In today’s world of online dating, we have to trust that the person we’re talking to is who they say they are. Yet it’s way too easy for someone to set up a fake profile and pretend to be another person. This is known as catfishing. In fact 50% of people said they would not be confident that the personal details on someone’s dating profile were true. So how can you be sure about who you’re meeting online?

We teamed up with Anna Rowe to share some top tips for spotting and avoiding catfish.

Be wary of the photos
If their profile picture looks like it should be in a catalogue or on an advert then it probably is. Anna says that if you have any doubt you can run the image through a search engine like ‘tineye’ or google reverse image search. Simply screen grab the image, crop any outside bits off and then upload it into the search bar. If it comes back showing the picture on lots of websites, you know it has been used elsewhere and is not a personal photo. Just remember that some fraudsters may be using another person’s social media photo and these won’t necessarily show in a reverse image search. If you aren’t sure whether their photo and details are real, there’s a way to double check they are who they say they are. More on this later…

Talking elsewhere
They’ll try and move the conversation onto a different platform, usually something like Whatsapp or Kik. Once you’ve met up or have confirmation they are genuine then you may feel more comfortable to talk to them on another channel. But don’t feel pressured to give them your phone number if you don’t feel ready.

Information overload
Sometimes their profiles are just too much. ‘I’ve seen profiles that read like a full life history and are full of future expectations of marriage and children etc. This just isn’t normal’ says Anna. Genuine daters want people to know just enough about you – they won’t give you a full chapter and verse of their life history.

Questions but no answers
The opposite may also happen – you may find that they ask lots of questions about you but don’t give much information about themselves. It may seem like they are genuinely interested in you but it’s best to be a little cautious if they are asking question after question but keeping their own details private. It may be that they don’t want to say too much in case they trip up on a lie they tell you. Dating is about getting to know another person – if they’re genuine and have nothing to hide they shouldn’t be afraid to answer your questions.

Reverse psychology
Do they over emphasise how honest, loyal and committed they are? If so, this could be a warning they’re a fraudster, as they’re using reverse psychology explains Anna.

Love bombing
They’ll fall head over heels for you very quickly and be very full on from a very early stage. Anna says that this is called ‘love bombing’ and aims to get the other person ‘hooked’ as quickly as possible. It may seem like you’ve found your soulmate and your perfect partner but it’s best to edge on the side of caution. If things seem too good to be true, it’s likely they are! Often fraudsters will spend time looking at your social media profiles and pictures to get to know you better so it seems like they are your perfect match and you have lots in common.

An amazing connection
‘I can’t believe we’ve been so lucky to find one another…’ Many will tell you they’ve never experienced that level of connection with someone else before.

They may ask for money
This isn’t always the case – some people set up fake profiles to deceive others simply for the thrill it gives them. But in many cases, the other person may start asking for money – they claim to work abroad and can’t afford a flight home to see you, someone in their family is ill and they need help paying medical costs… It may start as a small amount so they can see how far they can push you, but this often leads to them asking for much larger sums of money, advises Anna. A genuine dater would not be looking to take your money.

Together we can end catfishing

Not everyone who exhibits the above traits and warning signs is a catfish, but it’s best to be sure. One of the reasons we developed Yoti was to create more trust between people and to put an end to fake profiles and identity fraudsters.

Yoti is a digital identity app that lets people easily swap personal details with each other. Every account is securely built and verified around a government issued passport or driving licence and personal biometrics – making it impossible to create fake profiles. This means you can be confident that the details your date to be shares, such as their name, age and photo, are all real. It’s the easiest way to confirm that you’re going to meet a catch and not a catfish.

If you ask someone to do a simple Yoti swap, this will give you the reassurance and peace of mind that the person you’re talking to is who they say they are. No more false profiles and no more catfish.

Anna is calling for catfishing to be made illegal. We’re very supportive of this cause – it’s not right that people can easily set up fake profiles and deceive people, play with their emotions, or take their money. If you’d like to support her cause, please sign her change campaign.

Got a question about Yoti and dating? Ask away!

Rachael Trotman

Rachael Trotman

PR & Events Manager