Tag: cat phishing

Website: Catch the Catfish

There is advice and blog posts about Online Dating/Romance Fraud at https://catchthecatfish.com/

Anne Rowe who started the website tells her story:

In August 2015 I met and fell in love with a man I had met online. After 14 months, I discovered that the man I was in a relationship with ‘Antony Ray’ was using a fake identity.

He had created a fake profile. Turns out he was married and even had a dedicated phone for ‘conquests’ from his fake life.

He took advantage of my trust and took away my right to choose. Had I known, I would never have consented to a relationship with a married man, let alone a man who was actively having relations with multiple women simultaneously.

His behaviour was premeditated, yet the current law will not find his actions a criminal offence. That’s why I’m calling for creating fake profiles for the intent to use people for sex to be a crime.

Whilst my story sounds shocking, many have also been ‘catfished’ – as it is commonly referred to (a fake online persona used for creating romance online). Individuals establish a relationship and build trust in their story, they can then chose to make the ‘catfish’ personal by meeting their victim to pursue a relationship under the premise of their alias.

Please help me to protect other people from going through what I did by signing this petition to broaden current legislation to include these contemptible acts.

Adult Grooming

Potentially, the behaviour described above can be called Adult Grooming.

This is when a con artist builds an emotional connection with someone to earn trust for long term  purposes of sexual exploitation or other abusive behaviour.

Whilst grooming children up to age 16-(18 for vulnerable) is illegal in the UK, it’s not illegal to groom an adult (although vulnerable adults do have some protection).

If you agree with Anne then check out her web site at  https://catchthecatfish.com/ and sign her petition.

If you have any experiences with romance  scammers do let me know, by email.

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What is Cat Phishing

Note: No cats were hurt in the creation of this article!

Phishing is where scammers send out mass emails or texts or use automated phone call systems to contact very large numbers of people, claiming  to be from a well-known organisation. Their  intention is to con people into giving up confidential information such as login and password, credit card details, bank accounts etc.

Spear Phishing is a form of phishing where the scammers try to steal confidential information from specific targets. These may be at one company or other organisation or otherwise form a group that can be targeted in this way.

The scammers collect information on their targets e.g. personal details such as their address, list of friends and contacts, employer, locations they frequent, shops they visit, utility providers of electricity, gas etc.

The attackers then pretend to be from an organisation the target has dealings with and uses the information they have to convince the target of their validity to then acquire further information.

Cat Phishing is a more specialised form of Spear Phishing where an individual is targeted and the scammer creates a whole network of apparent contacts as part of a fake characters life. This kind of scam can take months to setup and operate and is only viable if the target possesses very valuable information that can be sold by the scammers e.g. for industrial espionage purposes.

Cat phishing is also used in romance scams on dating websites, where the information they gather before contacting the victim lets them set themselves up as the perfect partner.

Cat phishing is usually through online dating websites and social media and is becoming more of a problem as more of our lives are online – it’s easier for someone to be able to get a person’s details and fake an identity.

Once the attacker brings the victim into their confidence, she typically has a reason for needing money – for travel to meet in person, or has just been robbed or to pay medical bills or to cover an emergency.

Cat phishing can be emotionally damaging in romance scams when the victim finds out that the person they’ve fallen in love with doesn’t exist and the whole thing including their feelings are fake.

How to Spot Cat Phishing Attempts

  • A too good to be true situation. The contact is highly attractive and available
  • The person appears suddenly as if from nowhere.
  • He or she has excuses why they cannot phone or use Skype or Facetime (nothing that reveals their true face)
  • He or she gets serious too quickly
  • That request for money and a story to justify it is the clincher

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