Model who sent online lover intimate pics discovers she was catfished06/21/2019
Model who spent months chatting to her Tinder match and was about to fly across the country to meet him, discovered she’d been catfished – along with FOUR HUNDRED other girls
- EXCLUSIVE: Urszula Makowska, 24, of New York, had fallen for ‘Lucas’ online
- She had recently broken up with a boyfriend and had signed up to Tinder
- Urszula was vulnerable and duped into thinking she had connection with Lucas
- After booking $500 (£400) flight to see him, he revealed he wasn’t who he said
- ‘Lucas’ said girls were a ‘social experiment’ and Urszula was left heartbroken
An influencer and model who booked a $500 (£394) flight to visit her online lover was left heartbroken when he turned out to be a catfish who had also duped 400 other women.
Urszula Makowska, 24, of New York, had fallen for ‘Lucas’ after matching with him on Tinder in November 2015 and sent him intimate photographs after chatting for a month.
She told how he regularly sent her photos and videos of himself on Snapchat and was also active on Instagram, and after four months of chatting online, Urszula decided to book a ticket to visit him in St. Louis, Missouri, to finally meet in person.
But two days before her trip, Lucas revealed he wasn’t who he said he was and had been catfishing her and hundreds of other women as part of a ‘social experiment’.
She’s sharing her story in light of new research by mobile phone insurer, Insurance2go, that found one in three people have or would be tempted to catfish, while a quarter have been victims.
Urszula Makowska, 24, of New York, had fallen for ‘Lucas’ after matching with him on Tinder in November 2015 and sent him intimate photographs after chatting for a month
Afterwards Urszula struggled to trust men and was terrified of dating again. She told FEMAIL: ‘I was hurt, a big mess, and felt like I lost a big part of me.
‘I wanted to focus on myself for a while and avoided being in any relationships with men.’
After her three-year relationship ended in 2015, Urszula said she felt like her whole world was ‘crumbling’.
‘I was hopeless and heartbroken,’ she admitted. ‘At the time a relative close to me had also recently passed away. I was very close to them and it wasn’t easy for me – I don’t deal with death well. I became extremely depressed.’
To take her mind off her heartbreak, Urszula signed up to Tinder and began dating.
The influencer booked a $500 (£394) flight to visit her online lover and was left heartbroken when he turned out to be a catfish who had also duped 400 other women
When she matched with Lucas she wasn’t interested at first, but he persistently messaged her and they ended up becoming close.
‘It was a tough time in my life, but he made me feel like he was there for me,’ she explained.
‘Eventually we took things offline and we were talking for months. We developed a relationship even though we never met one another in person.
‘We were talking for hours daily. He had become a part of me, I trusted him and I’d go to him with everything. It seemed so real.
‘I saw him as someone I wanted to be with and have a relationship with. I cared about him and started to develop feelings for him.’
When she matched with Lucas, Urszula wasn’t interested at first, but he persistently messaged her and they ended up becoming close
Urszula didn’t suspect for one minute that Lucas wasn’t genuine, explaining that his social media sites seemed legitimate.
‘He sent me photos and videos on Snapchat, showing him walking in New York during a snowstorm that we had while he was apparently visiting,’ she said.
‘There were also videos of him out enjoying the night life, and he used to send me selfies. There were absolutely no signs that he was not the person in the photos, it never even crossed my mind that I could be getting catfished.’
She admitted that her ‘biggest mistake’ was agreeing to send Lucas intimate photos and videos.
Lucas had received hundreds of intimate photos and videos from up to 400 other women – some of whom had even had intimate conversations over the phone with him
‘I had feelings for him and I trusted him,’ Urszula explained.
‘I felt we had a strong connection. In these photos you could tell it was me because you could see my tattoo.’
When Lucas told her he was moving to New York for an internship, she decided to take the plunge and go and visit him in St. Louis, Missouri during Spring Break in March 2016.
She spent around $500 (£394) on a round trip and was about to book a hotel room when, days before her flight, Lucas confessed he wasn’t the guy in the photos.
‘I was in shock, I did not believe him,’ Urszula said. ‘I was very heartbroken, confused, and I was crying hysterically.
‘At the same time, I also took action immediately before he blocked me to screenshot some of his Instagram followers to direct message them with the information that they were being catfished by him.
‘I asked for the guy’s real Instagram and couldn’t find the photos that he was using. I ended up screenshotting some of his followers and messaging the girls letting them know they were being catifshed. They were manipulated by him just like I was.’
Urszula discovered Lucas had received hundreds of intimate photos and videos from up to 400 other women – some of whom had even had intimate conversations over the phone with him.
‘His explanation for catfishing us was that we were a social experiment,’ she said.
‘He really wanted to see what it was like to talk to attractive females on Tinder as an attractive male. There was 400 of us and I have no clue how he had the time to talk to all of us at once.
Urszula screenshotted some of Lucas’ followers and messaged the girls letting them know they were being catifshed
‘He even sent me a screenshot of a lot of names in his contact list that were labelled with the girls’ names and emojis to classify them. It was really weird.’
Urszula appeared on the MTV Catfish show later that year in August, where she learned that Lucas kept a Google Drive file about them with notes for each girl.
She was also able to come face-to-face with him and confront him with two other girls that he catfished.
‘I was lucky that I did not have to do this alone,’ she admitted. ‘Honestly, confronting him was hard. I was really disgusted.
Urszula appeared on the MTV Catfish show later that year in August, where she learned that Lucas kept a Google Drive file about them with notes for each girl
‘I could not understand how someone could do this to so many females including myself. He had our intimate photos and videos saved onto his Google Drive.
‘The worse part was, he was not sincere at all. He was very monotone and lacking in remorse for what he did. It was sick and he made us lose trust in online dating and towards men.’
Now Urszula is still scarred by the experience and is extremely careful with online dating, feeling she is putting herself at risk.
‘My career and reputation could have been ruined by sending out those intimate pictures,’ she said.
Urszula appeared on MTV’s Catfish where she confronted Lucas with two other women – Jayme Nelson and Sarah Christjans – who were also his victims. Pictured with the show’s hosts Max Joseph and Nev Schulman
‘Now I only use a specific dating app where you have to approved. It is called the League App.
‘I know other apps have taken actions against catfishing. You can verify your account by taking a selfie. But I would still advise other women to be careful when chatting to men online.
‘Do your research on the men you talk to or intend to meet. You should look through their social media profiles, tagged photos and do a reverse image search.
‘It also helps to look up the phone number that they’re using to contact you. Finally, never send intimate photos or videos. You don’t know this individual and you don’t know what they will do with them.’
Almost one in three (29 per cent) Brits admitted to having a fictional persona online, otherwise known as catfishing, according to a recent study by mobile phone insurer Insurance2go, with 40 per cent of those using their fake profiles for more than two years.
A shocking 25 per cent of the 2,002 people polled admitted they have experienced some form of catfishing online; from starting a relationship with a person that pretended to be someone they weren’t on the web (nine per cent), to sending money to someone who turned out not to be the person they claimed to be (eight per cent).
Diary of a catfish: self-confessed faker reveals how he became ‘addicted’ to pretending to be someone else…
Since 2000, I have catfished well over 100 individuals. The majority were women between 21 and 35 years of age.
I initially started off by going into chat rooms and portraying myself as someone else from a different location and making up a story in chat rooms as harmless fun.
I then branched out into dating websites. My MO was to appear as an interesting and attractive guy on these sites, and pretend I was interested in dating the women I messaged or messaged me.
I would develop short-term online messenger relationships with these women, and then ghost them when it came to finally meeting up or talking via phone or Skype, for example. I only maybe knew under five of these women beforehand in real life, and came across their dating profiles only by accident on these platforms.
My intent was purely of the social kind (social catish) during this nearly 20-year run, and I never defrauded any of those I catfished.
The ‘why’ is still a mystery to me, as it developed into a true addiction as time went on. I lived away from family and didn’t have a lot of friends, so social catfishing was a very alluring method to be connected to people.
Since I was very interested in trying to have a romantic relationship in my real life, catfishing women on dating sites lent a helping hand to understanding the dating world for myself.
So self-esteem and overall loneliness are two major themes for my catfishing intents.
The majority of the time, I portrayed mainly one character and alter or change my storylines over time. The photos I first obtained randomly by their open Myspace page in the early 2000s.
Over the years, as the person aged and social media transitioned to Facebook, I was soon able to gain access to their private photos by friending them under a short-term female alias I used seldom.
To my knowledge, this individual was never aware that I used his pictures for nearly 20 years to catfish women off of dating websites. By simply cropping or making the original photos a bit smaller than then original, it seemed to keep these images unknown to those who may have reverse image searched the ones I used.
In 19 years, I was found out only once by a reverse image search, as it was before the time I started to consistently crop and run reverse image checks myself on these images to make sure I remained ‘unknown’.
Another method that I was consistently found out through was Facebook. The dating websites did not offer an instant messaging platform other than email and I had to stay logged onto their sites to consistently message those I was catfishing.
So I had a Facebook under my dating website alias, and it was very generic with not many posts, friend likes and so on. However, I would ask the women to talk on Facebook so I could message them more easily while hiding the dating website tab, as I conducted catfishing at work in my day to day real life.
Since my Facebook alias was so generic, it was usually a catfish red flag and many women would simply accuse me of catfishing and ghost me. It was usually a 50/50 chance of bringing them to Facebook to either end or prolong the predetermined short-term messenger relationship anyway.
Either way, it was all about numbers; and the more I catfished, the more I could gain the ‘meaty’ relationships that could last from a few weeks to months or even years.
Another way I would deeply connect with those I catfished was developing other characters as family to the alias. Sometimes I would even message those I catfished under these sub aliases, such as a brother or sister. This only added to the artificial bond I was trying to create to prolong some of those meaty relationships.
In the last few years of this addiction, I came across easier methods of staying off the catfish radar. Virtual free local numbers allowed me to text and talk to those I catfished under the disguise of a local number to give some validity to the character I portrayed.
In the last year of intensely catfishing I obtained images randomly from an open Facebook user different from the original I used for years and developed a simpler storyline to keep up with.
Since I actually began to talk over the phone with the last few women I catfished, it made the ghosting more difficult in the end because I felt more of an attachment than ever before.
I do not condone social catfishing or any other version of catfishing, as it can be emotionally and psychologically harmful to those you catfish.
I feel it can go on so long without making you feel sympathy and empathy, because it’s as if you launched a rocket miles away, and all the destruction is unknown to you. You’ve ghosted someone that have come to know and trust you as a potential romantic partner.
As of summer 2019, I have been seeking psychological help to end my addiction and have been ‘sober’ for over a month.
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