How to Tell if Someone Online is Real | Catfish

“Is the person I’m talking with online real?” – A common question when it comes to online romance. Someone with a false identity online is often referred to as a ‘catfish.’ Watch out for multiple profiles and fake pictures. But most importantly, be careful out there because not everyone is who they say they are.

—CHAPTERS—
4:18 – My Experience & Cyberstalking
8:25 – Warning Signs
14:44 – Tips
18:36 – Demonstration

—LINKS—
Google Search Operators – https://support.google.com/websearch/answer/2466433
Advanced Google Search Operators – http://www.googleguide.com/advanced_operators_reference.html

—RELATED VIDEOS—
► Dating Site Catastrophe – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z4B6OSOxdv8
► Catfish (part 2) – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9hd4twY_XRE

Table of Contents

    Introduction

    Hi everyone! This video is going to be about how to tell if a person online is real or not. I’m going to be briefly discussing my experience which I have a video in much greater detail if you are interested. [Dating Site Catastrophe] In addition to going over some tips and what to watch out for as well as doing a demonstration. These tips may help you determine if the person you are speaking with online is real or not, but it isn’t 100%, there are always exceptions.

    Anyone can pretend to be anyone else online. Someone could go as far as to pretend to be a celebrity, or even just slightly exaggerate their own features. Generally when someone creates a false identity of themselves online, they are often referred to as a ‘catfish.’ There is a movie and television series called Catfish that is all about people falling in love with someone online they never met. I’ve seen both the movie and television series. I absolutely love this show so much. I’ve seen all the episodes multiple times. And, every time I watch it I say, “I need to be one of the investigators on this show.” Because let me tell ya, I can uncover some really crazy stuff about people. But, we’ll get to that in a minute.

    Anyway, this show follows people’s journey as they go and meet up with the person they are in love with online that they never met. Looking at it from a third-person you can tell the people are blinded by their love for this individual. Even when given enough evidence that the person they are in love with is not who they say they are, they are in denial because they trust them no matter what. When they go meet up with this person and they are walking up to the house, it’s just, I can feel the overwhelming eeriness of the situation. It’s very very weird. Then the person comes out of the house, and it’s not the person in the profile at all and it’s just…it’s so heartbreaking too. I can just feel how upset this individual is. It’s just…wow…

    Someone who is pretending to be someone else online has a problem. It can be as simple as someone having a self-esteem issue and not liking themselves. So, they pretend to be someone else, or just even change their information. For example, someone who is overweight and not comfortable with it could either pretend to be someone completely different, with pictures on their profile that are not of them, but the personality is truly who they are. Or, they could just change their information to read normal weight instead of overweight. Whatever the case may be, it is a lie and not right.

    Someone wants to fall in love with a person that is upfront and honest. When you lie or exaggerate who you are, even just a little, how can anyone believe you after that? Learning to love and accept yourself first is what people with self-esteem issues need to do before looking for someone to love them. You can’t truly love someone else or be loved by someone until you love and accept yourself first. That is what needs to be worked on before looking for a relationship.

    Someone having a false identity can also have very malicious and devious motives as well. Someone could intentionally lure someone into a relationship just to hurt their feelings in the end for their own amusement. Generally these people are very vicious and have a distorted self-image that makes them feel fulfilled when they see others in pain. These individuals also have a severe personality disorder and need help to learn that their deceptive ways are unacceptable.

    Whatever the case is, be very careful out there because if you’ve never met the person, you don’t know what you could be getting yourself into.


    My Experience & Cyberstalking

    So, I actually used an online dating site for a short period of time in 2012. And, I had a life-changing encounter that I never expected in a million years. If you would like to know about this, I did a video on it. [Dating Site Catastrophe] It was a very traumatic experience as well. It was someone who had multiple profiles. Who, in communication, contradicted herself quite a bit to the point where I knew after the very first message it was not the person in the profiles. There were also multiple people who seemed to be interconnected with her, even though they denied it. However, my situation is probably not going to happen to you, since it was…

    A lot of you have said that they were just trolling me, and I understand that side absolutely. However, it was a lot more complex than that. A lot of information I have was omitted from the video that would definitely change a lot of things. For one, I know 100% who the real people are and that, to some extent, what they say is accurate of themselves. But, I don’t know their motives, and more importantly don’t know them as a person. So, I can’t make an accurate conclusion. That was my disadvantage. You may have more of an advantage here if you know the person you are communicating with online.

    However, regarding my situation, I did make what I thought was the most logical and reasonable conclusion at the end of the video. This conclusion was also made by several other individuals that knew the entire story. Including one that was involved in the situation. So, it wasn’t just my own observation. Of course, I’m not saying the conclusion is correct by any means since I could be completely wrong. I don’t know. But, in the end it was very malicious and unacceptable what was done to me. This made me decide against using a dating site again. I don’t see that happening.

    I was prepared and doubted every action this individual made because I knew deep down it wasn’t going to happen. I was extremely suspicious and on high alert after the very first message. Even though I truly wanted to believe this person was trustworthy. I don’t get fooled easily and my intuition is very strong. That is why I can easily spot someone who just isn’t who they say they are.

    So anyway, let me share with you all how much of a cyberstalker I am. Yes, I admit I am a cyberstalker, and that’s not necessarily something to be proud of since I shock myself sometimes with what I can find out about someone. But I don’t do it with ill intent. I do it to confirm to myself that someone I’m speaking with is trustworthy and who they say they are. If I discover something that is off and doesn’t match up, then I’m not going to be able to trust this person

    If we’ve communicated at all, or even not, I probably know a lot more about you then you think. The more suspicious I am of you, the more I probably know about you, and I’ll know when you are lying and trying to deceive me. My intuition and ability to understand an individual’s personality aids me in my investigation.

    I’ll find out your real first and last name, where you went to high school and college, where you live, your telephone number, your family and friend’s real name and where they live, your social media links and pictures of you and your friends and with your friends. I’ll even do a Google maps street view of your house and see in you in the yard! True story!

    Sorry if that sounds creepy, but as I said, it is only so I have proof that the person I am speaking with is legitimate since I’m not going to waste my time with someone that is fake.


    Warning Signs

    So, let’s discuss some things to watch out for. The main thing is multiple profiles. Now, what do I mean by multiple profiles? Several things actually, but they’re all pretty much one in the same. There can be one individual that maintains multiple profiles. Generally, the profiles they maintain are of different people. They will have different pictures, information, or just about anything else. But are all run by the same individual. Generally, the pictures may be different, but the personality would be congruent with how the individual truly is.

    However, in rarer circumstances, one individual could maintain several profiles of themselves, with pictures of themselves. The information may be the same or different, as well as the name.

    Likewise, someone could have fakes. An individual that is the catfish could find someone’s profile pictures and take them to use for their factitious profile. In other words, it may appear that an individual has multiple profiles of themselves, but in actuality two different people are behind them. One is real, and the other is fake.

    Anyone who uses multiples personal profiles and interacts with other people, I just don’t get it. What can someone possibly get out of using fake personas? Or if the profiles are all them, why the need to have multiple? I’m sorry but, these people I would stay away from at all costs. I understand if they are for different purposes, like on YouTube for instance. Someone could have a comedy channel and another music channel. That would be acceptable.

    But, when it comes to Facebook or just having interpersonal conversations with other people, I find multiple profiles completely unacceptable. According to Facebook’s Community Standards, “You’re only allowed to have one Facebook account. This account must list your real name. This way, everyone on Facebook knows who they’re interacting with.” And, “On Facebook people connect using their real names and identities. We ask that you refrain from publishing the personal information of others without their consent. Claiming to be another person, creating a false presence for an organization, or creating multiple accounts undermines community and violates Facebook’s terms.” So technically, we should be reporting people who use multiple profiles.

    I understand going by a different name to protect your identity. I’m all for that for privacy reasons. But to have multiple profiles, either all of you or of different people that you are pretending to be, I think is very malicious and deceptive and something I would avoid at all costs.

    Now, in some cases the individual could be dealing with a severe mental disorder that causes them to do this and/or not recognize what they’re doing is wrong. In addition to dissociative disorders where an individual takes on multiple personalities and are unaware that they have multiple profiles. Borderline personality disorder and dissociative identity disorder come to mind. So, that is possible, yes.

    However, when they become aware that they have multiple profiles, then I think it should stop right there before it gets out of control. Same goes for the other way around. Someone with multiple personalities that maintains one profile may feel the need to detach themselves even more from this profile and create multiple personal profiles. I find this unacceptable as well. I think it should be one profile per individual or body.

    If you are not interacting with people at all and keep it that way, then I don’t really see an issue with using multiple profiles. But, the moment another individual becomes involved in this multiple profiles mess, then it needs to stop right then and there. That way people are not deceived and lured into relationships with people who have an artificial online presence. That should be the main concern, to prevent anyone from getting hurt in the end.

    Because you know, if you have a false identity online and you fall in love with someone, and you feel like you cannot tell them the truth that you are not the person in the pictures, or something else you are hiding, because you fear they will dislike you, then you’ve already gone too far. Avoiding the fake profiles all together is the only true way that people will be able to love you for who you really are, with no lies or deceit. Someone does not want to fall in love with or trust an individual that pretends to be someone else or exaggerates who they really are. Social media can be an addiction so be very careful about making fake profiles online because it could turn into something bad very quickly.

    The next thing to watch out for is someone that doesn’t follow through and makes excuses. For example, let’s say you’ve been dating someone for a year now and you live close to one another and have yet to meet up because they say they’re busy all the time. They’re making excuses because they either have something to hide, or extremely anxious, or both. If the person truly cared about you, then their main priority should be to be open and honest with you, but when they are struggling with something, it may not necessarily work out. If they truly do want to meet but are extremely anxious, then they should say that because that would be the truth. But, you have to take into consideration that people fear their own weaknesses and think that by telling you something they think makes them feel weak and inferior is a bad move.

    In actually, fear is necessary and what makes us strong. By fighting through your fear and being open and honest, standing up for what you believe in, is the only way to overcome that fear of betrayal and rejection. Of course it’s difficult, but it is that difficulty that makes all of us strong.


    Tips

    Time for some tips. The number one most important tip is to prevent yourself from falling in love with someone you’ve never met. This is difficult if not impossible for many individuals. When you feel that connection with someone that you’ve never experienced before, it is only natural to feel an attraction and love there. But, you have to be pessimistic and untrusting when it comes to someone you’ve never met before because they could turn out to be someone completely different. Or, they could be who they say they are and when you meet them then you realize you don’t like their mannerisms or you just don’t feel that connection you did when communicating online. If you prepared yourself ahead of time by being doubtful, then the disappointment and heartbreak would not be as disastrous.

    You have to remember, emotions cloud logic. Your love for an individual clouds your logic and intuition, preventing you from seeing the obvious signs that the person may not be who they claim to be. There could be so many red flags, with many people telling you, “That’s not the person you’re talking with.” Yet, you believe otherwise because you trust, accept, and love this individual. Thinking they are telling you the truth, when they could actually be hiding behind a mask of deceit and lies. Be very careful online.

    Some other tips I have I will also show in the demonstration. One thing I’ve seen quite often is the same username. Many people I’ve seen use the same or close to same username across various sites online. You could search for that username and find sites they are on. Or even search Facebook for that username to see if they are on there under that username. I’ve done all this and it has been extremely helpful at finding many things about people.

    Another very helpful tip is to search for the image. You can import the image into Google images, for example, and it will find all instances of that image across the Internet. It will not, however, find private pictures. If someone has a private Facebook profile that is only accessible to friends and not search engines, it will not find those. So, it isn’t 100% accurate, but it can give you a lot of useful information.

    If all else fails, you could search for the person’s name, phone number, house, on an online public records site. Some really good ones are whitepages.com, spokeo.com, and advancedbackgroundchecks.com. It may not be completely free to get all the information you want, but you will be able to uncover quite a bit. I’ve used these tools and cross-referenced it with Google maps to find out where people lived. If they live with someone or family members, be sure to search them up as well since additional information may be found. And, from that I was able to find out telephone numbers and much more information, all without paying a cent.

    Be sure to verify each piece of information on various sites to ensure it’s accuracy. For example, if you find someone’s house on Spokeo and you are looking for their phone number, searching Advanced Background Checks may give you the number. Search that number on Spokeo and see if it points to the same location on the map. If it does, then you know you found the correct one. Though, not everything is completely accurate out there.


    Demonstration

    For this demonstration I will be using this stock photo of this woman. This may not be the best example, but someone could potentially use this photo for a fake profile.

    What we’re going to do here is search this image in Google. When on Google, click images. You have multiple options if you click this camera. You can paste the image URL if you like. This question mark tells you how to do that. Or, you can simply drag and drop the image from somewhere on your computer. Or, you can drag and drop it from online if you like and the results will return.

    So, as you can see, this picture returned some results of this woman. All types of things. Now, if I wanted to check just Facebook results, I would type, “site:facebook.com.” So, there seems to be a profile here, but when I click on it, this isn’t the profile I was looking for. I hid all this to protect the person’s identity by the way. Anyway, back on Google, this image came up on this page for a reason. If I click on this arrow here and choose “cached,” I can see the page on a previous day. The day the page was cached was apparently November 20th. And if I look, right here it is. So, this individual is using this picture of this woman as their profile. Of course, as I said, this isn’t the best example, but it works just like this when searching images people have sent you or are on their profile.

    This may not always return results though. If someone has a private Facebook page that search engines cannot reach, it will not show up. Furthermore, if someone edits the image, it may not show up. So, be aware of that.

    Next, we’re going to move onto searching up a name, username or any specific information. Let’s pick a random username here, let’s say “username_421.” As you can see, no results are coming up for username_421, just username421. If I wanted to search specifically for username_421, I would wrap the phrase in quotation marks. As you can see nothing returns, so there were no results for this username. You can utilize this to return specific results or parts of specific results you need.

    Furthermore, let’s do a search for Google. As you can see, almost all the top results are variations of Google.com. If I wanted to only show results from Google.com, I would, again, type “site:google.com.” But, let’s say I want to omit Google.com results. I would type a hyphen before site and it will filter out all sites that include Google.com. I can repeat this if I like, so if I wanted to not see any sites that include twitter.com, I would do the same here. There are so many search operators you can use so be sure to look over the Google help documents for more information. Do a search for “Google Search Operators” and you’ll find a lot of information. [Search Operators | Advanced Search Operators]


    So I hope this video was helpful. Thanks for watching!

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    Notes

    After an incident in 2012 where I encountered someone that was being dishonest online, I took a fascination in catfish. I began watching the MTV show which I absolutely love! It is so exciting, shocking, and sad, all at the same time. I’ve always said I need to be one of the investigators on the show since I can uncover A LOT of things on people. (Just like my run in with that certain someone in 2012! HAHAHA!!!)