So, I’m not sure if most of you know about the hit MTV show called CATFISH? It’s a show about the truths and lies about online dating. The idea for the show came about when one of the hosts fell in love online and discovered the chick he fell in love with, wasn’t actually who she said she was. Two of his friends documented the entire thing and presented it as a project at their University. Catfish was so popular eventually it was picked up by MTV and now I’m one of the millions of people who watch it religiously.
Catfish is a verb and is defined as “luring (someone) into a relationship by adopting a fictional online persona”.
I don’t think people that catfish realise the damage they cause. Especially to the people that they are actually building these fake relationships with. I totally get the attraction to it all, pretending to be someone you’re not and living a life you ultimately don’t have. These people find power and confidence they might not have in real life by hiding behind a keyboard or cell phone.
Recently I have become a victim of catfish situations, not in the way that someone has built a false relationship online with me, but in the sense that someone is pretending to be me. This person has been using my pictures to build false relationships with other people. Over the past three months, about six or seven people have reached out to me asking if I know them or if we’ve spoken before and then warning me that someone was out there using my pictures and pretending to be me.
This person has used my full name, she/he (because yes girls sometimes pretend to be guys and guys sometimes pretend to be girls) has used my first name but with a different surname and there have been times when it’s a completely different name but all the same pictures. There’s not much I can do about them using the pictures because once it goes online it’s basically public property.
In the beginning I wasn’t too bothered by it, I just explained to those people that reached out to me it wasn’t me. They all apologised and that’s where it ended. Today however I had a different experience.
This morning my Facebook messenger made the usual pinging sound it makes whenever I receive a message. Once I decided to check it I saw I had a message from someone I’ve never chatted to, seen, heard of or met before. Let’s call this someone John lol.
This is how the dialogue went between John and me:
John: “Ja Jade
See what my reason was…”
Me: “Reason for what? (Confused)
John: “Not wanting you and nothing to do with you because you are a liar and you were just going to play with my head. I was right, I don’t know what you tried though but I decided it’s cool. We can still be friends on my terms also, so I can stay happy.” (Cleaned up John’s grammar and writing a little)
Me: “I don’t know you”
“I’ve never spoken to you before”
“You’re like the 6th person sending me these messages. There’s a girl stealing my blog pictures. She uses them and pretends to be me. I’ve never spoken to you before; I have no idea who you are. I have a boyfriend of nine and a half years so I have no idea what you’re talking about. I don’t chat to people I don’t know, let alone guys.
John: “So you don’t know the guy you spoke on the phone to this morning? Anyway I think it’s like I’m the 6th person so let’s keep it there. I’m glad to hear you don’t know me so please stay away from me because if you’re not going to I’m going to tell you boyfriend that you’ve been busy with other guys.
Stay the F#%K away from me please and tell the pretenders as well to leave me alone please. I don’t care or even want you.
I eventually ended all this by telling the guy that I seriously had no clue who he was. This really gets to me! I can’t believe that people can go around creating relationships with others and then end up causing them this much pain. You are knowingly committing to hurting people who have no clue what craziness they are getting themselves into. People are out there searching for friendships or a relationship and you’re taking advantage by stomping all over them.
I’m asking you to stop using my pictures, it’s not only creepy but people are getting hurt and you’re causing an inconvenience in my life. I’m receiving anger from people I’ve never spoken to before because of the things you’re doing to them. If you don’t stop I have no problem explaining to everyone that there’s someone out there trying to hijack my life but you need to remember none of these relationships are going to last because it’s not real. One day you might find someone that likes you for you and you’ll end up losing them because you’re pretending to be me.
Things like this start out as fun and games but people are starting to get hurt. I truly hope you read this and realise you don’t have to be someone else to be liked or loved. Just be yourself.
After I wrote all of the above, John begged me to give him a call so that he could hear whether my voice sounded different (this guy really couldn’t believe this was happening). I then remembered that the first girl who approached me with this gave me the girl’s real name and number (this was before she started using my name and just used my pictures). John then also sent me the number from which he and “the other Jade” were communicating from.
I have found that all these people have been communicating with the same girl. I now know her name. I know where she lives and I also have her cell phone number. So “other Jade” I really hope this is end.