once a few years ago on a dating website, but over the weekend, had someone give it a fair shot again by e-mailing my blog using a fake name and someone else’s pictures. Being the internet super sleuth I am–Twitter stalkers will do that to you–I found the real kid from Arizona this person was stealing pictures from and pretending to be and clued him in.
The circle of creepiness that followed in terms of the person’s page on Facebook, the person contacting this kid and then contacting me has made me nervous to ever open an e-mail again. People do weird shit online for a multitude of reasons. They’re bored. They’re young They’re stupid. They’re insecure. They want attention. But here are a couple sure fire ways to figure out if you’re being Catfished.
5. IP Address
Whether on message boards or on e-mail, your IP address is tracked and stored. Some boards even show your IP address when you post. The hilarity ensues when some people don’t know this, and post about themselves in the third person. Got to witness this recently when a girl was seeking to up her own status on an athlete girlfriend board. She was talking about herself in glowing terms and asking questions to herself ABOUT herself in order to drum up interest in her Twitter account. Little did she know her IP was tracked and all the posts she made were compiled and proven to be from the actual girl herself. Busted for being a reverse Catfish-er!
But you can usually tell if someone’s lying based on their IP address. If someone’s IP address starts with 10, it’s private and a huge red flag. That’s someone who doesn’t want to be located. If their IP address is showing up in Oklahoma when they claim to be in LA, well, yeah, they’re probably lying. If they keep e-mailing you while they claim to be “out” and the IP address stays the same, run away. That’s how I caught my guy lying.
4. No Facebook
Biggest red flag out there. I know there are the occasional oddballs who don’t do social media. But if this person who just randomly started talking to you online doesn’t have Facebook, run. It’s probably a scam. Whatever excuse it is–I had a bad breakup, the military made me turn it off, meant to reactivate it, it’s all bullshit. If they’re trying to pick you up online, they’re not the type of person who doesn’t engage in social media. No Facebook, no Twitter, no Instagram? No real person.
3. No phone/Skype
Sure, in this day and age tons of people start talking online. Hell, I do it with athletes a lot. But if someone only wants to talk on e-mail or on Facebook chat or in chatrooms (do those things still exist?), another red flag. If the person is making up a million excuses as to why you can’t exchange phone numbers or chat on Skype, it’s probably a scam. The old, creepy, large, dirty man on the other end of the computer probably doesn’t sound much like hot model Stacy you’ve been Facebook chatting with.
2. No Google record
I Google every guy I go out with. Just to make sure they are who they say they are. If you run a quick Google on this person and not one thing comes up, I mean not one award for baseball or gymnastics or the science fair or volunteer work pictures, they’re probably not real. Another way I caught my Catfish over the weekend. Everyone has some kind of record on Google.
When I circled back with this kid from Tempe who had had his pictures stolen (including a few private selfies he sent this “ girl”), we worked out who he had sent the original selfies to. Someone he had been chatting to on Facebook named Adriana Lyn. No phone number. No text. just e-mail. For over a year. Guys, be warned. This is NOT a real person. This is someone using a porn star’s name (Adriana Lynn) and some of her pictures to get you to send pics they can later use to trick other people.
If they’re Facebook is full of nothing but nudes and selfies, you can’t see their friend list and they just messaged you out of the blue, take it as a sign. You’re not that lucky, Bro. And if you happen to be one of the guys chatting with Adriana Lyn at the moment (email LynAdriana@gmail.com), stop sending her selfies. The person on the other end of that account is probably sending them to other people like me.