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

Beta-Readers needed!

I’ve been working hard on re-editing my book ‘It’s My Mistake’ as my main challenge is to get it into a paperback format. I want to do this by making the book the best I can.

I’m a bit of a perfectionist though, and there is something final about a real physical book that I don’t want to have a book riddled with mistakes and plot holes. So, I need beta-readers.

I have asked friends to read, but I don’t have many friends that are willing to a) read a book in general and b) let alone one that is a romantic story!

So, for anyone who likes reading, please feel free to read my book ‘It’s My Mistake’ here:
https://www.wattpad.com/story/124947755-it%27s-my-mistake-%7E-completed
And let me know what you think. If you find any errors, plot holes, or anywhere that generally needs work, please let me know!

Here’s a blurb:

Alice wants a carrer change, especially after a terrible incident at her last job. Her dream job has always been to work in a hotel, maybe even own one. But after messing up an interview very spectacularly for a vacancy at a well-known hotel chain in London, she wasn’t expecting to hold the attention of the Global Business Manager; Daniel Jeffries. And in more ways than one. Does Alice take the risk and accept Dan’s offer or does she play it safe?

Who knew that that interview day would be the day that changed Alice’s life? But is it for the better? IS this alluring Global Business Manager as amazing as he seems? And who is that mysterious yet amazingly handsome man at the hotel?
By the way, if Romance isn’t your thing, or this blub doesn’t catch your eye, there are other works on my WattPad page, feel free to check them out!

Potential Career pathway – Data Scientist

 

Recently I’ve been really considering what to do after I have completed my Psychology Undergraduate Degree at the Open University, and when I first got into the degree, my initial idea was to just explore the subject because of my interest in Psychology and Criminology.

I went through stages throughout my undergraduate degree learning, thinking about becoming a Forensic Psychologist was one, and although I had since talked myself out of it – because, let’s face it, I’m not really a people person! I have since come to the conclusiong that I really love a) working behind the scenes and b) statistics!

I have a few options, some more to do with psychology than others:

1) A neuropsychologist,
2) A Forensic Scientist,
3) A statistician,
4) A Research (in another field other than neuropsychology),
5) Investigator/Intelligence (E.g. National Crime Agency) or
6) Data Analyst or Data Scientist.

I came across a Data Scientist only recently – I can’t even remember how I came across it, only that it was recent – and as such I’ve become increasingly interested.

I wrote about it on my Facebook account and I even started a small discussion with a friend in America about it and after a small conversation about my past experiences (the fact I did a National Diploma in Computer programming (and got good marks too!) and have on a number of occasions proved that I can problem solve independently – one example is that I recently create an Open Sesame experiment as part of my last psychology degree project and I was telling my tutor how to work it!) and not to mention that my interest for problem solving, statistics and maths in general, he actually agreed that Data Science was a good career path for me!

So, with that in mind, I have since gone onto EdX, a Free Online Courses website which has top universities on there – such as Harvard and Berkley- and I have found there are a few courses on Data Science and Data Analysis, one such course is actually a Microsoft Professional Program.

I’m currently auditing the Introduction to Data Science course and I have to admit, my interest for the subject is only increasing!

Here is the link to the course if you are reading this and interested yourself: https://courses.edx.org/courses/course-v1:Microsoft+DAT101x+1T2018/course/

So far I have got as far as the speakers importing a small data file into Excel and running a few simple Excel functions to clean and analyse the data, most of which I already know from doing a previous course on EdX, but I am going to continue watching the videos and going through this short introduction course to see what else being a Data Scientist involves.

The good thing about this career path, is not only is a well paid job and a challenge (I do like a challenge! I got bored as a simple Administrator!) but that it is in High Demand, especially since the emergence of Big Data but also that it’s universal to different companies and organisations. Which means, I could use these skills to combine two or more of my above career options; for example, I could be a Data Scientist for a governmental organisation and work within an investigations/intelligence environment!

Rebecca – Chapter 1

Bit of a back story to this one before you read on. I started this one a while ago, before ‘Rose Garden Sanatorium’ and way before ‘It’s My Mistake’ but I never finished it. Reason for that was because I came up with the idea of Rose Garden Sanatorium before finishing it and got distracted to write that one instead!

Now, a few months on and I have decided to finish ‘Rebecca’ first and publish it along with ‘It’s My Mistake’, just to get a few books out there before I finished ‘Rose Garden Sanatorium’. I have decided to publish Rose Garden professionally and as my studies start up soon I might not have a lot of time to finish it before then (nor the funds, as it’s going to cost up to £1500, which I don’t have as I’m not employed!)

Anyway, I figured I’d post a few chapters of Rebecca for you anyway, so you can see what to expect when I finally finish and publish this one.
If you’re interested in the other two and haven’t come across them before, see below for the links to my other posts.

P.S. Please bare in mind this currently in first draft stage, but if you do see any mistakes in grammar, spelling or even if you’d like to comment on plotline/wording/description (or lack of as that hasn’t been added perfectly yet either) feel free to let me know. 🙂

Warning: May contact strong language and mature content


Chapter 1

I looked outside at the weather. It was horrendous, I wished I never decided to travel to Canada now or at least wished I’d looked at the best time of year to go. It wasn’t winter yet, it was mid-autumn but I was too busy in the eastern side of Canada in the summer. So here I was, travelling in this torrential weather to Vancouver, on a bus.

I should have known it was the wrong time of year to go, considering I was the only person on this bus. But the need to travel was too strong that it overruled my common sense. Never mind, I’m here now and the only time I could get work in this area was this time of year, so I had no choice really. Unless I stayed in England.

I sat on the uncomfortable bench of a seat on the bus as the rain washed passed on the windows, it was early evening by now. After a bit of a long trip from my post on Vancouver Island. The sun had settled two hours earlier and I could tell the temperature was dropping slightly too. I was just lucky that it wasn’t winter and it was freezing cold. The chances of getting stuck in the snow were greater. Although, the weather might have been drier.

After what seemed like hours on the bus, it slowed to a stop. This alerted me out of my day-dreaming. I noticed it had stopped at a petrol station-, well gas station they were called here in Canada. I wondered if he needed to refuel.

“Just stopping for the bathroom ma’am,” the driver explained when he saw my confused look peering up from the window to him as he got up out of the driver’s seat. “Would you like to grab any snacks or visit the ladies yourself?” he asked. His accent was thick Canadian, an accent I had gotten used to for a while now after spending nearly four months in Canada. Although I had noticed a slightly change after moving away from the east coast.

“Not a bad idea,” I nodded, getting up from my seat and stretching my stiff joints. “How long now until Vancouver?” I asked, as I grabbed my bag and headed to the front of the bus.

“Another few hours, so long as the weather doesn’t get any worse,” the driver explained, hopping off the bus and waiting outside for me to get off too.

“Great,” I said, not really feeling great about it at all. I had to spend another few hours on a cold damp bus before I could go anywhere to get a decent meal and a decent night sleep. I was exhausted.

The gas station didn’t have much in terms of decent food either. I wandered down the aisles looking at the American or Canadian style chocolate bars and ‘chips’ and subsequently sighed. There were no decent sandwiches, so my choices were limited to chips and chocolates. And seeing as I wasn’t sure when my next decent meal was going to be, I decided to pick up a few things anyway, even if they were high in sugar and fat, they were better than nothing. I picked up a few packets of chips and a few bars of chocolates before heading over to the counter where the driver was talking to the guy behind the cashier already.

“I’m afraid not,” the cashier said while talking to the driver, who had come back from the bathroom. He was shaking his head and looking concerned about something. This sparked my curiosity.

“That’s just my luck,” said the driver and rubbed his face with a hand.

“What’s wrong?” I asked, dumping the snacks on the counter top.

“Road’s blocked half a mile up, no way through to the city.”

“What?” I said, feeling the blood drain from my face.

“Apparently the wind blew down an old tree, right into the road, no way of getting through.”

“Buggar!” I swore and rubbed my own face, feeling tired already, “Now what?”

“There is a Motel in the next village, hopefully they’ll have the road cleared by tomorrow?” suggested the guy behind the cash register.

“I suppose that’s all I can do!” I shrugged, “Where is the motel? Is it far?”

“A mile or so,” the bus driver explained.

I nodded and picked up the snacks, thinking that if I wasn’t heading back in Vancouver today, I might as well find somewhere to eat in the village.

“I can take you to the motel,” the driver said, “But I’ll be heading back to my town, which is a few miles away.”

I nodded, “That’ll be fine.”

The bus stopped for a second time that night, right outside a motel. I was starting to feel a little hungry, so at this point I was just glad to find somewhere to get off so I could get something to eat and rest for the rest of the night. Although I was starting to wish I had bought those snacks at the service station.

“Here’s the motel,” the bus driver said, giving me a weak smile.

“Thank you,” I said, getting up and moving to the front of the bus again.

“Keep your ticket, it’ll get you to Vancouver tomorrow.”

I nodded and thanked him again before getting off the bus. Taking my backpack and trudging up to the front reception of the motel now a little soaked from the rain.

It was only a small motel, clearly this town didn’t get many visitors.

I pushed through the reception door and up to the lady on the reception who looked up from her newspaper crossword puzzle and smiled at me. “Evening.”

“Hi, can I have room for the night?”

“Oh, sorry love, we’re fully booked for tonight!”

“Oh, shit!” I accidentally said, feeling my luck going from bad to worse.

The receptionist smiled weakly, “There is another motel in the next town up,” she said.

“Oh right, where is that?”

“If you go in that direction,” she pointed out the window, “past the post office and continue until you hit the next town, it’s right opposite a diner. They usually have a few vacancies.”

“Oh, okay, thanks!” I smiled. I just heard diner and felt my stomach urge me to leave and find food.

“Sorry again,” the receptionist smiled as I turned back around.

“That’s okay,” I muttered as I opened the door and finally trudged back out into the darkness. At least I knew there was another motel, so it wasn’t all that bad. One that had a diner right opposite. Winner.


If you like this, please check out my other work:

It’s My Mistake – Chapter 1

Rose Garden Sanatorium – Prologue

My Normal – Short Story

 

Cover designed by me, only a draft copy for illustration purposes. I do not currently own the rights to the picture displayed.
Imgur

If you’re interested in how I created my covers to any of my books, please check out this following post:
https://steemit.com/design/@penny-rose/how-i-created-my-book-cover

I also have other posts on Steemit, feel free to check it out (and you can sign up to and earn! Maybe I’ll see you there?)
https://steemit.com/@penny-rose

My Normal – A Short Story by Penny Hooper

“What’s your name?” said a voice, slightly distant. I wasn’t even sure if I could see the speaker’s mouth move, but I knew that’s what he said.

“Um-, Lucy,” I replied confidently. It didn’t matter what the intentions of the speaker were, he couldn’t hurt me even if he tried.

“Why Lucy?” he asked, as if knowing that wasn’t my real name. Of course it wasn’t, but here I could be anyone I wanted.

“Because-, it’s a name that reminds me of something,” I smiled, just about making out the shape of this person in front of me now. He was coming into view a bit. He was tall and dark. Not dark as in dark hair or dark skin colour. He was dark, like a silhouette. I still couldn’t make out his features. No matter how hard I tried to focus on them. In fact, the more I focused, the more distorted he became.

It didn’t bother me though, it didn’t matter what he looked like. He wasn’t important. Nothing was really important here.

“Come with me, Lucy,” the figure said and a long arm shot out from no-where to try to grab me. I dodged it quickly, avoiding the contact. I didn’t like to be touched. It felt- like I wasn’t in control if I let this person touch me.

“I wouldn’t do that if I were you,” I said, my voice changing slightly. I sounded more menacing.

The figure of a man in front of me didn’t say anything, he just frowned, or at least I think he frowned. I could sense he wasn’t happy. I knew I had to get away.

I turned around and came face-to-face with a wall. Normal people probably would have panicked if they saw a wall. Not me, I love them. And there is a reason for that, which I am about to show.

I smiled, gave the man-figure a quick glance as he looked confused and I just stepped back towards the wall. And suddenly, as if by magic I just- slipped right through it. As if the wall wasn’t there.

The only thing that I regret was not knowing what happened to that man-figure, but I felt happy knowing he was probably standing the other side of that wall and wondering what on earth was going on. Or, he might not be there anymore, no longer existing. It was hard to tell in this world.

I suddenly found myself walking down a corridor. It was light and airy. It reminded me of somewhere I used to work. It was on a second floor. A metal banister on either side, stopping me from falling to the second floor. It was high. It made me feel a little weak. I don’t like heights. Even here, where things were- different.

I saw someone walk towards me from the other side of the corridor, the person came into view. A woman I used to work with. I do work with. I think I work with. She had her hair tied back like she normally does into a tight ponytail. I’ve forgotten her name. How can I forget her name?

“Morning,” she said.

What was her name?

“Morning… Alice,” I said. Making up a name.

“How are you today?” she said, apparently I got her name right?

“I’m fine,” I said. Short and sweet. That’s how I kept the conversation as I dodged around the woman whose name was apparently Alice. She wasn’t important, I had somewhere to be. I felt a sense of urgency. Maybe that man was still after me, I wasn’t sure.

I got to the end of the corridor and got to another door. I could open it, but I instead I smiled and just walked through it. This was fun!

The other side of the room, it suddenly changed. I was outside. I felt the need to run, to get away from the building behind me. Although I had somehow gone from a second story in a building to somewhere outside.

I ran. I wasn’t sure what I was running from, but I ran. Until, I couldn’t. Suddenly somehow I wasn’t able to run. My legs were moving but I wasn’t getting anywhere!

I turned around and saw the man-figure walking towards me, he had found me. I let out a scream. No sound came out. I tried to move away, I couldn’t.

The man-figure got closer, except it was no longer a man-figure, it was a large dark wolf. Its teeth were bared and drool was hanging from the side of his mouth. I felt panicky again. There were no walls to go through.

No, but maybe I could do something else!

I crouched to the floor, my hand only a mere millimetre away from the floor and I sprang up and into the air. But I didn’t come back down again. I just hovered there. I was in the air, but I was only two feet above the ground.

It wasn’t high enough to get away from the wolf. I willed myself up, I went up higher. But only by another foot.

It still wasn’t high enough.

So I decided to move away instead, before the wolf got me. Gliding away, in mid-air, three feet off the ground. I managed to avoid the wolf.

But it was still coming for me, I moved faster, so did the wolf. I tried to climb higher, only getting so far and not any further.

I got as far as the sea. Somehow I had managed to get far away from where I originally was, where ever that was, and got to the coast.

But I had a fear of open water. The deep dark murky unknown scared me, even here. Even though I was three feet above the ground, hovering unnaturally. With the ability to pass through solid walls. And probably other superpowers here in the world. Yet, water still scared me.

I got over the water, but I didn’t go far. Hovering there and watching the wolf, which had turned into my childhood dog.

I watched as his fluffy tail just swung left and right, panting as if he had been running to keep up with me. But looking happy to see me.

I smiled and glided back over to the side where dry land luckily was. And I set my feet back on the earth.

“Hello boy,” I greeted my dog and I bent down to stroke him.

But just before my hand touched the soft and warm coat of my childhood dog, he lunged for me.

The jolt woke me up.

I stared up at the ceiling and blinked into the darkness. And then sighed.

“What a strange dream,” I muttered to myself and rolled over.

I had another lucid dream.

~~~

Check out my other works:

Read Chapter 1 of ‘It’s My Mistake’ here.
Or buy on e-book here or paperback here.

Read Chapter 1 of ‘I Fell in Love with a Psychopath’ here.
Or buy on e-book here or paperback here.

Check out my Prologue for Rose Garden Sanatorium here.

Read how I come up with character names, here.