What Is Catfishing? Scary Signs Youre The Target Of An Online Scam

Dating has changed alot in the past few decades, for better and for worse. It’s great that meeting someone new is so easy now, but the rise of online dating has also opened the door for a peculiar new scam called ‘catfishing.’

Catfishing is an online con where someone assumes a new identity in order to seduce a stranger on the internet. Some people do this for companionship, because they feel like their own identity isn’t good enough. Others do it in order to trap people into handing over money or services.

Like the “Can you hear me?” phone scam, there are lots of telltale signs that you can use to spot a scammer early on.

These con artists love to operate in shady corners of the internet, but might also approach you on totally trustworthy sites, like online dating platformsor social media.

The only way you can really protect yourself from these tricksters is to know the signs and catch the catfish at his or her own game.

Photo Credit: Flickr / See-ming Lee

What Is Catfishing?

What

Laura Caseley for LittleThings

“Catfishing” is theterm used for a particularly cruel kind of online scam.

In a catfishing scam, a person on the internet will create a fake identity and try to romance or seduce their target.

The term firstfell into common usage after a documentary called Catfish, which follows the story of a lovelorn young man trying to find a girl he met online.

Dr. Phil’s website explains it like this: “A ‘catfish’ is a person who creates a false online identity in the hopes of luring people into romantic relationships.”

Sometimes the perpetrator is just a lonely person hoping to find happinessina new identity. More often, they are online criminals using proclamations of love to part innocent people from their money.

But how do you know if a person you met online is the real deal or a sleazy scammer?

Scroll through to learn the red flags you should never ignore.

Sign #1: No Friends Or Followers

Sign

Laura Caseley for LittleThings

If you meet someone on a dating website or on social media, scroll to their Facebook profile right away.

Most scam artists have fake profiles that are doctored to look real. It can be hard to spot a fake, unless you know what you’re looking for.

Check their friends list first. If they have fewer than 10 friends, that’s a major red flag that might indicate it’s just facade.

Also check when they created their profile. If their internet presence began just days before you met, you should probably be seriously suspicious of their motives.

In this day and age, most real people have established social media accounts with more than a few followers or friends.

Sign #2: Avoids Meetings And Skype Sessions

Sign

Laura Caseley for LittleThings

If you’ve been chatting with an online flame for a while, it’s natural that you would eventually want to get together in person for drinks or coffee. At the very least, you might want to plan an online video chat to see each other in real time!

However, if your beau seems to be dodging you at every turn, you should start to consider the possibility that they aren’t who they seemto be.

A catfish will do everything they can to avoid a face-t0-face encounter, because it might expose their lies.

A signature move is to agree to a face-to-face meeting or video call, and then bail out at the last minute, claiming a work emergency or an internet connection issue.

Sign #3: Their Picture Is Too Good To Be True

Sign

Laura Caseley for LittleThings

You could hardly believe your luck when you logged onto your dating app and saw this super-hottie pursuingyou, but now you’re getting suspicious.

After all, there is definitely such a thing as “too good to be true.”

If your online friend is exceptionally beautiful or handsome, it’s possible that the real person behind the account is stealing photos from a modeling or body-building website.

Also, be cautious about extremely professional photos or images that look like glamor shots; a real person will usually use a profile photo snapped by a friend on their smartphone, not a professional portrait complete with airbrushing.

Sign #4: They Claim Youre Neighbors

Sign

Laura Caseley for LittleThings

Another common ploy catfish love to use? Pretending that the two of you are neighbors.

You might get a pop-up chat or email saying, “so-and-so lives 5 miles away,” or a more specific, targeted message saying something like “I think we went to high school together in [town!] What’s up?

It’s not unusual to respond, thinking you’re catching up with an old classmate or neighbor.

But when you get to talking, you quickly discover they seem to have no idea what the neighborhood is like, and that you have no friends or acquaintances in common.

This is a classic sign that they are faking the shared geographical connection to make you feel more comfortable with them.

Sign #5: They Get Serious Way Too Fast

Sign

Laura Caseley for LittleThings

Maybe you meet someone on an online dating site and think that the two of you have hit it off, except, within a few days or weeks, your casual flirtation has gotten way too serious, way too quickly.

You haven’t even gone out to dinner yet, but your new online friend is sending you undying declarations of love, passionate love letters or yikes proposals of marriage.

Be very, very cautious here. The over-the-topattention might feel good, but people who say “I love you” after two weeks of chatting should not be trusted.

They may be trying to create a romantic bond as quickly as possible to manipulate you into giving them money or some other advantage.

Sign #6: They Always Seem To Need Help

Sign

Laura Caseley for LittleThings

If you establish a back-and-forth with someone online, be very cautious of requests for money.

It’s one thing to lend cash to a trusted friend, but it’s entirely another to send it to someone you have just met, especially if they just keep asking and trying to convince you.

A catfish will always have excellent excuses lined up: “My car broke down.” “I can’t afford my internet bill to talk to you.” “I have a life-threatening illness.”

They will try to manipulate and guilt-trip you into wiring them money or buying them expensive gifts.

They may also ask you to send them money in strange formats, like Visa gift cards, money orders, or cashier’s checks.

Sign #7: Their Stories Seem Far-Fetched Or Too Vague

Sign

Laura Caseley for LittleThings

If you’re talking to someone online or via the phone, listen hard to what they say or write.

A catfish will often try to get their target to do most of the talking to avoid too much attention, so ask specific questions.

Watch out for answers that seem extremely outlandish “I’m a fighter pilot and doctor who rescues puppies and is also fabulously wealthy” or unusually vague “I just like to party and have fun and have a good time with friends.”

If your online fling seems to be living an extremely unusual life, you may want to grill them a bit and see whether they switch their answers or get evasive.

What To Do?

What

Laura Caseley for LittleThings

If you suspect that someone you have met online is actually a catfish, do a little background checking to confirm your suspicions.

You can also use an online service to verify the identity of the person you are chatting with.

Once you have determined you are dealing with a catfish, immediately cut off communication. Don’t give the catfishthe chance to try to charm you back or convince you; simply stop responding.

Next, save any incriminating messages they may have sent you, andblock their account.Report their bad behavior to the dating site or social media service that you are using, and do your best to prevent future targets from the same cruel scam.

You can alsoSHAREthis list far and wide to make sure that everyone knows the red flags to watch out for!

Read more: https://www.littlethings.com/catfishing-signs-to-know/

11 Royal Family Scandals That Rocked Great Britain Back In The Day

It’s no surprise to find members of the British royal family in the gossip magazines stacked along grocery store checkout aisles. However, the modern royals are hardly the first to shock the world with their “scandalous” actions.

In fact, some of theBritish royal scandals from way back in the day would likely make the princes and princesses of today blush harder than any of their own stories. Sure, we think of Prince Charles and Princess Diana off the bat, but the examples below are so much more surprising, especially considering the time periods involved.

Despite their lofty titles andshiny crowns, they are still humans after all. It can be difficult to imagine those carefully posed portraits from history being anything but personifications of perfection, but hey we all have our flaws.

Unfortunately for the names listed below, their flaws happen to have been broadcast out to thewhole wide world and then stuck in the history books for good.

Take a look to see what shocking scandals the royals cooked up for themselves decades (and even centuries) in the past.

Let us know in the comments if we missed any particularly juicy tales from way back in the day, and be sure to SHARE with your friends!

[H/T: BBC America, Mental Floss]

1. King Edward VIII’s Brief Time On The Throne

Edward

Following the death of his father, George V, Edward reigned as king for less than a year (just 326 days) beforegivingupthe throne to marry Wallis Simpson, a twice-divorced American woman.

He was named Duke of Windsor while his younger brother Albert took over as King George VI. Edwardand Wallis remained together until his death, retiring to France after World War II.

2. Princess Margaret’s Eyes For A Married Man

2.

Captain Peter Townsend was a member of the British Royal Navy who acted as an attendant for the royal family, known as an equerry. That’s how he met and fell in love with Margaret, daughter of George VI and sister of the future Queen Elizabeth II.

Peter divorced his wife and the two went as far as getting engaged, thoughfamily pressure ultimately convinced Margaret to call the whole thing off.

3. Queen Victoria’s Boudoir Painting

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The “shocking” painting was unheard of for someone of her stature and deemed so indecent that it waskept hidden in Prince Albert’s office.

Of course by modern standards, the Prince’s favorite photo of his wife is actually quite modest.

4. Princess Margaret’s Historical Divorce

Princess

After suffering the heartbreak with Peter, Margaret married a photographer named Antony Armstrong-Jones, shownabove with President Lyndon B. Johnson and wife. However, the couple had a notoriously rocky marriage.

In 1978, Margaretbecame the first royal to geta divorce since Henry VIII in the 1500s.

5. Prince George’s Wild Lifestyle

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The Duke of Kent hadmany affairs behind his wife’s back,Princess Marina of Greece and Denmark. The “forgotten son” of British monarchy also reportedly had a problem with drug abuse, particularlymorphine and cocaine.

His death also sparked controversy, with many speculating whether the plane crash that killed him was orchestrated by his embarrassed family.

6. Queen Victoria’s Scottish Affection

6.

After she was widowed, the Queensecluded herself in a Scottish country estate where she grew close to one of the servants, John Brown.

A priest admitted on his death bed that he performed a secret marriage ceremony for the two. Supposedly, Victoria was so devastated when John passed away that she erected a statue in his image. Upon her own death, she allegedly requested to be buried with a lock of his hair, his photograph, and a ring he had given her.

7. Princess Anne Following In Her Aunt’s Footsteps

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She was married to an Olympic athlete, Mark Phillips, but they were apparently never really that fond of each other. Like her aunt Margaret, she also fell for a member of the royalequerry,Timothy Laurence.

However, Anne had much better luck and was able to divorce her husband and marry Timothy. The pair remain happily together today.

8. King Henry VIII’s Many, Many Wives

King

Henry infamously went through six different wives throughout his reign. First, there was Catherine of Aragon, whom he cheated on with his soon-to-be second wifes sister, Mary Boleyn, and likely had two sons from the affair. After breaking from the Catholic church in order to obtain an annulment and marry Anne Boleyn, he had Anne executed after she miscarried three potential male heirs and was accused of several affairs.

Jane Seymour, one of Anne’s ladies in waiting, was next and died after a difficult childbirth that finally supplied him a male heir. His fifth wife, Catherine Howard, was executed after he accused her of affairs with two men.

His last wife, Catherine Parr, luckily outlived him.

9. King George IV’s Indecent Proposals

King

Though many think of his father, George III, as the tyrant of the family, it was his son who not only had a notorious gambling habit but also attempted to woo women by offering them copious amounts of money, only to deny them the cash after they relented.

George IV was apparentlyvery lacking in the looks department. He also threatened to kill himself in a 42-page suicide note whenhis main mistress,Maria Fitzherbert, refused him. She eventually agreed to be with him, but only if they were married.

Because she was Catholic and a commoner, the pair were married in secret until he was forced to abandon her (and their children)for a political marriage. However, his reputation remained forever tarnished.

10. King Edward VII’s Sneaky Military Escapades

King

As the son of the famously prudish Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, Edward VII made up for their modesty by reportedly bedding thousands of women in his time.

It was his first foray into the frisky lifestyle, however, that causedhis parents to be taken aback. At 19, they had sent him to a military camp where he was happy to be introduced to the “camp prostitute.”

Though he had many chaperones watching his every move, Edward managed to make his way to the woman three times before being caught. Victoria and Albert were so shocked and ashamed that when Albert became sick and died shortly after, Victoria blamed her son for her loss.

11. King Charles II’s Feuding Mistresses

King

Apparently, restoring the monarchy after ousting Oliver Cromwell didn’t keep the king too busy, as he was known to have dozens ofmistresses and to have fathered several illegitimate children.

It was the women themselves, though, who caused a ruckus when they warred for Charles’ affection. Actress Nell Gwynn and the Duchess of Portsmouth, Louise de Krouaille, were known to get especially snippy with each other.

Did we miss any not-so-modern royal scandals from back in the day that you’ve heard about? Let us know below, and be sure to SHARE with your friends!

Read more: https://www.littlethings.com/royal-family-scandals/