Is Catfishing Illegal? Uncovering the Legalities of Catfishing

London (Parliament Politics Magazine) – Catfishing has become a serious problem after online interactions have become common. People often claim to be someone they are not in reality. When a person uses a phony identity and convinces the target to get involved in certain activities this can be considered a criminal offense. Cat fishing involves crimes like sending large amounts of money or some other similar crimes. It is a criminal offense of fraud and can be punished by law.

Is Catfishing Illegal?

Impersonating some other person online is not legal in any way. However, catfishing involves doing an illegal activity while talking to someone online. The person mostly has a fake profile and engages in criminal actions. They use infringement of intellectual property and are involved in defamation. 

They impersonate and use another’s likeness to fool someone online. The crime involves sexual violations with minors and engaging in illegal activity with a minor. A person can face a lot of trouble legally if he or she catfishes another person. If the victim lives in another country, then he/she might not suffer legal consequences for the actions.

What is The Illegal Activity? 

Intellectual property infringement that occurs through copyright violations is considered catfishing. This is when the person uses copyright material to fool someone online. This includes claiming ownership over something or using someone else’s IP to gain something from the target. Using an IP address to access something else can be an instance act of fraud. 

Pursuing a claim for someone fooling you online can be often difficult. It can be difficult to discover the culprit but you can do so with the help of a lawyer. You can find the individual and take legal action and file a civil suit against them. It is also important to inform local law enforcement if you are looking to seek justice.

How Are Catfishing and Fraud Connected? 

The cat fisher engages in fraud when he impersonates another person. Participating in any kind of illegal activity to gain some benefit is catfishing. This could involve money, property, and additional information to commit additional acts of fraud.

 Fraud involves taking personal details like bank account details, money, or other assets to harm the target. If the person is only impersonating to be another person and does nothing to gain from the target, then he/she might not be indulged in a crime.

Involvement Of Money or Goods 

When the perpetrator engages in catfishing and tends to acquire money or goods from a person, then this can be considered fraud. People involved in catfishing will ask for money and this can arise through a usual conversation. This is when a person claims that he doesn’t have money to pay for food or gas or that some family member is sick or hurt.

How To Pursue Justice If You Get Involved In A Catfishing Incident? 

When the person engaging in catfishing commits criminal fraud, then he may have to pay the price through legal punishment. The victim can contact the authorities and can take the matter to the courts. This often requires help from a professional expert. A professional lawyer will investigate the matter and will help you to find the individual. If the perpetrator doesn’t belong to the same country, then seeking justice can become more difficult. This matter will require you to get the help of an international lawyer to help you. 

The problem will become serious if the perpetrator steals an identity and uses the traits of another individual while they are chatting or video conferencing the person. The victim will be required to connect to the authorities and engage in gathering evidence against the cat fisher.

 You can do so with the help of recording software. While you are conversing with the individual it is important to acquire additional details that the law enforcement officers will demand from you to take legal action. The prosecutor can only pursue the case if you provide them with proof of criminal fraud. The more evidence gathered, the better chance you will have to win the case.

Read More: Are Knuckle Dusters Illegal In the UK?

What Is The Legal Defense Against Catfishing? 

If the person engaging in catfishing has not committed any fraud and is just using the name or image of another person, then he/she will be required to hire a criminal defense lawyer. Professional lawyers will help to defend you against fraud charges. If no money or property had been exchanged, the individual must demonstrate his or her innocence with the help of legal support.

Beth Malcolm

Beth Malcolm is Scottish based Journalist at Heriot-Watt University studying French and British Sign Language. She is originally from the north west of England but is living in Edinburgh to complete her studies.