“I have been catfished!” This has become a common phrase that we hear people say. As social media becomes popular, advanced, and widely used, some people are also busy stealing identities and impersonating others. Most of these are common in dating apps where a user swipes right because they have liked the person on the profile only to realize later that it is a stolen identity.
There are various reasons which may prompt people to steal identities online. First, people do these for revenge. For example, a girl is dumped and wants to get back at her boyfriend, and she creates a fake online account. They lure them into a new relationship only for the partner to realize it is revenge after emotional investment and time.
Catfishing can also be a form of harassment. People create multiple accounts targeting one person to harass them online by posting comments, photos that will hurt that target.
One can, however, identify accounts that people use for catfishing. The account tends to have a particular trend in which the person may exhibit certain behaviors. They are unwilling to engage in video calls because this will reveal true identities. They avoid face-to-face conversation, and one might consistently have a hard time getting them to meet for a meal or chat. Their profile picture tends not to change much because they are using images that do not belong to them and, it is difficult to get the latest updates on photos.
The social pressure is affecting people who have lower esteems, and they are hiding behind different identities with the fear of being bullied and trolled online. Some people take advantage of social media sites and use fake identities to swindle people. Others for stalking using pseudo accounts to stay in touch with what the person posts online. Catfishing may also be because of low esteem, mental illness, and depression.
Fullwood, C., & Attrill-Smith, A. (2018). Special issue on “constructing the self-online.” Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, 21(1), 3-4.
In Chiluwa, I., & In Samoilenko, S. A. (2019). Handbook of research on deception, fake news, and misinformation online.
In Yadav, D., In Bansal, A., In Bhatia, M., In Hooda, M., & In Morato, J. (2021). Diagnostic applications of health intelligence and surveillance systems.