Ummid Assistant

Applications open for Manmohan scholarship at Cambridge

Opportunities for Indian students in US

Welcome Guest! You are here: Home » Views & Analysis

Beware of being catfished online!

Saturday February 02, 2013 09:35:14 AM, Sasha Horne, IANS

Related Article

New app lets users have sex with Facebook friends?

A controversial new sex app called "Bang With Friends" claims to facilitate sexual encounters with users and their Facebook friends without the embarrassment of rejection. "Anonymously find friends who are down for the night," the company website said.  »

You can't fish without bait. But in the wake of a high-profile episode involving a college athlete and his fictitious girlfriend, experts warn that "catfishing" - online romance through deception - is a rising internet risk with potentially dangerous consequences.

"People don't realise how much they are playing with fire when they play with a person's emotions," said Pepper Schwartz, sociology professor at the University of Washington and an author and sexologist.

Anyone can be taken in by online catfishing scammers, she said, but people who were "experientially or emotionally naïve" are particularly at risk of being duped by people they meet through the internet but not in person.

"There is a lot of delusionary behaviour and naivety on the part of a person who gets catfished," Schwartz told RIA Novosti.
"Someone who is a little bit more experienced might say 'something about this doesn't smell right'."

Catfishing, a term coined from the 2010 film "Catfish" documenting a young man's supposed romance with a woman he met through Facebook who in fact did not exist, has come into sharp focus following an embarrassing story involving Manti Te'o, a football star with the University of Notre Dame.

In Te'o's case, the "bait" manifested itself in the form of a woman he met online named Lennay Kekua. He said the girl tragically died of leukemia last year - a gripping human drama that was amplified by numerous US media outlets which themselves fell for the tale without checking facts independently.

Te'o's story of excelling on the football field while trying to cope with the death of his girlfriend captivated the nation.
Until, that is, sport website Deadspin reported that the entire story was an elaborate hoax, forcing Te'o and his school to admit they had been catfished.

"Manti had been the victim of what appears to be a hoax in which someone using the fictitious name Lennay Kekua apparently ingratiated herself with Manti and then conspired with others to lead him to believe she had tragically died of leukemia," Notre Dame said in a statement.

According to US media reports, Te'o is by no means the only high-profile figure who has been targeted in a catfish-style scandal.

In December, the management of the Washington Redskins football team warned players to stay away from someone using a particular pseudonym after the person contacted four team members, saying the person's entire online identity was false, according to the NFL.com website.

The consequences of catfishing, Schwartz cautioned, can be deadly as in a 2006 scam that occurred four years before the term "catfishing" was even assigned to such online threats.

In that episode, an apparently voluptuous, wealthy blonde using the name "Samantha" developed a romance with 22-year-old Cooper Jackson after the two met online.

She failed however to show up for a face to face meeting, claiming she missed the rendezvous because she had been raped.

According to local media accounts, an enraged Jackson tracked down a man who fit "Samantha's" description of her attacker, murdered him by cutting his throat and burned his body in the woods.

Jackson's internet love "Samantha" turned out to be an overweight 22-year-old high school dropout who worked as a hotel clerk in North Carolina.

The girl bore no resemblance to her online photos and confessed she had made the entire identity up because she had "low self-esteem".

To avoid falling for the online bait, relationship experts suggest giving Internet companions a deadline of no more than one month from the initial meeting before arranging a meeting in person.

Those who date online should also conduct an online search to verify the information provided during conversations.

"If someone starts making excuses as to why they can't meet, end it," Schwartz said.



(Sasha Horne is a writer for Russia's RIA Novosti news agency)

 

  

 

  

 




 

Home | Top of the Page

Comments

Note: By posting your comments here you agree to the terms and conditions of www.ummid.com

Comments powered by DISQUS

i

I

More Headlines

Ordinance on strong anti-rape laws gets cabinet nod

Court seeks action report on Shinde's Hindu terror remark

“Vishwaroopam” and Freedom of Expression

Pakistani women's cricket team staying in stadium fearing attacks

NRI-drugs mafia nexus: ED raids point to Rs.200 crore hawala ring

Blast kills two outside US embassy in Turkey

Apex court prevents Nandy's arrest, advises him to speak carefully

'Textese' creeps into answer scripts, teachers worried

CARE Hospitals launch India's biggest outpatient centre

Eight firms keen to design Nalanda University

Minister raids school, teachers get the stick

 

Top Stories

Calm as 'Vishwaroop' releases, ban remains in Tamil Nadu

Subsequently, Kamal Haasan, who also stars in the lead role, agreed to make some cuts. Talks between his representatives and Muslim outfits have taken place in Chennai.   »

No 'bad Muslims' in my film: Kamal Haasan

Jayalalitha defends 'Vishwaroopam' ban, to sue Karunanidhi

 

  Most Read

Rushdie not an author, is a 'satan': Trinamool MP

Trinamool Congress MP Sultan Ahmed Friday called Salman Rushdie a "satan" and said West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had done the right thing if she indeed blocked the writer's visit to Kolkata.   »

Indian rights situation slips: Human Rights Watch

India's human rights situation took serious turns for the worse with respect to civil society protections and sexual violence against women, Human Rights Watch said Friday. In its 665-page World Report  »

Check rights violations in Maharashtra: Activists urge NHRC chairman

 

  News Pick

Akhtar-Zeeshan earn a rare distinction in Davis Cup

Akhtar Ali has been part of Indian tennis for five decades -- first as a player and then as a successful coach. Now his son Zeeshan is following in his footsteps, doing   »

Apex court prevents Nandy's arrest, advises him to speak carefully

The Supreme Court Friday restrained Rajasthan Police from arresting sociologist Ashis Nandy against whom FIRs have been filed for making uncharitable comments about Scheduled   »

Dhule professor beaten by Bajrang Dal, VHP activists

Angered by comments that hurt religious sentiments, local activists allegedly belonging to right wing Hindu organisations Bajrang Dal and Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) on Wednesday brutally beat a college professor working at Dr Ambedkar College  »

Dhule Violence: Changing Anatomy of Communal Violence

The mob burns the houses; mostly those of Muslims, few Hindu households are also burnt. Police did not entertain any FIR of the victims. Next day morning the area is washed clean to wipe   »

 

Picture of the Day

Pradeep sings “Ae Mere Watan Ke Logon” before prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru at R.M. School, Mumbai, March 21, 1963. It is a song that is sung on every patriotic occasion, had moved India's first prime minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, to tears and its strong morale-boosting words provided solace to a nation agonized by the defeat in the 1962 India-China war.

 

Recommend the story to your friends

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

RSS  |  Contact us

 

| Quick links

News

 

Subscribe to

Ummid Assistant

 

National

Science & Technology

RSS

Scholarships

About us

International

Health

Twitter

Government Schemes

Feedback

Regional

History

Facebook

Education

Register

Politics

Opinion

Newsletter

Contact us

Business

The Funny Side

Education & Career

 

 

Ummid.com: Disclaimer | Terms of Use | Advertise with us | Link Exchange

Ummid.com is part of the Awaz Multimedia & Publications providing World News, News Analysis and Feature Articles on Education, Health. Politics, Technology, Sports, Entertainment, Industry etc. The articles or the views displayed on this website are for public information and in no way describe the editorial views. The users are entitled to use this site subject to the terms and conditions mentioned.

© 2012 Awaz Multimedia & Publications. All rights reserved.