Written by Miles Brown, Staff Writer
Have you ever messaged a stranger or received a message from a social media user and carried many different conversations before you realize you have no idea who you are really talking to. Users who talk to fake profiles on the internet realize that they were never able to truly know who they were conversing with online. If a person who a user has been talking to for a while and met on a social media app doesn’t want to do things such as skype or send pictures of them, chances are it’s a catfish. There are many reasons why people pretend to be someone they are not in real life. Young men and women are especially susceptible to this. The internet is very easy to bring anonymity and due to this, many people fall for the fakes.
However there are also many tips and signs when detecting whether someone online is who they say they are. How easy is it to trick people over the internet? I’d say very easy with the amount of applications and functions on line profiles have today.
The most common way to get tricked on the internet is through social media apps like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and apps that cater to dating. This is because almost anyone can create a fake profile with a fake name, birthday address and bio with information that can trick a naïve individual who doesn’t know the tricks and games that “catfishes” play. Also, usually the individual who uses someone else’s identity will take pictures from an attractive individual and add them to their own profile. This process is known as “catfishing.” MTV even has a whole show about individuals who have been tricked into thinking that they are falling in love for one person, but they are really talking to someone else. Usually, these people who catfish are really insecure with themselves or have another deeply rooted issue where they feel that is justifiable to trick someone else.
Ways of finding out if a profile is fake is to first check mutual friends and if there are zero to one mutual friends then the profile should definitely be cause for concern. If the profile a user knows sends unusual or inappropriate messages to the inbox of the individual, the text and messages must be observed to see whether the messages are normally being received in terms of format structure, punctuation, and word choice. This difference can be remarkable when telling whether a profile is fake. On Instagram or twitter if the profile has few followers and few pictures and follows a significantly great amount of people, chances are the profile of the person is an imposter. If the profile you are talking to does not like to send pics of themselves or live videos/ video chats with them, the profile is usually a catfish. Gamers also have to be aware of fraud profiles that have access to a lot of game codes or points and try to scam you out of money.
An example of ways on how individuals have been able to easily trick individuals on the internet is in the case of Malachi Robinson, the eighteen year old teen who was able to pretend to be a doctor who had his own private practice in West Palm Beach Florida earlier this year. The young man pulled off the scam for months.
“Local police, however, believed that Love-Robinson may have been practicing more traditional medicine. They sent an undercover officer into his office, and Love-Robinson examined her and told her to take an allergy pill. Police then promptly arrested the teen on charges of practicing medicine without a license,” Kyle Munzenrieder of the Miami New Times said.
The amount of skill and dedication to pull of this fraud is amazing but it shows just how easy someone can be tricked on line.