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Fishy business Ask Dr Angela: Is my beautiful young online girlfriend a catfish?

"She told me that her mother is sick and needs surgery, and she wants me to send €500 towards the medical expenses."

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Woman online shopping using computer and credit card in kitchen

Woman online shopping using computer and credit card in kitchen

Woman online shopping using computer and credit card in kitchen

Open-minded and practical, Dr Angela Brokmann has answered the nation's sex problems for 18 years. Here, she answers your dilemmas.

Dear Angela: For the last couple of weeks I (45) have been chatting online with a beautiful young woman (29).

We have so much fun chatting — she really seems to like me. She pays me compliments all the time and she makes me feel good about myself. I would love to meet her in person, or at least have a video chat with her, but she said it’s too early to take that step.

But for some reason she doesn’t feel it’s too early to ask me for money — she told me that her mother is sick and needs surgery, and she wants me to send €500 towards the medical expenses.

When I told my best friend about this he said I shouldn’t send money to somebody I don’t even know personally. His teenage daughter, who overheard us talking, said the woman I’m dating is probably a catfish out for my money. What did she mean? What is a catfish?

ANSWER

A catfish is somebody who creates a fake online identity to deceive people, mainly on social media and dating apps.

Some catfish are just out to find more online friends while others — and these are the catfish your friend’s daughter was referring to — scam people into sending them money.

Warning signs include that their profile picture tends to look too good to be true, they get close and clingy quickly but refuse to video chat or meet in person, and — the biggest alarm bell of them all — they ask you for money.

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