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:
Be suspicious if contacted by a stranger to engage in a relationship, particularly if they’ve created a glamorous life story.
They often claim to have a traumatic injury or illness as an excuse not to be able to meet.
How much do they seem to know about their illness? (Legitimate sufferers are usually very knowledgeable).
Be suspicious if they ask for money, any account information, too much personal information.
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.
Research how recently they activated their Facebook/Twitter account.
Pay attention to how many friends/followers they have.
On their accounts, do they have photos of friends and are they tagged?