Online dating and the risk of catfishing: How to investigate your date ahead of time

Young adult woman swiping on an online dating app. She's using her smart phone on the sofa at home. (FilippoBacci, iStock)

HOUSTON – Online dating has increased since the COVID-19 pandemic started and so has the risk of catfishing.

Rori Sassoon, matchmaker and relationship expert, explains why you should investigate your date ahead of time and also shared tips on what to do if you suspect you are being catfished.

Sassoon co-founded Platinum Poire, a power player matchmaking service, and has been featured on numerous media outlets.

“Always practice dating safety with anyone new. But, what to do though when you suspect you are being catfished and how to know? First, if it seems to be true it probably is and you must always trust your gut instincts,” said Sassoon, who suggests the following steps.

Tip 1: Do a google reverse search of their image.

Searching online (iStock)

“A lot of times a simple search will reveal this photo elsewhere and their true identity. If it leads somewhere else, you should have enough information to know right away they aren’t who they say. Do take down details you found no matter how seemingly trivial because you need this info for your investigation. It always leads elsewhere and will reveal other clues. Also, think of as a tool to help,” Sassoon recommended.

Tip 2: Check their social media.

Male hand holding smartphone. (iStock)

“Does it add up? Do all their friends look sort of the same? Does their social media seem contrived and fake? Do details they revealed appear on the page or conflict with the version they told you such as schools, jobs, relationships? This is a big clue. Plus, it gives you people to follow up with to cross-reference their story if you suspect. Are there photos of them in military uniform? This is a famous and well-used trick,” she said.

Tip 3: Get this person off the dating app and on to a virtual date or in-person date as soon as you can.

Photo series of a virtual dinner date with video call during lockdown. (iStock)

“Catfishers don’t like for you to see them because it will reveal their true identity, and usually they will have excuses as to why they can’t. Virtual dates are in, and the world is starting to open back up for in-person dates. Catfishers cancel dates all the time or virtual dates are conducted in a way where you can’t see them clearly. Don’t be tricked or fall for ludicrous explanations as to why they didn’t show, stood you up, or canceled. It will be to elicit sympathy, so you won’t be angry. Something like they were in a horrible car accident, so you feel compassion instead of anger is the norm. Don’t fall for whatever constant excuse they have for canceling. This is a huge sign. Move on if they can’t appear clearly in person,” said Sassoon.

To see Sassoon’s interview, watch the video below.

Rori Sassoon, matchmaker and relationship expert, explains why you should investigate your date ahead of time and shared tips if you suspect you are being catfished.

To connect with Sassoon, click here.

About the Author:

Beatriz is a producer for Houston life. She’s a dog mom who enjoys traveling and eating her way through new cities and cultures.