Catfishing: and no this isn't about soups.

Cats are adorably affectionate creatures. They're also quite good at achieving their goals. Let's look at it from this angle: have you ever seen a cat so eager to get anything from you?

Clinging and bunting on you, incredibly persistent. It could develop into a nightmare if they asked for something you couldn't supply.
Catfishing is analogous to this when it describes the extent an individual goes to get something out of their unsuspecting victim. It is a type of online impersonation ๐Ÿ”ฅscam๐Ÿ”ฅ where someone pretends to be someone else (usually of a higher status, or more popular, more physically attractive than they actually are) usually for the purpose of getting into a romantic relationship...or just plain ol' scamming.

They may start up a dialogue with you and ask for personal information while impersonating someone else entirely. Catfishing conjures up images of a criminal on the hunt for a prey but literally anyone could be a perpetrator or a victim of catfishing. It is ubiquitous, and we see that in the various teams coined for it ("catfishing", "catfish", "catfarting", etc) as well as internet memes and movies based on several catfishing experiences.

I have a lot of anecdotes that would crack you up but one that I won't be in a hurry to forget happened sometime last year. I had met this Arabian man of mixed decent on Instagram. He added me and sent a DM.

Not being one to put off any opportunity to meet new people, I had replied and from there, the conversation took off with the speed of light.

He was quick to introduce himself as a business owner in the tech line and emphasized that he was looking for something "serious". Sounds familiar, right ๐Ÿฅด?

My first thought was: "if you're really serious about that then you wouldn't be searching online", but I wanted to see where it was going. It _had_ been a slow week ๐Ÿ˜‰.

He went further to state that he had actually dated some ladies that he met offline and he was always met with an impasse and I was like "okay, okay."

But as time passed, I finally got around to speaking with him and the flaws in his story began to unearth; For one, it wasn't always the same. And then, I observed that even though he used his own photo to represent himself, he was impersonating someone elses social status because the person I was seeing did not match the tale I was hearing. Like hold on a sec, young man๐Ÿคจ.
I recall him telling me during one of our conversations that he was a technology freak with a lot of devices; he mentioned a "radio device" (I assumed he meant a receiver, or to the rest of the world, "a bug") that he used to listen in on his roommate's conversions during his absence, because apparently, he couldn't trust him.

He also told me about how he owned "spy cams" in his house and other "cool stuffs" and then proceeded to give me a tour of said house, showing me where he had placed these things, along with some pictures. I didn't understand what that statement meant until I started getting complaints and regular disruptions from him for silly things.

He promptly added me to the various social media networks with which he was familiar, which were a lot, and made compliments about my followers and online presence. Not long after, he was asking for my contact, saying that he wanted to get closer to me and insisting that I in fact share other social media handles unique to Nigeria with him as he would like to see life from my own perspective. He had also requested that I introduce him to my friends, that he would like to meet them as well. I repeatedly declined and each time, he would call me and all I would be able to see was him briskly jostling around the whole place. And at that point, I was like "woah, man๐Ÿ˜’". It was no longer funny.


He was an online stalker, confirmed. The only social media he could not monitor at that point were my Telegram and Quora, and the only reason he couldn't do that was because he didn't have access to them. He was very invested in my following, and would ask very silly questions concerning my online presence. He soon started demanding for pictures of me and the more I refused, the more he persisted.

At this point, I knew I was dealing with a psycho, but I was still curious because I sensed that previous experiences or trauma might have been playing a significant role in the episode. Someone must have knack me strong coconut on the head because I started feeling sympathy for him. Apparently, I had already bought into the paradigm that the dating space could be unhealthy and he needed someone to orate with.

"The poor guy probably collected breakfast that gave him diarrhoea and now, he's extremely careful to the point of toxicity." I had thought, and my village people shouted their support ๐Ÿ˜.

He was definitely eloquent and seemed quite exposed, to my young and hopeful mind and it fuelled my patience even more.

Something about me; I have a very imaginative mind, and when I have discussions with people that captivate my interest, I try to create a picture of that conversation in my head. And the picture I had painted of this one was enough to fully immerse me. It was like a mystery, thriller, suspense love story and I was excited to see what could come out of it.

Oh, and just so you know, this whole thing happened in the space of two weeks.


When the side comments started coming in I didn't pay attention to it until those comments turned into complaints and then my concern was heightened. For every minor offense or jokingly derogatory comment I had innocently made, he wouldn't hold back rude blabs steered to hit where it would hurt the most. I had explained to him a few times that contrary to what he was thinking, we were not in any way dating and I could do whatever I wanted online but he wouldn't have any of that. My beautiful imagery of my interaction with this man, which had already been breaking off piece by an piece, simply poofed out of existence at this point.

And I know you're asking yourself why I didn't block him on all platforms like four paragraphs ago; well I did, multiple times but he kept using different accounts to reach out to me. I was readily expectant that the next follower I would get would be him with another name. Like the hydra, for every head I cut off, I got three more.
By the time I had had it up to my chin, I knew that I had to do something. I shouldn't put up with such doltish attitude from anyone. I began to play him at his own game- it became a foregone conclusion that I had his contact information and that I might strike at any time.

For once the reputation of our lovely country could be put to good use. I emphasized that I was Nigerian and that he should not underestimate my "powers", cue crazy laughter ๐Ÿคฃ. I had been more proud of utilizing my nationality to defend myself than of accepting it organically but it worked! He bolted away, and I didn't hear from him again.


I experienced thought flashes of what might have happened if I hadn't reacted the way I did back then while I wrote this. That experience, I realize now, was catfishing in one of its scarier forms.

But while lighter, even funny catfishing stories abound, believe me when I say they can quickly turn sour. Some catfishes are simply sad and lonely, looking for a way to escape their reality while others may be an enraged ex seeking vengeance and wishing to toy with your emotions; still others may be slightly perverted individuals looking to make *you* an object to satisfy their sexual gratification.

However, in extreme cases, the catfish may end up physically harassing, scamming, or completely stealing their victim's identity in order to dupe or extort money from them.

It's critical to be cautious and make sure you understand what you're getting yourself into before communicating with someone online because you can't determine what a person's motive is right away. I wouldn't deny that I've met some fantastic people online, but that doesn't change the fact that there are people out there who want to damage you mentally and emotionally without even knowing who you really are.

Catfishing has always existed; however, in this digital era, it's become easier to perpetrate as well as detect.
Many of us have similar or way more hilarious catfishing experiences, but how do we recognise the signs if we don't know the story. Comment your stories below and let us feel the emotions together!


If you like this post, don't keep it to yourself... Or aren't I cute enough?


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Fun facts:
■ You get red eyes in pictures because your pupil is just a hole and the flash reflects the blood in the back of your eyes.

■ Turtles can breathe through their butts and pee through their mouths.

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10 Comments

  1. I love what you do with the pictures!

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  2. This is a nice piece, well written and detailed. I was about to comment on the timeframe of " 2 weeks" when it struck me, that I've had an experience before and I'm not so sure if it was even up to 2 weeks. This happened on FB though. he sends me a friend request on FB, I accepted and then I started seeing photos of him and his family, comments and all of that. although we never texted *not until the time i was scammed* but he built this credibility with his posts and comments; little did I know the life I thought he had was fake. Fast track to when it all happened, so he made a post one morning of how he's celebrating his marriage anniversary and for that he wanted few people to make donations to an orphanage home. I got emotional and then decided to text him and also make a donation, then he gave me the instructions and told me he'd compensate me later. I made the transfer in a haste *'cause there was a time limit* and not minding the fact that the account name had a "female name" rather than an official name. I went back to text him and know what's up, and all of a sudden someone who was quick to reply started snubbing my messages and throwing in awkward replies then I realized it has happened, I've been duped! I reported his account and blocked him. It was a painful experience and just another way of hinting on the signs to watch out for 'cause these guys and girls are always coming up with some shitty tricks and plans. stay safe out there!

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    Replies
    1. Wow, so sorry for your loss.
      One valid point is in the fact that you learnt, and that you can recognise a similar situation from miles away.

      Delete
  3. Wow ๐Ÿ˜ฎ
    A very nice piece to read educating as well as entertaining

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  4. Omo, see me inside the gist with you, completely hooked! and yes, I did ask two paragraphs ago why you hadn't blocked him๐Ÿ˜‚ Loved it so much!

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    Replies
    1. My dear, my village people were trying to work against me, but me?! Nah, nah
      I'm really glad you love it!

      Delete
  5. Omoh, I sha love gist so my entire body and soul was focused on this gist the whole time.. I also asked why you didn't block the nigga a long time ago but I already know its your village people showing their muscle.

    It's a relief you didn't get scammed during the entire experience tho. I've experienced catfishing before with an ex but I'd rather not give the details here๐Ÿ˜…

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    Replies
    1. My dear, they called my name three times at the village square, cos I can't even give a reasonable reason why I continued the conversation.

      Please, don't be scared to share your story, we don't judge here ๐Ÿค—

      Delete