A woman who thought she had met her romantic match on a dating app soon realised there was something fishy going on.
Leah Black believed she was chatting to a man named Matthew Russell on Tinder but became suspicious when her new love interest started behaving strangely.
Leah, 20, from Forfar, discovered she hadn’t been speaking to Matthew at all – and that the person spending hours messaging her was a completely fake persona.
She said: “Some things just didn’t add up. I asked for his surname and was told it was Russell so I searched all social media sites and couldn’t find anyone with the name Matthew Russell that matched.
“When I asked why, he said he had been told by the police to delete his social media accounts due to a ‘psycho ex’.
“He also wouldn’t show his face on Facetime and said he had zero confidence so wouldn’t speak, and instead whispered. To begin with I wondered if it was maybe a guy cheating on his girlfriend.”
The pair had only been messaging for a few days when the fraudster asked to meet Leah. However, she wanted to be sure he was who he said he was before she agreed.
Leah couldn’t establish who was behind the account and reported the incident to police – believing she had been “catfished”, which means creating a fake persona online in a bid to dupe your victim.
But she was left disappointed when police said it was not a criminal offence.
Leah added: “I believe catfishing is a criminal offence as it’s leading someone to believe a complete lie and also using another person’s image to hide their own.
“In the worst cases it leads to things such as rape and murder. The person in my case maybe never had those intentions but who’s to know? It was not investigated and I’ll never find that out. I think the least that should be done is a visit to the person from the police to get the victim answers.
“It’s left me uneasy and has made me lose trust in a lot of things. You see it on TV but you just don’t expect it to happen to you.”
A Tinder spokesman said: “Catfishing/impersonating someone else on Tinder violates our community guidelines.
“We encourage users to report any instances of misconduct via the self-reporting tool on all Tinder profiles. In the event we receive such a report, our community team takes appropriate measures, which may include removing the profile or banning the user.”