Catfishing is a complex virtual game with some online fakers lying about their age, identity and even gender.
Online lying is not just limited to dating sites either, with one study showing that the men are more than three times as likely as women to gender-switch on games such as World of Warcraft.
But why? Enter Reddit, font of all knowledge. This discussion board has revealed why men decide to be women online and the reasons are as varied and diverse as masculinity itself.
This covert operative uses his female profile to acquire inside intelligence on the opposite sex, and is worryingly applauded by his compadres who dub his actions ‘really smart’.
Mistaken identity can happen. Just ask this guy, who no doubt felt very emasculated after this exchange.
This damning anecdote shows how virtual worlds can change depending on your gender.
Sometimes your avatar needs to take a long hard look in the mirror; and just like this guy, you might not like what you see.
…Until you go to the bank. Sometimes guys have been known to use a female avatar for financial gain.
No one has used this to greater effect than this poker player who’s playing for the big bucks.
This regular Casanova felt the need to present himself as a woman online for fear of female stalkers.
Some mens’ experience as a woman online has opened their eyes as to the harassment females are sometimes victim of on virtual reality games and dating sites.
These experiences are commonplace, and some men have pretended to be women online to catch culprits from across the globe.
Men aren’t the only online fraudsters pretending to be women: some sites use bots to fake messages from young girls and trick men into downloading viruses.
It’s not just the guys and bots that are playing at online Sneaky Gonzalez.
Some women are flip reversing the catfish stereotype and using everyone’s suspicions for their own entertainment.
The internet can be a dark and mysterious place, and humans are still adjusting our psyches to these one-way virtual relationships.
You’ve been warned.