The Latest Episodes of INSIGHT with Chris Van Vliet
Sept. 20, 2022

Catching Online Predators With David McClellan From Social Catfish

Catching Online Predators With David McClellan From Social Catfish

David McClellan is the CEO and founder of Social Catfish (@socialcatfish), a website that helps people to find out if they are being scammed or catfished. He joins Chris Van Vliet to talk about how his website helps to stop online scammers, his craziest story of catching an online predator, his thoughts on the Mante Te’o Netflix documentary called “Untold”, how to protect yourself when you are on a dating app, books that you should read and much more!

For more information about Social Catfish visit

On what David McCellan does:

“We want to be the site that protects you while you are online. That is our goal and that is what we do. If it’s making sure that who you are talking to is real or making sure that the picture is who they say they are so you are not wasting your time, that’s our mission. Finding out who that weird phone number that called you is? That’s part of what we do.”

On how catfishing has evolved:

“I will say that we have evolved from the Nigerian prince scam. We all make fun of it, but if it didn’t work then they wouldn’t do it. Social media, especially with all the apps out there, have made it so much easier for criminals to target innocent people. Especially with the pandemic, with all the apps that people are using, it is a breeding ground for people scamming.”

On romance scams:

“That has evolved too, the majority of romance cams don’t happen on dating apps anymore. Now they happen on Facebook, Instagram, TikTok and even apps like Words With Friends. What these scammers do is they will message thousands and thousands of people a day, and they only need to talk to one or two people. If they can get a hold of ten people, one will probably talk to them. And of those 10 that the scammer gets, one of them they will make money from.”

On the warning signs:

“The easiest thing is to not click on links that you don’t recognize and don’t give out your personal information and don’t give people money. That will generally keep you safe from most scams. But with romance scams, those can last 6 to 9 months, it’s not just someone getting you to click on a link, someone is grooming you for 9 months to get your money. The scammers will contact random people and will tell them things that they have never heard. People were lonely, especially in the pandemic, and someone is there day and night every day messaging them that they love them and asking them how they are. Eventually they groom them and they ask them for money, one person lost $2 million.”

On the victims being scammed:

“A lot of people see these cases and they say things like ‘They are stupid. They deserve to lose their money.’ You have to look at it on the flipside that these scammers are criminals that are meeting people online with the intention of stealing from them. For every person that has lost a lot of money, there are many more who have only lost a smaller amount. Only 1 in 3 people who fall for this scam actually report these people.”

On internet crimes:

“The scammers even call their victims clients. From their end there is a mental perception where they justify what they are doing. Also because it is the internet, there is not a high chance of getting caught until recently.”

On becoming an entrepreneur:

“Just do it, make mistakes and f*ck up. Like my son, he plays guitar and wants to make a TikTok account, but he is too interested in making sure the lighting is right, I’m like just get it out there. The hardest part is starting and then being consistent. My superpower is consistency, I may not be smarter than you, but I can outwork you, be consistent and that will work every time. If you can get things done and make a habit of it, then you will be successful.” 

On evolving as a person:

“I graduated highschool with a 2.3, but the guy that graduated high school is not the same guy that is running the business now. You can’t be the same person you are today, have ambitious goals in 5 years time, and still be that same person. You have to change and improve, and not just hit those goals.”

On how David McCellan lost over 80 lbs:

“So I had yo-yo dieted a lot, I lost 40 lbs and then gained it back. One thing I realized is that I kept making excuses like ‘I don’t eat that much.’ Or ‘My metabolism is low.’ I then started to realize that I could diet but a diet is not permanent. I then thought about what I could do to permanently change my lifestyle so I can live longer, I am all about longevity. Before I was eating a lot of fast food and drinking a lot of energy drinks, because I was so busy all of the time. So then it was okay, how can I make better decisions that are permanent? I changed my diet to paleo and lost 40 lbs. Then I hit all of these plateaus and was getting discouraged, so I started to track my food for 30 days just to figure out what I was doing wrong. I was eating things that were high calorie that would just throw me over, like 1,200 calories in wings. I started cutting those things out but did not want to feel like I was suffering when I was dieting. I decided that it would be something permanent with no timeline. That is what helped me out the most was the mindset where I was committed to change my lifestyle.” 

On what David McCellan is grateful for:

“My family, my team and opportunity.”