Catfishing is when someone lies about their identity online. They may pretend to be someone else entirely. They could do this by lying about their name, their age, their location and many other factors. People will sometimes take things so far that they download pictures or even videos of other people as “proof” of who they are. This can be an elaborate scheme where the person being catfished has no idea of the true identity of the person they’re talking to online.
This can open the door for potential allegations of sex crimes. In fact, it has happened before. People need to be very aware that this can happen and that there can be serious ramifications.
How old are they?
For example, there was one teenager who met another teen through an online dating app. He believed that she was over the age of consent in the state, as she told him that she was 17. But after the two had met up, he found out that she was only 14. He ended up being arrested, despite the fact that the girl admitted she had lied about her age and tricked the older teen through a version of catfishing.
This type of situation could also lead to significant problems if explicit pictures were exchanged. In the case noted above, the two met up in person. But it is very common for people to exchange explicit pictures if they are in a relationship or even before they meet up for an intimate encounter. Someone could theoretically receive pictures that they believe are legal and consensual, when the reality is that the person in those photos is underage and the person receiving them risks child pornography charges.
These types of sex crime charges can be life-altering, potentially putting someone behind bars for years or even decades. It’s quite important for those facing such charges to know what legal options they have.