In the age of technology and especially during a pandemic, many people use the internet to meet people, forge social relationships, and even romantic relationships and dating purposes. No matter why you are reaching out, there are ways to know whether or not the things your online pen pal is telling you are true or not.
All too often, people form relationships with people online only to later find out that the person on the other end of the screen wasn’t exactly who they claimed to be. You can avoid this happening to you if you follow these simple guidelines to determine whether or not your online pen pal is truthful with you.
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Here are some tips
Do your homework.
One way to know for sure is to use a program or search engine meant directly for this purpose; to establish or verify online identity. Places like this will allow you to search mugshots and find out all sorts of information like criminal backgrounds about the person you’ve been talking to. This is important for your safety and emotional well being. It could make a big difference in your finances, too, and is a great idea before you get too close to any of those online connections.
Consider safety before meeting.
Whether you’re meeting a sugar daddy for the first time or are simply bored and want someone to talk to, online safety should be the first thing to consider. Anyone insisting they meet you at your home or who wants your personal address right away is probably not someone to trust. A person without motive will be happy to meet you in a public place and wait for personal details and other information later as trust grows.
Know the red flags.
There are some pretty easy ways to know if you are being catfished. Sadly, it’s easy for some people to lie behind the screen. Many people will tell you what they think you want to hear for various reasons like getting you to give or lend them money, for the thrill of the chase, to gain access to your personal information, and more. People will even pretend to be single when they are married or vice versa just for the sake of an online fling they have no intention of ever taking into the real world.
You might be being lied to if stories don’t match up, an online pen pal will not give your their phone number or talk on any other than the original platform, your pen pal goes missing for long periods only to reemerge, or they don’t want real-life phone calls. A red flag could be a generic email account, lack of any personal information at all. While it’s a good safe practice not to get too personal too soon, if you find yourself being the only one giving out information, something is wrong.
Trust your gut.
If you think you might be being scammed, you are in luck. With social media, it can be easier than you might suspect to look things up. Try using photo or email reverse searches. You might be surprised to learn that the single man named Bob you talked with is actually a married woman named Tina. So too, you might be glad to know that the person you are speaking with is entirely legit too. When in doubt, ask questions.
If you have followed the rules and not given out any personal information with an online pen pal, you have nothing to lose in asking when things don’t add up. Be honest about any gut feelings you have. If they get immediately defensive or threaten to break it off, it might be time for a new pen pal.