Go Fish. It’s open season…

CATFISHING —  Can the case be made for Extortion or Identity Theft???

Conversations don’t have to start out as a scam or with criminal intent.  I don’t know all the details of the NFL players’ case… I didn’t even know that this scam has a name.  Here is the research of a fishing trip I was taken on.

A few years ago I cam chatted with a young women who appeared to be very sincere.  It was fun.  One day while doing internet research, I typed in her screen name in the browser search box.  Let’s call her ‘my boots’ for an abbreviation.  The character name ‘My Boots’ showed up on another site, owned by someone else with a different women’s picture.  The two women looked nothing alike.  I even live chatted with the site owner.  She claimed she owned the name and knew nothing about another likeness.  When I texted to the ‘my boots’ that I knew [different site] that her name was already taken [registered], strange things began to happen.

Long story short, catfishing always ends up with someone ‘disappearing or mysteriously dying.’  GONE WITHOUT A TRACE.  I think that authorities or other agencies can ‘take over’ or ‘listen in,’ to someone’s two-way connection.  The Big Directors can character direct, through script writing, their situational actions for them.  Big fish always ‘swim in’ when smaller prey appears.

On the other side of the screen, the victim has no idea what is going on.  I was witness to this many times because my camera came with a microphone / speakers and I could hear background conversations describing analysis of myself. Maybe two parties are victims to the third’s hostile takeover.  This is called ‘connecting through’ someone’s computer and link, like remote desktop.  Unfortunately, the connection has already been established so no invitation needs to be given.

Accounts are hacked, credit cards are tagged, and money can be extorted.  ‘Hostage Crisis???’  Files can be deposited on computers.  Bot-nets can be created without permission.  No internet connection is truly safe, especially USB or Wireless [including cellular phones– flame virus?].  You might think that a basic ‘gut check’ is the best protection.  But with all the social media usage [Ex face book], the conditions replicate themselves under many situations.  On-line gamers are routinely ‘listened in’ on for tag words like ‘birthday party’ and ‘gift money.’  External cameras can be tapped to watch people’s activities.  We trust social media with too much of our personal information.  ‘Just click this box to proceed?’

I don’t want to defend any guilty party, these are my observations.  Just try to speak to a professional law enforcement agent or psychologist and get a fair hearing.  The most frequent comment is the act needs to be caught in process (good luck, especially if all parties are not fully aware of conditions around them).  Initiated conversations DO NOT give permission to criminal, unauthorized or unwelcome activity.  When family and friends choose to close their minds… the fraud is fully perpetrated.  It is a false assumption to guess what happens ‘online stays online.’

I hope this helps someone someday.  Stalking is an unwanted and unwelcome one-sided fascination.  No one should have to get a new identity to get away from the digital hydra’s hooks.  Worst Case:  The predator swims away with the prize.

Anthony Maisano III

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