GET GEPHARDT

Utahn’s photo being used to catfish people; man says he’s not responsible for scams

Feb 14, 2023, 11:19 PM | Updated: 11:19 pm

WEST HAVEN, Utah — For years, KSL has warned about scammers stealing photos from social media to dupe people in romance and other scams by pretending to be someone else. For victims, catfishing can be devastating. But what about the people the scammers pretend to be?

“It’s just… not me,” said Justin Yoder, whose photos were stolen from his social media a couple years back.

Yoder had seen my recent story about an analysis from the website Social Catfish determining the “100 Most Used Catfish Photos of 2023.” Turns out, Yoder, a Utahn, was #42 on their list.

“It’s not what I wanted to be known for,” he said about his photos being used to catfish people.

Scammers are creating fake profiles, using Yoder’s photos, to seek out people looking for love. The back-and-forth communication between the bad guy and their target can go on for months. And when their target professes love, the scammer persuades them to send money.

In some cases, the bad guys take the scheme to another level, continually fleecing their victims over an extended period of time. It’s called “pig-butchering” — an allusion to the practice of fattening a pig before the slaughter.

“When you’re in love, you do crazy things,” said Yoder, who usually finds out his photos have been used after someone has been ripped off.

The victim does a little digging and tracks him down. He is a real estate agent. His name, face and phone number are out there.

“I get nasty messages,” he said. “My social media gets messages. My friends get messages that I’m a horrible person.”

Yoder said every day he gets calls, emails, and social media messages from angry women who believe he is the one who took their money. It has cost him time. It has cost him business. It has also, at times, gotten scary.

“They told me that my son would burn in hell for what I’ve done — multiple times.”

One woman from California went so far as to make the drive to Utah to show up at his office to confront him. Another time, when Justin persuaded a woman to stop sending money to a crook, he actually got a call from the scammer himself.

“Do your business,” Yoder was told. “I’m doing my own business. Why can’t you focus on your own business?”

Yoder said he is hopeful that sharing his story will help others avoid getting conned, and at the same time, unsully his reputation.

“It’s just super frustrating because I just want to live my life and not have all this outside noise.”

According to data from the cybersecurity company Aura, half of Americans who have used a dating app in the last five years have experienced catfishing. That has more than doubled from 24% from five years ago. And 12% have experienced “pig butchering,” which is also more than double the rate from five years ago.

Get Gephardt

The USDA estimates we toss out 30-40% of our food purchases, even though much of it is perfectly sa...

Matt Gephardt and Sloan Schrage, KSL TV

Food for thought: How understanding date labels can prevent food waste

The USDA estimates we toss out 30-40% of our food purchases, even though much of it is perfectly safe to eat. Decoding date labels could help you bust inflation.

3 days ago

KSL’s Matt Gephardt price shopped several items at traditional grocery stores and specialty food ...

Matt Gephardt

Gephardt Busts Inflation: Will shopping specialty food markets save you money?

To save money on your groceries, a specialty food market might not come to mind. But KSL Consumer Investigator Matt Gephardt found branching out to specialty food markets might help you bust some grocery inflation.

4 days ago

Gal Gadot, Chris Stapleton, Taylor Swift, Keanu Reeves among many other celebrities have had their ...

Matt Gephardt

Utahns are losing money and their personal info to celebrity imposter scams

A Utah man contacted the KSL Investigators to ask us to verify if he was messaging the real Gal Gadot of “Wonder Woman” fame through social media.

10 days ago

Cris Meyers showing Matt Gephardt the arrest warrant he was sent by the fake cop....

Matt Gephardt

Law enforcement scams threatening jailtime if you don’t pay on the rise in Utah

Law enforcement scams, that threaten jail for citizens if they don’t pay immediately are on the rise in Utah

11 days ago

(FILE) A man working on a car with the hood lifted up....

Matt Gephardt and Sloan Schrage, KSL TV

What you should know about extended car warranties and how to fight denials

One after another, the KSL Investigators heard from Utahns who paid monthly for an extended auto warranty but have not had a smooth ride in their repairs covered.

16 days ago

After a Millcreek man was denied by his car warranty company for thousands in dollars of repairs to...

Matt Gephardt and Sloan Schrage

Get Gephardt: Car warranty company refuses to pay for repairs costing Millcreek man thousands of dollars

After a Millcreek man was denied by his car warranty company for thousands of dollars in repairs to his vehicle, he decided it was time to Get Gephardt.

17 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Electrician repairing ceiling fan with lamps indoors...

Lighting Design

Stay cool this summer with ceiling fans

When used correctly, ceiling fans help circulate cool and warm air. They can also help you save on utilities.

Side view at diverse group of children sitting in row at school classroom and using laptops...

PC Laptops

5 Internet Safety Tips for Kids

Read these tips about internet safety for kids so that your children can use this tool for learning and discovery in positive ways.

Women hold card for scanning key card to access Photocopier Security system concept...

Les Olson

Why Printer Security Should Be Top of Mind for Your Business

Connected printers have vulnerable endpoints that are an easy target for cyber thieves. Protect your business with these tips.

Modern chandelier hanging from a white slanted ceiling with windows in the backgruond...

Lighting Design

Light Up Your Home With These Top Lighting Trends for 2024

Check out the latest lighting design trends for 2024 and tips on how you can incorporate them into your home.

Technician woman fixing hardware of desktop computer. Close up....

PC Laptops

Tips for Hassle-Free Computer Repairs

Experiencing a glitch in your computer can be frustrating, but with these tips you can have your computer repaired without the stress.

Close up of finger on keyboard button with number 11 logo...

PC Laptops

7 Reasons Why You Should Upgrade Your Laptop to Windows 11

Explore the benefits of upgrading to Windows 11 for a smoother, more secure, and feature-packed computing experience.

Utahn’s photo being used to catfish people; man says he’s not responsible for scams