Understand Why is Catfishing Illegal and How Firms Can Fight Fraud


Catfishing has gained popularity and is known for widespread recognition on online dating platforms, mainly due to the MTV show. “Catfish: The TV Show” was aired in 2010, exposing scammers who deceive fake users into deceiving people through romantic scams and emotional and fiscal relationships. Online Catfishing seems to be harmless to many people, but it has a long-lasting and serious impact on the victims. 

This blog discovers what catfishing is, how it is illegal, and how scammers ruin the mental health of victims. 

Table of Contents

A Quick Review of Catfishing

An imposter creates a fake identity to spoof someone, and it’s done with the malicious intention of grabbing money or other resources from weak persons. Catfishing takes different forms, from creating multiple profiles and making fake images through social media posts. This fabricates real users with fake information and details from social media platforms. Scammers exploit people on different platforms, such as Facebook and Instagram to exploit people as there are every type of individual there. 

Is Catfishing a Major Crime in Florida? 

Catfishing scams are prevailing and are considered to be a form of digital identity theft and deception, usually punishable by law depending on the case severity. For instance, victims can face severe outcomes when a scammer uses someone’s information for fraud and other illegal activities. However, if a catfisher engages in harassment and cyberstalking, they are responsible for different federal or state laws. The following individuals are punishable for catfishing:

  • Harassment and Criminalized Cyberstalking 
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Catfishing usually involves intimidating, harassing, and threatening the victim’s lies under the harassment status. By analyzing these actions and their effect, it’s recognized as a felony or misdemeanor, with fines that range from more than 1 year in jail to a specific amount of rupees. 

  • Identity Theft 

Identity fraud happens when someone uses another individual information or data without their approval and with wrong intentions. Personal or sensitive information of the user involves email address, name, birthdate, and telecommunication data that is used to access an individual financial resource. By using fake information or profiles, a catfisher can face severe consequences if they do any harm to the involved individual. The seriousness of the case depends upon the service or property value acquired and it usually has 5 years in prison and more than a certain amount of fine. 

  • Computer Fraud 

Scammers are also sentenced to crimes under the Computer Crime Act. 

  • Communication Scams

Imposters are also sentences with scams in the Communication Fraud Act, including any techniques to communicate with other individuals and defraud with the goal of having huge property from them.

  • Teach Harmful and Illegal Material to a Minor

The scammer is charged under this act if the scammer sends any pornographic materials and explicit content to a minor. Hence, it’s a third-degree and is sentenced to more than 5 years in jail. 

Above are the major examples of possible crime charges that are linked with catfishing in Florida. Therefore, the circumstance of every case determines the severity of the results so charges may apply. There are always consultation authorities for personalized and authentic legal advice. 

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Working of Catfishing

From the 2010 premiere, the term catfishing gained popularity. This type of fraud existed before, but after airing of catfishing it’s more famous. Catfishers make close relationships with people and achieve their illegal means such as financial gain. They pretend to be someone else by using other people’s pictures and their personal information to exploit them. Usually, they send adult videos to minors and harass victims through sensitive data after being involved with them. Sometimes, the scammers want to be entertained, so they catfish someone. Sometimes, they want financial gain through someone and become rich overnight. In many cases, catfishers want to exploit others just to satisfy themselves or to take revenge. Many times, they take data from others and sell them on the dark web. 

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