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"Catfishing" is quickly becoming my first candidate for words to ban this year. Worse than that, catfishing is also becoming an all-too-common way for people to dupe others online.
Just about anyone who's tried online dating has experienced some amount of 'exaggeration' in a potential date's profile or picture. The 42-year old who's really 52; the 'freelancer' who hasn't held a job in 10 years; the 'suave' guy who thinks wearing a white polyester suit is hot. But that's mild compared to some of the fraud we're hearing about lately. Even the Manti Te'o girlfriend scam, bizarre as it is, is not the worst that can happen. Just this week there was a story about a woman who wired $6,000 for Super Bowl tickets she found online - and the fedex envelope arrived with a note that said "LOL". No tickets included. No kidding.
So now experts are recommending that we take steps to prevent being a victim of catfishing. Basically, we have to be amateur detectives - delving deeper into someone's Facebook timeline, pictures & posts; checking LinkedIn accounts; running a profile pic through Google Image Search. Some even recommend doing background checks.
While it may feel like you're being overly suspicious, it can't hurt to be cautious when you're engaging with - or sending money to - someone you've never met.
Here's the article with more details on places to find information about your new online 'friend'.
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