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<editorsnote> Hi, I'm Jen Friel, and we here at TNTML examine the lives of nerds outside of the basements and into the social media, and dating world.  We have over 75 peeps that write about their life in real time. (Real nerds, real time, real deal.) Sit back, relax, and enjoy some of the stories!! </editorsnote>

 

 

 

 

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Saturday
Nov172012

#RealDeal: I lived a true life @MTV "Catfish" story (an update on My Fake Internet Boyfriend)

MTV premiered their new show Catfish this week (the TV version of the popular documentary on fake internet relationships). Over the summer I had been contacted by some of their production team to tell my story, but because it happened back in 2007 it was no longer relevant enough for them. (This is such a hot topic too, btw. I also got contacted by the Jeff Probst show last week to be a guest.) 

Either way, I finally watched the episode just a few minutes ago, and I COMPLETELY broke down. 

Sunny's story was my story, and watch her confront her "online relationship" - it blew me away. I immediately started balling. I TOTALLY know that feeling. 

There is only one song I can listen to while writing this ... 

Alrite, so I've written about this story before, but it was now almost two years ago (and frankly not my best writing), but either way back in 2007 I started working for LiveVideo as a "lifecaster." We were a handful of "charismatic and interesting" kids in LA that were plants on the site to create engaging content and all that fancy stuff. Basically, I was paid to sit there, host a live show from my apartment (fully clothed), and I got to talk to people from all around the world. Having grown up on the internet and literally living my life in chat rooms you have to understand how truly SPECTACULAR this job was to someone like me. I'm naturally a total goof ball so entertaining people for 4 hours at a time was easy, but the fact that this was all online - I mean COME ON!!! This shit was my JAMMMMMM!!!! 

Either way, my channel was instantly one of the most popular ones (obvi since I was a plant), but almost immediately one of the regulars in my chat got my attention. 

His name was Dare, and his avatar was drop dead gorgeous. Look at that face!! 

 

In the land of "SHOW ME YOUR BOOBS!!!" Dare was a conversationalist, and COMPLETELY respectful. Even with sometimes hundreds of people in the chat he always always always stuck out. 

I don't remember exactly when it was when we first started chatting on the phone, but almost immediately he was nagging me to date him. I remember once even spending 4+ hours on the phone with him, and this was AFTER I had just hosted the show where we ALSO chatted for that same length of time. This person just became a part of my existence, and became this thing ... that was always there, and that I could always call or text. I had just gotten out of a relationship at the time so while I wasn't necessarily looking to date anyone, it was a refresher to have that intimacy and connection with another person. 

Post after post on my Myspace wall drew further attention from other LV fans. 

Are you two together? They would ask in the chat. 

No, I kept saying. I'm very single, I would admit over and over. 

Dare kept pushing to change that, of course, but I stood strong. 

I want your address, he said one day on Myspace. 

Logically I should have been freaked out at the notion of giving some random person my address, but again we had been talking at this point for MONTHS hours and hours and hours each night. I know him well enough, I thought. 

I then gave him my address and the next day I had two dozen red long stem roses with a beautiful card. 

As I called to thank him for the flowers, I then officially became his "girlfriend." 

Get on webcam, I said that day. I want to show you the flowers!! 

I can't he pressed. I don't have a working one. 

Go get one, I would say. They're SO cheap and we can finally look each other eye to eye. 

Later, he would say changing the conversation. 

Weeks turned into months and suddenly Dare was a daily fixture in my life. From texts in the morning, to visits in my liveshow - this man. was. everywhere. 

I told all of my friends in LA about him.

Wait, you met this guy online? They would ask. 

No, I said not wanting to seem like some crazy craigslist creeper (amazing how quickly and how much social norms of meeting people off the internet changed). I saw him at a friend's party once, but we never connected. THEN, he just happened to become a fan of my live show, I said in an attempt to cover my tracks. 

<tangent> My friends at that time, btw, were COMPLETELY convinced I was doing webcam porn. 

Soooo, you get paid to sit on a cam in your apartment? they would ask.

Yes, I said happy and perky. 

Weird. </tangent>

Absolutely NONE of my friends thought he was real. 

He is, I kept saying. He is!! 

Dare and I then started talking about taking vacations together, what it would be like to meet for the first time. It was oddly never sexual and considering we were "boyfriend and girlfriend" I never even sent a naked picture, nor did we ever have phone sex. 

So weird now that I think about it looking back ... 

Either way, one day he surprised me again with a present at my door. 

It was the book Love in the Time of Cholera with two tickets sticking out. 

I pull out the tickets and see that they are floor seats (third row) to see New Kids on The Block for their comeback tour. 

Growing up I was the BIIGGGEEEESSSTTTT Jordan Knight fan, so these tickets meant the WORLD to me. 

OMG OMG OMG OMG! I screamed into the phone thanking him. You are SO amazing, I said!!! I love you so much, this is extremely generous of you. 

Yep, did I admit that part as well? At this point we had told each other that we loved one another. Strange, since again, we hadn't ever met at that point, but again, this was my honest constant. 

I vivdly remember at that point though starting to question Dare and his legitimacy. Are these real tickets? I wondered. 

I invited Dare to come along.

Come with me!! Come with me!! I'd LOVE to take you as my date!! 

I can't, he said, I have to work. 

Alrite, I said a bit disappointed. 

I then invited my neighbor Katie, and on October 8, 2008 we went to see NKOTB at the staples center. 

As we were walking in, I handed my tickets to the guy at the gate. 

My hands were visibly shaking. 

Please please please be real, I thought. 

The guy then takes the tickets, scans them, and says ... go right ahead. 

I exhaled the biggest sigh as my friend turned to me and said, I was hoping those were real. 

I said nothing. 

We then had an AMAZING time at the show!! Here were some of the videos I took ... 

When I got back home, I BEGGED to see Dare. 

Please, I said, you've given me this AMAZING gift. I really need to see you and thank you. 

Soon, he would say, soon! 

We then went back and forth on dates to meet up and EVERYTIME he cancelled moments before he was supposed to arrive. 

I cried everytime. 

But I REALLY wanted to see you, I would say. 

I know, he said with whatever excuse he created. I just can't right now. 

We then got into a fight one night and I finally just said ENOUGH!!! I'm getting in my car and I'll be in AZ (where he said he was from) in just a few hours. (I had his address since we had been sending each other packages.) 

Those few hours were of course 7 and the time that this journey started was midnight.

I then drove through the night in my beetle convertible with my little dog Rocky Balboa and a 2 liter of Pepsi Max.

I was high on passion, dedicated, and FINALLY wanting for once and for all this to just all be over.

I NEED to meet him!! RIGHT NOW, I thought.

His phone was shut off for the entire drive out, but fortunately because of Google SMS (466453 via text) I was able to text and find the listing for his home phone number. 

I called. 

I'm in your town, I said. Please meet me. 

No, he said hanging up the phone. 

At this time it was almost 9am so I figured he would go to work. Knowing the name of where he worked, I google SMSed it again and found the address. 

In my PJ pants and t-shirt, I walked into the front reception. 

Hi, I said, is there a Darien Walker that works here? 

The receptionist looked confused. 

Who? 

Dare Walker. 

A man then approaches from behind the desk, we don't have anyone by that name here, he said. 

I stared back, shocked. 

Uh, alrite. Thank you. 

I then got back in the car and headed over to a Dennys confused on what my next move was. 

What do I do now? He won't see me, and now apparently he doesn't work where he said he worked. 

I don't know in that moment why I didn't go to his house directly, but I felt it was "too invasive." 

I was literally insane at that moment, but still not entirely sure what was going on. Still SOMEWHERE in the back of my mind I wanted to admit that he wasn't a fake and that I was maybe somehow just really confused. 

I then drove back the 7 hours and cried all the way back to LA. 

You would think at that point I would have had enough evidence to call his bluff right? 

Wrong. 

Dare and I still "dated" for a while longer. 

I had finally let someone COMPLETELY into my life, and I was ABSOLUTELY unwilling to just let all of this time spent together go to waste. 

The ego does wonderful things kiddies. 

He never said why he wouldn't see me that day. He claimed he was just "mad" but either way, by the spring of 2009 we did finally end things. 

It was yet another devastation in the form of him not making a trip out to see me, and I just lost it. He came up with this INSANE story about a family member getting hit by a car driven by another family member. Obvi, being a nerd, I IMMEDIATELY googled his story and NOTHING checked out. 

I asked a series of questions about everything, which he took as offensive and then said he couldn't be with me anymore. 

Yep, to make matters worse, I was DUMPED by my fake internet boyfriend. 

I then put Dare out of my mind, and made a conscious effort to just start dating and get back in the game. 

I hadn't actually even thought about Dare until September of 2010 when I got this email on Facebook ... 

 

I was floored when I got that email. There's another one, I thought. I'm not the only one. 

I then wrote out the post explaining the story.

I remember SHAAKKIINNNGGG as I hit publish. I couldn't believe I was exposing myself on something SO personal and SO shameful. 

Who does this happen to? I thought. I'm theoretically speaking SO smart!!! How could I EVER be so dumb!! 

I then received a series of threatening emails from Dare, and I stood my ground. 

If you're real, just take a picture of yourself holding up a sign with today's date. If I am wrong, I will admit it and remove the story. Until then, I am STANDING MY FUCKING GROUND!!!!! 

He then went as far as to contact Squarespace (where I host) and tell them I was in violation of their TOS. 

I laughed in my email back to them, as I briefly went into the story. 

I am exposing someone who has created a fake identity and is deceiving people. If he is who he says he is I will IMMEDIATELY take it down. All that I am asking is for photographic evidence. Provide that and I will have NO problem admitting I am wrong. 

What happened? 

He stopped.  

He entirely went away in fact. 

Through some internet sleuthing though, you guys were able to find a picture of my ACTUAL internet "boyfriend" and a name.

Meet Sarah, aka Dare ... 

 

It's pretty gnarly that this chick went into THAT much effort to create a fake phone number listing as well, AND when I talked to her on the phone she always used a voice device. This entire situation just creeps me out. 

When I talked to the producers last week, she asked me one question in particular that stuck out, "what would you say to anyone who is in your shoes now?" 

I immediately said, I just hope they understand that one they are not alone, and that two they should not be ashamed. I played a big role in this dynamic as well, and that was something that my self work with my Shaman has presented, but this experience shaped me for sure. To see that woman tonight get the chance to confront her "boyfriend" (in the episode it was oddly enough also a female to female dynamic) it really touched me. To see this woman place NO wrongdoing on herself, and never even apologize for it was so ... heavy and disassociative. I'd actually love to study the psychology of people like this. I feel like if this girl could just take all of her storytelling talents and translate them into a more healthier medium she could have quite the career on her hands. 

Either way, this story sucks and I'm not proud of this life experience. I can proudly say that I am a wiser person and can genuinely spot a fake now from a million miles away. 

Rock on nerdy peeps! And here's to knowing you're not alone in this world!! 

#NerdsUnite

 

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Reader Comments (13)

If you ever need a back up for this story, I got'chu girl! :)

November 19, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAshley (covergirl713)

thanks beautiful!! xoxo

November 20, 2012 | Registered CommenterTalk Nerdy To Me Lover

Lawl that's some shit. The internet is forever. Way to fuck 'um. #dontmesswithnerds

November 23, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKevin

Thank you for telling this story. I wish I had read it a long time ago. My "story" ended more than two years ago, and I am still reeling from the consequences of an online relationship. I should have seen the warning signs, but ignored them.

December 30, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterPhil

this is amazing. you are amazing!

January 8, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLy

I just watched Dr.Phils "To Catch a Catfish", and I was expecting Sarah's picture to be shown the whole time... It's scary how many of these sick people are out there.

January 8, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLy

How were you actually able to find the real identity of this person? I'm in the same exact situation right now and all i want is to find out the truth about what's going on

February 2, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJason

Wow!! Now you have me thinking. I am currently talking to someone who for one doesn't like talking on the phone so i've never heard "His" voice. We live 30 mins away and he says wow, you live so far away lol. Really? Ok I need to watch the Catfish. I've never seen it but has heard of it. Thank you for sharing your story.

February 25, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterE_Anne

I have been caught up with someone who has mega multiple facebook accounts ...perhaps 70 or more they all have interconnecting friends and have in the main the same "real" random friends they have connected and made. How do you find the identity of someone like this? There are three of us that I know of who have had intimate relationships with her in one or more of her various guises ...

June 2, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterRia Wasserman

What a story! I am glad you could help other girls by posting your story. It amazes how sick people can be sometimes.
Your catfish story is kinda unique though, I have been reading so many and you are, so far, the only want that got gifts and had a complete address.
Here is my kinda catfish story: http://www.mayargentum.co.vu/2014/01/my-kind-of-catfish-story.html

January 16, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMay

I’m gonna jump the ‘ how could I have been so blind and stupid’ part and write my own personal catfish report on the guy that swept me off my feet and was my emotional partner every day for over a year sometime between 2011-feb 2013. I’m not doing this out of revenge, but because now, after more than 1 year and a half I FOUND HIM… well, my cousin did and while I do not wish to rain on his happy marriage to his long term girlfriend and newborn baby I do want to give you ladies a heads up on this guy’s fake profile.

WHERE WE MET
www.wireclub.com a website where people from all over the world meet up to chat, make friends, find love or just someone they can get themselves off with.

HIS PROFILE

(Fake) Name: Trenton Lee Beck
Date of birth: 17.04.1985
Skype ID: tbeck85 (constantly changing his skype location from Missouri to California, Chicago etc)
tbusy85 was his nickname
e’mail address: trizzo85@rocketmail.com
Claimed he was this decent farmer/landscaper in Missouri who owned his own landscaping-contruction-irrigation systems business, a simple man who enjoyed the simple things in life, beer, going out with friends, turkey hunting, country music.

PLOT
I am an animal rights activist, a starbucks city girl, a teacher… in Europe, never in a million years have I imagined to fall for a country guy. But I did, because he was the funniest, craziest fake person I’ve ever met. And he was there for me, every day making me laugh, complimenting, making plans to see each other.
But how can you fall for a guy over the internet?
Quite simple… because he wasn’t your usual freak that wanted to see your boobs & ass, in over a year and a half he’s never seen more than my neckline nor had any other kinky requests. We spoke for 5 months till I convinced him to get a Skype ID. He was a gentleman from the South who drew pictures of me and gave me daily challenges to keep me entertained in my very monotonous life, he sang me songs and sent me very lame but funny videos, we had political debates and all possible debates you can ever imagine.
Wow, sounds like a great friend you’d say… but he was more than that, way more, constantly in touch, chatting, e’mailing, skyping, we both knew we were in an emotional relationship and we were there for each other every day.
But we were open to other possibilities too, I dated a guy for 2 months but had to leave him as I couldn’t connect the way I did with Trent…and then it hit me…I was in love.
Trent had his one night affairs too, I assumed.


RED FLAGS
One day I wanted to send him some chocolates, and it took him a while to give me his address…and it was his office address not home. I found that weird, nevertheless the man spent more time at the office than at home.
Another day I asked him if he had his wallet on, he said yes, so my second request was to see a card or an ID with the name Trenton Lee Beck on. Surprisingly he couldn’t find any. Two days later he came with a (fake) ID with his name on it… I chose to believe.
We always talked when he was at work, he claimed that internet was not great at home.
I never had his personal number.
He claimed not to have a Facebook account.

HOW IT ENDED

As things were getting more and more intense and I wanted to fix a date to see each other he tells me he ran into this girl at the supermarket claiming to be pregnant with his baby. Naturally he looked devastated and said that he doesn’t believe it, and he’d have to do a paternity test.
We kept in touch for months as he was still waiting for the results. I was ‘by his side’ when he got them back and we cried together. His family, very conservative folk were pushing him to make the right thing but he didn’t want her… he wanted me.
On February 8th 2013, when the baby was a week old he told me he’s gonna do the right thing, that it’s the peer pressure and he will dedicate his life to this child. It was the worst night of my life.

On the bright side, the following night I went out trying to forget and that’s how I met my boyfriend, believe it or not… I would’ve never met him if it wasn’t for the heartbreak.

REALITY CHECK

Courtesy of my 2 lovely cousins who helped me through the process of revealing the identity of my Southern fraud.

His real name: Tyler Rikard
His real Facebook profile: https://www.facebook.com/tyler.rikard.1?fref=ts
He married his long time girlfriend Jill Perrish (now Rikard) in 2012 (when we were in the midst of our romance) and had a beautiful baby together in April 2013 not February as he told me. This is the wife https://www.facebook.com/jill.parrish?fref=ts
The link of the resort he’s sent me as ‘his week long getaway with friends’ was in fact where he went on his honeymoon in Riviera Maya.
I have endless e’mails, pictures, skype conversations, pictures of him skyping and all the details to prove that in fact Trenton Beck the landscaper from Missouri (now Chicago apparently) is in fact a fraud and we were in a virtual romantic relationship.
And his company https://www.facebook.com/mlandscaping or the official website http://muellerlandscaping.com/ I very much doubt it’s his… but I haven’t gone as far to check.
He deleted his tbusy85 profile on www.wireclub.com only to get another one a year later, with the same e’mail address which made it easy for me to search… trizzo85@rocketmail.com
This is his new profile: http://www.wireclub.com/users/trizzo85 , this time he says he’s from Chicago
He probably speaks to girls on the Chicago chat and gets them to Skype since he has no friends on Wire.

CONCLUSION

I have been catfished! There are times when the internet seems like the perfect place to make friends, meet people or fall in love. And sometimes it works, and for the rest of us losers out there… sometimes it doesn’t. I can’t give any other proper advice but open your eyes and see the red flags, if there are any. Fortunately for me there haven’t been any naked pictures involved or my virtual prince was not a princess… BUT he was married, married and bored enough to create a whole fake persona, fake an ID and play my feelings. He was so good that I can’t say I wouldn’t fall for it all over again given the situation.

July 6, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterAndee

My ex was (is) a catfish. We dated in person, but I would find him meeting girls & carrying on relationships with women online. Once Myspace became popular, it was even easier for him to meet girls. The 1 time I was able to get into his account, I messaged about 5 girls letting them know who he really was... 1 girl was completely heartbroken, as they were well into a relationship, & she was planning to come see him. The difference is that he used his real pictures & name, but the rest would be completely false. He would tell girls he owned his own catering company, or some other entrepreneurship story, obviously successful. He would say he had no kids, or was a single parent or that he had God children who called him dad... Not to mention the accidents! Of course he was in a coma, in addition to everyone around him dying/ addicted.to drugs. The truth is that he's spent the majority of the past 10 years being unemployed, & even homeless for a while. When he doesn't have a gf to leech from, he lives with his parents. He has 4 kids, none of which he supports or sees because he has a drug/ alcohol/ rage problem & sadly seems in perfect health. HERE'S WHERE IT GETS DANGEROUS. He's gotten very good at lying & deceiving & knowing how to play women's emotions. for a while I tried to keep an eye on what he was doing so I could let these girls know if things went too far, but they would never listen, or somehow thought they different. They weren't different to him, they were prey. His motive was not just out of fun or insecurities, it's to use them for anything he could get, money, drugs, favors, even a place to live. He becomes very aggressive if he thinks he's going to lose his meal ticket... In fact he's beaten every girlfriend he's ever had. I think, these girls thought they'd met a nice, successful, charming man, only to find out the hard way HE HAS A LENGTHY ARREST RECORD FOR ASSAULT AND DOMESTIC VIOLENCE. I wanted to warn people, because it's gotten so bad... people, lives, don't matter to him, only what he can get from them.

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