Recently, we constructed a profile of an online predator known as a catfisher. Recapped: one involved in this activity creates a fake profile (or uses his real name but provides very little verifiable personal information) and pursues unwitting targets via social media for his own selfish reason – whether it’s attention-seeking, pursuing an offline sexual encounter, a money grab, etc. We previously provided these tips on identifying catfishers:
How To Spot A Catfisher:
1. Caginess about life details: Marital status, age, location, field of employment, etc.
2. Has few photos of himself.
3. The few photos that he has posted aren’t usually of him with consistent people in his life.
4. Few, if any, posts on his timeline denoting real time activities with friends and family.
On the heels of the Catfisher, we’re now encountering cases involving the “CarpetBomber”. Having undoubtedly catfished to select his targets- he friends them on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. and gains access to their cell numbers – he then claims to not be on that social media platform any longer.
How To Spot A Carpetbomber:
1.Texts seemingly innocuous (“feeler”) messages during off (evening/late night) hours.
2. Engages the target, over the course of time, in more revealing, confidential conversations.
3. Builds on this “trust” and becomes more demanding – pushing the target’s comfort zones. (The carpetbomber generally employs passive/aggressive control over the targets- complimenting upon cooperation; punishing the unaccommodating or reluctant with silence, withholding, disrespect, etc.)
4. Portrays himself as a “giver” to others – emotionally, physically, financially, etc., – yet he mostly demands from his targets.
5. Off kilter messages. Very few people can maintain fluid simultaneous multiple conversations. In identifying a carpetbomber, look for texts that seemingly make sense but are slightly out of context or the timing is delayed or off. While texting can lend itself to misunderstandings, it has a logical flow. Carpetbombing does not follow a normal conversational stream. It is often stilted, with the predator apologizing for “mistakes” and often blames the technology, trying to appear self-effacing re: his tech skills.
6. Almost all communication is in writing; either by text or email. The carpetbomber is messaging several targets at once – impossible to do by phone.
7. Uses messaging apps with secret chats (which he can permanently delete on both ends), such as Snapchat or Telegram.
Don’t be fooled by this ever-evolving predator; he knows exactly what he is doing, what he wants and considers himself an expert on human nature- i.e., perverting its base instincts and innocence.
Bottom line: If it doesn’t read right, it’s usually not. Keep an eye out for especially emotionally vulnerable people. If a loved one or a friend is becoming secretive, experiencing personality shifts, operating at strange hours… find out with whom they are communicating. Perhaps an earlier intervention can preclude a damaging result.
BNI Operatives: Situationally aware.
As always, stay safe.