Get all your news in one place.
100’s of premium titles.
One app.
Start reading
Belfast Live
Belfast Live
Rosin Butler

Ulster GAA stars among those targeted in 'catfishing ordeal'

A number of inter-county GAA players from across Ulster are said to have been victims of a widescale 'catfishing' ordeal.

One half of comedy duo the 2 Johnnies, Johnny O'Brien had spoken previously on their podcast about being catfished by a woman he met on Instagram.

His repeated attempts to meet up with this person always failed at the last minute, leading him to eventually suspect something was amiss.

Read more: Catfish warning after boys in Co Antrim targeted by fake Instagram

And this week in a further update, he revealed that the same person had also targeted countless people, including GAA stars, reports Irish Mirror.

In the second installment of the catfishing saga, the two friends sat down to discuss the situation in further detail, accompanied by occupational psychologist Louize Carroll, who offered some insights as to why catfishing - a practice online where people pretend to be someone entirely different, often through the use of photos- occurs.

Johnny B said that the fake accounts that contacted him lead back to a woman named Nicki, who they believe has created these personas to connect with figures, such as GAA players, in the past.

“She has used these accounts to catfish approximately 40 men from all four provinces. No one has been asked for money,” Johnny B said of the trickery.

The 2 Johnnies team revealed that they had invested time and finances in tracking down the culprit after a woman got in touch with them via email, claiming her photos had been doctored by the fake account.

They also revealed that they were aware of at least four cases that had been reported to the PSNI and An Garda Siochana.

The duo spent €79 on an image search app that helps identify people in photos, but failed to source them. They believe that the woman who reached out may have been the person behind the bizarre scheme seeking further attention.

Louize says that the appeal behind catfishing is often a product of a condition called erotomania, which refers to obsession over someone in the public eye.

She believes some people are more inclined to get drawn in by catfishing due to their personal circumstances.

“You might have a need to connect emotionally when you’re in a more vulnerable stage of your life. It’s important to have a network around you who can detect that something is amiss when situations like these arise,” she says.

The excuses made to Johnny B each time he tried to meet up with the individual ranged from a family bereavement to falling into a diabetic coma.

The podcasting pair remained upbeat despite the drama, revealing that they felt akin to Ted Hastings throughout the investigation.

Louize concluded the segment by expressing sympathy for those who engage in catfishing and encouraged them to try find more meaningful connections in their day to day life.

Read more: Mum's warning over 'chilling' Donegal holiday scam after booking getaway

Read more: PSNI warning after students conned out of £105,000 by fraudsters

To get the latest breaking news straight to your inbox, sign up to our free newsletter.

Sign up to read this article
Read news from 100’s of titles, curated specifically for you.
Already a member? Sign in here
Related Stories
Top stories on inkl right now
Our Picks
Fourteen days free
Download the app
One app. One membership.
100+ trusted global sources.