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What Is Catfishing and How Does It Work?

Online identities are often unreliable due to the mask of the internet. Users across the world are able to recreate themselves into someone completely different to accomplish an agenda. Catfishing is a term that has been directly tied to faking an identity on the internet. Unlike phishing which is typically tied to email deceit, catfishing is typically more personal through fake social media accounts or dating profiles. In this course, users will learn more about what catfishing is and how users fall victim to it.

What is Catfishing?

Catfishing is defined as an act of creating a false identity that is used to manipulate others into believing the created identity is real. This is most commonly seen on dating websites, in which catfish victims are lured into what they believe is a relationship. Catfish identities are maintained through the premise that those who engage with the identity will never actually meet in the real world. With numerous forms of social media, it is very easy for catfish identities to be created across multiple platforms. Victims may find the fake identity on Facebook and Instagram. Multiple profiles is a manipulative practice that tricks victims into believing that they have verified the identity.

How Does it Work?

Catfish identities are successful based on separation of online profiles with real-life encounters. The fake identity must also be displayed in a realist manner. The catfish creator must utilize a series of photos and posts that reinforce the mirage. Catfish identities are created for a number of various reasons including pranks, revenge, grooming, and fraud. Users must be weary of anyone they meet online that is not willing to meet in person. Cybercriminals will utilize catfish identities to create deceptive stories as a means for scamming victims to donate to causes that don’t exist. One of the primary warning signs of a catfish is a limited number of photos. Someone trying to maintain an identity that doesn’t exist has limited visual resources.

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Summary

Catfishing is a term that has been directly tied to faking an identity on the internet. Unlike phishing which is typically tied to email deceit, catfishing is typically more personal through fake social media accounts or dating profiles. Catfishing is defined as an act of creating a false identity that is used to manipulate others into believing the created identity is real. Catfish identities are maintained through the premise that those who engage with the identity will never actually meet in the real world. Catfish identities are created for a number of various reasons including pranks, revenge, grooming, and fraud.

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