Don’t Get Catfished: How to Avoid the Online Dating Swindle

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I’m glad you were you when we met.

These were the words of my cyber boo, who sat next to me in real life as we tuned into the second half of Catfish, the most gotcha! and have-a-seat show since To Catch a Predator.

In case you haven’t seen the show, it’s a reality-based docudrama (aka reality show) on MTV about the truth and lies of online dating. In e-terms, a catfish is a person that lives another life online by using someone else’s pictures. The catfish may also take other info from that person’s life or create another existence all together. Intents vary, but the side-eyes don’t. In this show, a camera crew accompanies one half of the e-relationship as he or she goes to meet the other…for the first time. Chris Hansen nor dude from Cheaters are part of the show.

On Monday’s episode, Trina, the abstract model and “interpretive dancer,” showed up with camera crew in tow to meet the e-love of her life, Scorpio — who was also supposed to be an “interpretive dancer.” Once Scorpio came out of his house (Yeah, they went to his house) and into reality, the world was underwhelmed (humored). The man that she thought was a chiseled, purse-lipped macchiato turned out to be Rufus in the well-nourished flesh. He was a brick house built on lies. At least 73 pounds heavier and a few shades darker than expected. 2 kids became 4 and 27 years young became 32 years crisis. The antithesis of winning. I weep for him.

As you can imagine, Trina wasn’t too happy with the real world revelation. It was evident in the tears that trekked through her make up. With her disappointment moving in rhythm with the world’s tiniest violin, she spoke into the camera about her disappointment with his lies. Sad stuff I tell ya.

Online life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get in person. Well, unless you take a few precautionary measures and keep these things in mind:

If they can’t speak on the phone and skype at the same time, it ain’t real.

For online love when speaking on the phone isn’t enuf. If you’ve been talking to someone seriously and have yet to see them in a non-static state, you’re setting yourself up for failure. And to be extra safe, you should suggest going on video while on the phone to put your mind twice at ease. Don’t get hit with the front double.

If you need a camera crew, it probably ain’t real.

If you feel like you need a camera crew to accompany you to the first meeting, you already suspect lame sauce. At that point, you’re just in it for the camera time, which is pretty phuckin’ selfish. Two strikes against the potential for everlasting love.

Whatever you think they weigh in their picture(s), add 20 pounds.

Worst case scenario: You were 20 pounds closer to their real weight.

Best case scenario:  You can live with it.

When you look at online pictures, always think about the message on driver-side mirrors,but with a twist: Objects may be bigger than they appear. 

Attractive Black Men (however you choose to define them) don’t look for love online unless they live in Dakota.

More specifically, they don’t do dating sites. And if they do, they’re probably looking for bargains and free shipping with a return label. You know, so that you can go home and sleep in your own bed afterward.

There are plenty of other precautions and rules, but I’ll leave that up to you today. What advice would you offer someone falling in e-love or seeking it online? Also, if you’ve seen the show, what do you think? 

You are not your pixels,

 

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  • Joe Sargent

    "Dude from Cheaters" is Joey Greco…also my hero. That guy is so unintentionally hilarious.

    As far as the post goes…I'm just glad I don't have to play that game. Got my girl, NOW I can get fat, lol.

  • http://singleblackmale.org/author/wisdomismisery WisdomIsMisery

    I've experienced 'The Catfish' struggle a few times. Most times, it's just a woman with pictures that are a few years older or a few pounds heavier. Only in a few extreme cases was a woman outright lying abotu who she was. *cough*

    All your tips are highly recommended for avoiding The Catfish swindle. For the record, if you haven't seen the movie y'all should definitely look into it. Crazy stuff. I also now assume all y'all fake. Just sayin…

    PS… Attractive Black Men (however you choose to define them) don’t look for love new new online unless they live in Dakota Colorado. Can I live, bro?!?

    • Cheekie

      Also highly recommend the movie. The swindle in that movie was on a whole 'nother level!

    • Cynthia

      I just assume everyone on the online dating sites is a two headed alien from Mars with a computer and internet access. Sounds extreme? So what. I am not trying to end up a skin suit.

    • http://twitter.com/mrcromartie1989 @mrcromartie1989

      Spring Hill sucks too. The dominant senior/retirement aged community isn't exactly a good dating pool for a young 23 year old black male. Okcupid and POF are the only options until moving out it feels.

  • InsomniaPoet

    I had no clue this REALLY happened…wow.

  • Lioness Rising

    My thoughts:
    They contacted the real Scorpio AKA Larry and connected him with Trina. In the updates it says Trina and Larry still talk, so you know what that means… And Trina put ole' teddy bear dude with 4 kids in the friendzone real quick.

    Good looking men done online date? explain that sir…

  • ShuShuMama

    I saw this episode. I think the number one rule for dating online is: Don't do it unless you have common sense. In Trina's case, they had been speaking for over a year and she had NEVER met him in person, saw him on Skype, or gotten the obligatory d*ck pic. NOTHING.

  • KGMoney

    Yes I was wondering about that online dating comment too. I'm curious to know the male perspective on online dating because on one end, I've heard it's a tool some men use to get the some new new but on the other end I think people ( like myself) are genuinely looking to date and just want to try something different rather than hoping to get noticed ion the subway lol. I know people, again myself included, that have had successful relationships and courtships from meeting people online not all butt action. I've stopped online dating for other reasons but it just make me wonder…hmm?

    • Slim Jackson

      That last point was anecdotal for me, not based on research. The few men I know that have used it weren't really looking for wives. In fact, I don't know any man that admits to finding his girl or wife on a dating site. However, I do think men and women can meet and have a productive offline relationship. It's just organic. I know a few e-couples that turned into married couples. They weren't searching for each other though. It just kinda happened from them frequenting the same e-places.

      • Darrk Gable

        My uncle found his wife on an online dating site, whatever that means. I used to use the online dating sites as a hustle to round up a harem, then pick through.

    • InsomniaPoet

      ohhh are you subway noticeable?? lol if so we can totally blog date!

    • http://www.WisdomIsMisery.com WisdomIsMisery

      KG, I seem to be the only black man on Earth that admits to uses online dating. I would definitely recommend it and have spoken at length on this before but I may need to write a post here specifically on that issue. I especially recommend it for 1) dudes who aren't the flyest – no shots 2) dudes who are getting older and don't want to be in the club all night 3) dudes looking to smash a wide array of women with no strings attached. A lot of women are against on-line dating but that's because, in my opinion, the cards aren't in their favor (which no woman likes, another issue completely lol). Most men, online or otherwise, aren't looking for a relationship; however, most women, online or otherwise, are looking for a relationship or at least they are more open to a relationship than men.

      Lastly, WTF could it hurt? lol I wouldn't use it as your only means but I would definitely have it as one of the eggs outside of the usual basket of "let me go to the same club/starbucks/church/wherever I've been going the last 30+ years and pray/hope I run into my wife/husband. Seems strange that black people are so open to using technology for everything BUT establishing a meaningful relationship. Such is life.

      Also, co-sign everything Slim said

      • http://fourpageletter.wordpress.com keisha brown

        i actually would read this post from you if you decide to write it.

        i know fellas believe that a woman’s options are infinite as soon as she leaves her house, but that is not the case. plus its easy to fake/grow confidence online. being online is just a large part of one’s life now. slim’s last point highlights why there is such an imbalance there.

        but you are 100% right though.

  • http://tokyobrown.blogspot.com/2012/04/hi-my-name-is-tokyo-brownand-i-facebook.html TokyoBrown

    1 thing you should do so that you don't get "Catfished" (and I'm surprised Trina didn't do it) GOOGLE… GOOGLE… GOOGLE!!! It can really be your best friend if you're dealing with someone you don't know much about. If you're not sure of their first and last name, search their username. I hate to say this but most guys tend to be so simple til it's stupid. Many use the same username for EVERYTHING… twitter, instagram, facebook and all their secret porn sites (trust me, I found out the hard way). I've found out all kinds of craziness from a simple search engine. All I'm going to say is It's not his fault if YOU don't do your due diligence!

  • AverageBlkGuy

    I saw this episode of the show… I really felt for this chick. Seriously. That being said, it happens. I've been cat fished before… actually it was more like a whale shark than a catfish. The key is to not get that deep into someone without doing the necessary checks.. skype etc. I learned from my experience and it hasn't turned me off from online dating.
    I will say this though… I'm an attractive black man, and I am online hoping to meet someone. LOL That's not the sum total of my search just another avenue for diversity.

  • ladyd_02

    Yea I was just catfished a few weeks ago. We only been talking a few days but when we met up all I could think was where is my date?? Dude was not the same guy in the pics at all. It was cool though I didn't cuss his butt out or say anything about it. I just let him spend an arm and leg on my dinner and proceeded ignore all his calls & text….he got the point after 3 days.

    • AverageBlkGuy

      That was cold, but I understand. It not right or fair to not be honest, but desperate people do desperate things. I’ve been desperate before and it’s possible I may be again, but I’m too old to lie about who I am. If you don’t value yourself enough to be who you are when you meet someone then you are in a sad state.

  • larnelw

    Late but still have to chime in.
    I find that cathish show to be hilarious. Maybe because I use to be a e-whore and have met quite a few women from the internet (Blackplanet, Myspace, etc). But I agree with much that was said. In these days there is no excuse to get caught out there with applications such as Skype, Oovoo, Facetime and the rest. If someone really cared that much about you there is no reason they couldn't download one of those FREE programs and chat with you in real time.

  • heyheynow

    so…ok looking guys who are probably just shy don't do online dating? really black people ugh

    #singleblackchick sighhss

  • 1monthonOKCUPID

    This is kind of funny lol, I have been lightweight catfished twice lol. Same guy plus 20 pounds all in their belly. I mean my pics were accurate, why can't yours be? It's such a let down but video chat would have eliminated that possibility. One of the guys was nice but I couldn't look past his belly. I felt bad but if he would have been more honest with his pictures then maybe I would have known what to expect.

    I think the majority of guys on free dating websites have something to hide, so look very, very hard to find it. It is more than likely there. It also may be a serious personality flaw. One guys told me that he would hit a woman. Wonderful…Same guy said he was a nice guy…Awesome.

    Trust your gut, if something is off with the person, something is off.

  • http://catfished.net Mikel

    Visit Catfished.net to tell your story and report a catfisher.
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