When you initially go online to meet new people, it is easy to get sucked into the belief that everyone wants to be nice, and is generally good. This is a mistake- here is why:
-Possibility of ID theft
-Possibility of catfishing
-Possibility of blackmail or otherwise personally harmful incidence
-Invasion of privacy or personal life
The BDSM community is already shrouded in secrecy and identity concealment, and a majority of the vanilla world will not accept or understand the dynamics we exist in. By going online, and creating accounts, you are taking a risk that the people you meet are trustworthy. And while a majority of the people we have met have been generally kind and fun, we have met our share of unstable, and dishonest individuals. This leads us to some ground rules for creating online profiles, and making friends online.
- When creating online profiles, NEVER use personally identifying information such as your real name, address or location, personal contact information (this means you need to make a separate email that is not your real name, or personal or work email)
- When making friends online, verify who they are by obtaining photographic or video evidence before sharing information that could damage your personal life in any way
- Do not share photos of your face, family, location, etc. without first knowing that you can either delete the content if you become uncomfortable, or verifying who you are sharing said information with
- Go with your gut- if something feels funny, it probably is. Do not continue to push yourself into murky waters if you do not feel confidently safe and secure
These are mere guidelines- overall you need to use common sense. And this is not to say that all interactions should be met with suspicion. Just remember to protect yourself. If you want more information on, or want to refresh yourself on, the community rules, click here.
When you make friends online, and you are trying to get to know them, there are many red flags you can look for when ascertaining their authenticity. A few are listed below:
- They will not send photos or video call, and are persistently asking you to do those, or ask you to share more information than they are willing to share
- They seem too good to be true- their experiences seem more like fiction, or their photos look more like models
- They have limited, repetitive experience and information about themselves
- They have really problematic lives to the extent that they seem to need help, advice, or money frequently
- They claim to have high profile jobs or hobbies, such as being a doctor, or international spy
- They use reverse psychology, gaslighting, or preemptive defense- “I am so nice, supportive, successful, helpful”- they use adjectives to describe themselves to make themselves more likeable, and do it frequently, when they really aren’t those things. They act hurt that you suspect they aren’t who they purport to be, deny wrongdoing, or call you crazy.
- Your conversations are so much about you, that they never share about themselves
- There are holes in their story that you don’t want to question for fear of upsetting them, or pushing them away
- They seem to be everywhere all the time
- They purport to be an expert without the ability to back up experiences with facts
- They insist on receiving sexual photos, rush into a sexual relationship, bully you into doing things you may not be comfortable with
What you can do if you suspect a catfish:
- Report them to site administrators
- Ask to video call
- Reverse image search their photos, google search the contact information you have for them
- Pull away and protect yourself
- Be careful- if they seem volatile, or have personal or damning information about you, it may not serve to make a scene. In these situations, it is best to contact the site administration
- Report the individuals to your local authorities, if it applies. In the United States, catfishing is illegal in many states, especially if the person is using photos of another person, even if they are not using their name. These crimes are punishable with jail time, fines, etc.
- Do your research! Read online about red flags in relationships, and ask for help when you need it.
Remember: NOT ALL PEOPLE ARE CATFISHES. Most aren’t. This post is merely to help you identify red flags, and advise you on steps to take in those instances. Have fun and be safe!
For more of our posts, visit us at Married and Owned