RE BLOG……Due to people being concerned by this growing upsetting trend ( upsetting being an understatement) and enquiring how to contact Nev and his team here is a recent Tweet with a link. Remember Honesty is the best policy. Besafe in your online dealings. x
Catfish :- A Catfish is someone who pretends to be someone they are not, using Facebook or other social media to create false identities, partially to pursue deceptive on-line romances ( or friendships)”
My daughter came home recently and introduced to me to a relatively new MTV documentary series called ‘CATFISH’
‘Mum you have to watch this, its unbelievable !’ she said and boy was she right. ‘Unbelievable’ is the right descriptive word, but actually its very believable and so common these days that #Catfish trends on Twitter everyday. so firstly for those of you that have not heard of this fast and growing trend on the internet, let me explain.
The charming and lovely gentleman behind the MTV series is Nev Schulmane and he made a real life film called ”Catfish” and to cut a very long story short, Nev discovers that the beautiful girl he fell for with the amazing profile photograph on Facebook was a fake… her identity was totally fake, her name fake, her photos fake..all a completely made up fabricated profile. The profile name she used was Megan who was ultra beautiful, but in reality was a rather plain lady called Angela. People like Angela are now known as ‘Catfish’ .
Catfish is a 2010 American film about Nev being filmed by his brother and friend as he builds a romantic relationship with Megan ( sorry Angela) on the social networking website Facebook.
This act of ‘Catfishing’ is so common now that MTV on discovering that after Nev had released his Film, his email inbox was filled to overload with normal, everyday people asking him to help them with their on-line ’odd’ relationships, that they decided to make a series on the subject, following Nev with the camera as he helps people find out if their on line love is for real or a fake.. Nev’s film about his own real life Catfish heartbreak has brought to light to so many people, that theirs was not a one off experience and hundreds and I mean hundreds of other people around the world are getting scammed by ‘Catfish’ so MTV now film these stories for the rest of us to sit and watch aghast!
(Catfish..the TV show trailer)
I am fully aware many of you reading this will sadly be in a ‘Catfish’ situation or maybe suspect that you might be in one or maybe you are watching a close friend get hurt by what you suspect to be a fake person. So here are a few things to look for and like I say further down the page, please watch the 2 links provided.
Spotting a Catfish scam is not as easy as spotting a Nigerian scammer. The Nigerian or other eastern european scammers will cut to the quick early on by giving a sob story and asking for help with money. “Catfish” usually are not after money. But these two examples of scams have a lot of the same things going on. They are both pro’s at social networking usually it’s the scammer / Catfish who starts the friendship and be sure it will not be easy to verify their identities, if indeed you ever will.
For those who fall for the Catfish lies and stories there is real damage. A scammer will rob you of a lot of money…A Catfish will break your heart and rob you of your dignity and pride..there is no respect and it is sick and cruel to do such a thing to another person.
If a stranger contacts you first out of the blue, please take this very seriously. Catfish are always total strangers. believe me, this person is a total stranger to you.. They do not exist. They are not a friend of a friend. they did not go to school with you, they did not work in the same office block as you..you have never ever met them. If you start to correspond then you have shown you are a person happy to trust a stranger. Foolish Move!
These people will have wonderful jobs, or many will say they are celebrities or models and will always look better than any person in your real life friend group..you will think you have hit the motherload in ‘hotties” !
A Catfish will refuse webcam and / or telephone calls or even meet up..there is always an excuse. If this persists after you have been on-line communicating for over 6 months this is another major red flag..this person has something to hide. no ifs or buts or maybe, be sure they are hiding something. After 6 months a genuine person will be happy to Skype or telephone or meet up. One vitally important request for you to ask your potential Catfish is this….for them to take a photograph there and then holding up a piece of paper with your name on it. if they refuse..well, say no more!
Now regarding that gorgeous lady or gentleman on Facebook or other social network ( like internet dating sites, chat rooms etc) did you know you can check their photos out? Your everyday, average internet user is not familiar with exchangeable image file format (EXIF) data. Its a powerful tool in detecting fraud. Basically EXIF is meta-data embedded in image file types which provide the GPS location of the photo, the date it was taken, if the photo has been edited, what website it came from or who really took the photo and other interesting information. you just drop your photo files into the link and its all there for you. Google also have a great tool for this. MTV have brought all this information to light and it works…you will probably find your gorgeous young prom queen or greek god once lurked on an old Myspace profile, or was taken from random websites ( always other peoples photographs the Catfish thinks you will never find the original source ..but try hard enough and you will find them….MTV’s Nev shows you how on the show)
Does your mysterious friend have a Facebook? Now I don’t have a Facebook and I am definitely not a Catfish. but I do have a Twitter and a Linkedin and I have this blog and you see my own photos . A Catfish often will have no such social network sites, they are always deleted because they got ‘hacked’ or typical Catfish say they had to delete or stop using their old profile because they were in danger or because something traumatic and dire had happened yeah right! If someone enjoys corresponding with total strangers but does not have a Facebook or Twitter account for some oddly given reason be aware.
If they do actually have a profile do they have photos on view and are there friends tagged in them? are they tagged in friends photos? if there are none of these things to see, it is almost definitely because the profile photo or any images are stolen and there are no friends to tag. do you have mutual friends? mutual friends you have known in real life for a long time? A good point to remember is this one.. If they have a Twitter account look for the date they first tweeted.if it was the day you met them then the account was created for your benefit. Also if they have no local friends, or seemingly random friends or no recent photos getting posted you might want to bear in mind that you are probably looking at a hoax account.
Catfish victims often have had conversations with so called family members and best friends. think carefully how often do you chat with other on line friend’s families? These people are usually all created and played by the Catfish, they are all him or her. it is so you think the fabulous friend they made up for you is real. They tell you stories of their fabulous lifestyles and the fabulous things they do and the fabulous friends they have..and none of it is a word of truth, victims find that eventually the Catfish makes slip ups..things just don’t add up… and should the victim question the Catfish and their stories, the whole thing will be twisted and turned about, accusing the victim of so called lack of trust and how can they be doubted? they will act offended and threaten to leave the friendship..such a drama is played out on purpose so that the victim goes back to behaving and playing the game the way the Catfish wants the game played.. Catfish make the rules up as they go.
So why do they do it? well one person on the show admitted she got a kick out of it. she had many different identities on line and was so pro at it she had it down to a fine art. she pretended to be a man to one woman. this lady thought she was in love with a handsome guy, a wonderful gentleman, the Catfish did this for one reason only..she got a buzz from being cruel. There are many stories like that. but from surveys now being conducted ( the internet is alive with this on topic subject) most people do it because they can hide behind the PC, they pretend they are living a fabulous, glamorous lifestyle..their dream lifestyle, the life they have secretly always dreamed of having. The fake character allows them to talk to someone they find special without being rejected and can say things they would never say in real life. They may in real life be painfully shy or have such deep rooted insecurity issues or low self esteem they feel the need to hide behind these glamorous persona’s. Eventually the stories get so deeply fabricated and the web that is woven is so intricate they no longer feel they can admit the truth. They are scared that if they come clean to the object of their attention they will lose them. the fact is that generally over a long period of time emotions have formed and grown and because of the red flag warnings as mentioned above and in the links below often ( but not always)the person being Catfished is highly aware of the situation and although praying their suspicions are unfounded and wrong, would really appreciate the truth being admitted to them. Only then can a true friendship evolve. wipe the slate clean and start again and be the better for it. But that is a very unrealistic view of what could happen as not many Catfish are brave enough to come clean they are either afraid or yellow backed cowards and that’s sad because hundreds of people out there are hiding under a false character and hundreds of people are getting their hearts broken. Of course there are many Catfish who plainly do it to be malicious and cruel. there are situations where the prankster pretended to die.. yes die to kill the character off as its all gone too far..they get the pretend friends and family to inform the person with the broken heart of the death. The Catfish has no feelings or remorse for the person on the other side of the computer crying and grieving for their dearly departed online love.
So that’s my ”on topic” post today. I decided I wanted to write on a current on trend topic that is a worldwide problem. I asked people and even my own personal online friends if I should write a controversial topic and they said go for it, so I have! So my dear readers do you have a Catfish story or know someone who has? or are you a Catfish yourself ? let Sugar know
For anyone worried out there..these video clips may be of help…failing that contact Nev of MTV Catfish by email and he may be able to help you find out who your catfish is. good luck..let me know the outcome.:) .
Side note..I actually know more than one person who have been Catfished and have witnessed the fallout and its not a pretty sight…so this post if for you out there x
Here are some questions you can and should ask yourself about any new online friend….
.(The following 2 videos would not hyper link for me, but just click the links and please watch both..they both show you the major points ..the ”Red Flags” to watch for in your internet friendships. you need to watch them as they glue this post together)
How to spot a ‘Catfish’ part 1
How to spot a ‘Catfish’ part 2
(MTV’s ‘Catfish’ Educates about web relationships.)