Online truthers Nev and Max return to our screens for the sixth season of MTV's Catfish, airing on Wednesdays at 9pm on MTV, proving that the one thing the internet will never run out of is bottom-feeding trolls... and those who believe them. We can learn a lot from Catfish, such as how to pull off the silver fox look, how to do a Reverse Image Search in Google, and - most importantly - how to recognise if you're being catfished.
Consider the 10 brave souls below pioneers in the field of internet gullibility and heed the warnings they gave to history.
If your bae says their webcam still doesn't work
As seen in: Every episode, like, ever
This is a red flag. A huge red flag. If the person you've been talking to online for years and years says they don't have a webcam, or their webcam is broken, or they don't have time to Facetime, this person is a catfish and/or matador, because they're waving a red flag in your face. Most laptops made in the last 10 years have a webcam. Every phone made in the last 10 years has a camera. Even yer da uses Facetime. The only excuse to not video chat with your true love online is if you are a) a catfish, or b) you have somehow connected to the internet via a potato.
If bae says they are a music producer
As seen in: Season 4, Episode 1 (Miracle & Javonni)
Here's a handy hint for spotting a potential catfish: if your online boo claims in any way that they work in the music industry, they are almost certainly lying. If you've ever met a real music producer, you know they're generally the kind of people who are quite keen for you to know their name and face: they'll have it printed on business cards, baseball caps and everything in between. Also, they will actually have music for you to listen to. "Music producer" is one of those made-up job titles that sounds impressive but it usually means "I sometimes play with music mixing apps on my iPad in my bedroom: PLEASE date me".
If bae lives within walking distance but you have still never met bae
As seen in: Season 2, Episode 11 (Aaliyah & Alicia)
This one's a dead giveaway. Let's say you've been chatting with someone online and you find you have loads in common. What's more, you only live 70 blocks away from each other – a match made in heaven! Except... "yeah, 70 blocks is kind of far, and I just ate, and my leg hurts and also I have to go now". Lies! An unwillingness to meet up IRL despite the fact you live so close you could probably hear each other if you shouted loud enough is a classic catfish move. Block. Report. Move on.
If bae asks you for money
As seen in: Season 2, Episode 3 (Ramon & Paola)
Shut it down. We have a catfish here, people. Nothing to see. Listen guys, we know true love is blind, but it doesn't have to be dumb as well. Not to sound like your parents, but this person you've been talking to online – do they have any career prospects? Do they make their own money? Or, as we suspect, are you just sending them cash and gifts in good faith? Because that is one notch below "Transferring funds to an offshore bank account in Nigeria to help a stranded prince" on the gullible ladder.
If bae suddenly announces bae has cancer like it ain't no thang
As seen in: Season 2, Episode 15 (Mike & Caroline)
One thing any good catfish does when called on their shenanigans is instantly double down on that shenanigan. "Oh, you think I'm avoiding you because I'm catfishing you? How about: I have CANCER. Yeah. That's right. Cancer. Anyway... whatcha thinking 'bout?" You wouldn't want to be the inconsiderate person who dumped someone because they had cancer, would you? Maybe the reason they keep asking you to send money is to pay their medical bills? Sigh. Better just go along with it out of politeness and become a widow.
If bae is in the top 5% of good-looking people on Earth
As seen in: Season 3 Special ('Blake & Kiersten')
Newsflash coming in over the wires: people who have profile pictures that are fire-emoji do not generally have any problems meeting people in the real world. People who look like that get hit on approximately 81 times an hour: in the gym, in the juice bar, on the toilet, while they're asleep. They do not, generally, need to retreat to Facebook to find comfort in the online arms of a sweet-but-naive college kid. Do yourself a favour and learn how to use Google Images: your humble bae is actually a well-known Instagram celebrity, killing it with 150k followers and flogging protein drinks.
If you have wronged someone vindictive... ever
As seen in: Season 1, Episode 4 ('Jasmine & Mike')
Think back. Have you ever messed anyone around that might want to cause you emotional turmoil? A cousin? An ex? A close confidante who you always suspected wanted to inch out of the friendzone? Yeah. It's them. It's totally them. They are catfishing you, for reasons too insane to ever make sense. Your frequent outpourings of love are just logs for their LOL fire. You haven't been talking to your soulmate over Instant Messenger, you've been talking to a person so evil and vindictive they're odds-on favourite to be the next villain the X-Men will fight.
If 18-year-old bae seems much older
As seen in: Season 2, Episode 6 ('Jen & Skylar')
Anyone born during the time period where Y2K was a thing is likely to have a very distinct and modern set of cultural touchstones. Memes. The beef between Katy Perry and Taylor Swift. Snapchat. So when that person, a young person, suddenly starts professing an interest in the rock band Rush, or quotes a film made by some guy called John Cassavetes, you've almost certainly been talking to an older catfish looking to prey on gullible young folk like yourself. Take comfort in the fact you could never have worked as a couple. Not because of your cultural differences, but because there are laws against that sort of thing.
If bae is literally the rapper Lil Bow Wow
As seen in: Season 2, Episode 14 ('Keyonnah & Bow Wow')
Dude. Sidebar. Reality check. The person who has been sending you 100+ texts and instant messages every day is not the rapper Lil Bow Wow. The rapper Lil Bow Wow has got serious rap work to attend to, live performances to rap at, and so forth. The rapper Lil Bow Wow is probably in the studio, rapping some raps to rap a follow-up album to 2009 LP "New Jack City II". The rapper Lil Bow Wow is not currently hanging on every word of your WhatsApp rant about subway sandwiches. At some point, we all have to come to terms with the fact we will never land the rapper Lil Bow Wow as our significant other.
If you have a friend who is weirdly invested in your relationship
As seen in: Season 1, Episode 7 ('Joe & Kari Ann')
How many people are in this mysterious online relationship anyway? Boo plus boo plus you equals three – why is your friend so willing to listen to you chirpse on about your new Facebook lover? Ohhhhhh. You don't think... you don't think they have something to do with it, do you? How deep does this thing g-Oh, yep, there they are, opening the door to Nev and Max, weirdly camera ready, wearing box-fresh new clothes straight from the shop, doing their best "… and that's why you don't never disrespect a friend" life lesson dispensation. Moral of the story: never love again.
Catfish season 6 airs on Wednesdays at 9pm on MTV. Catfish season 5 is also available to watch now On Demand. Find it in On Demand > Box Sets > Reality