Steps to take when you find out you're chatting with a fake online profile

Is the person you're talking to online legit?

Catfish (Courtesy)

What next after you have realized that you could be talking to a catfish?

For those who may not know, a catfish is a person who pretends to be someone else online.

Impersonation is a crime! You should not take not take it lightly. If you’re second guessing the person you’re chatting to, here’s what you can do.

1. Ask for real time photos.

You could ask the person to send a photo of himself doing something like holding the day’s newspaper or pinching his ear or something like that. If they’re a catfish, they will find reasons not to. But careful, some catfish out there are experts at this game and can even photoshop the pics to trick you.

2. Ask to video chat.

If they're fake, they'll find all the excuses in the world...

3. Do a reverse Google image search.

Head over to Google and type Then, using the small camera icon, you can either upload that person’s photo or drag it and see what results come up. Most of the times, the results will bring up the real owner of the image.

4. Use Google to your advantage by searching the name of the catfish as well as the name that comes up after you do a reverse image.

When you find the real owner alert them that someone out there is using their images without their knowledge and permission.

5. Confront the catfish.

Now, confronting a catfish will not be easy, they will start questioning your trust for them and telling you that you’re mad or some crazy stuff like that. They may even block you. At this point, you may also decide if you want to remain friends but my best bet is to treat this like a break up. This person tried to manipulate and use you. Why even maintain friendship? Which drives me to the next point,

6. Report the account and block them.

Remember impersonation is a crime. These people may even go to lengths to hurt you so if you feel unsafe, report the matter to the police station.

7. Warm mutual friends.

If you have mutual friends following the same account, warn them to prevent them from being catfished too.

8. Don't beat yourself about it, take it as a lesson learned and move on.

Always be vigilant, careful and do not be naïve. Never rush to take an online relationship to the next level. Do not move the conversation to WhatsApp till you feel that you can fully trust the person you’re talking to. Ask as many questions as possible and try to verify their answers. To avoid being catfished, refrain accepting requests from strangers who find you out of nowhere.


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