MTV has capitalized on the naivety of the public. Surprised? We aren’t.

Social media allows people all over the country, all over the world to connect. This means that you have the ability to meet someone online this afternoon that you would have otherwise never been able to meet. While some do this for business and professional networking reasons, some people do it to find love, which is where MTV’s Catfish steps in.

Stuck in a small town where you literally know everyone and there are no prospects? Social media has the answer for that!

Stuck in a big city where you don’t know where to even start when it comes to meeting someone? Oh, social media can help you out with that too!

Facebook and Instagram are the two main platforms that Catfish focuses on; probably because those are two of the easiest platforms for a potential catfish to take advantage.

What is a catfish you ask? According to urban dictionary, “a catfish is someone who pretends to be someone they’re not using Facebook or other social media to create false identities, particularly to pursue deceptive online romances.”

These online predators often trick their potential victims by creating fake profiles with photos they steal from other people’s social media sites. Some of them can be very convincing. Maybe you’re someone who’s willing to take a gamble and pursue an online romance. How do you know if you’re getting catfished?

Here’s what we learned from the show:

  1. If the person constantly comes up with an excuse as to why they can’t video chat, big red flag. If they only insist on texting, emailing, etc. and the phone calls sound shady, run. Run really, really fast.
  2. Did you know you can Google an image? Yup, you can drop it into Google Image search and see if it pops up on someone else’s site. So if you take a person’s online profile picture, drop it into Google, and you get a hit for several different names under the same photo–then this is weird and you should run.
  3. If someone asks you for money–whether it’s money for a start up venture or money to come and see you–put on your running shoes, ASAP.
  4. If a person you’ve never met starts bullying you, harassing you, demanding your online account passwords to prove that you trust them or that they can trust you–Dude, GET OUT!
  5. If someone starts claiming they are someone famous or that they work for someone famous and you met through Facebook or Kik or Instagram, bro you gotta go! Especially if a simple internet search doesn’t turn up anything.

Nine times out of ten, Catfish ends in heartbreak. If you’re determined to find love with someone you’ve never met before, you might have better luck chatting up the cute guy in the produce section at the grocery. If not, good luck and may the odds be ever in your favor.

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