Continued Catfishing Woes

Landing in Regina tonight, I checked my phone to find the following tweets directed at me.

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From what I was able to understand, it appears that this tweeter has been chatting with a person by the name of James Vardy who is using my photos (as seen in the screenshots). However, she believes that I’m the guy she is actually talking to and that I’m “sick” and a “pervert.” A quick search in Facebook brought up this fake profile that I have now reported. Below is a screenshot in case it actually gets taken down by Facebook (which is rarely ever the case).

James Vardy Fake FB Profile

James Vardy Fake FB Profile

It was difficult to make out exactly what happened between this tweeter and the scammer. It sounds like the scammer didn’t want to use video during chat, but this tweeter did and it broke his “rules.” The scammers obviously would much rather communicate via audio or text because video can give up their identity (unless they are exploiting the videos of those they impersonate such as in the manner that I describe in this clip). Even so, this fake video approach only works in small doses and scammers only use it to strengthen their deception and then continue on via text and voice.

You’ll also notice that the tweeter opens up with accusations that I was showing her my “privates.” Sigh. I’m not sure if this tweeter actually saw someone’s privates on her screen, but I know that this sort of explicit interaction is commonly sought out by scammers to provoke their victims to share the same. Once the scammers have captured explicit photos of their victims, the scammers can then blackmail victims for money or in rare cases, the victims can become scammers themselves.

After reading these tweets, I quickly alerted the tweeter that she was speaking to a scammer. I also sent her this resource that I prepared to help victims understand their situation. She didn’t seem to believe me.

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Fun, hey? I didn’t bother replying after that. While her tweets are public, my replies only bring publicity to the situation and I assume that most people who read my tweets don’t actually know about my long-term catfishing predicament.

It’s honestly exhausting dealing with this. And, I’m not the only one who is having to do so. Check out Alan’s latest post on his efforts in trying to get Facebook to take down a scammer account that is using his photos. This overall situation is only going to get worse, and social networking services continue to look the other way.

And hey, just wait until face swap technology gets a bit better … then we’re pretty much all doomed.

  • Cory Plough

    What a nightmare. Sorry man

    • courosa

      Thanks Cory. Indeed, it has been. 8 years and counting.

  • Philip_Cummings

    I’m sorry, Alec. I’ve only had this happen twice now to me, but it’s been a complete pain.

  • shabby chez

    Hi Alec,

    Or as I have FONDLY got to know you as Allen Mernard, residing in Cape Town South Africa. “WE” meet on a Dating Site 50sD February 2016. You don’t know this, but you own a Company called Congratulations, you are now into Road and Railway Structural Engineering. Wow, and you did not even have to Study (lucky you). You are also registered on Linkedin South Africa as Allen Mernard (with your smiling face attached as proof). Actually, at the moment, I feel a complete fool, as I always thought I was relatively intelligent, but current events have disproved this! The irony, my gut was shouting, but I just really fell in love …….. So Dumb!

    The upside, at least I know I have been scammed! The scammer does not know, that I know! The question is what to do from now?


  • basilia dufrene

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