You Might be Getting Catfished
If you don’t know what it means to be catfished, then you’ve probably never had it happen to you - which is good news. Getting catfished means someone has created a fake profile on one or more social media platforms or internet chat groups, filled in all the details to look legitimate, and convinced you that they’re a different person than who they really are. Often times they play with emotions convincing you that you’re in love or that they’re in danger and need help.
As terrible as that sounds, it gets worse. More and more of these catfishers are asking for money, and they’re doing it in a way that leaves the victim with no hope of getting their money back. It might not sound like something that happens in this area, but Capital sees this happening to members more often than we would like. (Ideally, it wouldn’t happen to ANYONE. Let’s just make that clear.)
If you don’t know what to look for, the requests made by these catfishers can seem completely normal. They ask for help, and since you love them (or at least who they’re supposed to be), you want to help. Most often we (at Capital) don’t hear about what’s going on until the victim’s money has already been lost, which is why we want to provide you with some red flags to watch for.
If you have only met someone online, do not agree to send them money.
Once a cashier’s check clears or a wire transfer is sent, the money is gone. (Sending cash through the mail is also not advised.) These people have also been known to ask for the victim to draw money from their account, go to a store and purchase gift cards, then call the catfisher with the card numbers. Before the victim realizes what has happened the money is already spent.
If you have only met someone online, DO NOT give them your online banking information. Realistically, we advise you not to give your online banking information out to anyone. For emphasis, let’s say that again. We advise you not to give your online banking information out to anyone. This is especially true for people you’ve met online. Once they have your information, they can go in and transfer funds to any account they wish. At Capital, we watch for warning signs like multiple external transfers; but again, by the time we catch it the victim has already lost money.
If a check is sent to you, wait for it to clear fully before withdrawing cash.
Having a check deposited to your account and seeing that higher balance on the receipt doesn’t mean the check was good. The check needs to be processed by the financial it was written from before you’re in the clear. This means if you deposit the check and withdraw that amount in cash right away, the check could come back days later as fake and the cash you deposited will be withdrawn from your account even if there isn’t money in the account to cover the check. This could leave you with a negative balance and the catfisher that much richer.
If anything seems suspicious in any way, talk to a someone.
We aren’t here to judge your situation or question your choices. But we have seen these situations happen and would love the chance to talk to you about it. Yes, maybe you’re worried over nothing, and if that’s the case then you may have wasted a few minutes of your time. But if it really is a catfish situation, you could be saving yourself a whole lot of money and worry.
If any situation feels suspicious to you, even if it doesn’t fit any of the warning signs listed above, trust your gut. Give us a call, stop in, fill out an online form…whatever is most comfortable for you.
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