People who lie online. AKA "Catfish".

Discussion in 'I Have a Question...' started by Underground, Aug 6, 2013.

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  1. Underground

    Underground Well-Known Member

    I don't really know how or where to post about this, but have any of you ever been "catfished" online? Either in a friendship or relationship sense. For those of you that don't know what it means, basically, a "catfish" is someone online who lies about their identity - using faked photos, using fake Facebook/social media accounts, faking their name, their gender, or whatever. I am NOT talking about scammers, pedos, or conmen who lie for financial gain, to troll, to groom or whatever. But people who use other identities to forge friendships and relationships with apparent genuine feelings and receive no apparent gain from lying.

    I was "catfished" by someone I considered a close friend of 4 years online and at two stages had feelings for. It was someone that claimed to be a male and even had multiple relationships over the years via internet message boards and online games with girls (who also obviously believed it was a male), but I've recently found out after months of suspicion that it was a female all along after smelling a rat after "he" was really reluctant to meet up in real life or go on webcam and finding out "he" had never met his online exes despite claiming "he" had, it was through pure luck that I found an e-trail to a forum where she was being herself on and traced a Facebook picture belonging to her to her real profile.

    Apart from the gender, name and photos everything else about her (such as life story details) seems to be true and I don't by any means hate her, I actually understand why she did it and how she got caught up in it (because I once did something similar), but I can't get over this feeling of loss and disappointment. I let my feelings cloud my judgement and sort of became blind to the red flags. The voice on mic/phone was not broken, which is what would usually be suspicious, but because I mentally attached the voice to the image in my head, it was something I let slide. I will never make the same mistake again of trusting someone online without verifying who they are or what they say, but despite all still want her friendship, but that doesn't stop the feelings of loss and disappointment.

    Has anyone else experienced something similar?
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 6, 2013
  2. Terry

    Terry Antiquities Friend Staff Alumni

    Have had this happen twice, both ex members of SF, who over 2 years made up elaborate life histories.
    I spent so many hours of those 2 years listening, supporting and just being there, when my time could have actually been spent helping someone bona fide.
    It makes me very very angry.
  3. Witty_Sarcasm

    Witty_Sarcasm Writer, Musician, Fun Lover, Magic Maker

    Yes, it's happened to me several times, some were pathological liars, some just weren't happy with who they were, and some I guess made a game out of lying. It's happened on this site as well as other places on the internet. I always had problems trusting people, and my trust in people is about nil now. I'm really sorry this has happened to you, and I really don't understand why people do things like this, or what they sense to gain out of it. That's why I'm always honest to everyone, because I've been hurt so many times, and because I'm not that type of person. Just be more careful and do checks if you're see if their screen names are on other sites, if their details match up to what they said, etc. It's something I do now, so I have less chance of being screwed over, and I try not to get overly attached to people.
  4. Underground

    Underground Well-Known Member

    I believe it's called Munchausen Syndrome by Internet, when people feign illness (mental or physical) to seek attention online, so I'm not surprised that it goes on in forums like this. Can I ask how these people were found out? Through confession or exposure?

    I am usually rational (or more like cynical) online, or I like to think so anyway, I'm cautious of people who seem either too good to be true or too bad (dramatic) to be true. I think in a way I subconsciously deflected my doubts for this person on others. I'd always been too afraid to lose the friendship which I'd emotionally invested in a lot, which is why I could never gain the courage to ask bluntly for him (her) to prove herself and had hoped by meeting up these fears would be proven wrong, but I guess that's why one should always trust their gut instinct.

    I have known of other people lie online over the years, but apart from in this instance, they've mainly been mere acquintances. A common one for some bizarre unknown reason is girls pretending to be guys, like in this case, it seems far more common than vice versa, but maybe that's just my experience. Then of course there's the usual people pretending to work in careers they don't, military especially. An old friend "dated" a 19 year old Marine online, but of course it turned out to be some 14 year old Canadian boy (his IP location exposed him and he eventually confessed), although I think that was one of the more obvious cases!
  5. meaningless-vessel

    meaningless-vessel Well-Known Member

    I'm generally a naive person online - but I can almost guarantee I've never had the experience of being "catfished".

    Of the people that i've known of through being online I've met up with 5 and not once had an issue. 3 of them have been from SF. 2 from Facebook. I've even skyped/msn'd a further 3. So I guess I've been reasonably lucky to avoid it - even though it does go on. Liars eventually get found out to the point it's not worth it.

    But it's also down to what people who read it actually believe.
  6. emily83

    emily83 Well-Known Member

    many many times i've had this

    1 time on a travel website, i met this guy who claimed he worked on a cruise ship and he told me about all the entertainment they arange, all that kind of thing.... turned out he was a colledge student who actually had never gone no where near a cruiseship

    i had 1 time where this girl called alex claimed she worked for the military- 13 years old, and in the military. but that wasn't true ither.. she actually dropped out of school, but was too embarrassed to talk about it

    or i think the most attention- seeking one i had was this girl who was terminally ill and she kept telling me (and the others on the site) she didon't have long to live- cancer i think it was

    so a couple weeks later long after the date she said she'd never make it too, she told us that she wasn't ill at all.... she was doing to see how we'd react
  7. Lorax

    Lorax Well-Known Member

    Can't say i have. I give everyone a certain amount of "trust" till they prove it's not possible to. But only 2 people have actual faith from me. I should make it 3.. But i don't trust my self.
  8. morning rush

    morning rush Well-Known Member

    I was catfished by a publisher. The original owner was supposed to be a young woman with cancer who wanted to be a publisher, but she never existed, at one point they said that she had passed away and I (along with other authors) believed every word they said. When someone on a blog raised a flag about the publisher we all came to it's defense...and then a few months later, it turned out that they were frauding everyone and closed down with our royalties in hand....that was the biggest thing I've ever encountered on the net, and I still am angry I got caught in it and never once doubted them...I am a real sucker...
  9. emily83

    emily83 Well-Known Member

    i've 2 more.. will post 1 now, and 1 later (just because i'll have something to post, lol)

    anyway i met this girl on a website who said she ran this eating disorder site- and on each of the site pages, their was music.. which she claimed that she'd written. so i messaged her asking if i could have a copy of the songs.. because i thought at the time, oh what a great musician!. she replied saying she no longer had the backing tracks, which kind of made me suspicious... and sure enough, i typed in the lyrics only to find the songs were by a well known group- theey were not her work at all. when i told her that i'd found out who wrote them, she was like... oh my god, no one ever did that- people believed me
  10. Acy

    Acy Mama Bear - TLC, Common Sense Staff Member Safety & Support

    Ugh! Catfishes! Nasty people!

    On a suicide/depression support forum such as SF, we sometimes get trolls who are just plain nasty, sick individuals that want to get attention, a rise out of people by claiming they're in a major crisis. When they draw people in for mega-attention and support, I guess they are catfishes of a sort. Maybe they are doing it because they have a pathological need for attention, or maybe they're nasty and sick in the sense that they just want to see how much they can work people up and play them. I feel cynical and angry when people knowingly deceive us just to see what sort of reactions they can get.

    On the internet (and irl now), I give people the benefit of the doubt the first few times. If the stories become contradictory, and the person can't/worn't explain, I start to wonder and withdraw to some degree. Usually, the lies such people tell will back them into a corner they can't get out of, and they are found out. Unfortunately, they've usually managed to pull the wool over some eyes before they're found out. It REALLY hurts those who were prepared to be kind and supportive and who believed them.
  11. emily83

    emily83 Well-Known Member

    my other experience was actually on a forum such as this one(not this one, but something like it)

    this lady joined us who really wanted to die (naturally i won't say how,) but yeah. she did it, however beforehand told another member to make it look like it was on CNN news- so this other member, posted it on the forum saying that she was a headline on CNN, she even posted a made up artickle

    few days later when it had all died down and the headline had sunk in, the original member who was still alive, came back on the forum and cursed the forums for being so useless
  12. White Dove

    White Dove Well-Known Member

    it happened to me several times and one time on here. I thought this person had passed away and I came here because I was so upset only to have another person on here at sf tell me this person who was supposed to be dead was actually alive and had logged in after my post. all my life I have had people lie to me for one reason or the other and all my life I have trusted many who have broken my heart and mis used my trust in them that I don't really know who to trust anymore so I kind of just stay in my own little world because I cant really trust anyone and those that I do trust and care about an often love will either die or leave me. I got to the point where all I want to do is just close my heart to everyone but then I think about Jesus and the love he has for me and for others and I have to find it in my heart to forgive them but also to forgive myself and then continue on my path of giving out love and expecting nothing in return.
  13. Lost and tired

    Lost and tired Well-Known Member

    Im new here but that really shocks me. Why would someone do that and for so long. What did she gain, was it just entertainment for her?
  14. Acy

    Acy Mama Bear - TLC, Common Sense Staff Member Safety & Support

    Hi, Lost and tired. Catfishes can be found on almost any site online. Some of them are "trolls" who get a kick of leading people on and upsetting them. Some are out to fool people, to form false relationships, and perhaps get money. Others are just compulsive liars - as in the real psychological illness of lying about everything all the time. SF advises that people to be aware of their safety and not blindly trust people online - not even here.

    Occasionally, on SF, we've had a person who lied blatantly or played up the drama. The Admins, Mods and CMs don't condone that kind of's too upsetting for other members. When such an incident is found out, we gather evidence and ban the person if he/she is here just to stir up trouble and drama with lies and games. Please be assured that MOST people on SF are honest, good people.
  15. Lost and tired

    Lost and tired Well-Known Member

    Im staggered Acy that they would use a site like this to behave that way.Their actions could be extremely dangerous and lead to people doing drastic things. In the UK at the moment the big news story is of a young girl who was bullied to suicide on a social network site. Isn`t it the same with these people, cant the be reported to the police
  16. Acy

    Acy Mama Bear - TLC, Common Sense Staff Member Safety & Support

    Lost and tired, most people in the world are not out to cause trouble. The ones who are internet trolls don't get too far here. The occasional time that a troll arrives on SF, the staff are very good at spotting him/her and banning the person quickly. Rest assured that Admins, Mods, and CMs actively watch for trolls and trouble-stirring behavior. We don't tolerate it here. :hug:
  17. JustKindaThere

    JustKindaThere Well-Known Member

    Two guys lied to me. One told me he was 30 but was actually 50, and the other lied about his gender. Thought he was a girl, turned out to be a dude...he was a very convincing female though, had me for a whole year believing he was a girl >:I he even lied about being on his period and stuff like that, lol
  18. JustFirefly

    JustFirefly Well-Known Member

    I guess im the odd one out,

    I was born with the wrong gender but, irl i live as a male even though i know im actually a female....

    On the internet i tend to refer to myself as female (because i believe i am)..

    I dont think im catfishing, at least not to the extent of what yall are talking about. I dont lie about anything else... A lot of the time i feel... Like i dont belong..

    I could say "I am a boy" but then i feel like thats one more place im hiding, pretending to be someone else, For people like me the internet is a godsend... I dont have the money or resources to go through with therapy and surgery and over here in the US its very hard to get cheap gender therapy and almost all government aid specifically says that they wont help with gender problems.. They dont want to pay for what htye believe to be a "cosmetic problem"... Anyways...

    Even though irl i live my life as a boy, on here and anyplace i feel like i can be myself... I tell them i am a female....
    I dont like to tell people im transgendered because of the reactions ive gotten (a few really nasty ones, even here.. Ive been threatened from members here twice... and a lot of time i need support because im suicidal BECAUSE of my gender identity issues)
    I dont send pics or usually talk over a voice site... (i have cross dressed ect before) and i do have a pretty convincing female voice (a little wispery still though)... I understand that what you guys are talking about is a litle more harmful and deciftful but i guess im just trying to bring light on what some of them might be going through...

    When i come on here i feel free, i feel like i can be me. I feel like im not getting judged because no one can see my face... I dont lead people on, though i do tend to flirt... Mostly i just want to be loved for WHO I AM.

    I guess the only thing that could actually be different from me and these people who are trying to pretend to be someone is...

    That when im IRL i feel like im lieing.. and on here i feel like im being truthful.....

    Idk. Maybe im out of line. But all in all.. Some pople lie to be mean and hurt others.. SOme do it because its an addiction... Others do it because its the only time they can be who they are... There are a lot of reasons.. .just know that if this was any other life i would hope you would have met me as a female.. Not some ugly guy that i hate being everyday, that i cry about, that i want to destroy.

    idk.. I can go on and on and bitch and hate myself. Ill just shut up cause im nto really adding anything helpful here.. just pure misplaced emotion
  19. Acy

    Acy Mama Bear - TLC, Common Sense Staff Member Safety & Support

    Hi, ForgottenFirefly. It seems your motive is to be yourself, while a catfish wants to fool people and upset them.
  20. Sa Palomera

    Sa Palomera Well-Known Member

    I was catfished by people on here, actually been thinking about them and what they did a lot lately, as I've seen a lot of the tv show Catfish lately.
    I have lied to people on here in the past about something, but I didn't pretend to be someone or something I'm not, I 'just' lied about something that had happened in my life (don't get me wrong, I am sorry for this, and I did own up to my lie).

    I very vividly recall 3 people sorta catfishing me. One of which I'm still in touch with every now and then through social media. Another person seems to have disappeared completely, which saddens me. I'd love to be able to speak to them and ask them why they lied and why they said so many things. I still feel really hurt by what they did, but thankfully things from the time we were in touch have gone kinda blurry in my mind due to my use of substances back then.
    The third person I heard about the whole catfishing through mutual former friends and I was heart-broken when I found out.
    I tried to stay in touch with them after I found out and for a while we sorta chatted every now and then on social media, but eventually I just deleted them. A friend of mine is still in touch with them and as much as I don't understand it, I respect it, but I'm still hurt when I think of it, so I try not to think of it, but it's hard to see my friend still being in touch with them.
    But yeah. I guess this is part of why I barely ever visit this site anymore. I cannot give myself that much anymore only to find out to be lied to about things that are particularly hurtful for me due to my own situation or even about entire personalities. I don't think I'd handle it well if I'd have something like this happen again.
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