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Six months ago, most of us had no idea what it meant to be “Catfished;” but in light of the hit MTV show and the recent scandal with Notre Dame’s Manti Te’o, it’s become a household term. Though it would seem that by now, people would be aware of when they’re being duped, all of these recent occurrences prove otherwise. So in the instance that you find yourself in an online relationship or long distance relationship and you’ve never seen this individual in person, here are some signs that you might be the latest victim in a Catfish scandal.

You’ve never seen them in person…or through a computer screen

Well duh! This is the most obvious sign, so let’s get it out of the way right now. In the days when a face-to-face meeting is nothing more than an internet connection away, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t have had a Skype, Facetime or Google + session. It just doesn’t make sense. Now, if your preferred method of communication has been strictly verbal, and they claim they don’t have an internet connection, you need to suggest they head to their nearest Starbucks, library or internet cafe. If they can’t make that happen, well then you know the deal.

They never want to talk on the phone

On the flip side, if you only communicate with this person via Facebook chat, G chat, iChat or any other type of chatting service, it should be nothing to exchange phone numbers. Just last night I watched an episode of “Catfish” where a heterosexual man thought he was in a relationship with a heterosexual woman, Amanda. But he’d never talked to her because, in 2012, Amanda didn’t have a cell phone. (Please!) Lo and behold, when they met at the house where homegirl was supposed to be, a gay man strolled out, cool as a cucumber. Throughout their relationship, these two had never spoken on the phone. So naturally, he never got a chance to hear that Amanda had a little too much bass in “her” voice. My point is, before you jump into that much-needed Skype session, the least you can do is hear their voice over the phone. But as we learned with Manti, even that is not enough proof. People are truly crazy these days.

They’re way too good looking

Have you noticed that with a lot of the Catfish stories, the person looks something like a model? Now, that doesn’t mean that attractive people don’t date online. That’s not what I’m saying. What I am saying is that if the person you’ve been chatting with looks 10 times better than the average person, chances are they’re sending you a photo of someone they are not. The good con artists make sure to change their name to match the photos; but in case they’re a little sloppy, go ahead and drag and drop the image into a Google Image search. If that pic is associated with people, groups and organizations that your amor has never mentioned, that’s a major red flag. Leave it alone.

There are no cell phone shots

In the days of iPhone cameras and Instagram, you should have seen at least one selfsie. Meaning a picture taken by that person with his or her own cell phone. I mean something in the mirror, something they had to stick their arm out to capture. If all of their photos look like they’ve been taken in some type of studio or by someone else, with an elaborate/scenic background, then you can assume they can’t prove they are who they say they are.

Your relationship is progressing too quickly

If you find your nostrils wide open over someone you’ve never seen, you might want to pump your brakes. If words like “love,” “need” and “miss” are being used frequently in your conversations, you need to pause for the cause. Think about what is actually going on here. I truly believe you can fall in love with just about anyone; but before you  take that leap,  remind yourself that you have not met this person. You don’t know how they’ll interact with you. You don’t know if you can tolerate their annoying habits. Hell, you don’t know their annoying habits! There is a chance that they could have been lying to you as long as you’ve known them. Hold your emotions at bay until then.

They don’t live where they told you they did

I’m always amazed at how long these Catfished individuals hold out hope. The minute Nev and Matt tell me that the love of my online life doesn’t live where they told me they’ve lived for the past few years, I know immediately that somebody wasn’t just lying about their location, they’ve probably been lying about their name and undoubtedly, their physical being. The effed up part is that these people usually live within 50 miles of the folks, they’ve been talking to for years. So why haven’t they made an effort to come see you? Why? Because they don’t want you to try to take a road trip to come and see them!

Your friends are telling you it’s too good to be true.

Now I know we’d love to believe that our friends are just jealous of our newfound happiness; but in actuality, it might be that because they’re not in love and removed from the situation, they’re able to see the potential shadiness behind it all. At least consider their words.

They have a gang of Facebook friends

There are some social butterflies among us but when your boo has 2,000-3,000 friends that just might be a sign that they’re playing this same game with a few other people.

You have an idea that “something, something just ain’t right.”

Every person on “Catfish” reaches out to Nev because they suspect that there’s something amiss in their relationship. And guess what, they’re always right. Something is wrong with their boos. If you have that feeling, don’t deny it, trust it. Your intuition is almost always right.

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