Catfishing 101

Criminal Minds star Thomas Gibson has reportedly become the latest victim of a ‘celebrity catfish’, according to TMZ, but I’m betting that he won’t be the last. Men may be even more likely to get sucked in to interacting with a fake person. According to the Internet Crime Complaint Center, love scams cost victims $50 million in 2011. It’s impossible to calculate how many hours of their lives were lost to dreaming, emailing, and talking to someone who doesn’t exist. Many victims don’t come forward because they are afraid that they will look stupid. They are right. Because love makes us all stupid. Think about it: Falling in love is chemically similar in the brain to doing a line of cocaine. Would you make any other major life decision while high? [. . .]





Scam of the Day:

I’ve been exposed to a lot of medical fraud cases lately. There are the women whose children are almost kidnapped by crazy ladies pretending to be pregnant, worker’s comp cases in which claimants fake injury, and even people who fake cancer in order to get funds from friends and relatives. I always wonder: In these elaborate stories, doesn’t anyone along the way demand to see medical evidence? Today in a fit of random Googling, I uncovered, a site where you can order ‘gag’ ultrasounds, medical and pregnancy tests, and even DNA results. The ultrasounds look VERY real; you can specify age of the ‘fetus’,  black and white or color, hospital, clinic, date of exam and even father’s name. Apparently these are meant to be gag gifts, but seriously, how is this funny? I can’t see the humor in springing a fake pregnancy test or ‘silicone twin fake pregnancy belly’ on an unsuspecting mom or boyfriend. Or saying ‘look, this test confirms that I have cancer–just kidding!’ The site asks you to tick a box saying you won’t use the material for ‘fraudulent purposes’, and the disclaimer reads (in part):

It is designed as a novelty/gag device. Be sure your “mark” has a sense of humor before unleashing this product upon them!We again urge CAUTION when using gags which have the potential of causing emotional harm (as almost any gag or practical joke does). KNOW YOUR VICTIM.

Whatever. Maybe I’ve just been watching too much Investigation Discovery, but certain items on the site seem sinister – and even potentially dangerous. Thoughts?

Ask Me Anything

I would love to hear from you!