The awkward moment a man was confronted by a married model whose pictures he had used to snare women on dating sites has been captured on camera.
A devious ‘catfish’ used pictures of Matt Peacock to create fake profiles, and in many cases women were pressured into sending explicit photos and videos.
Matt joined forces with a private detective to track down the man, and the moment the fraud realised he had been snared was filmed on a secret camera.
Catfish confronted after he was caught using male model’s photos
The model wants to make catfishing illegal and said the ordeal had a ‘devastating’ effect on his wife as well as women who ‘fell in love’ with the fake profiles.
Pictures of his nieces and nephews were even used on the sites as evidence the fictional person was a ‘caring father’.
He added one victim – a single mother- told him she had suicidal thoughts when she learned the truth, while his wife was repeatedly contacted by women claiming he had been speaking to them online.
Mr Peacock said in many cases the women were pressured into sending explicit photos and videos to the perpetrators.
He joined up with Rebecca Jane, who founded Manchester-based The Lady Detective Agency, to catch the man.
He has now launched a campaign to lobby for a change in the law so people who steal people’s pictures and create fake online profiles can be brought to justice.
The pair tracked down and confronted one of the men using his pictures to dupe women.
The man was apologetic and swore he would stop – but just three weeks later he started doing it again.
Mr Peacock went to the police, but they said there was nothing they could do as the perpetrator wasn’t breaking any laws.
He said: ‘I am a fashion model by trade so there are a lot of pictures of me out there.
‘I started getting messages from girls I had never seen before saying they had been talking to someone pretending to be me.
‘There were 43 different profiles that used my picture, and it wasn’t just one person doing it.
It affected me and my whole family. We spoke to one girl who the catfish had targeted, pretending to be me.
‘She told me she had felt like committing suicide after being deceived by this man.
‘I vowed then to do all I could to sort this out. Something needs to be done and if people knew pretending to be someone else online was an offence then they might be put off.’
He added: ‘I am going to be a dad next year, and I don’t want my children to come into a world where this goes on.
‘I got in touch with Ann Coffey and I can’t sing her praises highly enough – she has been fantastic. She really took it to heart and understood the seriousness of it.’
Mr Peacock has been backed by Stockport MP Ann Coffey, who is set to bring up the issue in Parliament.
After handing over a dossier to the MP, Rebecca told the Manchester Evening News: ‘Now we just have to keep our fingers crossed. We have to put our campaign in the hands of the government and hope common sense prevails.’
Ms Coffey will also urge social media companies, such as Facebook, and dating sites to be more proactive in monitoring and warning users against the dangers of catfishing.
‘Catfishing is a modern day menace affecting the lives of many innocent people,’ she said.
‘It can cause years of heartache. We must do something to deter this and a change in the law is the most effective deterrent.
‘Without a specific offence, ‘catfish’ who cause so much distress to individuals and their families will continue to exploit and harm other people.’
Mr Peacock added: ‘If we can get some legislation put in place it really will make a difference – social media sites will have to protect their users.’