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Are You Being Catfished? Here Are The Biggest Red Flags To Look Out For

We spoke to 'Catfish Australia' host Patrick Abboud who, along with Casey Donovan, will soon be helping Aussies navigate the truth and lies of online dating.

Online dating is HARD.

Not only are we constantly bombarded with flawless, unattainable images of beautiful Insta-models on the daily (which can bring on bucket loads lot of self doubt when it comes to our confidence), but as smartphones and technological devices become more ubiquitous, the odds of falling victim to deception -- namely "catfish" -- are increasing along with our screen time.

READ MORE: 'Catfish Australia' And More Will Premiere During Pilot Week

But what exactly is a "catfish"?

The term was coined in 2010 following a documentary of the same name, which soon lead to the popular MTV reality series in the US.

Basically, a catfish is someone who lures another person into a relationship by means of a fictional online persona.

When it comes to catfishing, there can be a number of reasons why, as investigative journalist and 'Catfish Australia' host Patrick Abboud explained.

"Some people are just really lonely and wanting to kind of connect, or they're scared to put themselves out there. There's so much pressure these days to be a certain look or act a certain way -- especially on dating apps," he said.

"I'm not condoning it in any way, I'm just saying I can understand where some of these catfish are coming from, emotionally."

Every now and then, however, you find someone who simply wants petty revenge on the Catfishee -- as the US show often demonstrated.

READ MORE: The Definitive Guide To The Best Episodes Of 'Catfish'

With the binge-worthy reality series heading Down Under in the form of 'Catfish Australia', Patrick spoke to 10 daily about what red flags to look out for if you're worried about being catfished.

READ MORE: Casey Donovan Wants To Help You Find Closure With Your Catfish

They avoid meeting IRL

"I think the first, most obvious red flag is if you're chatting to somebody regularly and messaging more than once a day and you're like, 'Hey, let's go get a coffee or a drink or whatever' and they constantly make excuses to avoid meeting," Patrick told us.

He continued, "If someone has the time to chat several times a day but as soon as you ask them to meet up and they try to get out of it, then that is a massive indication you may be getting catfished."

"Obviously, people can be busy with work or whatever maybe once, twice, or three times -- but if they're constantly avoiding meeting up in person, that's a huge red flag."

They're inconsistent

If you suspect you're dealing with a catfish, Patrick suggests keeping any previous messages to track any inconsistencies in their story.

"One word of advice I have is to keep track of conversations, whether they're via text or messenger, or whatever method of communication you're using," he explained. "I think what tends to happen is that people are often lost in the moment when it comes to chatting online.

"People go so down the track that it can be hard to remember details that were said early on in the 'relationship'."

He added, "As an investigative journalist, every day I have to interrogate every question and dig a little deeper just to ensure that what I'm being told all adds up -- it's the same for this sort of situation."

Their reaction when you confront them over any evasiveness

If, once you've reflected on past conversations and find that certain facts aren't adding up, it's time to ask questions. How the potential catfish responds to these questions can be hugely telling as to whether they're being deceptive or not.

"Essentially, if you start putting questions out to the other person in regards to any inconsistencies, it can be a pretty definite indicator as to what you're dealing with," Patrick said.

Patrick's best advice? Always be wary.

While it's exciting to chat with someone new, catfishing is extremely common, and chances are if you feel like something's off, it very well could be.

"You need to be extra careful," Patrick said. "It can be fun to talk to someone not knowing any information about the person, only to realise that you have things in common. You can have a sense of history without even actually knowing the person, and I think that's what keeps people there."

As for the show, Patrick notes that they're not there to point the finger or make fun of anybody, but rather offer a safe space for both parties, as well as support.

"The show offers a vehicle to confront these catfish that in a way that is safe and supportive and that allows people to hopefully genuinely connect," he explained.

"Everything that we're doing on the show is about asking 'why?' It's about trying to understand the psychology behind why this happens and digging deeper to uncover the truth."

Patrick and Casey are encouraging anyone who suspects they might be getting catfished -- or anyone who might want to come clean about their online persona-- to reach out and tell their story.

"If you’re in the online dating scene, and something doesn’t seem quite right, Catfish Australia steps up and can give you closure," Casey said.

Share your Catfish story now via www.catfishaustralia.com

Image: Supplied