If recent events are to go by, anyone and everyone can be catfished. A catfish is a person who intentionally lies about his or her true identity online with the aim to deceive others and scam them financially. This is one of those crimes which are hard to prosecute.
The Mary Wieden case
The Mary Wieden case makes a good example of how people who engage in catfishing go about in their business. She is the widow of Bert Case, a well-known employee of a media house. She was ready to begin her life anew and found two catfish scammers in a single month. Both catfishers were unknown to each other.
Catfishers take advantage of lonely people, they take advantage of their 'loneliness'. For Mary, she was ready for a new man two years after the death of her husband. She met Bert when they both worked at the same media house. He took his last breath in 2016. She knew her dead husband would want her to search for a new man in her life. He would not want her to mope around lonely at home. Mary thus downloaded a dating app to get back into the dating game. She did not expect much, just wanted someone who would take her to Easter Brunch. The widow quickly met an exceptionally good-looking man online.
Mary's new acquaintance claimed to be a Missouri resident. The two began to email each other. There were a few oddities with the guy's behavior- he did not want to talk over the phone or do any FaceTime. Intrigued, she did a Google image search of the man and discovered the photo to be of a Portuguese photographer. There was no man in Missouri bearing that image. Mary thus terminated all contact with that imposter.
She soon found another handsome man. Mary found him to be a nice looking fellow, an industrial engineer, and resident of Madison County. He told her that he was originally from Sweden and a widower. Like the previous man, he too feigned shyness to call her or agree to a date where the two may meet. He was, however, not too shy to request money. Mary grew suspicious and went through Madison County's tax rolls. His name was absent from the register. She asked him about it via email.
The man became angry. He called her up in the middle of the night and berated her. He asked Mary why she did the search. When she told him there was no trace of Swedish accent in her voice, he cut the call. She was certain that he catfished her.