Catching Catfishes: Experiences of Those Who Loved Catfish

Proceedings of The 6th International Conference on Social Sciences in the 21st Century

Year: 2023



Catching Catfishes: Experiences of Those Who Loved Catfish

Donna Mae V. Alejo




This research paper investigates the experiences of ten individuals who have fallen victim to online romance scammer. One of the few studies has analyzed this phenomenon in great detail. The key informant’s age range was from 18 to 28 years old and an online dating app/sites users who claimed they were emotionally linked to an online romance scammer as key informants. In addition, qualitative, descriptive phenomenological interviews were conducted with the online and in-person key informants. Through the analysis of key informant responses and the clustering of verbatim responses, online dating motivations and experiences with online romance scams were identified. The study reveals that individuals use online dating sites/apps for various reasons, such as a lack of social interaction, a preference for non-physical communication, and to alleviate heartache and boredom. Key informants see online dating as an opportunity to explore different people without commitment and find connecting with people in different locations convenient and accessible. The study also highlights the prevalence of online romance scams, which some key informants became aware of after only a few weeks of communication. Online romance scammers frequently use flattery and compliments to manipulate and gain trust while concealing their true identity behind a fake profile, and their refusal to make video calls and face the camera raises questions about their true identity. The findings emphasize the importance of vigilance while using online dating sites/apps and social media platforms, particularly when building relationships with strangers.

keywords: Emotional attachment, online dating, online romance scam, qualities of online romance scam, Victim experiences