Catfishing: The Truth About Deception Online, Why People Do It, And How to Catch One - DATING

Mikki Krause Written by Mikki Krause
Last Updated: 12/1/2020
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Catfishing: The Truth About Deception Online, Why People Do It, And How to Catch One

According to the Pew Internet and American Life Project, about 54% of people dating online think that most people are placing false information on their profiles - more commonly known as “catfishing.” Catfishing is not illegal, but certain catfishing tactics do cut it close. This blog will teach you what a catfish is, why and how people catfish, and how to spot and catch a one. As we will explain below, one of the best weapons against being catfished is to utilize new, advanced people search engines. One of our favorites is

What is Catfishing?

Catfishing is where someone creates a fake online persona to entice online users to date them, or for financial gain. It can revolve around using fake profile pictures and posting false personal information. Scientific American reported that 59% of online users think online dating is an excellent way to meet people. This percentage has grown over the last 15 years, where initially only 44% of people thought dating online was a good idea. Because of this increase in online dating acceptance, catfishing has become much more well known by online users, whether through firsthand experience or a friend, because about one in ten dating profiles is fake.

According to the FBI, each year approximately 18,000 people get catfished by someone online. Compared to other online scams, catfishing is one of the largest. In 2018, catfishes scammed 362 million dollars away from others. That number has grown by 70% year over year, most likely due to the increase in dating apps. Currently, the states with the highest reports of romance scams include Texas with 1,238 reports annually, then Florida followed by New York, Pennsylvania, and Washington. On the other end, the states with the least amount of catfishing reports are South Dakota, North Dakota, District of Columbia, and Vermont. All of those states have 36 or fewer cases of catfishing reported. Vermont had the least amount of losses financially, with less than $100,000 stolen from their state’s residents.

Why Do People Catfish?

Different reasons lead people to catfish. Some of the most common reasons for catfishing are tricksters who find it “fun” to a criminal intent to scam people out of their money. One reason people catfish is because they feel their actual appearance will not be satisfactory to those seeking to meet and date online.

Our society is continually changing what is attractive and what is not. For example, the beauty standards for women over the years have changed drastically. A boyish body was beautiful in the 1920s. By the 1930s, an hourglass figure was the next “best” body type, and in the 1960s, it was thin and long legs, 1980s it was athletic, and today the “ideal” body type is healthy.

Not all people can fit this beauty standard because all body types are different. This issue is why some people create fake profiles to find love because they have a hard time finding someone who will love them for the way they actually look. This may explain why 64% of catfishes are women. Another reason why people are catfishing is for money. Some would say desperate times call for desperate measures. Also, unlike more direct forms of theft, catfishing may just nudge the line of what is legal and what is not, especially when money is sent under “consent” - although true consent is murky when false pretenses are at play.

The CyberSmile Foundation found that some people catfish due to mental illness or depression. When someone is depressed, it is hard for them to reveal their true identity because of low self-esteem issues. Pretending to be someone else can give the catfish the confidence to socialize online. The desire for revenge against an old partner can sometimes tempt people to catfish as well. Many people want to get back at an ex that broke up with them. To accomplish this goal of revenge, some people turn to catfish. And lastly, catfishing is used as a way to explore a sexual preference. This opportunity allows people to explore their curiosities without disclosing who they are.

How Do People Catfish?

To catfish someone, they have to understand the person they are trying to lure, their history, and their personality to accomplish whatever goal they may have. The most commonly known method is making a fake online dating profile and lure people into being interested in their fake persona. Catfishes will usually steal photos of good looking people and go after average looking people. This action ensures that the catfished person will feel incredibly lucky to be talking to someone of that caliber of attractiveness. The catfish will usually tell the person precisely what they want to hear. Not only that, but many times, they will share fake, elaborate stories about their childhood trauma to create sympathy. Or, the catfisher could draw in someone to share their own “similar” real life trauma. Their overall goal is to connect with the other person and make them feel like there is something special between them. So special that they would do just about anything for the catfish, like sharing personal information or sending money.

How To Know if You Are Talking to a Catfish: The Signs

  • They want to move the relationship along extremely fast - including bringing up physical romance or intimacy very quickly
  • They do not want to facetime, and even may be reluctant to talk on the phone (this could reveal an accent, age or even a different gender than “advertised’)
  • They claim they do not use social media
  • They share a lot of personal traumas with you, pulling at your heartstrings and compassion
  • They travel all the time so they cannot see you, or live too far away to meet
  • They ask for money due to some unforeseen trauma or event, or ask for personal information from you, perhaps financial

How to Use New, Advanced People Search Technology To Catch A Catfish

One great way to catch a catfish is using new, advanced people search technology to instantly and confidentially verify the person is who they say they are. It’s simple, highly effective, and inexpensive.

Here’s how it works. New, advanced people search engines ( is one of our favorites) give you instant and confidential access to nearly a BILLION public records on any person in the U.S. Here’s how you use it:

  1. Ask the person (in this case, your potential catfisher, but it could be anyone you would like to verify) for their name and location (city and state) or their address (either one will work).
  2. Go to and input their name and location (or address) into GladiKnow's people search engine and instantly get a confidential report on the person including a search for that person’s REAL age, addresses and address history, emails, phones, relatives, employment history, education history, social media profiles, criminal records, sex offender records, liens, judgments, bankruptcies, civil records, traffic and infraction records, licenses, permits, and much more.
  3. Then COMPARE! Armed with the ACTUAL (real) information on the person they SAY they are, ask him or her about where they have lived, their age, employment and education history, relatives, email addresses and phone numbers, or any bit of information you choose from the comprehensive report in front of you. Obviously, if the person is a catfisher/scammer, he or she will certainly not give you real information which would reveal their true identity. If this is the case, you will instantly see a mismatch between what they are telling you and what you know to be true from the report in front of you. Congratulations, you have just caught a catfisher! (Maybe now it is time for you to have some fun with them!)
(Obviously, this process works perfectly in ANY circumstance where you want to learn more about or the truth about someone, from online dating to roommates and classmates, to new friends or romantic interests - the list goes on!) For more information on the new, advanced people search engines, check out this great video.


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