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Cork blogger issues warning after being fished out by ‘builder’

A Cork blogger and mother of two has issued a warning to her followers after sharing her experience of being catfished on a dating app.

“Catfishing”, which became more widely known in 2007 with the documentary Catfish, involves impersonating someone else online, targeting a specific victim, usually for financial gain. The term became popular after the documentary and subsequent television series on MTV.

Blogger Julie Haynes, who runs the @twins_and_me_ Instagram page, has opened up about her experience of being catfished after being scammed when she paired up with a “Clare builder” on a dating app.

“There are weirdos out there,” she told RSVP Live. “I’ve heard great stories of people meeting their boyfriends on Tinder or Bumble, and you may get lucky – but I haven’t!”

“I was chatting with this boy and he was telling me his life story. He told me he was a bricklayer, had his own business and had four or five guys working under him,” she explained. “He said he moved to Cork from Clare because he wanted to expand his business in Cork.”

Julie said after the man, who ‘lived 20 minutes’ away from Douglas, was ‘nothing but respectful’, he asked her for coffee – an invitation she enthusiastically accepted.

Blogger Julie Haynes spoke about her experience of being Catfished by a man claiming to be a Clare builder. Photo: Julie Haynes/Instagram

“I asked my mom to babysit, and I did my hair and makeup,” Julie said. However, an hour before her date, she had heard nothing from the mysterious man.

“We were supposed to meet at four, so I texted him around 3 to ask what the story was because I hadn’t heard anything,” she said. “He said ‘I’m really sorry, something huge happened at work. A wall has collapsed, it’s the tragedy.

“Then alarm bells started ringing for me,” she continued. “I was like ‘why didn’t he text me sooner when the wall first came down? Why did he wait until the last minute?

Cork Blogger Catfished
Julie said an hour before his scheduled coffee date with the mystery man, a wall at a site he was working on came down and he had to cancel. Photo: Julie Haynes/Instagram

It was after Julie researched her date’s supposedly dead father that she realized something was wrong.

“My dad had died and this guy had told me that his own dad had also died and he told me his name so I decided to do some research. I went to RIP.ie and looked for him, and found him, a man who owned this big business in Limerick.

“He said he was mourned by his sons and their names. So I went to social media and searched for all the boys. But the guy I was talking to wasn’t him at all! I called him and he immediately blocked me!’.

Julie then shared the catfish profile picture on her Instagram, where to her surprise, five other women were tricked by the same guy.

Cork Blogger Catfished
Julie shared the catfish profile picture on her Instagram, where to her surprise, five other women were tricked by the same guy. Photo: Julie Haynes/Instagram

‘Another girl had found the real guy’s page and she sent me the link. He is in Newcastle,” she explained. “The catfish guy had captured a photo of her on Facebook and her work crest was on her t-shirt. So she googled the workplace and found the guy!”

‘I went to [the real guy’s] Instagram page, he seems like a lovely normal guy. He got engaged on New Year’s Eve in New York! “, she said.

When asked what the catfish was looking for when he paired her, she replied, “He just wanted to chat, which was weird. I don’t know if it was a girl behind the page, or just a lonely man”.