With so many fish in the digital sea, make sure you don’t reel in a catfish: Complete an online background check

Written by Valery Caputi Lopez
Last Updated: 11/21/2019
With so many fish in the digital sea, make sure you don’t reel in a catfish: Complete an online background check
Fake profiles in the online dating world are no match for the top, online background check services

Picture it: One day you’re lazily browsing a new dating app a friend recommended and seeing the smiling faces that pop up who are a match to your personal preferences. Suddenly a message comes in from an attractive stranger, and from the information you’re able to glean from their public profile, they seem to be simply perfect. Even their linked social media profiles show and say all the right things. And from that first text conversation, you’re hooked.

But what if the individual you’ve been interacting with for months and sharing personal details of your life wasn’t that person at all? Quite a heartbreaking thought. But that’s the insidious nature of catfishing: to create and maintain a romantic or intimate online relationship for the benefit of one party at the expense of the other.

1. So what is exactly is "catfishing"?

Catfishing is the modern term used to describe the act of pretending to be another person online in order to bait a target into entering a personal or financial relationship. Considered deceptive by some and an outright scam by others (received any emails from a faraway Prince in dire financial straits recently?), the practice of Catfishing runs rampant in the online dating arena.

A statistic reported by the high-profile dating site and published in several major news outlets estimated that 1 in 10 online profiles are fake. And these "fake" profiles don’t include people embellishing details about their personal histories or applying photoshop filters to already-flattering selfies; they’re people with malicious intent out to deliberately extort money or information from their victims.

Anyone from a celebrity to a family member can be potential targets, and the aftermath can be life-destroying. Marketwatch said that in 2018 alone over 21,000 romance-related scams were reported to the FDC, claiming over $143 million from unsuspecting Americans through lies and outright “sextortion” (i.e., the practice of extorting money from people by threatening to publish freely-given nude photos to friends, employers, and family members).

2. What are the warning signs?

According to this practical infographic by, there are numerous red flags to look out for if you suspect new acquaintances or romantic interests online. Suspect behavior includes:

  • Refusing to meet in person or speak with you on the phone
  • Claiming that their webcam is broken, opting to send still images instead
  • Asking for money due to an emotional issue or financial burden
  • Having few friends on their Facebook accounts and/or very recently-made accounts
  • Touting glamorous professions and advanced degrees

Popular Science Magazine also identified additional warning signs, such as claims of being overly “religious” and widows/widowers.

But no matter how trained your eye is, some details are almost impossible to verify without the help of a professional, online background check solution like Gladiknow. If you do take the initiative and try to find someone by name online, it’s important to note that Google searches and social media explorations alone might not be useful since these are often manufactured ahead of time by the perpetrators themselves as a means to avoid detection.

3. How to fight back using online background checks

As a bare minimum, always make sure to run your due diligence on any new contacts and acquaintances you meet online via a top-rated online background check service like Gladiknow and never disclose any personal information or compromising pictures to anyone until you can verify their identity.

Gladiknow is a direct-to-consumer person search service that offers the most comprehensive database of information available on any person of interest, with over 600 million public records searched instantly. Find anyone fast and confidentially with their made-to-order reports that include criminal, sexual, civil, financial, and up-to-date contact records so you can safely say ‘goodbye’ to catfish scams (and hello to love) forever.

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