What’s that? You don’t know what “catfishing” is? It’s being fooled into an online relationship with someone who isn’t who they pretend to be. They’re either lying in part or have made up a completely fake persona just for you! Don’t feel flattered – they’re stalker-quality weirdos.
As the Internets debate whether or not Te’o was “in on it” (let’s hope he was!), we have some tips to help you avoid your own catfishing adventure.
Check out the #catfish hashtag for all the latest Te’o news (we won’t be rehashing it here). This post is all about YOU and your potentially naive acceptance of online love, not Te’o's made up girlfriend. Whoops.
Here’s the list of warning signs to look out for (and it applies to all social networking hook-ups, not just Twitter):
The screen name she used initially changes a few times. That’s sneaky. Expect that she’ll suddenly have an emergency and need to borrow money.
She posts a bunch of photos claiming to be her, but in some she’s Asian and you’re pretty sure she was white. Listen to that little voice.
He talks to you on the phone, but the conversation is always quick and he won’t give you his number to call him back because it’s “his work phone.” This one is actually an adulterer, but you’re still being catfished. And why would you talk to someone who can’t afford their own phone anyway?
You offer to travel to meet this wonderful woman in person, but there’s always an excuse. It’s a man, baby.
You’re too embarrassed to tell your friends about this “boyfriend” (because even though you’re blinded by love, you find his “exiled Egyptian prince” story hard to swallow).
You’ve heard your friends whisper the word “catfish” when talking about you and your online soulmate.
And finally, if you’ve replied to scam emails and tweets and your computer has crashed more than once because of your propensity to click every link you see – maybe “online” isn’t the right place for you to find a love match. Try bowling.
Oh and don’t get in a relationship with this girl.
And if, despite our best efforts here, you DO get catfished, you can always pitch your story to MTV. They have a whole series on it.