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Could you face legal trouble if someone catfishes you?

On Behalf of | May 10, 2024 | Criminal Defense

Catfishing is a term used to describe people who lie about their identity online. They may invent a new identity entirely, or they may pretend to be someone else, like a celebrity. The other person has no idea that this is happening and believes the interaction is honest and truthful.

If you get catfished, it may just be a minor annoyance. But there are also situations in which it could be quite serious and may even change the course of your life. Believe it or not, situations like this have even led to legal charges, especially when it comes to alleged sex crimes.

Lying about age

The problem is that a person who catfishes someone else may lie about their age. Because of age of consent laws and laws preventing sex crimes against minors, this lie could put the other person in a very problematic position.

This has happened before. There was one case where a 19-year-old used a dating app to find a partner for a sexual encounter. The girl that he met said that she was 17, and she lived in a state where the age of consent was 16. This meant that a sexual encounter between the two of them would be completely lawful, so they met up.

But it later came to light that the girl had lied about her age from the beginning. She was only 14 years old, and the older teenager was arrested and put on the sex offenders list. He argued that he was not trying to have a sexual encounter with a minor and that he had no idea he was breaking the law. But he still faced very serious ramifications and his entire life was turned upside down, all because he was catfished on the Internet.

If you are facing serious charges over a misunderstanding like this, it’s critical that you understand exactly what criminal defense options you have.