WITH so many people meeting online these days, there are more opportunities for people to get conned than ever.
People aged between 45 and 54 are most vulnerable to being targeted by so called “catfishes” who pretend to be a person they aren’t online.
Samantha Cooper is a professional catfish catcher and founder of Rogue Daters
But there is help at hand as professional catfish catcher Samantha Cooper, 53, from London explained to MyLondon how to make sure people are who they say they are online.
The founder of Rogue Daters agency that helps potential victims of romance fraud, said: “We encourage people to run early checks to know who they are connecting with online.”
Sadly no one is safe from romantic fraudsters so it’s important to know how to spot the signs.
The pro catfish catcher explained that she decided to set up the company when she started online dating after her divorce and found people to be seriously dishonest.
She started the company in 2018 and is now an expert in identifying the “red flags” the show a person to be a fake.
She said: “It could be somebody that has an elaborate story of their lifestyle.
“They travel a lot, they have a glamorous lifestyle, they may be a business person who has a commodity of high value like gold or diamonds, or they could be a professional doctor, army soldier, things like that.
“But then, very quickly, there’ll be a tragic sob story. A business transaction has gone wrong, or they’re held up in customs – it would be a very quick story that evolves.”
Samantha said it’s important to watch out for people who become very invested very quickly, as people often use that as a tactic to suck people in.
She said: “They’re trying to show you that they’re heavily invested. They’ve got a great imagination, but they’re very sophisticated.”
She explained that some people can be very manipulative and use their new persona to exploit money from you, they will even go as far as to make you feel guilty if you don’t part with your cash.
Samantha recommends that you Google any person you speak to online and reverse image search their profile photo to see if things add up and if it doesn’t she strongly advises you not to ignore that.
They may be a business person who has a commodity of high value like gold or diamonds, or they could be a professional doctor, army soldier, things like that.
She said: “I find that what people tend to do is see a couple of things that don’t make sense, and then ignore it.
“Speak to family and friends – they will give you an honest opinion. If they think something is wrong, unfortunately, a lot of the time it is.”
Samantha even warned that behind the catfish profile it could be a number of people who use the account as a co-ordinated profile for extorting money.
The expert stresses that victims aren’t stupid but they’ve often been caught off guard while looking for love.
For more information about Rogue Daters, visit their website: roguedaters.co.uk
The expert encouraged people to Google their matches and make sure everything adds upCredit: Getty
If you want more info on catfishing, check out our guide where we shed light on what a catfish is and how you can protect yourself.
Meanwhile this woman confessed to being a catfish – “I lied to my man for two years and never told him my dark secret but he just found out”.
Plus this woman tried online dating and was catfished 25 times in a year – she even went on a first date with the same sneaky lad twice.
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