After a 22-year-old man, Vineet Singh, from Uttar Pradesh’s Muzaffarnagar, realized his Facebook girlfriend had catfished him, the suitor shot and killed her, and then took his own life.
The unfortunate event occurred Friday when the online lovers rendezvoused – meeting in person for the first time. It was then that Singh realized his virtual Facebook girlfriend, Jyoti Kori, was actually a middle-aged housewife.
The victim, Kori, a 45-year-old mother of three from Jabalpur, India, had virtually represented herself as a single 21-year-old when she allegedly began her online relationship with the assailant, explains the Times of India.
Hurt and angry, Singh apparently shot and killed Kori and then turned the gun on himself. He later died in the hospital.
Singh, who was unemployed, and Kori, a housewife, regularly chatted on Facebook. Leading up to the murder-suicide, the two had been in touch for nearly three years.
Kori’s husband and children were unaware of the woman’s online relationship.
While this situation is an extreme example of what can happen when a person is catchfished, people should see it as a cautionary tale.
EHarmony has provided some safety tips on how to avoid being catfished – a term derived from the documentary film Catfish and an MTV series with the same name, which examines deceitful online relationships.
In order to be a savvy online-dater, fact check, and be on the lookout for red flags.
Don’t be afraid to Google someone you’ve just met on sites like Facebook. Using a picture, you can use Google’s “search by image” feature or Tineye reverse image look-up to determine if the user has multiple social media profiles under other aliases and/or real name.
If the likeness of the person messaging matches that of other accounts under different names, it’s safe to assume the corresponding profile is likely fake.
Be observant. Typically faux Facebook accounts will have a low friend count and nondescript photos without tags or family members featured.
Protect yourself. Use profile privacy settings and limit the amount of personal information you divulge.
To avoid being catfished you can also schedule a face-to-face meet; the earlier the better. It’s harder for a person to lie/keep secrets about who they are in person, at least in regards to their physical likeness. If they are claiming to be a single teenage girl, you’ll notice right away in a meet-and-greet they’re a 47-year-old man.
If face-to-face makes you uncomfortable, employ Skype. And if the person you met is hesitant, frequently bails or makes excuses about failing to join in on webcam chats, they’re likely fibbing about who they are. Or at the very least something is sketchy, such as they may be married or in a live-in relationship.
Follow the old adage, “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.” Your virtual date is a knock-out combination of genius and supermodel, who boasts about their extraordinary incomes, inventions, and cars. Does it sound farfetched? Gut-check, yes. Ask.
Inquire as often as you like about whatever you feel is necessary, because, and I can’t stress this enough, they are a stranger. If their response is defensive, the person is likely lying, or at the very least exaggerating the details considerably.
Beware of premature declarations of love, proposals of marriage, and requests for sexually explicit photos or money from your online suitor.
[Photo Credit: Franco Bouly]