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I’m taking a different approach for this post by opening up more than ever to share an embarrassing, yet pretty entertaining situation that I found myself in 7 years ago. You've probably guessed it from the title, but that’s right: I’m going to dive in and spill all the tea on how I found myself being contacted by this hit show’s producers because I had been officially catfished – WTF!
When I talk about catfishing, I don't mean the act of going fishing—although I really hoped that’s what it meant for me. However, in this case, catfishing is a term used to describe someone going online and pretending to be someone else. Some people may portray a celebrity, or they may just find an average Joe’s page and take on their life as if it was theirs and start communicating with others. Pretty scary, huh? Well, at 19 years old, I unfortunately found myself being catfished. It took me 5 long years to officially prove it, by finally finding the real guy’s page and formally communicating with him!
Something is FISHY, Baby
I remember it like it was yesterday. It was the summer after my freshman year of college and I was spending my time at home on social media and working a summer job. One day this pretty attractive guy followed me on twitter, and initially I was a little hesitant to follow back because he was a complete stranger, but I felt more at ease when I noticed over 100 mutual friends that also went to LSU. Later that day he messaged me and we talked back and forth for a few days before I decided to give him my number. “What is the harm, he seems cool and he used to go to LSU,” I thought. Boy, was I wrong!
Back then, and even now, I hated facetime, so I never facetimed him during the first month. We mainly communicated through text and phone calls. In getting to know him, I felt a very strange feeling, which was my first red flag. He always had the most disturbing and awful stories to tell of how he practically had no one. Everyone in his life had died early and tragic deaths, including his brothers, mother, and grandparents. All of his personal stories were very elaborate, but still a bit vague, like how he had two masters degrees at the age of 21, traveling frequently around the U.S for work, but he would never disclose his employer. Initially, I did not think too much of it until after the summer was over, when I packed back up to return to LSU.
He stated that he lived in a town about 45 minutes from LSU so the plan was for my roommate and me to meet up with him at a back-to-school event. I had been approached last minute by a fraternity to help out by being a part of their skit/performance during this event. I agreed, but since it was so last minute, I never even thought to mention it to my catfisher. To make a long story short, I tried to meet up with him after the performance was over, but he would not answer my calls or return my texts. It was not until midnight when I got a text back, in which he stated that he saw me in the skit.
Y'all, he detailed the exact skit. From the costume (police outfit) I wore, to one of my lines that supposedly made him laugh. Without me even telling him anything, it seemed as though he was there and to this day I believe he or she was! I was so confused and a little hurt as to how he could be there but run from seeing me. Instantly I confronted him with this and started to distance myself.
Although I was livid, my dumb butt decided to give him another chance. At this point, I started to feel like this could be a catfish, and therefore I became fixated on finding out who tf this person was! When I say fixated, it almost became an obsession. After two more failed attempts to meet in person, and him lying about not being able to facetime because his front camera was broken, I had all the signs and fuel I needed to prove he was a catfish. I ended all communication with him, but I really could not sleep at night knowing that this person could be doing this to others, which he unfortunately was.
My Little Baby Investigation
For two years, I used every trick that Catfish the TV Show, taught me: that was definitely my favorite show back then. I reverse searched his phone number and it had a female name, which he told me was his cousin’s old number. I found her and messaged her on Facebook—who knows if she was in cahoots with him, because she did not give me much info to go on. She only verified that they were cousins and that she ended up giving him her cell phone after she had bought a new phone for herself, a few years ago.
So then I started messaging random followers on twitter that he engaged in conversation with. Many of those followers reported the exact same thing: that they had never met him, but assumed he went to LSU because of the things he would post or talk about with them. I remember that one time he said he graduated LSU in 2009, but none of my older friends had seen him in person and only knew of his twitter name.
I even went back through old messages and found an address that he said he “lived at.” He stated that he lived on Gumbo Street, and I almost screamed out loud rereading that because it just sounded so made up. I popped that bad boy into my GPS and lo and behold, Gumbo Street was real, and had the most beautiful homes, too. But, as I continued to drive down to the exact address he had given, it was an empty field: nothing but dirt and mosquitoes! Not only was this a lie, but I wasted a quarter tank of gas, chile.
Overall, it was more proof that I'd been catfished, but I was not even close to uncovering who this person was! Because of that, I gave up. It was too tiring and time consuming. But then he kept returning, and he became smarter in his actions, calling me through apps so his number couldn’t be traced. It got so bad that I contemplated changing my number because the random calls from untraceable numbers were starting to become alarming.
I had given up on the search for about six months, until one day I participated in a community service event with my line sister. I always kept a mental note of various twitter accounts that had interacted with him, and she was one of those people. It wasn’t until that moment that I had the opportunity to ask her about this catfishing person. As soon as I mentioned the account, she jumped into detective mode and told me how a while ago, someone had found the real guy’s page and confronted the catfish.
I couldn't believe it! I immediately encouraged her to put her thinking cap on, to hopefully remember the name of the account that was being impersonated. After about 30 minutes, the lightbulb came on. I didn’t have twitter anymore, so I decided to see if his twitter name was the same as on instagram and luckily it was. I nervously messaged him, and to my surprise he sent his number and told me to facetime him.
When I called, a part of my heart sunk because the voice was so different from the catfisher’s and he verbally confirmed that he had never spoken to me. But let me tell y'all, he was soooooo fine. He actually lived in New Jersey, and his name was different from what I was used to calling him. His whole life was different, from his career to his birthday; therefore it took a minute for me to really accept the fact that when I was 19 years old, I spent a whole summer getting to know someone I truly did not know.
Wait, MTV Catfish the TV Show is Calling me?
After I facetimed the real guy, Reu, my friend emailed Nev and Max, the stars from Catfish the TV Show! We honestly did not think she would get a reply back, but she did a few days later. Producers contacted her and Reu to get their sides of the story, and next they wanted to hear from me and the catfish. They continued to call me at the worst times, but after the second voicemail, I decided to not call back because I really did not want to go on national TV and expose myself. And for the first time during this whole experience, I was scared to find out who this person was. So the idea of being on the show fell through, and I don’t think it would have happened even if I had agreed to it because my catfisher disconnected his phone and deleted the fake account after he realized he was caught.
To this day, I don’t know who the real person is; and I’m actually fine with not knowing so I can just put all this behind me. The funny part, is that Reu tried shooting his shot after all this mess. I flirted with him sometimes, but the distance was too much. Plus it was just too weird to know that all the things I thought I shared with him were not actually told to him! My mind wouldn’t allow me to start over, so instead we just keep in touch on social media.
The crazy thing is that this story is still missing some details, but you all get the gist. It’s embarrassing to go through a situation like this. I look back and think of the few people that I bragged to about this guy. Turned out the whole idea of possibly having a potential guy to date was faker than this dry wig sitting on my head!
But as I got older, I realized that sadly there are many people out there getting catfished or are the victim of someone who is impersonating them. Although I felt a strong disdain for those who catfish, I also became more empathetic, because I learned that usually these people suffer from emotional, mental health, and/or self-esteem issues. If you are aware of someone you know that may be catfishing, please talk to them about resources out there that can help them address their deeply rooted issues.
As for people who may find themselves talking to a catfish, please be mindful and take heed to all of the red flags. Definitely never talk to someone who says they cannot facetime you because their front camera is broken! Oh puhleeeese.
I want to hear from you!
Have you ever been a victim of catfishing? If not, what are some of your thoughts on catfishing? Would you like for me to post more in-depth personal stories? XOXOXO