What you need to know about this form of cyberbullying

Thanks to the internet and social media, we can now connect and communicate with new people anytime anywhere. However, this innovative way of communication opens up the doors to incidents of fraud and cyberbullying. And catfishing is one of those deceptive ways to trick and bully people.

What is catfishing?
Catfishing is the act of pretending to be someone else to deceive people or to entangle them into fake relationships and later exploit them. It refers to the practice of creating a false identity by setting up a fictitious profile. A catfish gets a hold of someone’s picture and uses it as bait to con people. In most cases, the ultimate goal of this malicious actor is to extract money or personal details from people by harassing or blackmailing them. It is like a combination of phishing and cyberbullying.
Signs of catfishing
If you don’t want to be duped by any strangers online, look for the signs of a catfish in a person you are interacting with.
1. Avoid personal communication
A catfish does not want to talk in person, on the phone or in video chat. (S)he is too much friendly while interacting with you and will try to build a good bonding within a short period but will avoid face-to-face conversation.
2. Have lots of friends of the opposite sex or a handful of friends on social media
For instance, a regular female catfish will have a great number of male friends online. Additionally, a catfish may keep very few friends or no friends online which is quite unusual for now. It can also be a sign of a catfish.
3. Lack of proper grammar
Whenever it comes to some sorts of phishing and cyberbullying, there is a common way to find out about it and that is a lot of grammatical mistakes in the texts or messages. And there is no exception in the case of catfishing. If you see the unknown person is not at all comfortable while sending you messages in their native language, try to find out some more details about them.
4. Ask for money
As mostly the ultimate aim of these frauds is to extract money from the victims, they’ll ask for money giving various excuses such as family issues, medical conditions, financial crisis, etc. It is always nice to help people who are in need. However, you need to be cautious before any money transaction for your safety.
How to avoid a catfish
1. Being cautious
While talking to unknown persons, be cautious about their approach and intention. Try to find out what they want by questioning tactfully.
2. Search his/her image on Google Reverse
Sometimes a catfish takes images from the common resources available such as different social media platforms or Google. In case you are confused, you can check their picture on Google Reverse.
3. Avoid accepting random friend requests or talking to people
Make sure that the person you are building a relationship with is not a fraud. Do some basic research about the person before accepting a random friend request. Furthermore, thorough research and basic details of that person are mandatory before you share your feelings or sensitive information with them.
Catfishing and cyberbullying
Both these vices go hand in hand as a catfish impersonates someone else and it is an intentional act. Like a cyberbully, a catfish often exploits the emotions of people, especially those who are emotionally vulnerable. The victims are mostly those who have somehow expressed some kinds of their personal views and opinions online which have caught the attention of the catfishes.

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