Photo by Tengyart on Unsplash

As well as offering YOU another series to binge, YOU season four is back to remind YOU to never trust a man who works in a book store.

The announcement of the show has also reminded me how terrifying the world of online dating is.

You’re smiling at your phone; typing away 24/7 about your day and romanticising the idea of a dream figure behind your screen.

A couple months pass by and you’ve planned an entire future with this dream person envisioned in your mind, but do you actually know who they are in reality?

However, online dating can be fun, and many people do meet their long-term partner online; just watch out for common warning signs to try and not end up with a Joe from YOU.

Here are some tips to avoid a catfish.

1. Face time before meeting in person.

Megan Able, 22,  Nottingham student shared her Tinder trauma.

The profile she had been getting to know had the face of a stereotypically attractive, athletic student in his early twenties which was supported by a matching Instagram profile.

She had been messaging him for a while before eventually deciding to meet him.

The man who arrived to meet her was described as a short, over-weight middle-aged father who had no similarities to the man from the profile.

She said: “I was lucky my friends were there when he met me.

“I have never used Tinder since.”

Please video call a person before meeting them to ensure they are the same as on their profile.

Photo by Ben Collins on Unsplash

2. Be very observant when looking at the photos on their profile.

Elizabeth Olukoga, 20, from Nottingham but currently studying at Birmingham City University explained her potential Hinge horror story.

A man claiming to be from Coventry had a reoccurring American wall socket in his photos.

She said: “When I noticed this I felt something wasn’t right.”

Although he could have taken every single photo on his profile whilst on holiday in America; she questioned this and closed the app.

Once reopening the app, the man had changed all his photos claiming to be someone else.

Elizabeth luckily never arranged to meet this man.

An example of a Hinge profile by Rebecca Capp, the app gives you the option to add photos and add various prompts to explain more about yourself.

3. Check the profile is verified.

Many online dating apps such as Tinder give the option to verify your profile, this is done by the person behind the profile taking a live photo to prove they match the images already uploaded on their profile.

Once this has been approved, a tick will show up next to their name.

Although this doesn’t guarantee that they aren’t a serial killer or a stalker like Joe, at least the person is likely to be physically who they say they are.

Photo by ilgmyzin on Unsplash

4. Download software to see who is viewing your social media profiles and be selective with what you share.

As we have seen from the other series of YOU, Joe is a stalker.

He hyper fixates on any woman who he is dating and knows their whereabouts at all times.

Yes, it’s a series therefore it is very unlikely that you will fall for someone online who will stalk you and murder you.

But, social media is a scary and easy way to find out a plethora of information about a person so it is better to be safe.

I would suggest to never share your location on your social media profiles and to also check who is viewing your profiles regularly as it is a bit strange if someone is viewing your profile frequently.

TikTok and Instagram offer this feature for free.

Photo credit: Scarlett Acres

I hope this article hasn’t traumatised you too much regarding online dating.

There are always more success stories when it comes to online dating which outweigh the catfishes.

But be aware, stay safe and avoid men who wear hats and work in a book shop.

YOU season four will be out on Netflix on February 9 2023.