Access to the internet and social media make a lot of people’s data easily available, from full names to profile photos. This data is often used by malicious actors for catfishing scams.
Catfishing scams can trick many people, especially if they are not careful. That’s why it is important to recognize this scam to increase your awareness to prevent falling victim to it. Find about catfishing scams and how to avoid them below.
About Catfishing Scams
Catfishing is a cyber fraud that utilises someone else’s identity. It is a term used to describe online identity forgery.
A catfisher will steal a person’s profile picture and impersonate that person. He/she will also contact people close to that person (family, old friends from school/college/office, etc.) to carry out the act.
Their goals also vary. To carry out their actions, they usually try to convince the victim that they are his/her family/friends and then proceed to carry out their malicious actions. They may start by targeting the victim’s wealth or requesting information about their bank account.
These catfishers will contact their victims through text messaging, chat, or social media. After that, they will start asking for money/personal information of the victim. The methods used can vary, from subtle deception to borrowing money, asking for a fund transfer with the promise of returning it later and sometimes even threatening their victims.
Knowing the Characteristics of Catfishing
Most catfishing actors have similarities in their behaviour. Here are the characteristics of catfishing scammers that are easy to recognize.
- Starts a conversation to establish familiarity with the victim
- Avoids video calls with the victim
- Avoids when asked to meet in person
- His/her social media presence is often lacking in daily activities
- Dodges when asked about something more personal
Tips to Avoid Catfishing Scams
Follow the steps below to avoid catfishing scams.
1. Do not trust people easily
It is important to be skeptical when socializing online. However, that doesn’t mean that you have to ignore everyone. It is necessary to choose and sort out who you instinctively believe has good and bad intentions when trying to socializing online.
It never hurts to check the information of people who contact your via WhatsApp or direct message on social media. Confirm the validity to a trusted source (for example, if it is a college friend, ask in the WhatsApp group of college friends). If it’s fake or an unknown number/account, just ignore it and don’t reply.
2. Use an identity finder app
It’s also a good idea to use an app to find out the mobile phone number of the person calling you. This is a preventive measure to avoid falling further into the scam mode. This app also helps to see if the number is being used from crime or not.
Criminals are more likely to have acted more than once with the same mobile phone number. Some will also keep this phone number on their mobile phone. Immediately ignore messages from the catfisher if you know that the number has been used to run similar actions previously.
3. Keep personal data safe
It is not uncommon for scammers to ask for some personal data during the conversation with them. This is usually done when you are already quite close to them. Especially if the communication has been very intense.
Avoid sharing sensitive information with others, regardless of the reason. Especially if they ask for banking account data, such as ATM card numbers, PINs, and passwords. It is possible that the data will be misused by the scammer.
4. Notify family/friends
Your data could have been used by the scammer to run a catfishing scam. They will use your photo (taken from social media) for their WhatsApp profile and other social media profiles. Then, they will target the people closest to you.
If you encounter this scam, immediately inform your closest friends and relatives/family that someone is using your identity to commit fraud. This step aims to save your loved ones from being deceived by scammers.
Immediately report catfishing scams
You can start ignoring if a scammer asks to transfer some money and has even made threats that endanger you and your family, immediately report this fraud to the police to protect you and your family.
If the scammer requests banking data or money transfer to a BCA account, immediately contact HaloBCA 1500888 or via the haloBCA app. By doing this, you are also helping to reduce crime while saving others from becoming victims.
These are all the catfishing scams that often appear on WhatsApp and social media. There are many other frauds that can harm many people. Please keep yourself informed about fraud cases on #AwasModus.