COVID-19 may have confirmed the notion that I would not fare well in prison. This quarantine has increased my restlessness but it has not lessened my intelligence. That’s what books are for. However, there is more time to scroll through social media now, which is an unhealthy practice despite a pandemic. Nonetheless, it’s something many of us have to battle more frequently in the name of staying productive.
When this popped up in my follow requests I thought that thumbnail had handsome potential. What’s the harm in allowing him to follow me? I approved. I wanted to see if he was actually attractive but in order to do that, I had a request to follow him, which I did. My job to save lives by staying home during this lockdown is boring.
He approved my request and right away I had suspension. First, his following was in the single digits when he requested me. No photo was posted sooner than early April. Second, look at him.
When he sent me this, I knew something was amiss. A man who looks like that does not throw out a ’hey what’s up’ unless it’s on an app for hooking up.
Do you know what’s really sad? (It’s about to get real sensitive beneath his perky man nipple). I wanted to believe it was a real guy who was very attractive that decided to be nice instead of projecting stereotypical machismo energy. For half a second, I thought, maybe. Maybe there are nice guys who are muscular and decorated with tattoos that will make the first move on an app that isn’t Tinder. He looks like a Spartan soldier but maybe he is evolved. Maybe he has a small following because he’s been staying off the grid and doing some self-reflection. I shook myself out of that nonsense quickly and grabbed some screenshots. A general search was enough for me to find his presence on Pinterest but I still didn’t know who I was dealing with. At this point, my fantasy of the kind yet rugged and handsome man was still a possibility but of course, this was too good to be true.
What if he is real and he’s just being nice? Won’t that be rude if I blow him off? Why would I assume the worst? Ladies, do not let your incredible ability to sympathize get the better of you. Trust your gut. Vulnerability is what scammers target. If it seems to good to be true, it is. Period. Don’t concern yourself with niceties when whoever is on the other end of lies like these is dependant on how nice women think they should be.
I kept searching. I tried Tinyeye but it didn’t help. Thinking back to my brief experience with online dating, doing a reverse image search was the way to go. A reverse image search allows a person to see everywhere on the internet that an image has been used. How to: Safari-settings-request desktop website-turn on all websites-return to Google home page in Safari-click the camera icon-paste/upload image.
Jackpot. A barrage of images belonging to the real man, a member of the United States Army named Josh Porter. He really is real and he really is handsome but the account messaging me was not really his. Burly beefcake, the perfect identity for stealers to steal and my goodness do they take advantage. Multiple Facebook pages and hashtags were devoted to this particular misuse of identity. Apparently, Army men are a hot commodity for tricksters who manipulate women into sending them money.
I went back to Instagram and checked the imposter’s followers, which had more than tripled in forty-eight hours, all were females. All those he followed were females too, myself included. I read stories of women falling for #fakejoshporter stories of women buying into whatever lies were being peddled about this man for years. Years. I caught the catfish. The question was, do I play the player or virtually throat-punch him right away?
Through the reverse image search, I was also able to track down the authentic account of Josh Porter. When comparing the two accounts, real vs fake, I found it laughably pathetic that the maligner didn’t even try to make it look legit.
One of the Facebook pages dedicated to catching catfish, came with a personal video of the real Josh Porter issuing a personal warning. Note, profanity is used.
Of course, it would be fun to scam the scammer for weeks or months, all the while knowing I was swimming with a catfish but would that be worth it?
I certainly considered dragging it out just to occupy them so as to pull the attention away from someone who might become a victim but as with everything in this life it’s important to decide what is worthy of your energy. This was a place I did not want to invest.
It became less about playing games and more about the other followers of this ne’er-do-well. Ultimately, it was about the other women. An abrupt stop was the most efficient option. Below is my response to their direct message.
The video at the bottom is my own edited version of the statement given by the real Josh Porter against the scammers. Again, profanity is used.
After that, the fraudulent account @donniieevvann was reported and blocked on both my business and personal accounts. For what it’s worth, I was entertained with my amateur role as a detective. My sympathies to Josh Porter an Army serviceman who has to deal with dill weeds on a regular basis. In the meantime, Mindless Peace is clearing the water of life, one catfish at a time.