One of my favorite shows to binge-watch when I have some down time not studying for finals (read: all the time) is Catfish. Every time a dude on the show finds out his Instagram hottie is actually Bob from stats class, I have to wonder: How did they not see this coming? Also, when will you learn, Bob? When will you learn?
Still, there is a softer side of me that sees how this can happen to anyone. I’m sure in my days of internet infancy I would’ve been easily fooled by online phonies. Like the time I signed up for a free Caribbean cruise but, instead, ended up with computer malware.
There are always signs the beautiful, intelligent person on the other end of your device is too good to be true. You just need to pay close attention. Here are some tips producers from Catfish: The TV Show gave us to help you catch those red flags.
1. Does she seem too good to be true?
You’re a decent looking guy, but how many times in real life have you ever been approached by a 22-year-old Brazilian bikini model? Think about it. She just told you she got done with a photoshoot in Hawaii and is only in town for the weekend? Abort now. That shit was most likely written by a woman in her forties who works the weekend shift at the DMV.
2. Social media accounts have limited photos
There is a threshold for number of photos someone must post on their Facebook before they are considered a real person, and that threshold is 40. If she has 15 photos on her Facebook, she is not real. If she has 58 friends, she is not real. If no one has interacted with her account since December of 2012, she is not real.
3. Online friend/significant texts you from iMessage but claims they cannot FaceTime.
I mean, FaceTiming strangers is weird in the first place, but if this “girl” is sending you provocative messages like she is interested, only to backtrack when you ask to FaceTime or Skype, it’s time to bail. That chick is clearly fucking with you. FaceTiming needs to be an early test, because you don’t want to waste time on a girl only to figure out weeks later she’s a mother of three with a disinterested husband. You’ve been her daily “escape.”
4. Tragedy prevents them from meeting up
“I’d love to meet this weekend, but I was in an accident recently and can’t leave the house for a while.” Yeah, sure. Any time tragedy comes into play, you should get a whiff of bullshit. Be on the look out for the three C’s (cancer, car wrecks, comas). If she has even uttered these words to you as a preventative measure from meeting up, delete her contact info and move on with your life.
5. Refuses to talk and will only communicate via text message
In my early days of AOL Instant Messaging, I became infatuated with my only AIM friend. I thought that guy was awesome. He knew Everything. Who was this online savant, and does he want to hang out and play video games or something? It turns out, he was an advanced computer program. I found out when I gave him my phone number in fifth grade, because I was an idiot, and he said, “I don’t know what to do with this, I can only communicate here.” If a girl says anything remotely close to that sentence, get the fuck out. Now.
If you’re still unsure if you’re getting catfished, good news: The producers of Catfish are looking to help out more people for season four. Maybe you read this list and even recognized yourself as a catfish and would like help coming clean. Either way, feel free to apply here.
If you’re not watching that show, you should be. It’ll leave you on high-alert the next time you log into Tinder, and that’s a good thing..