There are times when people pretend to be someone that they’re not on the internet. They make up a fake persona. They lie to people that they meet online about all sorts of details. This is commonly known as “catfishing,” and it often focuses on relationships. For instance, someone will lie about their gender, age, sexual orientation or other key details in order to start a relationship with someone who believes these online lies.
This is problematic on a lot of levels, but it is often not illegal. That being said, there is one situation in which getting catfished could lead to some serious criminal charges – but not for the “catfish.” Instead, the victim of the lie may end up in handcuffs.
When someone lies about their age
The big issue here is when somebody lies about their age and claims to be older than they are. For instance, someone who is just 14 or 15 years of age may lie and say that they’re 18 years of age or older. If the person that they’re talking to is an adult who is trying to start up a sexual relationship via the Internet, that adult may believe that the other party really is 18 years old. If that sexual relationship does take place, the adult could then be charged with sex crimes against a minor, such as statutory rape.
The adult may honestly say that they had no idea the other person was only 15 years of age. They had absolutely no intention of breaking the law. But this could still lead to some very serious charges, and it underscores why it is so important to really know who you’re talking to on the internet.
If you do find yourself facing these types of life-changing legal charges, you also need to know about your defense options.