How to Tell if You’re Being Catfished [Guide for 2024]


In the ever-expansive area of the Internet, there are tons of misleading activities—one of the most popular schemes is called catfishing.

Why do people catfish? How can you tell if you’re being catfished? Most importantly, how can you protect yourself on the Internet?

We’re going to help resolve any doubts and ambiguities related to these questions, as well as assist you in getting more knowledge in how to tell if you’re being catfished.

What Is Catfishing?

There are individuals out there who pretend to be someone they’re not by using social media sites and profiles; the act of creating a fake identity, usually to scam someone, is called catfishing. Romance fraud is also popular, with catfishing preys in the dating scene. The person who creates the false identity is the catfisher, and the person getting lied to is the victim getting catfished.

DID YOU KNOW: According to catfish victims, 73% of catfishers were pretending to be attractive people, while 20% were catfished by a fake model or celebrity.

Why Do People Catfish?

Reasons for catfishing are diverse, including isolation, difficulties with social connection, money schemes, trolling, harassment. and discontent with physical appearances.

Personal Insecurities

Some people may choose to catfish someone due to physical insecurities. They might view themselves as unworthy or not good enough, and feel more comfortable using the identity of a person they consider good-looking or charismatic. These people often use online dating sites as their source for fake photos. So, you should visit background check sites for dating to check if the person is truly who he/she says it is.

Money Schemes

In this situation, the person usually makes a request for a small amount of money, and then slowly tries to make more money and profit from naivety. Asking for money that appears to be for your benefit is one of the major catfishing signs, such as asking for money for transportation to come to visit.

Hiding Identity

Some people are unwilling to show who they really are and use fake profiles to hide their identities when searching through social media networks. This is mainly done by adopting another person’s images or persona. Check out some of the impressive identity theft protection companies to help protect yourself from this.


Is a common reason for people to catfish. One of the most popular catfishing methods is setting up various accounts to harass someone online. These people often set up several social media accounts, such as WhatsApp or Instagram, because the target of this online deception has blocked the initial account. When this happens, you know that you are being catfished.

Unusually Romantic

Intimate recognition can feel good, but sometimes it can overwhelm you with passionate texts to sidetrack you from asking questions about their identity. If you want to be sure not to fall prey to romantic catfishing, check out the best background check sites for dating.

DID YOU KNOW: 10% of all online dating accounts are run by scammers; be sure to remain cautious with virtual dates and relationships.

How to Know if You Are Being Catfished?

There are signs that make it harder to fall prey to catfishing scammers; down below are some hints on how to prove you are not being catfished (or how to prove you are.)

Signs of Catfishing

Below, you’ll find catfishing signs to watch out for.

Scammers Avoid Face-To-Face Chatting

Those who catfish often refuse to give out a personal phone number or use a camera. They also avoid Skype and software programs that can require video, such as Zoom.

Static Profile Picture

If you look at a fake profile’s photos over a long period of time, you might notice that they often use the same photo for years.

The Profile Has Been Set Up Very Recently

This is a red flag if you’ve already noticed something is off about the profile. If you discover additional things on this list, you can check some of the trusted background check sites to conduct a more thorough investigation.

They Are Messaging You a Lot

The conversation is moving really fast, and they are eager to move to any potential next level as soon as possible. This is one of the biggest signs of catfishing.

Pressuring You to Share More Personal Information

Scammers are known to ask you a lot of questions about yourself while sharing little about themselves.

They Have Few Followers or Friends on Social Media

Do you know how to tell if you’re being catfished, for instance, on Instagram or Facebook? One indicator is that they have a very small amount of followers on their profile. If everything else doesn’t seem to add up, this can be a final clue.

DID YOU KNOW: Based on statistics of people approached by scammers on social media, 91% engaged in fraud with the scammer, while 53% lost money. Social networks are increasingly unsafe as our shields are often down around social media friends, giving con artists an easy way in.

Key Takeaways

What is catfishing on the Internet? When someone is lured into a relationship by a fictional online personality.
There are few reasons that people can catfish others, including personal insecurities, harassment, catfishing for profit, and identity cloaking.
Signs you’re being catfished by someone are them avoiding face-to-face chatting, only one photo over a long period of time, or the profile is brand new.
If someone is too much into you from the start, has just a few followers on their profile, or pushes you for personal information, it’s likely a scam.

How to Find Out if You’re Being Catfished for Free

There are a few ways that you can research to protect yourself, with some of the best suggestions being free.

Reverse Image Search

We bet you’re wondering how to tell if you’re being catfished on Tinder or other online dating sites. First, you can start with reverse image searching with these steps:

  • On your smartphone or tablet, open the Google or Chrome app.
  • Go to the website and find the image.
  • Tap and hold the image.
  • Tap on the option Search with Google Lens.
  • Choose how you want to search:
  • Use an object from the image: If accessible, tap on the object and select (the little circle).
  • Use segment of an image: Tap and select the image area, then drag the box corners around your selection.
  • Scroll to the bottom in order to find your related search results.

Look at how to do a reverse image search on iPhone.

People Search and Background Check

Another way how to prove you are not being catfished (or are) is by searching through some of the top-quality background check sites. If you are looking for a free option, we recommend using websites like Spokeo, 411 Background Check, PeopleLooker, and Pipl. Spokeo, for example, is a platform that checks backgrounds while offering in-depth and up-to-date information. This website produces public records and can present data collected from social media accounts. Verifiable information includes the following:

  • Phone number
  • Email address
  • Birthday
  • Criminal history
  • Job history
  • Education background
  • Names of possible associates, friends, and family members
  • Property ownership information

Below, you can also see some of the best people search sites and what they are known for.

  • Best for reverse phone lookups: Intelius. Read our full review here.
  • Greatest for social media uncovering, dating profiles, and photos: Instant Checkmate. Read our full review here.
  • Finest for career lookups or general businesses: GoodHire.
  • Leading for background checks and specialized data: BeenVerified.
  • Best background Checks for international searches: EBI Inc.

These websites charge a fee, but it may be well worth it to try them.

DID YOU KNOW: 83 million Facebook accounts are considered fake; check out the following Facebook stats for more detail.

How to Outsmart a Catfish

So far, we covered important topics such as how to find out if someone is catfishing you, or how to know if you fall victim. Catfishers can be tricky—some of them can get away with conning multiple people while others gain a profit from catfishing. Nonetheless, there are ways to outsmart scammers to prevent yourself from becoming a catfish victim.

Here’s how to avoid being catfished:

Restrict or Protect Your Social Media Profiles

There are security settings that you should take advantage of. Choose public or private posts when you’re sharing on Facebook, set your audience and make content visible only to your family or friends, and lockdown and hide your Instagram stories.

Don’t Go Into Detail About Any Private or Confidential Information

Even after a long conversation, you shouldn’t share every fact about your life. Make sure that you do not disclose information (especially sensitive details like a bank account number or address) to someone you don’t know in real life. They can show subtle but invisible catfishing signs in response,  and can later turn out to be an online con.

Let Google Help You Evaluate Someone’s Credentials

Google can aid you by looking over a name, profile picture, and other credentials. If a Google search gives a green light on the person you meet on any online dating sites, you don’t need to worry as much. But in case it doesn’t, you must be cautious; If you intend to meet a person after crafting a relationship online, it’s best that you do any research upfront.

Always Use Trusted Dating Websites and Apps

In order to prevent a catfish scam, you should use respected sites and applications. Ones that have authorization methods are best to address any suspicious signs of a catfish activity so you can not only protect yourself but also potentially others.

Insist on Video Chatting

Let’s say that the person you’re talking to online is not comfortable with a face-to-face meeting. In that case, you should ask them to video call with you through Viber, Skype, or something similar.

If the person ignores video chatting with you after several attempts, this can be seen as one of the biggest online dating red flags warning signs of a catfish.

Don’t Accept Uncomfortable Requests

Considering that you are talking exclusively online, the person has no authority over you. If you’re uncomfortable at any point, be smart and ignore any requests, being cool and polite.

DID YOU KNOW: According to stats, 35% of catfishers are catfishing for profit.  Catfishers frequently intend to make money, usually after luring you into a romantic relationship.


When somebody uses a fake identity to scam you in any way, it’s catfishing. There are several reasons for catfishing like personal insecurities, money schemes, and wanting to hide a real identity. Knowing the signs of being catfished and how to figure it out can be practical in day-to-day life; in this article, we covered how to find out if you’re being catfished, how to use reverse image search, and how to background check people. Thanks to us, you can rest knowing that you can identify what is catfishing when you’re online, and how to outwit a scammer.


What does it mean to catfish someone?

When someone catfishes another, it means that they scam them; violators create a fake identity to deceive, harm, or make money off of another person. Catfishers use multiple methods and can have several social media accounts with the purpose of shaping and validating fake profiles.

How do you confront a catfish?

The best way to confront a catfish is to ask them to meet you face to face, as well as insisting on video chatting. If you stand firm on those requirements, their manipulation won’t stick for too long. Also, ask as many questions as you need to feel comfortable, such as information that can be proven.

How do you protect yourself from catfish?

Protect and restrict all social media profiles with security settings embedded into the platforms. Be careful not to share any personal details, credit card numbers, or street addresses, and always use verifiable dating apps or sites that offer protection.

How do you find out if you're being catfished?

If you want to know how to tell if you’re being catfished and prevent interacting with a catfish, beware of people that refuse to give out a phone number or use a camera. Their profile picture—and the whole profile—may seem static, especially if it was created recently. Finally, they may pressure you to share sensitive personal information or ask you for money.

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