We Asked People For Their Worst Online Dating Catfish Stories And They Did Not Disappoint

From "kittenfishers" to full-blown catfishers, everyone seems to have run into fibbers on dating apps. Ahmani Vidal via Getty Images

There’s a slew of bad actors on dating apps, from “Tinder swindlers” looking to steal your heart and money to “hatfishers” trying to put one over on people with strategically selected photos. (There’s nothing wrong with a bald man ― hello, Stanley Tucci ― but deception is not cute.)

Unfortunately, sometimes it’s not until you’re on that first date that you realize you’ve been catfished or scammed. That’s rough in the moment, but there’s one silver lining: You’ll have a great story to share later. With that in mind, we asked some comedians and other funny people online to share the worst catfishing experiences they’ve ever had. (In one miraculous case, a person actually had a good catfishing experience.)

Responses have been lightly edited for clarity and length.

The ‘Influencer’

“This story still gives me PTSD, but I was catfished by a guy that was using the profile of a super attractive influencer. I didn’t know who the influencer was at the time, so I didn’t notice it was a catfish profile. We were texting for about three weeks but nothing came of it, despite multiple attempts made by me to meet up with him. One day I asked him what he was doing and he said he was at the mall, and crazy enough, I was at the same mall. I tried to coordinate meeting up with him but he ignored my texts, and that was the last time we ever spoke. Two years later, I came across the influencer’s page on Instagram. He happened to be married for five years and lived in a completely different state! It wasn’t until that moment that I knew I was catfished. Now I follow him and am the biggest fan of him and his wife!” ― Jasmine Burton, a lawyer and stand-up comedian

The moment when you realize their profile pics are all stolen from an influencer's page.
The moment when you realize their profile pics are all stolen from an influencer's page. Willie B. Thomas via Getty Images

The Rachel Dolezal

“I once met up with this girl in New York whose pictures looked like a Nubian queen, literally. The first red flag was that she was 30 minutes late. But I was willing to look past that because she was stunning, based on the pictures. Suddenly this woman comes up to me and says my name. I was extremely confused, and she introduced herself with the same first name as my date. She casually sits down like everything was totally normal. The reason I was so confused was because the woman sitting across from me was a middle-aged white woman. I didn’t put it all together until about five minutes into the conversation when I just blurted out: ‘Am I being catfished? Did you lie to me about who you are?’ to which she replied, ‘I prefer the term selective truth.’ I ended up having a 10-minute conversation with this person simply to try and understand what kind of human being would do this kind of thing. Ultimately I realized she simply had a few screws loose, and I went on my merry way.” ― Benny Nwokeabia, a writer and stand-up comedian

The Not-So-Zaddy Doctor

“He was supposed to be a 35-year-old doctor. When he showed up to the date, he was a gaunt 65-year-old doctor. Seriously, he looked like he could have been my dad. Actually, he looked exactly like my dad. Out of politeness, I sat through the date. I don’t care how much money a guy makes — if you look like my dad, it’s going to be a hard pass, minus extra penalty points for dishonesty!” ―Cat Alvarado, a stand-up comedian 

The ‘Maybe?’ Dad

“I went out with someone who shared on their Bumble profile that they had children, but on Hinge they did not. They didn’t realize I had seen both of their profiles, so when the date came, they were under the assumption I didn’t know they had kids. When it could have come up a few times, they changed the subject and never got around to sharing their children status. While it wasn’t a blatant lie, it felt a bit kittenfishy, as it felt as if they were withholding information. I understand people don’t know how much to share on a first date, but it felt as if I was part of some A/B test they were doing to determine when to reveal this major part of their life.” ― Julie Krafchick, the co-host and creator of the podcast “Dateable”

On dating apps, lying about whether or not you have kids is categorically a bad idea.
On dating apps, lying about whether or not you have kids is categorically a bad idea. AleksandarNakic via Getty Images

The Happy Surprise

“My story is the opposite. It was a totally different person but the opposite way. They were way more attractive than the pictures posted. They just wanted to go on a date with someone who liked them for their personality.” ― Mohtasham Yaqub, a stand-up comedian

The Artificial Audrey

“I was a horny buck with 19 years of life and back in London for Christmas. I opened Tinder and, luckily enough, matched with a pretty girl named Audrey. We started texting — me quite daringly — and plans got pretty serious pretty quick, to the point where I was in a taxi to meet her at a hotel in [the neighborhood of] Paddington that night. In my excitement, I texted my friend Alex, simply to brag. He said: ‘Good for you, mate. Send a pic.’ I sent a pic. He said, ‘You Muppet, that’s Audrey Gibbons.’ [Audrey’s last name has been changed for this story.] I looked again at the girl. Crap, it was Audrey Gibbons, his friend from New York and my gentle acquaintance. I was so embarrassed, I immediately unmatched and canceled the taxi. But then Alex said: ‘What’s Audrey doing in London and on Tinder? She’s supposed to be in Florida with her family and her boyfriend.’ Alex texted Audrey, and Audrey said, ‘That’s not my account.’ It took me a few days to realize my fortune. I had been on the way to this hotel in Paddington to meet who-knows-who but definitely not Audrey, and I had somehow texted the one person who would recognize this scam. Thank the Lord! Anyway, now I text Alex every time I go on a date just to brag, and to see I won’t end up in a Romanian torture chamber.” — Simon Fraser, a stand-up comedian

The Profile Pic Artiste

“I met up with a guy whose picture was kind of enigmatic — arty, half-light, half-shadow — and what you learn about that is, it’s never good. He was very strange-looking, in a way that maybe needed medical attention. I called a friend to come meet me out at the bar and pretend we ran into each other and desperately needed to catch up.” ―Virginia Jones, a comedian and the host of the podcast “My Sister’s a Therapist”

Blurry photos are always a red flag.
Blurry photos are always a red flag. Marco_Piunti via Getty Images

The Little Liar

“I just want to say right out of the gate, I’m not a height queen. His profile showed an athletic, fitness-driven, optimizer-of-photo-angles, responsible dad of two children who are at an age where they no longer need to live in the home (optimal sitch). He had hats on in every photo, so I did wonder if he had hair. He also said he was 5-foot-10, which in man math equates to 5-foot-7 or 5-foot-8. But otherwise, he looked good.

“We met at his country club in the restaurant and he didn’t stand at my entrance, which I thought was odd. He also had very small shoulders.

“The main problem was, he started spewing out information at me like he was the director of the Jan. 6 [2021] riots and was looking to bring on new recruits. While I was waiting for him to take a breath to let him know that maybe we had a difference in political affiliations, a waitress came by who had just come on shift, and seemed quite friendly with my date. He stood up to say hello, and he maxed out at 5 feet flat, tops 5-foot-2. He finished his hello with the waitress and I stood up to leave. He said, ‘Oh, you don’t go out with short guys.’ I said: ’No, I go out with all heights. I don’t go out with liars.’ Then I bopped him on the head and got out of there.” ― Mara Marek, a comedian and the host of the podcast “It’s a Maravelous Life”