TV star claims identity has been stolen by catfishers to con 200 women

TV star claims identity has been stolen by catfishers to con 200 women

07/03/2019

TV presenter claims catfishers have conned more than 200 women using his identity – including one who believed they were getting married after ‘a year of dating’

  • EXCLUSIVE: Dean Pelić, from Croatia, says women being duped on daily basis
  • Went to police who were ‘powerless’ and suggested he got a ‘blue tick’ on profile 
  • Claims Instagram refuses to verify his account, so it’s easy target for scammers
  • One woman contacted his friends and family to say they were ‘to be married’
  • Catfish even photoshopped his cousin’s friend’s kid to make him look like father

A model and TV presenter claims his identity is constantly being stolen by catfishers and used to con women all over the world.

Dean Pelić, from Croatia, told how he has been contacted by more than 200 victims over three years, who have all been duped into thinking they have met him online – and almost all of them have been asked for money.

Many have got in touch claiming to be in a relationship with him, and one believed they were getting married, having been ‘dating’ for a year.

Dean has gone to the police but claims they are ‘powerless’ to stop it and suggested he get a verified ‘blue tick’ on his Instagram profile – something he says the platform is unwilling to award him, despite his 78.5K followers. 

Dean Pelić claims his identity is repeatedly stolen by catfishers and used to con women all over the world

He told FEMAIL: ‘I have always had a strong social media following, and in recent years I have started to be contacted on a more and more frequent basis by women who know they have been conned, by women claiming to be in a relationship with me, or even fathers worried about daughters.

‘I am not exaggerating when I say I have been contacted by over 200 women who have in some way met a fake “me” online – and 90 per cent of these women have had requests for cash. 

‘I worry about the ladies who have sent it and then been too embarrassed to do anything when they realise they have been conned.

‘The catfishers even go so far as to use my family to create a fully rounded fake persona. They’ve said I have a daughter who is sick and needs treatment, just to get cash.

‘One of the worst was when someone was using photos of my grandmother, who recently died, on a fake profile, making up stories about her and me. It is just too much to bear.’ 

Dean claims he has been contacted by over 200 women who have in some way met a fake him online – and 90 per cent of these women have had requests for cash

One fraudster photoshopped an image of Dean’s cousin’s friend’s child onto a picture with him to claim he had a daughter

Another ploy fraudsters posing as Dean have used to glean money from their victims is pretending they have arrived in a new country – usually to ‘visit’ their victims – and have lost their credit card.

Dean, who hosted a national lottery show in Croatia, revealed the woman who believed they were engaged reached out to his friends and family on Instagram to see what she should ‘surprise’ him with when he arrived in her country to be with her.

‘Apparently we had been dating for about a year and she knew all about my family,’ Dean explained.

‘She said I was coming with the engagement ring and also sent the photo of the airplane ticket in my name that I apparently sent to her to see as proof.

‘How bad is that? That poor girl thought I was moving to marry her and we have never even met or spoken. I really, really feel terrible that this keeps happening and I try to make my followers aware of the dangers.’


Dean posts many of the conversations he has with catfish victims on his Instagram Stories to alert his followers about the fraudsters, and makes it clear he is not on any dating sites

Dean revealed the woman who believed they were engaged reached out to his friends and family on Instagram to see what she should ‘surprise’ him with when he arrived in her country to be with her

Dean posts many of the conversations he has with catfish victims on his Instagram Stories to alert his followers about the fraudsters, and makes it clear he is not on any dating sites.

‘I take many measures to make sure my followers are aware of the dangers and what are my official accounts, however it is never-ending,’ he said. 

‘I felt in a way responsible as I was in the public eye, I put my image out there, and my photos are all over the internet, so had to expect something like this, but at the same time I had no idea what to do to solve this situation.’

He admitted it was ‘flattering’ at first that people admired him so much, but now he said it makes him ‘sad’ that the catfishing has spiralled out of control.  

‘I get contacted nearly every day by someone alerting me to another fake profile, another person using my images on another dating site or social network, or another request for cash,’ he said.


Some catfish go so far as to record Dean’s live videos and streams on his social media accounts and remove his voice to then use it on FacTime, Skype or Hangouts, with their voice

Another fraudster created a fake passport with Dean’s face Photoshopped onto it

One victim sent Dean the photo of the airplane ticket in his name that she’d received from the catfish 

‘These potentially vulnerable ladies are giving their hearts to terrible people who they haven’t met, who are not even being themselves; hiding behind another face, lying. It breaks my heart.’

Some catfish go so far as to record Dean’s live videos and streams on his social media accounts and remove his voice to then use it on FaceTime, Skype or Hangouts with theirs.

He explained: ‘Even though it’s clearly not my voice, not even close, and the lip movement is completely different, people still fall for it.’ 

Dean admitted it was ‘flattering’ at first that people admired him so much, but now he said it makes him ‘sad’ that the catfishing has spiralled out of control

Despite Dean having a verified Facebook account, he found dozens of impersonators when searching the site

Another even Photoshopped his face onto a fake passport to try to appear more authentic. 

Despite having a verified account on Facebook, Dean, who is also a published author, said Instagram refuse to award him the same status.  

‘I did try my best to prevent it and to warn others, but this just keeps going on and on,’ he said.

Dean is keen to warn people of the dangers of meeting people online and not falling prey to scammers

The actor insists he isn’t on any dating apps, and wants to advise people who come across ‘his’ profile that it’s fake

‘I know how hard this is to stop, as Instagram and Facebook are getting tons of requests like this daily, and whenever they close one fake account at least three more appear.

‘God knows how many women are still being duped on a daily basis with people using my images, my videos and my words. 

‘They need to be so careful when it comes to dating or meeting people online.’

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