Cat fishing is grooming on line and as I have experienced, golf is not immune to this sordid world of chancers.
I have always been a friendly person. One who engages and listens to people. I’ve been told I’m one of the best networkers in the industry. So maybe my friendly disposition and my heavy involvement in social media make me the perfect target for any would be cat fishers?
Based on my experience, I can split the perpetrators into three categories:
1. The unsophisticated groomer aka the dirty old man
This is a man who is most likely seeking attention but doesn’t quite have the sophistication to know how to do it, so out of the blue, with no history of communication, he send a picture of his genitals – a dick pic!
It isn’t pleasant, although does cause hilarity in the household as I show hubby. This person is basic and crude in his attempt to prompt a response. He did get a response, I blocked him!
2. The doctor or serviceman or other esteemed profession aka the village idiot.
In comes a connection request from the nicest groomed man dressed in theatre blues, dark haired, smiling perfect white teeth. He wants to connect with me!
He’s a surgeon, better than that he’s a military surgeon in a war torn savaged country ready to help the wounded and fix them up as his service to the country. He has children, lives in the US and is a hero. On his soft side, he is missing his children and trying to lead a normal life in the turmoil of his high pressure job. He needs you to connect with him, he needs normal people in his life, he needs you.
This is the story HE spins you. The story is one barely on the cusp of believable – that image, it is just too perfect!
I played dim and asked, ‘are you a scammer? You can’t be too careful?’
His indigent response was scathing in its reply, of course I am genuine – how could you say such a thing!
His ‘hurt’ was shallow in its delivery, instead trying to twist it back on me for accusing him.
I wasn’t having it.
‘I think you’re a scammer!’
He closed his account so quick, I didn’t get chance to block or report him!
End of story, or so I thought. A week or so later, I got a connection request from the same dark haired smiling surgeon, his perfect teeth, scrubbed up and ready to go into surgery – the only thing was, it was a different name this time!
I didn’t connect
3. The manipulator – aka Mr Danger
This one is the one who I believe is most dangerous, he spins a story with snippets of truth, he dangles the carrot and swiftly whips it away again. The story I was given was so colluded, with twists and turns to knot up even the sharpest of brains. He had rich parents, multiple houses, his first wife had died, his new partner was his rock, but only ever referred to by initials, but she was ill now, he wants to go on the senior tour, he has a personal driving range, he was in the special forces in a senior position but sustained a head injury, but not too much detail given.
His family are from Catalonia, he and his family all have places in Mallorca. He has done everything and been everywhere, and isn’t shy to tell you so either.
His stories are extra ordinarily long, and incredibly exhausting to read.
They dart around all over the place, often referring to his background, his illness, his wealth, he puts you on a pedestal, says things about you that make you feel great, albeit not always correct, but if you try to correct him, he brushes it off claiming you’re a good person, he just knows you are.
His message are like a dripping tap. His stories elaborate in length yet lacking in substance, he’s done everything and brags incessantly about his and his family’s achievements.
His insistence to send something, his continued story of his contacts all over the world; the one who lives in his house in the Netherlands. The ambassador for Nike who sends him free and cheap things. His property in Mallorca, his family from Catalonia, all statements without detail. And all so incredibly wearing to read.
He says he can confide in me.
His partner encourages him to do this as it makes him feel better! He has a 500 page book about his life on the back burner, but it isn’t available to read and he doesn’t want to take it any further. It’s just been written just in case?
His attempts to be philanthropic, he wants to send me things to give away to get rid of the excess stock in his warehouse.
He wants to send me something for me, for my family.
So I tested him with his alleged Nike connections.
Can he get me a name in Nike who I can talk to about replacing hubby not so waterproof trousers.
He can do better, he has a pair in hubby’s size. He will send replacements.
He has a pair, but they aren’t new, they don’t have labels and they have been worn once by him, do we want these – no thank you.
He found a pair in hubby’s size.
I will send something for you to giveaway
OK, I will forward gift them to new starters at the club.
Thats not what it is for, it for new people getting into golf?? I will just send the trousers, as I’m not wasting postage money on sending something you’re going to give away???
From a man who owns multiple houses and travels all over the world.
Holes in his story were becoming cavernous and I cannot express how exhausting this was getting, maybe hindered by being in lockdown, dark evenings and a usually active life, tipped upside down by external events.
I stepped away, hubby contacted him about the waterproof trousers, nothing was forthcoming.
I blocked his account when he sent a nasty message, nothing too personal and nothing hurtful, just a little spiteful and unnecessary.
Truth is, I still to this day, do not know if he was cat fishing me or not. But I do know how I was feeling, how run down I was getting, how exhausting his stories were.
So to play devils advocate. He may have been genuine! I do not know. He wasn’t being particularly manipulative, he didn’t ask for any money or to meet.
Maybe, if you’re trying to get someones attention, maybe you like someone and want to work with them, please think about your approach to them, and how they might perceive it
Could you be displaying hallmarks of a cat fisher inadvertently?
I hope this article serves as a reminder that cat fishing is out there, the golf industry is not infallible to this.
If any of the above resonates with you, please remember, you are not alone, find someone who you can confide in, someone that doesn’t know the perpetuator. Or, maybe, you are trying to engage with someone, and if so, could it be read incorrectly?
The long and the short of it, if it doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t!
This was not an easy article for me to write.
I am sharing this to help others spot the pros and cons of live in social media.
I have met and made friends with so many people online. We have a laugh, we help each other out with posts, we back each other up and we ‘chat’ on messaging systems.
Like many things in life; it is often the few that spoil it for the many. I will continue to be friendly, helpful and outgoing. That is me, and if anyone is thinking; great, easy prey – I’m happy to write a follow up article with more details.
This article has not been written to name and shame, it has been written to help others who may have been in a similar situation, to empathise with them. To say – you’re not alone. You’ve got this!
Sarah is a business women in the golf industry in excess fo 10 years. As the founder of the first UK Golf business to focus on women’s golf travel, the knowledge and wealth she brings to the table have enabled her to successfully transition into media, social media and marketing for global golf brands and locations.