Learn How to Catch a "Catfish" in 5 Easy Steps

Amanda Elliot
Amanda Elliot
Jan 19, 2023

A "catfish" is someone who is pretending to be someone they are not. They usually create elaborate online identities to target their victims. Their goal is to create online romances that are based on deception. The goal of this article is to not explain why people do it - it is merely to go through some basic checks everyone can perform to spot a catfish.

1- Search the "Catfish" using NumLookup

Wouldn't it be great if you could look up a phone number and get the full name of the person who owns it? The good thing here is that most people, catfish or not, will always share their phone number with you. Also, you can look up their phone number without letting them know. That way, you can continue to act normal and not come across as being overly suspicious. This is called phone directory lookup and only takes a few seconds. You can use NumLookup to perform free searches. With NumLookup, you are not required to create an account or subscribe in order to perform lookups.

NumLookup is able to tell you if the phone number is a regular phone number or a VOIP-based phone number, such as Google Voice phone number. A Catfish will almost always use a VOIP-based phone number. If the phone is a VOIP number, do not hesitate to ask for the person's real phone number. Kindly explain that your security is the most important thing for you, and you do not compromise on not knowing the real phone number. If the person hesitates, simply walk away. The person is most likely a Catfish or just not the right person for you.

2- Identify a "Catfish" using LinkedIn or Google

Most students and professionals use LinkedIn to manage their professional profiles. Always ask for the full name of any person you are building an online relationship with. One obvious sign of a catfish is that they will either not give you their full name - or provide you with a made-up full name. Searching for someone on Google or LinkedIn only takes a minute. If you are able to find the person online, make sure their profession matches what they have told you. A mismatch between what the person has told you and their online profile is a sure way to tell that the person cannot be trusted.

3- Catfishes avoid Social Media, or create fake profiles

Most "normal" folks maintain at least one social media profile. Usually, people who are trying to play catfish, or have ulterior motives, do not maintain a social presence. The absence of a social media profile is a tell-tell sign that the person is trying to hide something. You should always refuse to continue in an online relationship if the person is not willing to share their social media. Make this a rule that is never broken.

4- Spot a Catfish on Twitter

While this may not be always applicable, most "cool" people that you want to hang out with will have a higher number of "Followers" than the number of folks they are "Following". If you see a profile with a large number of "Following" but a much smaller number of "Followers", make a mental note of it. Then, think over it. Why might that be? Possibilities are endless but we are confident that you will be able to think of at least 3 reasons why - and none of them will be good.

5- Quality & not the number of connections on LinkedIn

It is easy to increase the number of connections on LinkedIn. But, it is hard to collect relevant and quality connections. Relevant connections are people that work in the same company or industry. Relevant connections are also people who live or work in the same area. It may be a warning sign if you see a bunch of connections that are either not related to the person's field of work or are out of the immediate area.

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