Monday, July 1, 2013

Catfish: Never thought I would see the day...

Personal information is everywhere these days, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, even LinkedIn, etc. In theory, these social media sites were created to link people with their friends, family, coworkers and other people of interest. But what happens when the information on your social media account is abused?  When your public information gets into the wrong hands, and a stranger, or even worse, someone that knows you and wishes to cause you harm, misuses your personal information for their own selfish and deceitful purposes?!

I recently started watching the new MTV show "Catfish". From Wikipedia-
"A "catfish" is a person who creates fake profiles online and pretends to be someone they are not by using someone else's pictures and information." The premise of the show basically goes like this- Person A meets online Person B, they chat, trade pics and fall "in love". Person A wants to meet Person B in real life, Person B refuses, Person A is distraught and contacts the "Catfish" show. Then Schulman from "Catfish" uses his internet prowess and tracks down Person B who finally agrees to meet Person A under the glare of MTV cameras. And guess what folks? I have NEVER watched an episode where the person turns out to be exactly like the online pictures. NEVER.

Now you can call me jaded or cynical, but if you read my blog, you know I am actually a hopeless romantic. True love is beautiful, fragile and difficult to find, so I am all for finding love anyway you can in our confusing modern world. Hell, I even joined the Swedish popular online dating site,, when I was in Stockholm this winter! And while I felt bad for the heartbroken people on "Catfish", TV is TV and I never thought something so outlandish could happen to me. But as I seem to be a magnet for crazy events I officially got my first taste of Catfish! And boy do I not like the taste!

So you ask, did I fall for a handsome stranger online? Maybeeeeeee...Ha, actually one of my keen-eyed friends alerted me to a suspicious looking profile on which contained several of my public Facebook profile pictures. These pictures were stolen from my Facebook page and helped birth a scam OkCupid account, wtf!

I am angry, confused and disappointed with the moral fiber of people these days! Since when was the internet filled with such crazy people?! Or maybe the internet has always contained malicious creepers, but my naive self just never noticed until today...!  Now being a victim of "catfishing", what can I do? Scrub the internet clean of every photo I ever posted or every word I have written?! Must I delete all my social networking accounts to become immune to "catfishing"?  Really, what can a lowly common netizen like me do to protect myself against these online predators who use false pictures and lies to prey on unsuspecting victims? I looked up if fake accounts were illegal and it turns out fake accounts are only illegal if the pictures were used to commit a crime or as an advertisement without your consent. WOW.. So when we logged on, I guess we unwittingly signed away all our rights just to be part of this "community" known as the internet. This incident today has made me wonder: If it is that easy to make a fake profile, could there be other fake accounts of me out there?!  :(

I need some time to ponder these questions. So while I do not have all the answers right now, in the meantime, I will try my best to remove this fake OkCupid account:

Whoever you are-"Julieanneful"- you better watch out, for the Catfish Catcher is closing in...


I am listening to:
I Monster - Who Is She?

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