Online dating is becoming more and more prevalent in our culture today. It’s a great way to meet new people with similar interests and potentially find a romantic partner. Online dating isn’t foolproof, though. People on the internet are not always who they say they are and faking an online persona is a fairly easy thing to get away with. People reveal their craziest catfish moments while online dating. This content has been edited for clarity.
I Know Where You Live
“A girl messaged me on a dating website. She looked okay in her pictures and I hadn’t been on a date in months so I figured why not? I invited her to Starbucks. Her profile said she was 5’4” with an average body type and was a redhead. I was okay with all of that. I went to Starbucks that weekend to meet her. I didn’t see her outside so I stepped inside and looked around.
The Starbucks was small and all the tables were full. Then the girl stands up as she recognized me and approached me. She was a full six feet tall and towered over me. At that point, I was a little intimidated because it wasn’t the 5’4” I expected. I also noticed she looked a little different from her pictures and realized she used a picture of a ‘similar’ looking redhead for her own. I then looked around and saw the entire Starbucks staff and customers watching us.
It was at that point that I realized why she waited inside. If we were surrounded by a bunch of people, she thought I wouldn’t make a scene or just flat-out walk out on her– which was literally my first instinct. Completely surprised and caught off guard, she asked if I wanted to buy a drink and meet her outside. She had thought it all through.
I grabbed a drink and sat down with her. Almost immediately she started talking about how she was the last of her friends who wasn’t married and didn’t have kids. She then started saying how she almost bought the same condo I did just before me. I never told her I lived there nor that I was the one who ended up buying it. It was really creepy.
I told her I had to run and she walked with me as got to my car. She asked if I would be interested in a second date. Well, I had no need to be honest with her.
‘Sure, I’ll check my schedule and email you on the site,’ I said.
‘Or you could text me!’ she responded enthusiastically.
‘Uh, yeah, I’ll text you instead,’ I replied, even though there was no way I was going to text her and let her have my number. I walked into another building and made sure she left before I got in my car and never talked to her again.”
Devastating First Love
“I remember being catfished before it was a ‘thing.’ I spent a lot of time on the internet when it was still a relatively new concept. I had made a group of friends that were girls in an AOL chatroom. We’d log in around the same time, chat for a few hours, and then log off. Well, one of the girls decided it would be fun if they made an alternate persona to mess with me. They made a boy named ‘Josh’ and introduced me to him as ‘Kate’s friend from school.’ We talked constantly from then on out.
There were no cell phones so no texting and I was too shy for phone calls, so I considered myself in love with Josh through AOL. I was sent pictures from some random myspace of a boy I obviously would never be able to trace. I was young and naive, so I believed every moment of it. Josh got diagnosed with cancer about two years into us talking. It was quick moving and sometimes I wouldn’t hear from him for days during ‘treatment.’
Sometimes Kate would tell me what was going on. I saved my allowance and did extra chores to send Josh flowers when I could. I considered myself an advocate for cancer research and volunteered for the cancer center and cried nightly thinking my first love was dying. About six months into his ‘aggressive’ cancer diagnosis, I didn’t hear from Josh for a week. Some of the other girls were online but none had talked to Kate either.
So one day, Kate logged on. She told me Josh had died. She said she was so sorry and everyone at her school was devastated. My world stopped. My first love was gone. I told the girls I needed some time and that I’d be away for a while. I never logged back into that AOL chatroom again.
About four years later, I got a message from a girl on Facebook. I had no idea who she was. She remembered my name though and told me she had fabricated the entire thing because she was bored and wanted to see what would happen. She apologized for hurting me but she didn’t know an ‘out’ at the time and hoped I was doing well. I don’t believe anyone on the internet is who they say they are anymore.”
Million Dollar Girlfriend
“I decided to give online dating a shot. I wasn’t too worried about getting scammed because I’m lesbian and scammers weren’t as common on gay dating sites. A fairly attractive Asian girl started messaging me in a chat room. She came on strong and actually showed a lot of interest in me even though I didn’t have much interest in her at first since she was from Florida and I’m from Oklahoma. We started talking and texting pretty much 24/7. I started to really like her and thought maybe we’d hit it off if we met.
She then told me about how she couldn’t date anyone locally because her dad was a marine engineer and built multimillion-dollar yachts for famous people. I didn’t really believe it at first, but she started mailing me all these fairly expensive things like clothes, flowers, and gift cards to ‘prove’ it, even though I told her I didn’t really want them.
The weird thing was she wouldn’t tell me her last name and would be very weird about it. She said if I knew her last name I could pull up her dad’s yacht business and see how rich they really were. She wanted to make sure ‘I really wanted to be with her and wasn’t just in it for the money.’ She kept sending me gifts without me asking to ‘prove’ her wealth. She also said she was a head hair stylist at Tony&Guy and made 700 dollars a day in tips.
Unbeknownst to her, one of the gifts she sent me had a receipt slip with her last name on it. I Googled it and nothing came up in the search. Things started to seem suspicious so I called the Tony&Guy she claimed she worked at and asked if I could schedule with her. No one worked there with that name. I waited a couple of days to tell her that her name came on the receipt. When I did, she flipped out.
I called her and said, ‘So I have something to tell you. Your last name was on the packing receipt and I searched for yacht information but nothing came up. I also called Tony&Guy pretending to want to schedule an appointment with you and they said no one works there by your name.’
‘I knew it, you were only in it for the money! And I just quit my job yesterday because I have cancer! You’re so crazy calling my work, who does that?! BYE!’ she replied.
The phone number she used was disconnected in minutes. It was so weird. I don’t know what the point of that catfish was because I’m the one who got a bunch of stuff, and I didn’t even ask for any of it. I still wear some of the stuff she got me. I just wonder what would have happened if I never told her I found the packing receipt. How far would it have gone? Still bothers me to this day!”
“I started talking to a guy who claimed he was a Marine. He posted a bunch of photos he captioned ‘me in Afghanistan’ and the like. They were all different sizes and had really crappy resolutions. A quick reverse Google image search proved they were taken largely from articles written about military training exercises held in Nevada. One photo even had the subject’s name and rank, which wasn’t even close to the name he’d given me.
I called him out on it and he felt the way to rectify it and prove he was real was to send me a bunch of nude pictures. It got even better from there. The photos were of obviously different people. They looked nothing alike and another reverse image search brought up dozens of adult websites. I called him out on that, too, and he proceeded to threaten me for disrespecting the Marine Corps.
It was actually kind of hilarious how terrible he was at scamming.”
“I met this young man from Holland named ‘Shane’ online when I was 13. He was 16 and so was my best friend so I introduced them. They started chatting daily. The strange thing was that we had only ever seen one picture of Shane and he shared an email address with his sister ‘Rowena.’ We didn’t think much of it because not many people had digital cameras back then.
My best friend fell madly in love with Shane. They talked about meeting up but something would always get in the way, even when my friend was in Holland with her family. We also found the same picture of Shane on a different dating site, which was weird, because it was under a different name.
After four years of talking, my best friend received an email from her lover. He told her there was something he needed to tell her that he was embarrassed about. He said he had been hiding something for quite some time and to look for an email about it. She responded and waited for the email for months, but it never came. She sent emails and instant messages to Shane, but he never responded again.
She started digging and she found Shane’s sisters, Rowena’s, social media site. On it were all the photos and drawings Shane had been sending her for years claiming they were his. Pictures of Shane’s new shoes, of a drawing he had made for my best friend, and all of Shane’s favorite bands. My best friend then realized she had not fallen in love with Shane, but with a girl from Holland named Rowena.”
“My mom was catfished twice. The first time, the guy said he worked for an oil drilling company and was off in the middle of the ocean on an oil platform. He said his daughter had broken her leg in a dancing competition and that he couldn’t send her any money for the medical bills. He wanted my mom to send thousands of dollars to some account and promised to pay her back three times over when he got back in the country. Then he said he would basically take her away to paradise and she would live in happiness forever.
I told her that that was obviously bullshit and he was trying to rip her off. She wouldn’t believe me, our family, or her friends even though every single person we know told her the same thing. She insisted we all wanted her to be unhappy and that she was gonna abandon us all and go live with him in paradise as soon as he came back into the country.
The good news was she didn’t have a penny to give him, much less thousands of dollars. She tried to explain that to him but he kept hounding her about it. I took it upon myself to go to one of those websites where they try and catch these sorts of people and after telling them the info, they basically confirmed the guy had been using this same information to try and lure women for months and that he was DEFINITELY a con artist. I tried to explain this to my mother but she wouldn’t listen.
I then sent him an anonymous and very threatening email telling him he had better confess everything to every woman he was trying to rip off or I would reveal all of his personal information to the police. I said I was an elite hacker and knew every single thing about him (obviously, this was a bluff). He fell for it and I knew at least my mother received an email from him confessing everything. I didn’t have to actually send any info to the police as the website I spoke of before said they already had all sorts of information on the guy and would take care of it.
The second time my mom was catfished, the guy claimed to live a few hours away from where we lived but he was out of town. Eventually, of course, he said he needed money because his house was going to be foreclosed. He said he was just shy of being able to pay his mortgage by a couple thousand dollars. I told my mom once again that it was obviously bullshit and she was a little more inclined to believe me that time.
She wanted to be sure because she thought the guy seemed legit on some level. We got a friend of ours to come over (who is a complete genius, by the way) and he literally managed to pull up all sorts of information about the sender of the emails, the phone number he gave us, and the fake address he gave us. To top it all off, our friend found a website where people trade poetry specifically for the purpose of trying to seduce women and men to rip them off and of course, most of his messages were ripped straight off that website.
So I reported the guy to the site from before and then we threatened to call the police if he ever contacted us again. He never did.”
“I was about 16 at the time and had just discovered the social website Vampire Freaks. Judge me now if you’d like but I liked it. Back then, Facebook hadn’t become huge and MySpace made it too difficult to find people in your area with similar interests. Vampire Freaks had a huge collection of gamers, cosplayers, otaku, and ‘nerds,’ which is my thing.
I met the girl I thought was the love of my 16-year-old life. We had the same interests, talked on msn voice chat numerous times, and sent ‘recent’ pictures to each other all the time. It was awesome. We had a great time and generally seemed to connect really well. After three months, I decided it was time to meet. I lived in Southern NJ and she lived in Upper NY so it was a bit of a hike. I lied to my mom and told her I was going to Philadelphia, which was only a 15-minute train ride, and set off on an adventure of epic proportions.
After hopping on two trains and walking for two hours, I finally arrived at a cafe in her neighborhood where we planned to meet. I was waiting in line to get a cup of coffee when suddenly a shadow caught the corner of my eye. Chills went down my spine as I heard my name get called out. The girl who had just sent me a picture the night before had gained 120 pounds. Having little to no experience with the outside world, I panicked and said the most disappointing greeting of my life.
I ended up spending the rest of the day with her and tried not to be a jerk by bringing up the fact that she lied to me. In the end, she went for the kiss and I just gave her the cheek. I probably would have dated her if she hadn’t lied to me. I’m a romantic and feel as though beauty is on the inside. But if she could lie about something like that, what would stop her from lying about something even bigger?”
“This is a quick story about when I was a lonely 15-year-old girl. At the time, we were all caught up in being the ‘popular’ kids online because we couldn’t find a way to connect with the kids we knew in high school/real life. I was not attractive or charming in high school and was bad at picking up social cues. I was somehow able to satisfy my need for friendship on the internet in a vain, shallow way. It was a cringey period of my life.
I started dating who I thought was a cool, cute Asian guy for maybe three months online. He was openly gay/bisexual when I met him and we decided later to become a couple. He was really popular in the forums we posted on so I felt proud and lucky. We would talk on the phone literally from dusk to dawn. My parents were concerned about my hermit-ness as I would never go out and didn’t have a social life. I would just call my online boyfriend when I woke up starting on the phone until I went to sleep. It was ridiculous.
There was sometimes huge drama in the forum group especially after we went ‘public.’ Girls would say and write horrible horrible things about me, my body, and how I didn’t deserve him because of my looks and skin color. His voice was high pitched and I was so young and stupid I just figured he was a bisexual Asian and happened to look very feminine. So in my mind, this rationalized his female voice.
I let my friends on my sports team in real life talk to him and they all laughed saying, ‘His voice is so girly.’ Even though other people were convinced his voice was from a woman, I was in denial. One day, I called his house and his aunt picked up. She didn’t say ‘Hello’ or ‘Who is calling?’ but only ‘She’s outside cleaning with her brother,’ and hung up on me. I confronted him and he was able to twist the situation around. I felt guilty for not trusting him and ended up crying and apologizing for my doubts.
Like I said before, the online forum group was really catty. Someone started a ‘gossip’ blog about the more popular members and it felt like Nancy Grace was personally investigating my online love life. They found more pictures of the person I thought I was dating. It turned out he was using pictures of a contestant from New Zealand idol or something. They wrote paragraphs quoting his party history and breaking down all his conflicting back story.
For example, he lied about his home country, his family members, and his school. It turned out my ‘boyfriend’ was actually a random white girl. She confessed to me she was actually lesbian but liked to pretend to be a gay man online and engage in gay role-play. A lot of other catfish in the forums were found out. Half of them were lesbians pretending to be gay dudes to seduce girls. It was so messed up.”
“When I was 17 I started talking to a girl online and we got to know one another. She said she was the same age as me when we met and I believed her. Her pictures backed that up as well as she didn’t appear to be any younger than she said. Eventually, we started skyping and video chatting. We’d have a blast and talk and whatnot. A year passed and I told her I was going to come to England to meet her.
We planned a date and everything. The date approached very fast and before I knew it, I was on a plane headed to god knows where and was scared as shit. Her dad picked me up when I arrived and drove me to their house. We got there, I met her, and all was good.
However, when I met her older sister, she made a remark along the lines of ‘I can’t believe my sister is dating someone three years older than her,’ to which I nearly spit my drink out of my mouth. I asked her what she meant and she told me she was 15. I told her she was joking because the girl told me she was 19. The sister laughed at me and the girl I came to meet overheard the conversation and came out bawling saying she was sorry and ya-da ya-da.
Needless to say, I told her the next day we were done. I had another friend I knew come pick me up and spent the remainder of my week in England playing League, drinking, and getting the grand tour of England. He still makes fun of me for getting wrapped up in that mess. I kept in touch with her up until a few months ago.”
“My ex’s mother catfished several guys and eventually married one under false pretenses. She lied about every major aspect of her life with the biggest lie being she had never been married nor had any children. In reality, she had been married twice and had two daughters in their 20s. She told her new husband the two girls she talked to occasionally on the phone were friends she met in a cancer survivor’s support group and that they had lost their mother to cancer.
Her daughter and I had been living together for a few years at the time and eventually decided to get hitched. Her mom, fearing her cover would be blown at the wedding, decided very last minute not to show. After the wedding, she wouldn’t return any phone calls. A few weeks later, we received an apology letter from her typed on a typewriter. It said she couldn’t make it because she had a stroke which was also why it took her so long to respond– ‘it took her a few weeks to regain the use of her hand.’
Years later when she left her third husband, she confessed to making up the stroke as if anyone even believed her in the first place. Coincidentally, her daughter, my now-ex, did some similar bullshit a few years later to me. She became ‘just friends’ with a guy at work and didn’t tell him she was married. She eventually left me for him, thank God.”