March 26, 2024

IT’S no surprise that Kirat Assi wants catfishing to be made a criminal offence.

The radio presenter fell victim to the most extraordinary scam — one lasting almost ten years and involving 50 fake online personas.

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When Kirat, 42, found out she had been catfished, she collapsedCredit: Andrew Testa/Tortoise Media
Bobby was a real person but his online identity had been stolen by the scammer, who turned out to be Kirat’s younger cousin, a woman called Simran Bhogal (pictured far right)

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Bobby was a real person but his online identity had been stolen by the scammer, who turned out to be Kirat’s younger cousin, a woman called Simran Bhogal (pictured far right)Credit: Twitter

Acting without pity, someone Kirat trusted drew her into a web of lies, leaving her jobless, friendless and on the brink of madness.

At the centre of the scam was Bobby, a handsome cardiologist who eventually became Kirat’s romantic partner, despite them never meeting in real life.

Bobby was a real person but his online identity had been stolen by the scammer, who turned out to be Kirat’s younger cousin, a woman called Simran Bhogal.

When Kirat, 42, found out, she collapsed. “I couldn’t understand it,” she told me. “I just kept screaming at her, ‘Why, why did you do this? Ten years of my life. You’ve stolen ten years of my life. Why didn’t you stop? How could you be so sick?”

Catfishing is a term used to describe luring someone into a relationship by creating fake social media profiles. Many people treat it as a joke, or think it couldn’t happen to them.

As the host of the hit Tortoise Media podcast Sweet Bobby, which has been downloaded more than…

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