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Is Catfishing Illegal in New York?

New York Penal Law 190.25: Criminal Impersonation in the 2nd Degree

Catfishing, made possible through the Internet and social networking, is a modern term referring to the act of deliberately misleading someone online for fraudulent purposes. This Internet phenomenon, inspired by a 2010 documentary, has spread like fire and bizarrely overtaken the online dating industry.

A “catfish” is someone who creates a false identity to bait someone else into forming a relationship, romantic or otherwise. This scam usually includes using another person’s photos and perpetuating a fake life. Most commonly contextualized in romantic relationships, one example of catfishing is if someone creates a dating profile using an attractive person’s photos in order to entice budding suitors into a relationship. The catfish then uses their position to manipulate the other by requesting money and gifts under the pretext of a relationship.

Is Catfishing Illegal? 

A “catfish” is someone who invents a false identity or pretends to be another person. While catfishing isn’t illegal, fraud and impersonation are. If there is evidentiary support to prove the catfish created this persona with the intent to commit fraud, this is considered criminal impersonation to the 2nd degree.

Finding this evidence is a painstaking process, as it will require extensive investigations conducted by law enforcement and various agencies. If you find yourself at the mercy of government officials seeking to monitor your computer activity, getting ahead of this investigation is crucial.

Criminal Defense Attorneys Offering Top-Rated Legal Counsel in Rochester

The Internet used to be a lawless place but this has not been the case for quite some time. A harmless prank or innocent hoax can quickly snowball into a criminal charge which changes your life forever. Fighting the consequences that come following an allegation against your character requires the advocacy of a Rochester criminal defense lawyer you can trust. Don’t become a victim--allow us at King Law to fight for you.

If you have been accused or charged with an Internet crime or criminal impersonation, you need look no further for trusted Rochester legal team. Call (585) 286-5124 today.