For anyone who meets people through online dating sites, which is now close to half the single (and married but pretending to be single) population, the concept of being “catfished” is just part of the game. It happens everyday.
One online dater, Kerrie Sackville, a journalist in Australia, says she got catfished by a guy using a stock photo! She chatted with the handsome silver fox who told her he was a venture capitalist, but became suspicious when they started emailing back and forth and she noticed he could barely spell. She busted him by using reverse Google image search, that lets you upload the image and see if it has been used elsewhere on the internet. In her case, it was an actor’s head shot that was sold by a photographer to Getty, a stock photo agency.
Catfishing is practiced by both sexes, but women report it happens to them more than men. The gay men I spoke to about this phenomenon say they avoid it altogether by asking the guys they are chatting with to send them a selfie, along with a bunch of recent photos. Like more than a handful. After 8 or 9 photos you can get can an idea of what the person looks like. And I recommend asking for an “ugly photo” — a more unflattering shot with bad lighting, where you can really see what the person looks like. And not the one where he’s wearing a ski mask. This keeps you from being shocked when the person you just spent hours talking to, shows up and looks 20 years older and 30 pounds heavier than his “stock” photo.