Cases online dating
"However creepy it is to live vicariously through someone else's online presence, dying though them is a hell of a lot stranger!
" Ali Hainkel, from Louisiana, says a faker found her way into a private Baby Center group used by mums to share parenting stories and advice and falsely claimed she had two children."What our troll did – her fake name was Kitty – was find an active and public Flickr account that a woman used to store the photos of her two children from birth onwards," Hainkel says.
In May, Buzz Feed News published the story of Leah Palmer, detailing an elaborate three-year hoax in which someone stole pictures and fabricated an entire alter ego.
It was an extreme case of catfishing: "Leah" convinced several people she was real, including a man with whom she conducted an online long-distance relationship. Buzz Feed News has spoken to experts in cyberpsychology to find out why – and it turns out it's got a lot to do with how the internet is changing our brains.
The singer at the gig was an up-and-coming artist; the online pretender was simply a fraudster.
She told him via text: "If you don't phone me right now, I'll never speak to you ever again." So he rang, Carla picked up the phone, and there was "just silence and some kind of muffled sniffling", she says. Máiréad, from Ireland, told us that six or seven years ago someone posted a link to a tribute site on an online forum she regularly visited that told of 14-year-old French twins who had been tragically murdered on the same day – but it later transpired that they were alive and well."Later posts suggested that it was murder-suicide," she says.
I'm not saying it's always a bad thing, it's just something you observe."You lose no social currency though it because no one sees it – you don't have to account for your behaviour."In many catfishing cases, the person running the fake account spends a lot of time before and during the hoax observing the real account they're stealing from – and nobody knows.
Another reasons people catfish is because they can: Anyone can find and download pictures from Facebook, Instagram, or anywhere else, in seconds.
Even if there are details missing or there's something suspicious – for example, someone's webcam is always broken, or their career seems sketchy – human brains are happy to fill in the blanks."Just as we stereotype people in the physical world and immediately make judgments, I think the same thing is happening online," Short says.
"This naturally drew out lots of sympathy, including from mothers who lost their children very young also."The woman who posted the link left clues that something was up, and later on, the twins found out about the whole thing and were appalled.