Situational Awareness For Everyone & Personal Safety Education - SAFESavesLives

Catfish For Dinner

A Good Man is Hard to Find

Leigh had been waiting for Mr. Right for what seemed like her entire life. Sure, she had gotten close in the past – she had her high school sweetheart, Sean, and a few serious relationships in college, but she hadn’t met “the one” yet and decided to change things up. Her friends had tried all of the different dating apps and gone out with a few guys, and while their expectations varied date to date, they seemed to be having a good time doing it and the guys they would meet were typically genuinely nice.

“Why not?” Leigh asked herself. She had gone the traditional route in the past but no one was fully compatible with her – maybe a “pre-screening” of their dating profile prior to meeting them would yield better results, so she downloaded a few dating apps to try them out. She created her profile, complete with her picture, hobbies, age, city, and social media profiles as a means to show full transparency (after all, people are genuinely good, right?), and entered the online dating world, alongside 44.2 million other Americans. She began scanning peoples profiles, reviewing each before giving the person the “thumbs-up” of approval, hoping to get a match. Within minutes, she had matched with five other people and was having a blast.

Taking the Plunge on a Love Connection

Leigh was feeling great. She was meeting so many people and felt as if she could connect with them on a deeper level than she did in real life as she knew something about their interests beforehand. But there was one person with whom she had a deep interest in: David. Leigh and David communicated back and forth for a few days at this point and Leigh and David brought up potentially meeting in person as things seemed to be progressing smoothly.

Since this was her first time using a dating app, and certainly her first time meeting someone in person she met online, Leigh asked her friends what the protocol was for meeting in person and how she should handle the situation. Her friends simply told her to “play it cool” and “just be yourself, you’ll have a great time” and while she appreciated the vote of confidence from her friends, she was looking more for advice on safety, should she get in any trouble. As her friends clearly wouldn’t be of help, she decided to check online and see what she could find out about David, just to be safe. “But there’s nothing about him online,” she thought to herself as her searches ended fruitlessly. Understanding that he may just not have much of an online presence, she chose to proceed with the date.

That’s Not the Man You’re Looking For

Leigh arrived at the restaurant five minutes early and proceeded to wait for David…then she waited some more. All of the sudden, she heard a voice coming from behind her. “Leigh?” the person asked. “Yes,” she responded as she turned to meet “David.” “David,” as it turns out, wasn’t quite the David she hoped him to be. Leigh had been catfished. The man she was speaking to was using a fake profile in order to deceive Leigh into thinking he was someone he wasn’t. Leigh left, frustrated and defeated. “How could I have been so dumb?” she thought to herself. She began looking back at their conversations to see if there were any red flags and there was one important thing she forgot to do – a phone call or Facetime. “David” had always been unavailable when making this request, something she should have taken into account. These days, Leigh sticks to a more traditional form of dating following her terrible experience. Has she known the correct precautions to take, she may have been finally able to meet Mr. Right.


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