Tonight I got another distraught and ashamed email (“You must think I’m stupid”) (No I do not). This message someone who just had the veil lifted from their eyes and found they were a victim of a catfishing scam from a fake person wearing my photos.
I decided to copy Alec Corous and set up a page I can send to her and others that might have fallen for Gary or Timothy or Roddick or ….. It’s at
This post is just to get it tagged, so this information lands with my other posts tagged catfishing.
I have zero faith, belief that companies like Facebook, Skype, LinkedIn, etc care nor are able to actually do anything to stop the creation of fake accounts. More accounts make them look more successful, and that matters to them more than people being defrauded, lied, and cheated.
In a recent presentation for students on this bizarre subject I suggest that rather than hoping a system (social media or the legal one) will protect them, that they should be proactive in investigating people they meet online. The chat log I shared there of one woman shows what they can do when armed with critical media literacy skills and information.
Furthermore, I suggest that trying to lock down your personal information online is not the answer nor possible without a complete severing of online presence; the fact that victims can easily locate the real photos of me and my contact information suggest that openness is a weapon, not a weakness, against this kind of scam.
What can be done is to spread awareness and critical online literacy skills.
Top / Featured image: Screenshot of my flickr album of photos of mine known to have been used in fake social media profiles.