Skip to content
young guy with glasses looking confused


What is catfishing? How to spot catfishes when online dating

Like real life, the dating world is full of quirky characters. And that’s okay – it’s sort of part of what makes it fun /semi bearable. You get the ones who insist they don’t own a tv and would rather meditate every eve, those who tell you they like funny guys but still insist on knowing how tall you are, and those who refuse to take off the filter for even a second. We can just about cope with all of that. But then you get those who don’t even exist.

No, they’re not unicorns. They’re catfish. And here’s how to spot one.


What is catfishing on the internet? It’s when someone pretends to be another person online. Sometimes they’ll use someone else’s pictures as their profile picture on a dating app. And they’ll even build a fake life for them.

So, like, John might pretend to be a girl called Jessica and he’ll steal pictures from someone else and pretend they looooove skateboarding down the beach in LA when they’re really sat scoffing a bag of crisps in Leicester.

So, how do you spot a catfish in the wild? Grab ya binoculars…

Even if you’re just stuck in your bedroom, you can make it look like you’re on a tropical island with some filters and stuff.

Catfish are uncommon and any experience you have with them will be just one more hilarious story to tell on a future date.


Before we get into this, loads of real people’s profiles might match a couple of these points below – but we reckon if a profile hits most or all of them, it’s best to swipe left or report them if you think they look dodgier than a dodgem car.

  • Lack of pictures… They might be super-mysterious, or not like their photo taken, or be a time-traveller that’s figured out Tinder (and time travel) but not the camera app???
  • …Or incredibly professional ones. We all use our phone cameras, and whilst the odd person might have had a film crew capturing their best side, there’s a chance they’ve nicked that photo from a model’s IG or just googled, ‘Picture of girl so I can catfish people’.
  • A short bio. Again, they could think less is more or not say too much in their bio in the hopes you’ll message them – but most of us at least crack a joke or detail our obsession with the last show we binged on Netflix. Nothing is a liiiiittle sus.
  • Lack of linked accounts. Most people like to show off their Spotify or their IG accounts on Bumble or Tinder. Most people are proud to show their most played artist recently was ‘Spice Girls’ or ‘Rain and Wind Sounds for Sleeping or Studying’. A lack of linked accounts might mean something fishy is going on…
  • They’re you! (or someone else you know). Imagine! Swiping through Tinder and seeing your loved-up friend’s latest IG picture on Tinder with a different name slapped across it. ‘Your honour, this is a catfish. I rest my case’.

So, what is catfishing on the internet? Rare! Keep swiping and dating like you usually do! As we said, catfish are uncommon and any experience you have with them will be just one more hilarious story to tell on a future date. Good luck!