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Victims Over The Internet

Have you been a victim of someone over the internet?  Someone who lied to you or pretended to be someone else?  I would like to know how often this happens to people.

A friend had mentioned the movie, Catfish, so I watched it this week.  It brought home the very real drama that can happen if we find ourselves involved with a dishonest person over the internet.  

I was disturbed by this movie, even though I have heard the warnings a thousand times about interacting with people over this medium.  Here is a snippet about the film from Wikipedia:

“Catfish is a 2010 American documentary film, directed by Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman, involving a young man being filmed by his brother and friend as he builds a romantic relationship with a young woman on the social networking website, Facebook.”

There are some people who are so good at lying that we never learn the truth about them.   We go on our merry way, never realizing we were a game for someone else.  I wonder how many people I’ve come across that have used me in this way without me realizing it. 

Sometimes, we come across others who are less skilled at concealing their deviousness.   Little red flags start to pop up that we might initially gloss over, until at some point we can no longer overlook glaring warning signs.

Even the savvy can be sucked into the gaping black hole of a highly skilled manipulator.   Or, our emotions and sympathies and sense of guilt are played upon so masterfully that we ignore our own logic and jump into the fire.  

In my years as a traveler on the internet, I know of one instance in which a person plotted and lied to me.  It was a couple of years ago, at another site.  I was new there and was making friends and met a man that was very nice and a lot of fun.  Just a friend – no romance, or anything like that.  He arrived at a time when I was really in a low place and was hurting very badly – but he didn’t know that.  His friendship and encouragement helped me a great deal.

Unbeknownst to me, a mentally ill woman at the site had romantic designs on him and hounded him in a cyber “Fatal Attraction” kind of way, so he eventually left.  Can’t say I blame him, and he did say goodbye to me so he didn’t leave me hanging wondering what had happened.

I was sad, but life moves on, and I was grateful for how he had helped me.  Then a couple of months later I started receiving gifts and email messages from a new male profile.  This sick woman knew enough about our mutual friend that she strung me along for a while and led me to believe my friend had returned.

I was quite happy and welcomed him back, but shortly thereafter some things weren’t adding up and I eventually put two and two together and realized I was a victim of this woman’s demented mind and her multiple profiles.  I was very upset and hurt when it dawned on me that my friend had not come back.  I confronted her, and she accused me of having a romantic relationship with him.  I unfriended her and never spoke to her again and ignored her messages.

She tried a few more times with more fake male and female profiles to friend me over the following months, convinced I was carrying on with him outside of the website we all belonged to.  I ignored her pathetic attempts.  I wasn’t about to give her the time of day.

There were two other incidents in which I found myself caught in the web of very mentally ill people who at first appeared quite nice and normal, until the months went by and more of their frightening mentality bubbled up between their masks of normalcy. 

After watching Catfish, coupled with these prior incidents, it really hammered it home for me that there are so many liars on the internet.  They lie for various reasons and the depths of their deviousness are known only to them. 

Proceed with caution…
Vignette Vignette 51-55, F 39 Responses Jun 2, 2012

Your Response


Someone please email me:
I've been doing this for 10 years of my life pretending to be a boy when I'm actually a girl and straight. I've had several relationships, faked as 3 different boys but the last one really got me into such a whirlwind of devastation when I got caught into a serious relationship that has lasted 5 years and 8 months and ongoing. It tears me up, I've lied to her about so much but not once about how I feel for her. I feel sick that I've fallen for a girl as I indulge my entire mentality into that boy I created. She doesn't suspect me because I have pictures and the real boy is a tool for me. Whenever she wants a picture I ask him to send one to the real me. He's goodlooking but a cheater and a deceiver. Most boys are. I'm not ugly by any means and have many guys coming up to me, hitting one me and trying to sleep with me. This I find so morally wrong that it has thrown me into a pessimistic cynical state of never being able to trust men which is why I created this perfect individual who is so flawed in every way that I personally am. My personality is that of his.
I can fake a boy voice so well especially through years of practice and by naturally having an alto voice.
It has gotten so bad that I would get on webcam with the real guy just to record his video clip and then use it to get on webcam with the girl I love. She has suspected me on several occasions but every time I banked on the fact that she trusts me.
I'm not a bad person arguably of course I am bad in that I have done this to another human being yet I am not bad in any other fashion in my life. I have helped her through so much emotionally, mentally and even physically by sending her money for rent, supporting her through university, helping her get a job, helping her family when they needed financial help desperately.
I lied about my family about my mother who I said was dead who as my own self both parents are still alive. In reality I have a brother who did molest me when I was a teenager however I believe it was a lapse of judgment and never will happen again albeit I believe it isn't the right thing to do nor is it justifiable. She thinks that I (him) has a sister who died because she tore me and broke my heart and outcasted me for no reason as she was going through a rough patch in her life and I felt so hurt I made up the death of another to gain sympathy just as I have made up several different situations of me (him) ending up in hospital.
I have had phone sex with her, webcam sex with her (using that guys video clips of explicit motion) and I have pressured her for these things in the past as I led myself to believe that my alter ego really existed and that I could not (and neither could she) afford to lose him as part of her life.
As I created my own world of this alter ego I stopped socialising with people, drifted away from friends and this all came very easy as I moved out of the country away from my family for studies over a 5 year period so I always lived alone. Now I have no friends no confidence and no idea on how to start back again.
I've completely ****** this one up as I care about her so much she's confided in me things such as her being raped which made me not want to leave in the initial point of our relationship. I've tried to break it off on several occasions feeling like I'm killing myself and killing her in the time being by giving her false hope however her life seems so dramatic as her sister always ends up in hospital for being suicidal, her family always took advantage of her and she always needed someone to be there for her whether it was to bail her out financially or to support her emotionally.
I have met her as a friend of his (the real me) and was completely devastated as she felt that he (me) had left her to the hands of some stranger as she travelled across the Atlantic to meet him. I cried everyday she was there with me over two weeks always wanting to tell her but never being able to bring myself to doing it. I felt that she needed me and even now I feel that she needs me or at least she needs the person I have created. She used to threaten to kill herself if I left her so I never did. Now she doesn't but she's an emotional wreck. She will not ever be with me as who I am because she is strictly straight, and by knowing her I know she isn't into the kind of person I am - a petite Chinese girl who faked being a white British boy. And I wouldn't blame her but to think that I would risk everything that I am is devastating.
I want to visit her as me again (his friend) to confess to her and come clean and yes I am absolutely petrified. I lie to my parents about why they should let me go alone as I currently live on the opposite side of the world from her. They have no idea what's going on as I lie about being in love with some guy they just started hearing about. I want to come clean to her and express how I feel for her. She will not forgive me but inside I wish she does so badly. It kills me to think that this was all pretend and that it never will and never can be the truth.
She said she has fallen in love with the person that I am and the truth is the person that I am truly is me personality and character but more important my love for her. I am risking everything I have and everything that I am to confess to her as I could lose my future career, my family, my life but she has to know.. She just has to..

I really need help and I need advice please tell me if I should confess. She hasn't been the best to me at times voluntarily hurting me, ignoring me, getting drunk and arrested. But I feel that she is an amazing person and I don't know how I would cope. I'm straight she's straight. I fooled myself into separating my emotions as a girl and a guy that I fell in love with her as a guy but seeing as that guy is me I myself feel for her uncontrollably. I can't eat I can't sleep and I've been crying for over a year now for almost every day. I get so jealous and envious of those around her because I know I can never be them to her and I can never be the person she wants me to be. It goes to the point where I fear her ending up with another man and moving on with her life together with him. God I know it's selfish but I can't help how much I love her it makes me want to kill myself and I will if she doesn't accept me for who I am. That's how much I would sacrifice because yes I know it is wrong for me to have lied and deceive for so long I know people would classify me as inhumane and I don't blame you at all.
Please just help me make this decision of whether or not to confess to her knowing it will kill her entirely as she fell in love with this guy so crazily beyond comprehension for a dedicated period of 5 years and 8 months. She was there when my grandmother died, my grandaunts died, my dog died, when I was being stalked (in real life but I twisted the story so she believed it was the guy part of me being stalked), and everything else imagine able as have I been there for her when she was kicked out of her home by her mother, her grandmother, I helped her move out, be strong over her distant father who doesn't give a **** about her, her suicidal sister, her financial problems, her emotional and mental problems, her school work, her work life, everything...
Please help me make the right choice whether it is the right thing to do.. To come clean... And why you think so..

Wow, that is a heartache of a story, both for her and for yourself. There is no easy answer for this one. I understand that you love this young woman, but the love is based on deception and betrayal. The longer you allow this charade to continue, the deeper the pain for both of you, and while you have the right to make that choice for yourself, you do not have the right to make the choice for her, or for anyone else for that matter.

The hard part, is that you know when you come clean with her, she will be devastated and will probably abandon your relationship. And although this would bring you great pain, you owe her the truth and to allow her to make that decision for herself. The longer you let this go on, the more tortured you will feel...mentally, emotionally, spiritually and physically.

If you truly love her, then you want her to be happy, whether that is with or without you in her life. That is what true love is. When we love so deeply, there is joy to see that they are happy, even if with someone else. Our personal pain of loss is secondary to their happiness.

Please spare yourself, and her, any further angst by coming clean with her. In time she may accept you still as a part of her life. Perhaps not in the role you had envisioned, but in her life nonetheless.

I hope for your sake and hers, that this works out well for both of you. Good luck to you.

I understand where you're coming from and I appreciate it truly but the problem here is that I fear she will become suicidal, do something stupid and give up her rest of her life because of her feeling so stupid and naive to have believed something that was a lie.

I had a bizarre experience with an ex boyfriend who found me after a couple of decades (I am 43). He contacted me to say he had had an awful life, missed me, loved me and was having difficulties with his wife. That was the hook - the sympathy vote and I fell for it.Before you know it you are in a relationship with them; being supportive, empathising, etc etc.

After a while you start to realise that you are being strung along... that you are part of their fantasy world because the minute you try to to 'make it real' e.g. meet up, then they don't want to, or can't make it.

The central feature of his on line conversations was his relationship with his wife. He never really wanted to know about me... didn't appear to have a clue of the impact on me etc. Fortunately I sussed this out fairly quickly, but it is still terrible having people live out their fantasies at your expense.

I realised a bit later on that he was either drinking or taking drugs when he was on line to me. If you listen to child protection people talk about on line grooming, they recognise that some 'groomers' just stick to this fantasy stage... but take it no further. But it is still a form of abuse and is incredibly hurtful. But we live and learn, and must move on!!!

Good for you getting out of that situation quickly! I have seen what you described - someone being the fantasy focus of someone else, and not wanting to take it to the next step of making it real. That is indeed a drawback of communicating in this medium. It is all too easy for the mind to invent fantasies that it wants to preserve, which means never making it "real." Many people get drawn in hook, line and sinker into someone elses fantasy, and I also agree with you, it can be incredibly hurtful, but we do (hopefully!) learn from it and must move on.

I was 22, never dated a guy, much less had a boyfriend. I was painfully shy, having suffered years of traumatic abuse. I got a computer and began chatting and exchanging pictures with men over the Internet. These men were less than honorable, as one might imagine. I never met any in person, but spoke with one person for almost 9 months. I was ready to meet him. We talked constantly and I stupidly thought he was the one. He made excuses for not meeting me, for other things, and said I have something to tell you. That thing he had to tell me? Oh he was actually a SHE. She copied a pic off the Internet of a random dude and used a fake name! I wondered for a week, am I gay? It messed with my head and made me angry. I have nothing against homosexuals, I just am very much heterosexual. I was humiliated. I learned my lesson though, people can be anyone on the Internet.

Omg! I would have been furious!! Thank goodness you found out before it went on for years!! I am so much more careful these days, and after reading the nightmares from this thread, I am more jaded. I have some trusted friends I feel safe with, but I am apprehensive about anyone new until enough time has passed that I feel confident they're not lying or trying to take me for a ride. I hope you are never taken advantage of like that again! Wow, what a terrible experience! I hope you are ok now.

Wow pretty much the exact same thing happened to me actually. I'm 19 now, but throughout high school I talked to what I thought was a guy, he was canadian. He was there for me, he listened to me, made me laugh, made me smile, I trusted him and would have done anything to be with him. I would stay up all night (because of the time difference) sometimes talking to him and be late for school the next day, I fell in love for the first time. We talked about when we are older how we would be together I had never wanted to be with anyone that much, more so than I did with him. But eventually we stopped talking so frequently and then for a long time we didn't speak. I don't remember what I said to him but I eventually emailed him, and he had something he wanted to tell me, he was a girl. I was 17 then and more mature, I wasn't some dreamy 13 year old who thought she was in love. I did love him and a part of me now still misses him. At the time I was going through an anti-boy period I guess because I felt rejected by him after we stopped talking. So when she actually did come out to me as a girl I didn't cry or upset, I felt happy and I ended up meeting her and being in a relationship her, but it was all based on the boy. I loved him not her and it definitely messed me up, I knew I was straight I just denied it because I wanted the boy I fell in love with.
Anyway thats most of my story, I've never really talked about how it made me feel or how I felt about him to anyone. I can safely say that I still feel messed up about it now.

Kam93, wow, I'm shocked about what happened to you. I don't understand how a person can carry on for weeks or months with a facade like that. One of the dangers of internet relationships is that because there is no live person in front of you to interact with, the mind will fabricate an illusion based on what the other person is saying to you, and of course that illusion will contain all the attributes you desire in your romantic counterpart. Before you know it, you've made an entire person in your mind and you're totally in love with him! I can see why you didn't want to let him go, even though the painful truth was revealed that he was a she. I think she was very wrong to do what she did to you, and it is sad that you are still dealing with the trauma of this incident. You might want to think about talking to a professional about this since you say you still feel messed up about it now. I hope you are never taken advantage of like that again. Be careful out there.

I have been fooled and led on by a guy that I got to know on a dating site. We talked for 8 months on the phone and he was suppose to visit me last year on his birthday. He gave me the greatest compliments and said women like me are rare and he thinks he might end up with me. He randomly said one day that he met another girl and he doesn't know what to do yet. His decision comes down to me and her. Well he was dishonest about the whole thing from day one, and never told me how much he truly liked her. He still said that he might visit me too in December. Well he met the other one and now he is engaged 7 months later. If he truly meant those compliments and really liked me like he said he did he wouldn't have moved on that quickly.

He also has mental issues as well that he finally revealed to me right after he chose the other woman and claimed that's the reason for his actions towards me.

What a terrible ordeal. I think he may indeed have mental issues, but I think he needs to man-up to his behavior and not hide behind his mental illness, using it as an excuse for how he treated you. It sounds to me that you are better off without this guy! I've heard the dating sites are notorious for all kinds of deception.

Being the expert that I am in keeping myself emotionally at arms length from people (friends and strangers alike)...I never am ensnared in any hokey business. Although, recently I came across someone who is seemingly accused of "harassing" and/or threatening someone I know on this site. But, as I've said...<br />
As a general rule<br />
I keep my distance<br />
From everyone.<br />
In turn, unaffected...nonetheless, witness too<br />
Thereinlies my secret of living in an isolated quiet domain.<br />
<br />
But, truth be still need to be bold and have faith. Hope that your faith leads somewhere trustworthy.<br />
Otherwise, you lead a dissociated existance...<br />
Somewhere in arms length away from humanity.

" isolated quiet domain." Hmm, is it worth it? This keeping oneself emotionally at arm's length? How does one do that? I must admit, I do like the idea of never being "ensnared in any hokey business."

As illustrated by the numerous comments posted, you are clearly not alone. I would venture a guess that most have been a victim of this (sometimes never even knowing). <br />
<br />
What prompts these people to act in such a manner is probably best left to the psychologists and psychiatrists. Several possibilities come to mind however.<br />
<br />
Maybe they are so lonely or have such low self-esteem, that they feel no one could ever possibly like the "real" them. They therefore feel that they must "embellish" their profile (or create a fake persona) to sound more apealing to others.<br />
<br />
A more disturbing thought is that these people simply derive some twisted form of pleasure from the knowledge that they have successfully deceived someone. Others may be pathological liars who just can't help themselves. Still others may be psychopaths.<br />
<br />
As an FYI, men can just as easily become victims of this type of behavior. I speak from personal experience.<br />
<br />
As others have already stated, proceeding with caution and heeding the red flags is always prudent...

Nicely said. I agree, the psychologists and psychiatrists I'm sure have a better idea of why people like to lie.

In the cases you mentioned, I can understand a person who is embellishing a bit because they feel so awful about themselves and believe themselves to be so unloveable to the world. Those are people in deep pain, and I am not without compassion for their plight. Everyone wants to be loved and accepted. I still don't condone the lying, but I understand the impetus for the behavior.

In the latter case, yes, those that derive pleasure from the willful deception and manipulation of others, is disturbing. Those are the people I want to avoid like the plague.

Yes, men are not immune to becoming victims as well. Deception and manipulation do not discriminate by gender. Sorry to see you were one of them. I hope you were able to discover the truth quickly and get out of the situation.

Thank you for reading and commenting, and proceed with caution. :-)

I also have sympathy (and some degree of empathy) for those who feel so unloveable that they think they must lie. Likewise, I do not condone the behavior, but understand its origins. What I don't comprehend is why, even after I've spotted the deception and called them out on it, do they still continue to lie...

*That* is perplexing, yes! I've seen the same thing, and the only thing I was able to conclude, is that they have such pain inside, and such a strong need to escape that pain, that even when the truth is exposed, they cannot face it. At that point I do feel quite sorry for them because I see what an awful existence they have. Trapped in a pain loop and they're trying to cope with it using only method they know of.

That is a conundrum. You don't wish to be blind to their obvious pain, but you also don't want to continue to wonder if every word out of their mouth is a lie.

Exactly!! This is where it gets tricky. Where to draw the line?? I can have compassion and understanding, and I can even be supportive if someone is working through their pain, but I cannot allow another to deceive or manipulate me. That is wrong. I don't do it to others and I don't want it done to me.

Yes. It's like realizing that someone is drowning. You offer assistance, but then they start to pull you under. At some point, you have to think of yourself.

Right. Or, I offer my compassion from a distance. And also, here is where we are taken full circle to the's possible the person is fabricating the entire thing - a lie within a lie. It's always a risk.

4 More Responses

I have not been lied to necessarily, but I do know the internet is a great place where people lie.... A LOT. My friend's ex-girlfriend who he dated for 5 years claims she has a psychology major on her myspace profile---but we both know she never even graduated high school. She claims she is an assistant manager at the local walmart, we know that is a lie too because she got demoted before they ever broke up. She also posts her old glamour photos from 2005 claiming they are recent but they aren't. In real life, she is rather chunky and bulky, but in her "photo shopped professionally taken glamor photos" she slims down a bit. People can do all sorts of stuff these days with technology. People are definitely totally different when they get online versus behind closed doors in their personal lives. Personally, I think those people are losers and need to get a life instead of lying to impress other people, just saying.

I'm beginning to see that what you described is much more common than I had ever suspected. I just cannot wrap my mind around all this lying! I guess many people are so desperate to be admired by strangers they've never met, so they make up lies to promote themselves. I prefer to engage people as I really am, and truly desire to get to know people as they truly are - with their imperfections and foibles. What a shame, because the lies, once discovered, destroy any trust that was starting to blossom. Thank you for sharing this!

thats really true..we should be always careful , there are many liars around....but for me something turned in a good way.just want to share it... I had met a person through internet , yes we were motivating each other and were great friends. Being a girl i was scared to disclose my details, and he never forced me to disclose also..but i was knowing all about was making me feel guilty and i opened up...and i should say we still continue as great friends...i feel so happy about it..i believed him and he never broken the trust...:)

That's wonderful! It's a joy to make friends with good people. I'm glad your experience is so positive. I have had some positive experiences, too, and many fine friends to show for it. :-) Just remember, many are not like your friend, so be careful.

well tommorow ur gonna see who im talkin about ima write a story on it tommorow

Send me the link - I'd be curious to read your story!

sure will

I agree with Saints, there is a girl on here faking her death... And got many into tears, I even got blamed for causing the "cancer" WTF?! Seriously.<br />
<br />
She lied about having 5 kids, being RAPED, having cancer and also about being an archangel.<br />
<br />
What is the most frightening of it all, is that these people have PEOPLE who defend their lies on here... I had such a person in my circle and never knew her true colours until today, defending the lies and making up more of to cover up the lies of the one who told her friends she is DEAD... But she is NOT dead at all, she just changed her username and profile.<br />
<br />
Maybe faking her death to get a clean slate under a new username wtf? This girl also lied about me trying to steal her online BOYFriend who was in my circle at a time, which was a bloody lie, and she told few of her friends to come and harass me because of this lie and now about her "death"... What sickos!!!!

I'm sorry but this will be one of the few times I will be negative. THERE IS ALWAYS SOME GIRL SOMEWHERE FAKING HER DEATH ON THE INTERNET! Right now she is probably relishing in all the attention you just gave her by mentioning her. She is obviously an attention *****. Ignore them, don't give them the satisfaction of even mentioning their lies.

OMG - that's disturbing, GrimKatze! It's bad enough when a delusional person promotes him or herself as something they are not, but to add insult to injury by having to deal with others who defend the delusional person is way over the top of sanity!!

I am surprised by the number of people who have shared their stories here, and it shows me that even a savvy adult needs to exercise some serious caution when making any kind of friends over the internet!

the new lie on the internet faken ones death to get a away from a stalker or to play a cruel joke on someone its happend twice in the last three weeks

Twice? OMFG... So this is not the first time?! Shait!!!!

Yikes! That's really appalling! I've been fortunate in that I have not come across anyone yet claiming those stories. But thanks to you, I will be all the more wiser should someone try to pull that story on me!

i dont give a ****

I agree, a tale well told.<br />
I have been lied to or rather not told the whole truth regarding a male person i met online, of course when it came down to almost meeting for the first time there were all of these reasons it couldnt happen, i am still none the wiser what this person is really like, we shared many things about our life, some of it very personal stuff, how much of his side of things is actually true i obviously still dont know.<br />
<br />
I have also met others that i thought were friends & yes of course there was an upset between a few of them & you find out exactly who your 'real friends' if you can ever call someone you have never met but in a text medium a real friend. Sometimes it is very hard to trust what others say & i am very cautious these days about telling people i dont know anything about myself.<br />
<br />
One of the biggest scams ever of course is the dating sites, i have seen so many people sign up & within a couple of days have all of the supposed contacts waiting for them to contact them, however you have to pay to be able to contact people, nothing but a huge scam to get peoples money out of them.<br />
<br />
In saying all of this, i have made some great friends that originated from meeting them online at different places, people i have met in real life (always along with others never alone) & they have become very close friend who i keep in contact with on a regular basis & would really miss if they were not around at times.<br />
<br />
But again as a not so positive note, i met a man online who i then met in real life, we hit it off great, we saw each other at times but not very often as we lived interstate from one another, when i moved to the same state we had not seen each other for quite some time having lost contact due to other life happenings & no internet connection on my side for a while, we met up again by pure accident (literally ran in to each other at a bar) so we saw each other every about fortnight & had a pretty good thing going, well so i thought, i introduced him to another chat medium so we could keep in contact on a more regular basis in the time we were away from each other, during that time i was also confronted by a female who questioned my relationship with this man as she had apparently made plans for the future with him, had plans of meeting him or had even met him (never really got the full truth out about that one) they had according to her even spoken about children they planned to have together, this all about a man i had seen off & on for almost 10 years, a man who had always told me he wasnt interested in children etc etc... that all calmed down & we continued to see each other off & on with no real commitment made till one day i got an email from him stating that he couldnt see me any more & could no longer have anything to do with me & for this he was sorry but it was the way it was & please dont contact him any more... What the hell??? Who does that via email after so much time, it was very obvious to me during the time i had known him he meant more to me than i did to him but even still we had shared alot & that was the way he left it & i was not meant to reply at all...?... So i obliged & i have not spoken to him ever since.... friends & myself have speculated about this many times & all the ideas in the world have come out, maybe he was married & finally got caught cheating, maybe he had found the love of his life, maybe he was gay & just came to terms with it, maybe he was dying & didnt know of an easier way of saying so.... who knows, but talk about being left wondering.....<br />
<br />
Again the joys of meeting people over the internet, you never know what your going to get or how it's going to end up or who the person rally is until it all either works out for the best or it comes to a crashing end....

Hi Mullina, I must be losing my mind, because I could have sworn I answered your comment earlier... anyhoo, I'm sorry that man treated you that way. People should not lead others on and use them for their own selfish purposes. I'm sorry to hear you were use in this way! Yes, you're right - over the internet you never know what you're going to get!! Exercise caution!

A healthy bit of scepticism is always necessary, online and in real life. Online is more difficult because you really have no way of knowing, no body language, no vocal clues. As you say, proceed with caution...

I completely agree with you. What surprised me is that the lying is much more widespread than I had previously assumed. I find that worrisome and it makes me more wary of new people. But on the flip side, I have met some very good people who are wonderful friends.

I kind of have a slightly cynical way of looking at the problem. Even if some of it is lies, it doesn't necessarily take away from the validity of the discussions, as long as they made me think... And if the liar is willing to waste his time, then he's obviously got bigger problems than me... ;)

Yes, true. That's a good way of approaching it. It's not always necessary to throw the baby out with the bath water. :-)

Wow all of youre feelings thanks ofr letting them show. fact. my sis been hacked and ppl are using her old mail accounts. <br />
ba<x>sed on the past i can see shes being set up to look bad. Sounds like logic to me.Laides I hate to go but my other awaits.

That's terrible that your sister's accounts were hacked. That's another worrisome problem about the internet. I hope everything works out ok for your sister.

Nothing serious has ever happened to me by way of the internet (at least not bad). There have been a few lies here and there but to be honest I expect that. The internet is a place where you can be anonymous. Just another voice in the crowed. It makes people bold and do things that they may not otherwise do in real life. Some people use others because they don't care about themselves (similar to the bullying in school). It makes them feel powerful and in charge.

Yes, the anonymity does embolden many to exaggerate or fabricate things about themselves. The temptation is too great I guess. And you bring up a good point about the sense of power some people get out of this.

It's late n I'm tired but wanted to respond real quick. Yes it happened to me n yes I almost ended up in a really bad place. So very grateful for my family and then friend (now lover) who made me finally acknowledge what I was trying to ignore...

You're fortunate to have good friends and family looking out for you. I've had my eyes opened a couple of times by friends. Glad you escaped before you were sucked in too deep.

I have been called bad words, told to go places I'd never like to think about, thoroughly insulted , etc. over the internet. It's very sad some people just seem to LIVE to insult others.

Yes, there are some people who get off on being rude to others. Fortunately I haven't come across many of them and I hope it stays that way. It does seem that the rudeness is rampant, I guess because they can hide behind their computers while they throw their stones.

Yes, it is sad that people hide behind computers and find artificial happiness in other people's virtual scars.

Yes people have lied to me. Then they would confess. I also knew someone online who lied to everyone on the forum about himself and everyone but me knew he was lying and then he confessed he lied because he wanted people to like him and he saw it wasn't working.<br />
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I am sure people have lied to me making stuff up about themselves and I didn't know it and I have suspected I am being lied to because I find it hard to believe that someone with a small bladder who has to go every ten minutes goes to the bathroom every ten minutes and leaves during classes throughout the day to go. <br />
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Also I doubt they stop a lot on the road because you can't find a restroom every ten minutes and he did tell me he did not wear diapers so they stop a lot and he goes all the time. Then he finally got diapers and was put into them by his mother and he said he gained over 100 lbs in two weeks. Then he stories got weirder and weirder they sounded pedophileish so I blocked him. I do not want to hear stories about an adult getting their diaper changed by under age kids and his siblings were 5 and 6 if I remember correctly. He was mobile. I think they were all lies he told me.

Yikes! Good that you cut the contact with him. He sounds very ill.

I even asked for photos of him when he told me he gained that much weight in short amount of time. He couldn't give them to me for some reason. I think he did show me a picture of a fat person but no way it looked like him from the other photos he has shown me.

not just on line,any one meet in person also can be trouble.

he was no friend,he up and left and no word.he never did care,now move on.


I'm sorry to hear that, Baydog2. It's never a good thing to take advantage of another's kindness. Good that you severed the ties, even though it brought some grief with the phone problems.

ur reply is hard to read with large fonts eyes zig zag reading it

I just watched "Catfish" on HBO, and it honestly disturbed me as well. It's a very scary thought. One thing that struck me was how understanding the guy's almost like he knew all along and just needed verification. Thanks for sharing this...I think it's someone everyone online should be aware of.

I also was surprised at how Nev was so understanding toward Angela after catching her in her lies. I think maybe because she was sweet and gentle, and she also seemed so desperate to escape the hell of her real life that he felt sorry for her. But then, that could still just be part of her manipulation! That's the scary part, because skilled manipulators are very, very good at reeling people in and using their emotions against them. And at the end of the movie, she was still lying to Nev even after she had come clean that she had faked the whole thing! We really do not know who we are talking to on a computer screen.

I've just finished watching Catfish. It certainly makes you wonder how many fakes there are out there. The internet is a faceless entity with no morals. Some people have their own agendas and others are fake but for more sad reasons(as portrayed in Catfish). Thank you for highlighting the movie

Yes! I wonder the same thing: just how many fakes *are* there out there?? Must be a lot!! I guess the ease in lying over the internet is too tempting for many to resist. They can reinvent themselves into characters they secretly wish they were, or to express their dark side that stays under wraps in their off-line life.

Gosh that's awful, thanks for sharing, i had no idea this could happen. This did happen to me in real life, josh how do you trust again?

I think over the internet you have to be even more careful because it is so easy for the liars to conceal their faults and motives. In person you can usually get some kind of a feel that something isn't quite right. A gut hunch from body posture, or something in their eyes, or the way they say things to you. We get none of those clues over the internet. Zero. We get words on a screen, and we are left to interpret any meaning behind them with our own personal psychology that often has its own agenda as well.

I know a guy who goes on the net calls himself Mr. Nice-guy. That he is not,<br />
he has mental health issues and lives with his mother, he is 40.

Oh, that's a disturbing thought! Sounds like a character right out of a horror movie.

yes, this haz happened to me. recently in fact. i had to ask my partner to remove all of their pix and personal info as they were gaining stalkers that were following ME around to try to get close to them (they attract fetishists and weirdos because of their identity issues). ugh. some people online are just sick and very sad, little-minded trolls. i hope it stops happening. if it doesn't i'm going to stop using the internet socially altogether except here at EP. if it dang follows me here i will just stop friending folks altogether.

Being stalked is frightening. I hope you and your partner can restore your privacy and peace of mind. Yes, there are some sick and small-minded people out there.

I have not seen catfish and dont know the meaning.<br />
However I once was friends here with a woman with a similar name and she lead me into a trap and belttle me

I'm sorry to hear that, RTB. There are some not-so-nice people here unfortunately. But there are also some good and honest people, so focus on those and steer clear of the others.

I agree,, it did hurt as she got me to open up to her only for her to to in the guts.
If it was not for my many great better friends here it would of hurt more.

i'm sorry that happened to you. thanks for the thoughtful post.

You're welcome, Nell. Maybe it will help someone else be a little more savvy and avoid the experience I had.

yes -- the picture your post put in my mind was you handing a balancing pole to someone walking a tightrope.

Looks like I got here late in the conversation, the piece you wrote is excellent and an honest portrayal of what can happen out here in cyberville. I have had five friends leave EP because of stalking and crossing the line type of behaviors. It was good for them to get out of it and on to something else. I got one or two e-mail addresses for them, but, we've never exchanged after they left. I figured, a new life for them, is a new life. Why keep bringing back EP to them? Besides, there was little we had in common, except the stories they posted. It's difficult to post stories via e-mail in any way that makes sense to me, ie. without having great conversation to allow for the story.<br />
I've been lucky or naive, but this sort of thing has not happened to yet. I've been blest with the bestest of friends, here and elsewhere. It doesn't hurt that that, as one or two friends have said of me, "You seem to be a private person." That may be caution without trying.<br />
Thanks for the post, it is very informative, especially as one person responded that this happens in non-cyber space as well, but that's another series of stories.

The movie just really brought it all home to me -- how trusting and naive I have been, even though I have heard the warnings a thousand times. In one ear and out the other. That stuff happens to "other" people, right? Surely not to someone like me! I've heard of others leaving EP for the same reasons you cited. A shame, isn't it? This is supposed to be a place to share and exchange experiences and information, but there is a lot of drama underfoot. I'm glad you haven't been involved in this kind of problem with people who lie. It's a rather cold shock when you make the discovery, especially if they've been around in your circle a bit.

I'd like to think I'm not naive but I'm not a glutton for punishment either. It's not that I think it won't happen to me. Its too exhausting to always be wondering if someone is out to harm you. I can't live that way. I'm the dodo that wants to assume everyone is my friend.
Also, I hate that emotionally unstable women (for the record it wasn't me because I'm still friends with them) have chased away some of my favorite male epeeps.

How did the emotionally unstable women chase away some of your favorite male e-peeps? I understand everyone gets emotionally unstable sometimes, but what I can't stand is drama queen antics over petty shite. Loathe them to the nth degree. Save the drama for your mama!! This is not to be confused with people who have genuine problems and are looking for support and advice and solutions. Venting about an issue in an attempt to work it out is healthy and is not the same as petty b*tching that no one gives a damn about.

Ahem......clears throat and nervously raises hand. V....I've got something to say. I'm really a man !!! Okay..that was dumb. Excuse me as I felt like being silly. Never heard of the movie Catfish. I've got enough drama in my real life don't need to watch movies that will upset me. I'm sure you will fill me in on the details later. Last year I read a few of this guys stories and commented on them on EP. We exchanged emails and then he asked if we can chat via another site. His avatar was of a blonde male model. Wipe that grin off your face, the reason why I was chatting with him was because I thought he was interesting and not for his looks. He was the one that mentioned that his avi was a picture of him. So as I was logging in to chat with him on another site, a picture of this dark-haired man whom I think may have been from India popped up with his user name. I confronted him about it. He was stunned when he realized that he had been found out. Frankly I couldn't have cared what he looked like. I already liked talking to him. And by the way, he was a handsome looking man on his own. I told him to never contact me again. I was so disgusted. I don't understand why people feel the need to lie. Oh, and don't get me started about some of my dating experiences with a few of the guys that I've met from a dating website. <br />
All that being said, I'm very appreciative of the "real friends" that I've met online that have become part of my offline life. :)

But your voice sounds so girlie over the phone!! What a great female impersonator you are!! lol Wow, bummer about the Indian guy. I think what most people don't realize, is that there are other people who will like them for themselves! They don't have to pretend to be some Barbie Doll babe or some hot blonde stud muffin. I'm glad you told him to take a hike. I would have done the same. That kind of dishonesty from the outset sets the foundation for a relationship of lies. Who needs that kind of crap?? Not me!! I agree, I am also grateful for my "real" friends that I have met here. They make this environment a meaningful one of sharing and learning and support, despite the dishonest ones that trample through.

I suppose it is a good thing to always wonder....always be at least a tad leery. It's just too easy to be fake hiding behind a screen.<br />
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Part of why I make the effort to meet some of my friends. Well, the important ones :)

It's a sign of the times, isn't it? Guess I gotta get with the program. It is what it is. Yes, I fully understand what you mean about meeting one's friends...the true ones. :-)

I think that is more likely the case.<br />
I believe many come and go lying all the while and never revealing that fact.<br />
It's just one big game.

So now I have to wonder - how many of my current friends are not who/what they have promoted themselves to be? Doubtful I'll ever find out the answer. I think what helps to balance the scales, is that a true friend found is worth several of the fake ones. The fake ones come and go, but the true ones stick around. I don't like to be jaded, I really don't, but the lies on the internet have grown so huge that it's like one big joke to people, or as you said, just one big game.

I read a survey of American college kids.....<br />
A third said they regularly lie on the internet<br />
A third said everything they put on the internet is a complete fabrication<br />
Only a third are honest all the time<br />
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I have 159 friends in my circle.......I can assume around 55 of them are truthful<br />
<br />

Those are some sobering and sad statistics. What I don't get... what I can't wrap my mind around... is how people do this?? How do they lie with so much ease?? No sense of honesty or integrity. As trusting and naive as I have been, I'm remarkably fortunate that I haven't been more of a victim. But again, I may have been and just not known it, because so many out there are so good with their lying!

I am going to have to watch this film....<br />
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I had been chatting on and off with a man from here beginning in October of last the end of November he had blown off the handle at me twice.. later apologizing and coming back around...silly me being the forgiving, accepting person I am ...I let him back in. He then freaked out again and of course each time placing the blame and cause on me. We stopped talking and I blocked him. A few weeks ago I received an email from him...again and we talked a little ...he decided to tell me he made another profile to see what I was up to since I had blocked first this was no big deal ...BUT he then told me that this alternate profile was actually a part of my circle....well i automatically assumed it was a male profile and i began searching trying to find a clue...... could not figure it out...he gave me the clue i needed...He made a female profile....complete with nude photos of some unsuspecting woman...who I believe to be his ex affair....Bet she would like to know what he has done with her pictures.....I did not know what to think...but the more i thought about it creeped me out...he had been in my circle since right after we had stopped talking...basically ...stalking me if you really want to be real about it..that is what it was. And still he has this profile ...but has deleted his original and now poses as a femal on this website....and what can i do about this?...nothing...!...but there is nothing like that feeling of being invaded...

Araghhh! See how creepy people can be? I mean wtf?? Oh my god Minx that is freaky that he was part of your circle when you didn't know. People get away with murder online!

Yes..they do and it is very creepy...and I cannot tell you how much more precautious i am going to be....!!

FLM - What you described is something one of my friends here told me about the first year I was at EP. The idea of taking out fake profiles, impersonating the opposite sex, and infiltrating a victim's circle with other fake ID's did not even occur to me! How naive I was!! I'm glad you were creeped out by that guy - from what you say, that was the right response! What a jerk! And I bet you're right - that those naked pic's are of one of his ex's. That fact that he had lied and gotten into your circle under false ID's is alarming. That's one of the reasons I had cut my circle in half and I think it's getting time to prune it again soon.

hello, how do you know this woman was the ex of the man? My seperation/divorce is difficult and i am fearing my "trophy husband" will do same thing to me. scary.

I do not know...I am guessing

who is it

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I watched Catfish too.. None of it surprised me, anymore. I don't think that woman was even malicious, she was just a bit crazy. <br />
I've been a victim of fake victims on here before and it really feels awful.. and it makes me feel bad for those who really need some support.. it's terribly unfair to them.

I think the Catfish lady was very lonely and stuck... no excuse but she seemed lost

Yeah I think she could've made friends as herself, though. Perhaps not had the romantic relationship witht hat particular guy, but still she could've charmed another guy in her age group. Have you seen TalHotBlond? That was scary! It's about Mary Shieler.

TLH - the fact that Angela was not malicious is what made the behavior all the more troubling, imo. It would be easy to be angry at some punk person getting off on hurting other people through their fake profiles, but Angela was sweet, and you could see the desperation on her to escape her life. I even felt a little sorry for her, but I think people don't have the right to hurt others because they are in pain themselves. I'm sorry to hear you've been a victim of fake victims. I've heard of this happening often at EP. There are lots of people here who desperately crave attention - any way they can get it. And playing the victim and playing off of people's sympathies is an easy way to get that attention.

I've heard about TalHotBlond! I need to see that. (And yes, no excuses for not making friends as herself)

Vignette... that is such a good point... the fact that she wasn't malicious gave it an extra layer of crazy/scary...

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Yes... the internet... what a... special place it can be ;-)<br />
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People need to be very careful online. It amazes me still the false personas people will create and pass off as genuinely being who they are. Some are harmless (I feel bad for those ones in a sense), some are not. The dishonesty ranges from mildly annoying to completely shocking.<br />
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In regards to Catfish, regardless of if the story is true (there are claims of it being fake) I think it's a VERY good lesson on what can happen when you don't really know someone.<br />
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There is a lot of mental illness and sites such as EP can be a haven for it. It doesn't mean that anyone has to be paranoid but damn... don't reveal any personal information; it's not worth it.

RR - I'm amazed too, at all the false profiles! I would have a difficult time pretending to be someone/something other than what I am. Then to keep track of the lies and to keep them going. It's insane. I agree, some people lie, but mean no harm. They are mentally ill, or very desperate people trying to escape from the hell that is their reality. But I think their need to escape gets trumped when they cross the line and hurt someone else. I had read a bit on the controversy of Catfish, and I concur, regardless of whether or not it was true, it is still a good example and lesson of how lying can get so out of control over the internet. I also agree, EP is a magnet for the mentally ill. I've learned that in the last year or so. And good advice not to reveal personal details in such a place as this. You never know who is watching you, trying to find out enough information to find you in real life!

I think your story was an excellent example of the crazies here... *shudders*

I'm sorry that happen to you. I have never have that happen to me but I know I was attacked for no reason at all. I was just wishing American to have a happy Thanksgiving in 2011. I guess that person have issues with me. I don't even know that person. So I blocked that person. <br />
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Yes. We all should be cautious who we trust.

I'm sorry to hear someone attacked you like that. I wish people could behave and play nicely!

It is the internet. Things happen. By the way this happened on E.P. I was doing something nice. I always try to be nice to everyone.

Whilst I agree with what you say, when I think of how many people I know who have been the victims of highly skilled manipulators off line (myself included) I think it's important to remember that this isn't just an internet phenomenon, we should all be wary off people we don't know well. But at the same time I loathe the thought that we should all develop some form of paranoia either on or off line. I like to take people as I find them both here and in life and will take my chances in both places.

there can be a fine line between caution and paranoia ... I agree ... and everyone is potentially vulnerable offline too of course. well said.

Yes, I agree, meeting these kind of people offline is a real concern as well. I think with the internet it can be more dangerous though, because the internet allows them to hide behind a screen. Absent are the possible cues of body posture, eye movement, tone of voice, etc., that might alert us that something is not quite right.

When I think of how some of the young ones are today I find it totally scary, don't we all know someone who's met a total stranger and invited them home? I know I wish to be cautious, but I hope it never tips into paranoia, but I'm really not sure where the correct balance lies.

I think you've hit the nail on the head - just what is the correct balance?? I detest paranoia, so I doubt I'll ever get to that end of the spectrum, but at the same time, having been a victim, I didn't like it and I don't want to be a victim again. I guess, really, everything is a risk. There is no way to have a guarantee about anything in life. I think all we can do is be cautious without allowing it to taint our view of life.

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Yes, well said Vignette. I'm sorry you've had these experiences, no-one deserves to be played, it's cruel on any level. <br />
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It hasn't happened to me (yet) or at least to my knowledge. But I am relatively cautious anyway. <br />
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I haven't seen that movie, but have heard about it. It is scary what can happen, and your story about the woman who pretended to be your friend is quite frightening. Luckily, people do give themselves away eventually, but some are just so clever and prey on the needy. <br />
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A cautionary tale, well told.

I'm glad it hasn't happened to you. It pays to be cautious, I agree. I thought I had sloughed off that prior incident from that sick woman, but after watching the movie, it just hit me how devious, truly devious, some people are. And where there is one, there is always bound to be more. I admit, it has given me some new thoughts about my interaction here at EP.