Makaia Carr, a popular fitness blogger from Aukland, New Zealand, was shocked recently when she received a message from an American man she had never met. The man, a professional boxer, claimed that he had been in an online relationship with a woman for seven years, all the time unaware that he was being catfished. This woman had been sending him pictures from Carr's various social media profiles since 2010. Carr was so disturbed by this revelation, she posted a warning for other women on her Facebook page.
Carr's full post reads:
WARNING FOR EVERYONE- 2 things happened today that has made me want to share them both with you. One happened directly to me and creeped me the fCk out!
1. I saw a video shared on Fb today from an Australian radio station where a mother shared an incident that happened to her daughter on the popular children's app musically. A man set up a profile and pretended to be Justin Bieber sending messages out to young girls saying if they send him naked photos he would choose 5 girls and call them to chat directly to them on the phone. How scary is that! I'm so glad the mother came across this and went to the radio and shared it. We all need to be so involved in our kids action online - not just social media but gaming apps as well.
2. And the next thing is crazy and creepy AF! I was contacted by a guy in America today who thought he was talking to me online for well over a year and forming a relationship. He started to suspect something late last year and found out there was a woman in Auckland pretending to be me. She was using photos from my social media channels and making weird stuff up, even pics of my friends, giving them all names etc. I have her email, cell number (given by the guy) and have found her on FB. I don't want to contact her directly but am a little creeped out by this and feel really sorry for the guy who was being pretty much catfished!
I've shared this and the pics below so people can see just how easily this can be done (my friends are aware of me sharing their pic too) and encourage awareness for not only our children's safety but our own and also highlight that it doesn't just happen to kids but also to adults!
Has this happened to anyone else? What did you do?
I considered contacting the police but she hasn't hurt me and not sure she's actually done anything illegal? Thoughts?
The texts between this poor guy and the catfisher are pretty disturbing. She basically created a whole fictional life based on Carr's social media presence.
As you can see, the catfisher was extremely thorough. Carr told Stuff that the photos were screengrabbed from her Instagram, Facebook, and Snapchat accounts. The impostor even used some of her more personal Snaps (including one where she was wearing a towel), to initiate sext conversations.
The boxer may never have realized what was going on, if his catfisher hadn't finally gone too far. In mid-2016, she sent him a picture of Carr boxing, leading him to congratulate her on her "first fight." But when he asked to see the video, she said no one had taken one, which set off red flags. Looking up the boxing gym on Facebook, he learned of the existence of Makaia Carr, and received the shock of his life.
Once Carr and the boxer were in touch, they were able to track down this woman's identity. They learned that she was far from the typical catfisher (a professional con artist who uses someone else's face to defraud people out of money). She was, like Carr, a mother in Auckland. She had used her real name in her conversations with the boxer, and never tried to get any money out of him. She was just living out her own online fantasy.
Once she was found out, she deleted her Facebook account, and emailed Carr to apologize for her "unforgivable" actions. She explained that she has gone into therapy for severe depression and anxiety. Considering these circumstances (and the fact that she hadn't technically broken any laws), Carr and the boxer decided not to reveal her identity.
But still, this story is a potent illustration of the dangers of social media. Once your photos are online, anybody could use them for whatever purpose they see fit. And you might not know about it for years.