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12 Apr

If you want to avoid getting catfished – named after the popular documentary It’s tempting to assume that everyone who creates a fake persona online is a basement-dwelling cretin with a face for radio and a brain for social engineering who creates a fake persona to woo others because he or she knows that nobody could possibly love the “real” identity, but the truth is far more complicated than that.

While many catfish love-lorn and socially maladjusted – whether through crippling shyness, low self-esteem or other social and psychological ills – many others look to create fake identities for the lulz or to test out new identities… Some catfish aren’t malicious so much as misguided and afraid – they have feelings and emotions that they want to express but feel that there’s something about them that holds them back.

Now, while the jury still seems to be out on whether Te’o was duped by Internet pranksters or helped create the fictional persona in order to boost his visibility and garner the sympathy vote for the Heisman…

In one epic case, an individual known as Ms Scribe created over twelve separate identities in order to (I shit you not) take over a Harry Potter fanfic community on Live Journal.This is especially true amongst gay and transgendered individuals who have adopted fake identities online; they don’t have any malicious intent, they just fear the rejection (or in many cases, actual physical danger) that could come from confessing their feelings directly to the object of their affection.It can be intoxicating when an otherwise “impossible” love feels attainable, even when it’s built on a lie; having to admit to the deception would not only ruin the “relationship” (and thus kill the dream) but also quite possibly torpedo any relationship from the “real” world.You’ll get photos, emails, maybe even a phone call or two and she’s starting to fall in love with you and is They want to come see you but they need money for a visa and they just can’t afford it. Manti Te’o – a college football star, someone who presumably could have his pick of available women – was suckered in by a (fake) pretty face and a clever line of drama… Four members of the Washington Redskins were all deceived by the same “woman”, as were a number of other professional athletes and entertainers.And of course, filmmaker Nev Schulman waswomen who were all scammed by one “Sebastian Pritchard Jones”, while many others were defrauded by a young woman posing as Elijah Wood’s male cousin.