How does catfishing work?

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This is real life.  Just yesterday, someone I follow on Facebook discovered that someone had created two fake accounts and used her pictures to assume a false identity which the “someone” used to flirt with me and generally behave in an unladylike manner.  The fake accounts were reported, but initially, Facebook refused to remove them, stating that they were not in violation of their terms.  However, after receiving hundreds of reports over a couple of hours, Facebook did remove the accounts stating that they were indeed found to violate their terms.  Sigh of relief… crisis averted for this Facebook user.

Unfortunately, that happy ending is not the final word for every case of “catfishing.”  If you’re not familiar, catfishing refers to someone who assumes a false identity online either to continue a relationship, have a fantasy life, abuse someone, trick someone they know into giving them information, or any other reason a person might have for wanting others to think they are someone else.  The term was actually coined in a documentary called “Catfish”.  It was the husband of a woman who had assumed a false identity to have an online relationship with Nev Schulman, who eventually made the documentary and created a reality show on the topic.  The crazy thing is that her husband wasn’t angry about her online affair with Nev, and she and Nev are still in contact as friends.

Then again,  not all catfish stories end so sweetly.  Check out the infographic below to hear more and make sure you don’t fall prey to these bottom feeders.

Catfishing
Infographic courtesy of Freedating.co.uk
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