Cybersecurity is a vast and ever-changing topic. Just when you think you've figured out the most of the usual internet risks, something new appears. Catfishing, for example, may be a new concept to many, and you may be one of those casual internet and social media users who is unfamiliar with catfishing and the types of damage catfish may cause.
In this blog, we'll go over the ins and outs of catfishing, as well as the motivations of online catfish and, most importantly, how to defend yourself from them.
Catfishing is when someone creates a false persona for oneself on the internet utilising information and photographs.
A catfish can occasionally steal another person's entire identity, including their date of birth, photographs, and location, and pass it off as their own. They then use the forged identities to persuade people to do business with them online or associate with them.
Catfishing is a very regular occurrence among dating app users. A catfish may impersonate someone they are not in order to deceive others into falling for romantic scams.
How do catfish con artists operate? Catfish lure unwary victims into believing in their phoney identity, allowing them to extract important, sensitive information. Many people may ask for money right first, while others will try to obtain valuable credentials from you. They may then exploit this private information for monetary gain or, in the worst-case scenario, to launch more sophisticated cyber-attacks or ransomware assaults against a company or organisation with which you may be affiliated.
While catfish can be found in large numbers and their motives can range from innocent to malicious, the only way to truly deal with them is to learn how to avoid them.
1. Do a background check
With the help of services like Instant Checkmate, you may do a name search or an online background check. This can help you find a person's social media pages, news items in which they may be mentioned, and other digital content containing their name. Following the initial search, you can confirm more personal details such as their workplace, hometown, and friends to ensure that the person they claim to be matches what the internet says about them.
2. Know the signs of being catfished
It may be difficult to discern if you're being catfished if the catfish's description is thorough and precise. Because the catfish's profile was established solely to target specific individuals, they may not have many followers or friends. A catfish may refuse to speak on the phone or over video chat, avoid in-person meetings, and even ask for money. These are all symptoms that you're being catfished and should be on the lookout.
3. Never share your personal information
It's risky to share too much personal information with strangers. Someone you've just met online may be catfishing you if they ask for personal information like your address, extra contact information, account information, or try to persuade you to tell them about your life or work.
If they ask you for a password under the guise of an emergency, that's a huge red flag that something is wrong. Another significant red flag is when someone asks for personal information. This isn't usual, and it should be a cause for concern. New call-to-action
4. Be suspicious of those you don’t know
Be careful when you receive friend requests, correspondence, or message requests from people you aren't familiar with. Treat online conversations the same as real-life ones. While it’s okay to interact with new people and make more friends, you should be cautious and look out for catfishing signs discussed above.
5. Ask questions that require specific knowledge
If you suspect that someone is catfishing, ask them questions that only people with their reported background would know. You can ask about malls and restaurants from where they claim to come from or something particular about what they do. If they're hesitant or try to avoid your questions, be wary of them.
6. Use reverse image search to identify fake profile photos
Social media is full of fake images and profiles. If you’re suspicious of the person you’re chatting with online, consider using a reverse image search to identify fake images. This tool also allows you to confirm a photo’s authenticity by looking at similar images and the original version of the photo.