Catching out a Catfisher (Fake profile)!

Recently I was approached by a guy on Facebook, who turned out to be fake.

And why am I blogging about it? To raise awareness!

I tried to reach out to Twitter to find the real person behind the photos, and have since had at least one comment; “Why is it necessary to find the real guy?”

It’s not, really, but I wanted to the following:

  1. make sure the real guy knew what was going on, so he can report the profile and it have more chance of it being removed (he’s a real human being at the end of the day);
  2. have a real name so I can report the accounts – sometimes you need a real name otherwise you cannot report, I noticed this on Twitter!
  3. make a difference. I consider myself an influencer. I’m an author. I might not be popular, as I’m only starting my journey, but as such I want to use that rather small voice to make a difference. If even one person reads this, I feel like I’ve helped at least one person! Therefore, if I could get the real name of the lovely guy being the photo, it would make a bigger impact (although, because I haven’t got permission from the real guy, I have had to keep his identity private!)

First, let me explain what happened. I came across a Facebook page which shows tattooed men (I like tattoos and appreciate good ink!) and I came across a really cool back piece! I, with my silly sence of humour, said ‘Where can I get one?’ (and yes, I did mean the guy… although in real life, I am interested in more than just a guy’s good looks!)

A guy approached me and said ‘I’m here Penny. Hit me up!’ and had a profile picture of a guy next to a beautiful staffordshire terrier (a staff to us common people!), so I thought… hey, why not! So, I added him! (I’m a sucker for handsome tattooed men with dogs/cats!)

Basic RGB[image source: http://www.shibdenheadprimaryacademy.co.uk/e-safety/%5D

I knew instantly, when he accepted my request, he wasn’t real. At least not the person behind the photos. He kept repeating the words ‘sexy’ and then said he was US Intelligence. Yeah, pretty cool, but you don’t need to be too smart to realise that those who are in any form of Intelligence, whether that is the US, UK or otherwise, do NOT openly admit it to people they hardly know!

Not to mention, I absolutely HATE it when people judge me for my looks, I don’t think I’m exactly attractive; I’m not a model, but I respect people more if they are actualling interested in knowing about ME… not what’s on the outside! So, even if this guy turned out to be real, I instantly took a dislike to him.

The other scary thing is… he was emotionally manipulative. I unfortunately haven’t got access to the messages he sent anymore, as the profile has been removed since (unfortunately not my doing!), but he said things like ‘don’t scare me off you’, after I called him out whether he was real or not. I’ve been in an emotionally manipulative relationship before, I DONT take kindly to it, and do not tollerate it at all!

sydney-sims-521161-unsplash[Image Source: http://yourrelationshipspecialist.co.uk/gaslighting-and-emotional-abuse/%5D

So, I had one of two choices; block and ignore, or call him out.

I was really worried about vulnerable people, including young girls, coming across this guy. So, I put it upon myself to do some digging! Within a few hours, I found the real guy!

I have a few ‘acquaintances’ who are models, so I asked them if they recognised the guy in the photo, unfortunately no one did.

I also tweeted, with no success! (Including a few models, although I don’t follow models – I appreciate the male body, but I’m not interested in goggling – so I know absolutely nothing about the modelling world, so I had to find some ‘male tattooed models’ in order to tweet, gave up pretty quickly with that idea! No one’s going to listen to a crazy English chick, anyway!)

Luckily, however, one of my friends managed to reverse search the images the catfisher was using and we found a few websites where the photos were being used!

Ironically, I came across yet ANOTHER fake profile on Twitter, thinking it was the real guy, but found the same ‘person’ on Facebook and I realised this was yet another fake profile! Luckily someone else knew the real guy in the photo and called him out on Facebook! (The Twitter profiles have been reported!)

I finally found the real guy behind the pictures!

I was hoping for a lovely dramatic ending to this little adventure, by messaging the guy on Facebook and hoping to reverse catfish the catfisher or something similar, but unfortuantely the catfisher has since been removed from Facebook, and the real model hasn’t responded.

anticlimax
[Image source: https://thesaurus.plus/related/anticlimax/climax%5D

So, why am I telling you this? To raise awareness! I’m not suggesting everyone does what I did, it can be quite dangerous to do! Especially if the catfisher knows a lot about you already! If you think you’re being catfished, or it seems too good to be true, it probably is! Follow your gut! Block and delete! If you’re worried, talk to someone!

And yes, some catfishers are after money. But NOT ALL OF THEM! Some of them are predators… and they can worm their way into your life over MONTHS… just because you have known them for weeks/months, doesn’t mean they are genuine! PLEASE be careful!

I have deliberately kept the names of my acquaintances and the real model behind the photos hidden! I don’t have permission to use the model’s photos, and this model is in the public eye, it would be unfair for him getting negativity because of someone else.

This goes for both women and men, men can be just as much a target! If you think you are being catfished or are worried about the identity of someone online, talk to someone!

Stay safe, everyone. x

It’s My Mistake – Chapter 1

Copyright ©2020 Penny Hooper
All rights reserved.
No part of this book may be reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, without prior permission in writing from the author.
Penny Hooper has asserted her right under Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 to be identified as the author of this work.
This book is a work of fiction and, except in the case of historical fact, any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

This story may contain sensitive themes that some readers may find difficult to read.
These themes include, but are not limited to:
Scenes of a sexual nature
Strong language
Rape / sexual abuse
Alcohol abuse

Chapter 1

“Mrs Mark?” I heard someone call. My head shot up from my mobile phone.

Miss! For the last time, it’s Miss! I thought from within my panic.

I groaned and stood up from the uncomfortable plastic chair that I was sitting on and walked extremely nervously towards the two beady and judging eyes that were staring at me.

The woman who owned the eyes held open the looming door for me to walk through. It was the same door that people before me had walked through and had eventually reappeared looking scared shitless but with a mix of relief that the torture was over. I trudged through it self-consciously and into the room that laid in wait.

I woke up feeling fine this morning. Better than fine, I was excited. I knew I had this meeting, it had been circled on my calendar for weeks. I counted down the days. I deliberated for hours, if not days, over what to wear. I had my hair cut the weekend before. I’d even had my nails painted, not something I was too keen on doing. It was a waste of money in my opinion. But I wanted to look the part. Have every chance of acing the day. I told myself over and over that I would ace the interview and I would finally get a job in a hotel. A job I have wanted for years!

But after watching those worried and upset looking faces pile out of the room I was about to enter, my confidence slowly disappeared. These people looked way smarter and even more confident than I am before they entered. I was way in over my head.

Especially when I had this obnoxious woman finally give me the usual up-and-down look like she had given all the others. Maybe the casual yet slightly formal look wasn’t the best look to go for?

After the hours I had spent in front of the mirror, risking running late for my interview, I had finally decided on this look. I had gone through a number of dresses; from really smart dresses to dresses with those girly plaits in them. I tried a dress with a cardigan, a dress with a blazer. Until I realised it was a little cold and wet today in London, and tights didn’t seem to be working for me. So, I settled on trousers instead. But smart trousers looked too smart, jeans looked too casual. My expensive black shirt I got from a Debenhams sale that was now two years old, also looked too formal—I looked like I was about to go to a funeral. My pink blouse seemed too girly and gave the wrong impression. Even plain t-shirts looked too casual. It took me three hours to finally decide.

I walked in, nearly tripping up as my heel caught the edge of a carpet tile and I stumbled into the room. I felt the palms of my hands go instantly sweaty.

I was being stared at by three faces. Silently judging no doubt. One of the faces was of a woman with pursed lips and glasses with a thick rim hanging onto her thin nose, her hair was short and wiry, as if attempting to look young and hip but failing miserable. Next to her was a slightly younger person, a man this time, but still much older than myself judging by the greying hair on the sides of his head and his thinning hair on top. I would have said he was in his late forties. But the other man had caught my attention; he was handsome. A thick square jaw, cleanly shaven, piercing blue-grey eyes under a small mat of dirt-blonde hair. He also wore a curiously wicked smile on his face as if he was amused by my appearance.

You and me both fella.

I stole a glance at myself in the reflection of the large mirror wall behind them. I looked stupidly under-dressed suddenly. I should have gone for a dress. Or maybe my trouser suit that I had left discarded on my bed. I was wearing black jeans, purple court heels and a plain black t-shirt with a deep purple blazer over the top. My long brown hair looking a mess because I had been sat running my sweaty hands through it nervously.

“H–hi,” I stuttered, when I realised no one was saying anything. Maybe it was up to me to start this interview? Maybe this was part one of the test? Had I failed already?

“Mrs Mark, it says here that—” started the older man with the greying and thinning hair. He looked down at some paperwork in his hands as he spoke.

“Miss,” I corrected confidently, interrupting him speak.

The man looked up from the paperwork and glared at me. I felt my palms getting sweatier. “Excuse me?” he frowned at me.

“I–I’m not Mrs Mark, I—” I started, but got interrupted.

“You’re not Mrs Mark?” he asked, raising an eyebrow at me. “Then, who are you?”

“No, I mean, I am, but I’m not—” I got interrupted again.

“Deborah called for Mrs Mark, why have you come into this room if you are not Mrs Mark?”

“No, wait, you misunderstood!” I panicked. This was going terribly wrong already. “I’m single, I’m not—”

“That’s good to know,” the young handsome man suddenly said. I glanced at him and saw he now had a large grin on his face. I gulped. Was he grinning at me?

Yeah, probably because I am an idiot for even thinking I could get this job.

“Look, whoever you are I suggest you—” the woman started, but she got interrupted. Not by me though.

“What’s your name?” asked the handsome man, sitting forwards on his desk and curiously staring at me as if he was talking to me and ignoring the others in the room. I felt suddenly warmer than usual. His bright grey-blue eyes were gazing right into mine.

“It’s Miss Mark, not Mrs.”

The woman and the older man both sighed in union as the young man gave out a hearty laugh.

“Why didn’t you say that then!” snapped the woman.

“I tried…” I sighed.

“You just assumed she was someone else, Mirren,” said the handsome man, sitting back in his seat, looking casual yet confidently business-like. But his searching eyes had not left my face. “You just assumed that she came in here after someone else’s name was called and didn’t give her enough time to actually explain. In fact it is our mistake for wrongly assuming she was married, it can actually be highly offensive.”

The older woman sat up straight suddenly and looked visibly upset that she had been caught out being rude to someone, even the other man looked a little taken aback, his face even went a little pale.

“But she did just stand there and stutter!” the woman named Mirren started to defend herself. “All she had to do was say that her name was Miss Mark and not try and hit on the men in this room by telling them she’s single!”

“I don’t think—” the older man started, but got interrupted. This time by me.

“Excuse me!” I snapped. I knew this interview was pretty much ruined now anyway, so it was pointless trying to be nice to these people, and I certainly wasn’t going to let them get away with insulting me! “I walked into this room feeling a little self-conscious. I’ve been looking forward to this bloody interview for weeks. I really want this job, so I was a little nervous!”

“Dressed like that?” the woman whispered and snorted a little, after composing herself from being spoken back to like that. I don’t think she intended me to hear her.

“I’ll admit; looking at how overly dressed you lot are, and the other unsuspecting idiots out there, who have dressed in suits, I do feel just a tad underdressed and out of place. But I didn’t want to be one of those in-your-face suit dressed women in high heels trying to show off my tits to get the job”—I realised too late that my voice was getting louder—“but after meeting you, I feel that actually I’m not right for this job, and my full and undivided commitment would be wasted here in this company and I’d rather find another hotel that accept me for my experience and drive and not because I wore a suit that I’d be stupidly uncomfortable in anyway!”

I span round and went to leave the room without another word, but something else got my attention; the carpet tile I nearly tripped on, it was clearly poking up looking frayed and menacing waiting for its next unsuspecting victim to trip on it. I wondered how many people had already nearly tripped over this obvious health and safety risk. “And for fuck sake, sort these damn carpet tiles before someone trips and hurts themselves!” I finally stormed out of the room without another word.

~~~
Updated: 13/09/2020

Click here to read the next chapter!

~~~

If you’re interested in reading more, it’s now available in e-book and paperback.

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New Indie Author…

So, last night I decided to go through my novel “It’s My Mistake” one last time and I finally committed to posting it up on Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing!

I had to go through it a few times (in preview mode) to make sure the formatting was kept. As apparently a few times it didn’t like a page-break or a line-break. But hopefully after a third attempt it should be okay!

It’s now currently in a Review stage, which I was told can take up to 72 hours, so hopefully by Friday evening it should be ready to purchase and download!

It’s currently only in e-book format – so it can be read on a kindle app. But if it does well, I will be looking at putting it on Amazon in paperback format! 🙂

And it’ll currently be sold for £1.99 (or $1.99 for USA/Canada readers). Currently only available in UK, Gernsey, Jersey, Isle of Man, Australia, USA and Canada.

Onwards to finish my next book Rose Garden Sanatorium! 😀

Is Feminism discriminating?

I have these random thoughts sometimes, I might be sat watching a boring go-compare advert with the sound off like usual (I’m not discriminating go-compare, I hate all adverts equally!) while drinking a cup of tea wondering about the etymology of the word ‘tea’, or I might be staring at a bar of soap in the shower and wondering how they get the colour into it.

So, I had one today, while thinking about discrimination, as that’s something I’m extremely interested in, as I hate any form of discrimination, gender, race, belief, and don’t even get me started on age discrimination! And I had a thought to myself, we focus so much on the discrimination of women, girls, and currently gender-fluid and trans-gender people, but what about men?

I looked up the word ‘feminism’ in the dictionary after this, and this is what my ‘Concise Oxford English Dictionary’ said: “feminism (n.) the advocacy of women’s right on the grounds of sexual equality”.

Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s fantastic that women’s rights are now held in high regard, but shouldn’t we be focusing on all gender rights? Not just women’s? I don’t mean to say that we should focus on men’s right separately, but combine them all and say gender rights.

Of course, there is already ‘gender equality’ and the WHO regard these rights as ‘Gender and human rights’. So I’m not suggesting that we create one already, as it is already a thing! I’m suggesting to move away from the idea of feminism and focus on gender as a whole.

I know Feminism has been shrouded in negative light in some cases, some women go the extreme and suggest that women are ‘better’ than men, and this is wrong. I am a woman, but I do not see myself as ‘better’ than anyone, just because I have breasts and the female reproductive organ! And I also know that not all feminists think like this either and have to fight their way through the negativity given to feminism.

But maybe we ‘should’ focus on all gender equality, and move away from this notion of feminism? So that we do not lose sight of the whole idea of gender equality and how women’s rights came into power. It’s to be seen as equal alongside men.

Yes, there is still discrimination out there for women, I’ve come across it myself, first hand. Working as a fitter at Halfords and men telling me they do not want to talk to me because it’s a ‘man’ thing. Yet I probably knew more than most of the guys who worked there!

Anyway, back onto male discrimination. I’ve heard stories in my time about men’s mental health issues (another topic I’m extremely interested in!) or spousal abuse. Looking mostly at spousal abuse, the first thing that comes to mind, and I hate to admit it but it comes to my mind too (I guess this is the power of social ‘normality’), you immediately imagine a man hitting a woman. But it is KNOWN that women can hit men too, I’ve seen campaigns, been enthused on the idea of raising awareness for men. And yes, it is being tackled, but is it enough? I’ve seen shelters for women who escape domestic abuse, are there any for men?

Of course, there are campaigns to raise awareness for male mental health issues, and spousal abuse, and I know one recently in the UK has been endorsed and that is car insurance for male and female drivers. Originally it was cheaper for a woman to get car insurance because they’re classed as safer drivers (*coughdontmentionmyaccidentcough*) but eventually it was deemed discriminating and they changed the car insurances so that they match regardless of gender. Aside from the idea that they might have only put up the female driver’s costs and not lower the male drivers, nor a mixture of the two, as that’s a whole different subject!

But this is one good example that has shown that male discrimination is being tackled, so well done UK. Hopefully it’ll improve!

My love to all genders, whether your male, female, gender-fluid, trans-gender, or if you are a whole new gender yet to show your beautiful self to this world (alien?) ❤