Digital identity phishing has hit the again this month. Particularly in the online dating sphere, with increasingly frightening and bizarre tales of ‘catfishing’ – where women are finding out their online dates are very far from who they claim to be. Here we give our top 10 tips on safer dating this Valentine’s Day.
1. What is catfishing? When somebody creates a fake profile to trick others into thinking they are someone else, particularly common on Tinder and dating apps and websites.
2. Make sure to ask loads of questions – don’t rely on what a person tells you on their profile. Ask them plenty of personal questions and if you are feeling unsure about the answers then don’t date them.
3. Ask your mates – if you feel unsure about a guy you are chatting with online, then talk to your trusted friends and family members about it. They will give you the most solid advice, as they have your safety and best interests at heart.
4. Chat online and don’t give your number – whatever you do, don’t give away your personal mobile number or email until you are 100% sure the person is who they say they are.
5. Do a quick Google search – it’s never been easier to do a quick check on people using Google or other social media apps such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.
6. Never hand over money – obvious and should really go without saying, but one of the most common reasons these scallywags catfish others is to try to scam some cash from them.
7. If you do meet in person – make sure that it is in a public place and that your friends and family know where you are going and can contact you, just in case the person turns out to be not who they claimed to be onlne.
8. Use an identity checker app – apps such as Yoti – https://www.yoti.com/ – are becoming increasingly popular for a very good reason, they are guaranteed ways to confirm that the person you are talking to online is who they say they are, with no ulterior or nefarious reason for hiding their identity.
9. Reverse psychology – if they seem to consistently overremphasise how honest, loyal and committed they are, beware – this is a clear warning they’re a fraudster, as they’re using reverse psychology.
10. Be wary of Love bombing – if they seem to fall head over heels for you rapidly and be very full on then warning signs should start to flash – this is called ‘love bombing’ and if things seem too good to be true, it’s likely they are!
Anna Rowe is the Safer Dating Ambassador for Yoti, the digital identity app