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Crime Stoppers offers tips on avoiding getting caught in a catfishing scheme

Catfishing usually is done to create a fantasy life, not to defraud individuals financially.
Posted on Jan. 25, 2013 at 12:00 a.m. | Updated on Jan. 25, 2013 at 5:33 p.m.

ELKHART — Crime Stoppers of Michiana has released tips on how to avoid getting caught in a “catfish” scheme.

Catfishing is when a person creates a fake online profile with the intent to deceive someone, usually to create a fantasy life and not to defraud a person financially. However, some catfishing could rise to being a criminal offense.

Scammers tend to target vulnerable or gullible people, according to Crime Stoppers, but doing some online investigating can help people protect themselves.

Crime Stopper’s tips are as follows:

Ÿ Be suspicious if contacted by a stranger to engage in a relationship, particularly if they’ve created a glamorous life story.

Ÿ They often claim to have a traumatic injury or illness as an excuse not to be able to meet.

Ÿ How much do they seem to know about their illness? (Legitimate sufferers are usually very knowledgeable).

Ÿ Be suspicious if they ask for money, any account information, too much personal information.

Ÿ Be suspicious if they can’t readily provide a photo of themselves, (or ask you not to post it if they do), or avoid video chat.

Ÿ Research how recently they activated their Facebook/Twitter account.

Ÿ Pay attention to how many friends/followers they have.

Ÿ On their accounts, do they have photos of friends and are they tagged?



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