Wild catfish: UA students hooked by catfishes

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Photo Illustration by Monique Irish | The Daily Wildcat

Some college students turn to dating apps like Tinder to find love, but soon find out they aren't talking to who they thought. When someone uses a fake photo or name to start online relationships, they are called catfish. 

“A catfish is someone who pretends to be someone they're not using Facebook or other social media to create false identities, particularly to pursue deceptive online romances," according to Urban Dictionary.

Approximately 21,113 males and 21,974 females attend the University of Arizona, according to U.S. News. Meeting people may seem easy considering the amount of students that make up the school, but with busy course loads, part-time jobs and extracurricular activities, students may find themselves too overwhelmed to find a significant other. This influences students to use online dating applications to meet new people.

Students at the UA seem to favor the popular dating app Tinder, which allows UA students to find potential mates within close proximity to meet up with and mingle. Unfortunately, people do not always portray themselves accurately on social media and this leads to naive students being catfished.

People may not see the prevalence of catfishing, especially on a safe campus like the UA, but a catfish can strike anywhere. 

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One UA junior shared his experience during a group discussion on Tinder. He said he fell for a sweet looking country gal when he began at the UA.

“I got catfished hard my freshman year," he said. "I still remember her Tinder name, Courtney. She had an innocent looking profile - cute, white country girl. Ya boy was definitely about it."

He said the two flirted a lot for a week or so but every time he wanted to meet up she rejected him.

"I thought she was playing hard to get, so I got more excited because that’s hot."

The two agreed to meet at Park Student Union and as he sat there waiting, a random female he had never seen before approached him and introduced herself.

"This girl was definitely not white," he said. “Definitely not country. She was a 5’10 Hispanic girl pushing 200 pounds, and her name wasn’t even Courtney."

After being catfished, he never fully trusted meeting women off Tinder again, or any females named Courtney. 

Photo Illustration by Monique Irish | The Daily Wildcat

People who use fake names or pictures online to start romances are called catfish. Even students at the University of Arizona have fallen prey to catfish on the popular dating app, Tinder. 

However, not all catfish stories end like that particular student’s encounter.

Women at the UA also use the Tinder dating app and, just the same, have also been catfished.

Another UA junior, this one studying elementary education, also opened up about her experience during a Tinder discussion. She found herself in a different kind of catfish situation back in her hometown of Boston.

“I was swiping on Tinder and I swiped right for this guy who I thought was attractive and then we started talking," she said. "It was New Year's Eve and we wanted to hang out because we had nothing to do, and I took the MBTA [Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority] to meet him."

When she arrived she found a person she was not expecting. The man's name was different and his age was off by about 3 years. 

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"What was I going to do, run away? He wasn’t ugly or hideous, he was still decent looking," she said.

She went with him to his house and he began to explain that his name wasn't Joe at all, and that his friends pushed him into making an online dating profile.

"He didn’t want his real name or pictures to be on Tinder, so he made up a fake account and he met girls on it," she said. "He found a person who looked similar to him but wasn’t him. I guess he found them on the internet. So, I got catfished but it wasn’t bad and we hung out a couple times after that."

She accepted his reasoning and forgave him for deceiving her. Her catfishing story is an example of when a catfishing scenario can go positive, instead of negative. Unfortunately, this rarely happens and most catfish stories end badly.

Photo Illustration by Monique Irish | The Daily Wildcat

In the world of online dating, it's hard to know who's on the other end of the text message. When people use fake identities to start romances online, it's called catfishing. 

So, what can the students of the UA do to avoid getting catfished?

People must choose who they match with wisely and look for any telltale signs of catfishing.

Another UA student said there are usually some giveaways of a catfish.

“Usually the picture is of somebody pretty hot, but the pictures look professionally done or taken from online, as opposed to a smartphone or something," he said. "If they don’t have any links to their Instagram profile, that could also be suspicious. Not having anything in the biography is suspicious and if the pictures are like blatantly overtly slutty, it's probably a fake account.”

Knowing how to avoid fake profiles on Tinder will allow UA students to have a safe atmosphere online and avoid getting catfished.


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