Why Is It Called Catfishing?

catfishing meaning

Catfishing has unfortunately become a common term in the English language, despite being a nasty epidemic, however the real question is where did it come from? It was actually started in the 2010 documentary Catfish, staring Nev Schulman and Michigander Abby.

This movie might have largely slipped under the radar (an acceptable 7.1 out of 10 on IMDB from 38,013), but I’m pretty sure the young filmmaker could have never predicted the success of the term in modern language. The main character (Nev) documents his online adventure with a young lady who he purely communicates with online, however when he meets her she is far from ‘young and single’ and is actually in her 40’s and married, oh dear. However the husband Vince Pierce came out with a fishing quote about how the catfish are used to keep the codfish agile, so they taste good once they reach China, then how there are people in real life that hold the same role, ‘keep you on your toes, keep you guessing, keep you thinking, keep you fresh’

Who would have known how far it would have gone from this initial documentary!

So What Are The Dangers?

While some people who catfish are either people who backed out or others who are just trying to wind you up or ‘troll you’, the real scare are the scammers. They will tease you in with a sob story about something going on in their lives and how they need payment. Some have even arranged to meet up and have then robbed them.

What Are The Signs Of A Catfish?

  • As many fake dating profiles are made from foreign countries, one obvious area to look out for is very poor grammar. While they might be able to spell (good old autocorrect), the structure of the sentences could be very different to what you are used to.
  • The level of romance jumps way too quick. Let’s just face it, we are all nervous when online dating and both are testing the waters, so it would be weird if someone acted like they were the ‘perfect one’ without even meeting. This is a clear sign to look out for.
  • They ask for money. This is an obvious one, but if you needed money, the last person you would ever ask is a complete stranger online from a dating website!
  • They don’t live somewhere permanently. This is because they don’t want to give their actual address as it might not be where they stated they live or they are worried about handing details for fraud purposes.
  • Don’t expect them to ever show their face on webcam or talk on the phone. Why, well they clearly aren’t the good looking person you saw on the profile pic, while you might quite easily catch on to a foreign accent if they state they live close to you.
  • Empty social profile. Someone in the modern day without a Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, or at most 5 friends (all from weird accounts)…It could be true, but what are the chances?
  • Empty Linkedin account. If they work as a marketing manager, how come you can’t find their work details online. I’m not saying everyone uses Linkedin, but it is another sign you can quickly check. Remember if it is someone real, they will know you looked if you are signed in!


What Is Office Catfishing?

While catfishing was mainly associated with romantic partnerships, it has now extended over to the workplace. But it might not be in the direction you are thinking of.

Nowadays many candidates are applying for jobs and then going cold turkey. Whether it’s not turning up to a job interview, getting the job and not turning up on the first day or simply ignoring messages and calls, it seems to be becoming a more regular occurrence.

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