With the power of social media also comes the negative, dark side of it where people misuse it on an everyday basis. Creating fake profiles has become easy and although cyber police in India is working towards finding these faceless trolls and getting these fake profiles removed, a lot of profiles still slip through the cracks. We came across one such incident yesterday that happened with Sherry Shroff and it is shocking knowing the full details of the story.

What Really Happened

Sherry Shroff took to her Instagram to share screenshots of a fake profile that used her pictures and tried impersonating her. The name of the fake profile was changed to Tanya and from what it looks like, the person behind it was already matching and talking to people on Tinder through it. One thing to keep in mind is this is not the first time she was notified of people using her images to create fake profiles on dating apps. She said,

Over the past couple of years I have gotten a lot of messages like this one saying people are using my pictures on dating apps and I laughed about it until last year when I had someone that was impersonating me and giving out my number online. I was extremely shocked and worried about how someone had my personal number and could WhatsApp me so casually!

Brushing it off is easier when it doesn’t affect your personal life directly but this time someone shared her number as well, and as a result, she got disturbing messages on Whatsapp from those that had matched and talked to the fake profile.

Why Is This Extremely Problematic

Now somehow, the fake profile also managed to get a verified badge on Tinder and that makes the whole situation a lot worse. The whole idea of verifying a social media account is that you know for sure that it is the right person behind that social media/app account. Moreover, reporting the profile also wasn’t as easy as it ideally should be. She explained the struggle of getting this issue resolved and shared,

I did report this and wrote emails to a lot of the platforms but sadly nothing came of it. @shubhamcyberexpert also helped me to try and search platforms for fake IDs with my details but sadly they don’t just pop up and its hard to catch people. Here’s why…

On most dating apps only people within a certain radius of the fake profile or account can see it. (So when somebody sends me a screenshot I really can’t find the profile through a search myself.) The option to report a profile only pops up to a user when they can see the profile (which makes it very difficult for someone to find this profile and report it later.)

Apps have stared verifying the fake profiles also. ( I don’t know what the process to verify a profile is but its extremely disturbing to see a profile using my images that’s verified. Check the last screen recording that was sent to me by the same user that brought this to my notice.)

Why We Need To Take This Seriously & Talk About It

The fact that there are so many victims of catfishing and impersonation who did not get any resolution itself says how scary this is. People shouldn’t be able to get away with it and we need stricter rules to be included in verification processes. Sherry shared,

I posted a story about this yesterday and I have posted many earlier as well but I haven’t found a way to stop this sadly. Further I had a few people respond to my story yesterday saying they have also been victims of impersonation on dating sites and they had people report the profiles but nothing happened. Which is why I decided to post this and share my experience, with the hope that we can put a stop to this. This can be extremely dangerous and damaging especially when people’s personal information is being given out this way.

Catfishing and online impersonation need to be taken more seriously and verification processes need to be stricter. Ask people for registered identification and authenticate their information before they can chat with others plz. P.S. – I’m not on any dating sites!

These fake profiles get to choose their own narratives and twist the conversations they’re having with strangers to make them believe it is really them. We need to take a moment and understand the potential of this issue and how it can lead to some serious incidents that can be avoided if better verification process is built and put in place. Tinder needs to take a note of this and resolve this issue to help protect their users have a hassle free experience and not get catfished or impersonated as neither of them is a pleasant experience.

Here’s the post Sherry shared on her Instagram that includes screenshots of the person who texted her on Whatsapp along with a screen recording of her ‘verified’ fake profile on Tinder.

If you or someone you know has also experienced this then make sure you start conversations around it and share your stories. The more people that come forward to speak about it, the bigger impact it will have in bringing about a much-needed change.