Nev Schulman became a Hollywood sensation with his 2010 hit documentary “Catfish.” The film followed Schulman as he hit the road to meet his online love for the very first time in person. (Spoiler alert: she wasn’t exactly who she said she was.)
After his experience with virtual romance, Schulman decided it was time to teach others how to face reality too. Now, Schulman, along with partner Max Joseph, is helping online couples meet for the first time in a new MTV series, “Catfish: The TV Show.” Many of the couples they bring together have interacted solely online — sometimes for years – without ever meeting face-to-face in the real world. For some, the meeting is far from the romantic reunion they imagined.
With so many false identities online, can anyone ever know the person on the other side of the screen? Schulman has some advice about the most common lies that people should look out for and be aware of when it comes to virtual romance.
Nev Schulman and Max Joseph’s Advice for Online Dating
1. Stay away from models.
“Catfish” love saying that they’re models, Joseph warns. (The term catfish refers to someone who pretends to be something different online from who they truly are). People love thinking that they’ve met a model, Schulman and Joseph warn.
2. If it seems too good to be true, it probably is. Proceed with caution and make the other person earn your trust before telling them too much about yourself.
Almost everyone is lying in some ways on social networking sites, Schulman warns, whether it’s intentional or not. The spectrum ranges from people who carefully make choices about what to include and what to omit on their profiles, to embellishing here or there, to full-blown “Catfish”-style online imposters. Also, if their lives are filled with tons of drama, tragedy, sickness and other sympathy-inducing traumas, be wary.
Check out these additional tips for identifying fake profiles online.
3. Get proof. Either a photo with him or her holding up something specific or a copy of a driver’s license. Or ask the other person to write your name on their hand and send a picture of it via text or email.
4. Skype with them! If they don’t have Skype make them go to someplace that has a webcam.
5. Check their Facebook page to see how many friends he or she has and if any of she is tagged in photos. If they have less than 100 friends on Facebook, be wary.
6. Be yourself and know what you want. It’s easy to get wrapped up in the fairy tale version of love, but remember real life isn’t a fairytale or a movie. Love takes work.
“Catfish: The TV Show” airs Mondays on MTV.