Behind every catfish, there’s the bait. The BBC World Service and CBC Podcasts today announced the  launch of the new original true crime podcast, Love, Janessa premiering 23 January 2023 on BBC Sounds, CBC Listen and on most podcast apps. Hosted by journalist Hannah Ajala and produced by Antica Productions and Telltale Industries, the eight-part series delves into the murky world of online romance scams to find an adult entertainment star who is the unwitting human face of a digital con. Her name is Janessa Brazil. Her stolen images are being used as part of global catfishing schemes. Who is she? Does she have any idea that her photos are being used in this way? Who are the victims, and why do they fall for the fraudsters’ lies? 

The investigation takes listeners from the UK to Italy, West Africa and the United States. The scammers are using Janessa’s image to steal the hearts of their victims and take their money, but  how do the catfishers get away with it? Hannah investigates how and why Janessa’s images have been misused to con people out of so much money – sometimes hundreds of thousands of dollars – and speaks to victims who have fallen prey, as well as individuals who run romance scams for a living. 

Arif Noorani, Director of CBC Podcasts said: “Love, Janessa – the first in our collaboration with the BBC World Service – exemplifies best-in-class when it comes to reporting, storytelling and overall sound design. This world-spanning, in-depth investigative series is a clear demonstration of our commitment to rich narrative storytelling and creating work for global audiences. We’re excited for people to listen!”

Jon Manel, Podcast Commissioning Editor, BBC World Service, said: “In this immersive, ‘unputdownable’ investigative podcast, Hannah Ajala draws in listeners, taking them down one unexpected path after another and explores the many layers of a serious and growing online crime. We are collaborating with CBC Podcasts with three big shows for 2023 – starting with Love, Janessa – and it’s been fantastic working with Antica and Telltale on this important, insightful and often jaw-dropping story.” 

The trailer for Love, Janessa is available now on CBC Listen:

To listen to preview episodes or more information about CBC Podcasts, please contact: (Canada) or (US/International).

For more information about the BBC World Service, please contact:

Love, Janessa is the first of three podcast collaborations between the BBC World Service and CBC Podcasts.

Notes to Editors:

Hannah Ajala Biography

Hannah Ajala is a journalist who has spent the past two years travelling across West Africa working on a range of stories and broadcasting for international organisations such as the BBC. Hannah is passionate about travel, having visited more than 50 countries, and shedding more light on engaging stories about marginalised communities, which has led her to reporting on inspiring and uplifting international stories. She also runs “We Are Black Journos,” a platform connecting and supporting Black journalists.

About the BBC World Service

BBC World Service reaches a weekly global audience of 364m, on radio, TV, and digital. BBC World Service English is an English-language radio and online network that broadcasts internationally. BBC World Service English reaches a weekly audience of 92.6m (2022), broadcasting news and current affairs programmes such as Newsday, Newshour, The Newsroom, OS and World Questions. It also broadcasts a range of documentaries including People Fixing the World, In the Studio, The Documentary, The Forum, Heart and Soul and CrowdScience. Recent popular podcasts delivered by BBC World Service English include The Lazarus Heist, 13 Minutes to the Moon and Dear Daughter, which won the 2022 Podcast of the Year award at the British Podcast Awards. For more information, visit

About CBC/Radio-Canada 

CBC/Radio-Canada is Canada’s national public broadcaster. Through our mandate to inform, enlighten and entertain, we play a central role in strengthening Canadian culture. As Canada’s trusted news source, we offer a uniquely Canadian perspective on news, current affairs and world affairs. Our distinctively homegrown entertainment programming draws audiences from across the country. Deeply rooted in communities, CBC/Radio-Canada offers diverse content in English, French and eight Indigenous languages. We also deliver content in Spanish, Arabic, Chinese, Punjabi and Tagalog, as well as both official languages, through Radio Canada International (RCI). We are leading the transformation to meet the needs of Canadians in a digital world.

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