Until she dug a little deeper. He told me that he lived in a suburb nearby, and that he was a venture capitalist. And so I did a Google Reverse Image search on his picture. And I found him, the handsome venture capitalist … in Getty Stock Images. Yes, the person I was chatting to was a liar. If indeed it was a person.
It could have been a savant chipmunk for all I know. Now, this is not my first time chatting online to a stock image. I have caught people chipmunks? And the phenomenon, catfishing, fascinates me. Why do people use fake photos to chat to others on the internet? Catfishing on local dating sites is not an effective way to find love. After all, what happens if a face-to-face date is actually made?
Presumably, in many cases, it is about money. Catfishers use fake profiles to lure vulnerable women into falling in love and transferring cash to them, ostensibly to facilitate a meeting. It seems that these men are online purely for the thrill of interacting with people using a disguise. Still leaning against the same wall though.
Fake pictures and dating sites offer them a chance to interact with females they find attractive, who may never talk to them in real life. And I imagine the scammers are excited by the deception of it, and excited to be fooling people. They remind me a lot of myself as a teen when I used to make prank phone calls. It was such a thrill! Still, as harmless as many of these dating catfishers are, it is a colossal waste of time to be chatting to them.
And online dating is hard enough as it is without worrying that you are chatting to a chipmunk using a Getty Image. Well, Google Image Search is your friend. This is a tool that allows you to feed an image into your search engine, and be shown where on the internet that image is found. If it is only found on your dating site, chances are you are pretty safe. At the very least, check out the pictures of people who are improbably good looking, or whose photos look perfectly staged.
A middle-aged woman is unlikely to be approached by a stunning year-old brain surgeon; a year-old man is unlikely to be approached by a busty year-old. Most of all, listen to your gut. If you have your doubts, ask questions. Ask for surnames, workplace details, or a spontaneous selfie. Keep an open heart, keep an open mind, but always protect yourself. And please, if any of you know the whereabouts of that dude in the photo, let me know.
Yes, this is a real picture of her. Follow her on Twitter KerriSackville Moneyologist: What Not to Do on Dating Sites4: Getty February 18th