I really feel for C_T_S or Claire Travers Smith, who is the writer behind 52 First dates and I wrote about quite sometime ago.
She and many others had been Catfished by someone for a good part of a year (or more) by someone calling themselves Sebastian Pritchard-Jones and other names. If you don’t know what Catfishing is…
A catfish is someone who pretends to be someone they’re not using Facebook or other social media to create false identities, particularly to pursue deceptive online romances.
Sebastian turned out to be a woman in Wales by the name Amy! Its a big problem with online dating and frankly meeting anyone online. You got to really have your wits about you and use lots of street smarts. But even with all that, its not long before you find yourself suckered into something you don’t expect.
I am glad to say this has never happened to me (yet!) even with all the women I’ve dated online. I have a non-fast rule saying if we talk online for a while there is only a few steps it can really go as a relationship. For me to say I’m in a relationship, I must have met them a few times in real life. Theres already too many people messing around dating sites never actually going on dates for various reasons. Even some of the dating sites are waking up to the reality of these “Timewasters” and encouraging people to meet in the real world. Putting the dating back into dating, indeed…So no matter how well we’re getting on, we got to meet in the real world for me to change my single status (FB Status joking of course).
I of course am pretty open and I got to say I’m pretty consistent.This is maybe why I find it hard to be someone else?Anyway I’m shocked at this story and can’t imagine what its like to be catfished, not just physically but very much mentally. Although I did feel like I might have been years ago… (details are best left alone) One of the most interesting points is when one of the victims starts working things out and contacts other victims. Because I gather the catfishers are never satisfied with just one or two people duped. Victims can gather together and learn a lot about the catfishers. But this requires being frank and open about whats been going on…
One advantage of there being so many victims, according to Claire, is that they were able to compare notes. Clues.
I think something is happening but I can’t quite put my finger on it. Being able to clearly say this is me and I am who I say I am is becoming huge currently for the internet. Connected profiles make it difficult to do identity fraud in the way of a catfisher would need or require. In the case of Seb, the persons identity who was stolen was Gary who lived in Hull.
The man in the images seen by Ali turned out to be a construction worker called Gary who lived in Hull. As with Craig, his photos had been taken from Facebook; Gary admitted to me, when I telephoned, that he’d never been very careful with his security settings. I told him Ali had been so wrung out by her nine-month affair with Seb – Gary’s face, stranger’s voice – that she’d eventually relocated to Australia. Gary told me: “It’s a weird feeling to think somebody was in love with you like that. I just feel really sorry for [Ali]. It’s hard for me to take in, it’s been a shock, but I’m not the one who’s had my heart broken. There’s nothing worse.”
I’m of course not wanting to test the theory with my own profile or wish it upon anyone else. (oh and I’m not blaming Craig, he’s a victim in this as well) but I do wonder if a catfisher was to take on a hyper connected profile would it work the same? I guess what I’m wondering…
Is a hyper-connected profile, the only way to protect against being catfished? Just a thought… Of course you could always keep your self off the internet all together but thats just being silly… But when working with a profoundly disturbed psychopath could this work?
after discussion with psychologists and with editors at the Observer it was agreed that this extensive, energetic fraud could only have been conducted by a profoundly disturbed person. When I presented the evidence gathered to an investigative psychologist, Dr Keith Ashcroft, he suggested “the temporary relief of boredom” as one of the hoaxer’s motivations. He also introduced me to the psychologists’ term “duping delight”. Dr Ashcroft explained: “Essentially a thrill derived from having victims being intensely controlled and manipulated by carefully formulated deceptions. This is often the modus operandi of a psychopath.”