Catfishing is a fairly new term, but it’s been going on for years. It happens when someone goes online and pretends to be someone they are not to fool someone else. They change their name, photo representation, gender, job, etc. to fool unsuspecting people.
GMA: Manti Te’o Fake Girlfriend
Back in October, University of Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te’o told the world that his girlfriend had died. He called her the most beautiful girl her had ever met, but he hadn’t actually met her. Te’o had been dating a woman he met online who he said had died of leukemia. She died the same day as his grandmother, devastating the footballer.
He didn’t find out until recently that the girl had never existed in the first place. Te’o was a victim of catfishing.
GMA: Nev Schulman Catfish Documentary
The term catfish became popular after Nev Schulman’s documentary Catfish premiered. Schulman thought he was dating Megan, a young woman from Michigan he met online. He liked the relationship because it was different and mysterious. When he went to meet Megan he discovered she was a middle aged mother. The documentary has now sparked a spin-off reality show where Schulman travels to help others meet their online loves.
GMA: Catfish MTV Show
Sunny and her boyfriend Jamison are a prime example of catfishing. Schulman featured Sunny on an episode of Catfish the MTV show. Sunny thought Jamison was a model who was going to school online to be an anesthesiologist. That was the first red flag for Schulman’s crew. Jamison also told Sunny that his sisters had died in a car accident, when after some Googling Schulman found them alive and well. At this point it was clear that Jamison was not who he said he was.
Schulman called Jamison and scheduled a meeting for him and Sunny. Upon arriving, they found a young woman who had been pretending to be Jamison for years to get revenge on others. Jamison was a real person, and in the end Sunny got to Skype with him.
GMA: Catfish Tips
Schulman said that as long as people are meeting online and not face to face, catfishing will continue. He said to look for red flags, like extreme illnesses and sudden deaths. Don’t get into a relationship before really getting to know the person.