What to do if you are CatFished?

Q. Have you been #CatFished? A. Well, I have, and it only earlier this morning & this what I did.

I had someone create a profile on a social media site associated with my mobile. For those who know me

will be laughing at this point, I'm no movie star or male model, but it is true. I was also amazed there was not a one-stop place that told you what to do. Catfishing, I have been a victim of before, well I sort have been. My wife had a nappy bag stolen in 2005 which had all her identity information. We reported it as a crime, got back her mobile six months later and took various measures to protect her identity. I am surprised; other there is no longer a requirement for physically mailing of documents, little progress has been made to help victims. I won't get into the specifics what was done, but following is some tips on how to detect & react

N.B. I do not use the social media site that was used to create my identity associated with mobile.


  • I have google alerts setup which detects any content associated with me, my guardian agent alerts, which are>

  1. reverse lookup on my LinkedIn a headshot, which I will be changing soon as a result, as I, not an Instagrammer, this is an easy thing to setup & get reliable matches.

  2. name, mobile, home address

  3. lookup on my name, mobile, home address

  4. lookup on name, mobile, home address of my immediate family

  5. lookup on my email address

  • 2-factor setup on ALL my accounts that support such

  • Use complex, unique passwords and a secure password manager

  • Change passwords regularly

  • Where supported have alert on unusual use enabled

In my case besides someone pretended to be me, and nothing else occurred. But often Catfishing is the start or a more extensive penetration into your digital assets.


  • Immediately notified the social media site to ask for the profile to be removed

  • Reported the incident to both appropriate federal and state law enforcement agencies

  • Changed all passwords, even know I have two-factor authentication on BTW

  • Contacted my carrier to warn them not to issue a NEW SIM for my mobile phone without a request in person by myself at one of there retail outlets after a 100 in person identity check. Same also for cancelling my phone service. (Probably should have done this beforehand, i.e. this is a prevention measure)

  • Advised my financial institutions and explained I will not be changing my mobile number yet as there has been only one occurrence. I will, however, do so, with a redirect from the old number to the new number if it appears the identity theft is more than a simple mistake of someone using my mobile number. In my case, I doubt this is the case, but it seems not to be a very sophisticated use, I won't reveal details as attribution investigation is still in progress.

Did they catch them & why?

  • Early days, but it is challenging to find offenders. There are various technologies that can be used to hide IP numbers and spoof emails etc.?

  • - I believe it started at least five days ago when someone spoofed an email sent from me to another party, but I have no idea why, which is often the case, next was the creation of a social media profile using my mobile number which is published on my website, and will continue to be so BTW.


Treat your identity as a super gold credit card that could give access to everything associated with you. So be paranoid, because the sooner you respond, the sooner you STOP THEM impacting you more.

Keep cyber safe everyone.

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