Inside the mind of a catfish

https://twitter.com/MancNewgirl/status/577926897448939521

Its funny most people haven’t really heard of the term Catfish. I wrote about the term a while ago and mentioned it a few times in passing.

Now you don’t become the wikipedia of online dating without bumping into a few here and there. But I have been lucky to never really fallen for it, but I have been known to play along waiting for the moment when they suggest I give something up. Be it money, photos, phone number, address, etc.

I quite enjoy fishing the catfishers, trying to get into there minds about why they do it. There’s certainly warning signs, just like the scams. In my experience its started with a message out of the blue like “How are you?”, “You like what you see?”, “hey daddy!”, etc

Before long they try and move away from the original platform to something more free like text message, snapchat, facebook, etc. Most of those other platforms don’t really have the protections of the original, and you have to tell them something about you. For example the latest catfish suggested a number of ways to keep the conversation going. Usually romantic or dirty talk, nude pictures, etc.

I did the usual googling, image search, etc to see if I could find where things are coming from. But found nothing, it was actually Chris which found and linked the pictures to the twitter account.

With my latest catfish, we moved to Facebook but messaged only in the other inbox (aka I never added her as a friend). Lots of pictures were shared from a glamour model with the same name (NSFW! Thanks Chris), but I shared not a single thing.

Unlike most catfish, there was a push to hook up quickly. This kind of surprised me, and I agreed to meet up. Outside Tesco metro supermarket in Salford Quays (weird location but there was no way I was going to director her to my flat, she/he suggested it). Unlike other times before, I thought I’d better inform people just in-case.  Anyway the long and short of it, was I popped by Tesco with Chris and nobody showed up.

I thought there would be a no show (she/he/it never replied to messages after yesterday) I assume the fun was done. But to be fair in the past, when they have turned up and sometimes we’ve had a fascinating discussion about why they lied and used somebody elses profile.

It is a shame I didn’t get the chance to find out who was behind the scenes but they have been blocked and reported now. Like I should have done, many of you are saying instead of entertaining there warped scene of fun.

I did elude to this happening before multiple times (you will be surprised how many messages) . Usually I find there stolen/ripped pictures or trip them up on something. One such time was with a woman I’ll call Cat. I found her pictures easily enough and started calling her a scammer. She got very defensive and I convinced her to meet in a public place.

Here’s a extract from my ever elusive fictional book…

We met up in Piccadilly Station. As you can imagine, she was nothing like her profile pictures. I could have had the pleasure of telling her so over and over again but it didn’t seem right. I asked her how she was going to pull off the fact she was nothing like her profile suggested. She said she was so frustrated by me calling her a scammer and she decided to meet.

She was overweight, young and had a friend in tow. She was like one of those girls you see hanging out with skater guys at the park. Over baggy clothes, piercings, slightly frumpy with a bag load of self confidence issues.

I wanted to rip into her about using someone else’s identity but I just couldn’t do it. She was young, foolish and her friend even more so. After a cup of coffee, a pastry and a quick talking to it was time to leave her and her friend to it.

Simon suggested I could seek out catfish but unlike the MTV show, offer support and get into the meat of why they do it. I’m obviously not the man for that but its a interesting thought anyway. Although I do worry some people can’t help themselves, not that counts as a excuse!

What is a Catfish?

Catfish doc

A few people recently have asked me,

What is a Catfish?

Well urban dictionary says

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. For example…

Did you hear how Dave got totally catfished last month?! The fox he thought he was talking to turned out to be a pervy guy from San Diego!

I was really falling for that gorgeous gal on Facebook, but she turned out to be a catfish

So catfishing is…

The phenomenon of internet predators that fabricate online identities and entire social circles to trick people into emotional/romantic relationships (over a long period of time).

Possible motivations: revenge, loneliness, curiosity, boredom

The term catfishing was inspired by the 2010 documentary “Catfish.”

Gwen was worried that her online boyfriend was a phoney after she saw a TV program about Catfishing.
Its a newish phenomena but has a history in the way some rather disturbed humans deal with new communication technology.

Lets look at the Catfishing of our twitter/dating acquittance Claire Travis Smith and many other woman, as a example… in the hoaxer who breaks womens hearts.

The name of Amy Palmer has been changed, too. She may not deserve a covering identity, another one; even so, 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.”

Catfish = Psychopath, maybe? I usually think of them as people with problems who’s self confidence might be quite low.

Its important to note, most Catfishers do not do it for money. So there quite different from spammers or scammers, although the process of convincing the mark/victim can be very similar to start. Anyone can fall for it, not just women but men too…Its worth mentioning on top of all this, MTV have a series using the same guys behind the 2010 documentary.

The show is your typical MTV stuff but when your watching you think “nahhh not me“, well let me tell you its easily done and once they got you, they got you good.

I have been lucky to avoid them to date but its worth following rule number 7 in dawn porters guide to dating.

7. Get real – and get real early. Don’t fall for the spell of email and text – feeling close online says nothing about whether you’re compatible in real life. So talk on the phone and meet up as soon as you possibly can.

As someone once said, if it seems to good to be true, it probably is… Now I’m waiting for the 419 eater for catfishers. Maybe it should be called Dogfishing or something like that?