As you may have read in my previous blogs I had an interesting experience with a possible client with a project and a vision that truly excited me only to find out it was all a lie. I have recently learned the term for such a person is called a “catfish”. This is a person who creates a false persona to gain a relationship (romantic or in my case professional) with someone on-line or across the state thinking they are safe from being discovered as a liar. They either create a lifestyle or person that they WISH to be or that the person they hope to gain a relationship would like them to be. In my case I feel it was both. He wanted to be that person who rose up from the depths of poverty to become so successful that anything was within reach. For me, he was the exciting client who had the money and the ideas to create some spectacular projects who then chose ME to help him achieve this. Not to mention the possibility of being on TV so that we could show this exciting adventure he and I were about to embark on. So sad to find out it was a just a sham.
Overtime I started to have my doubts as the excuses to sign a contract were too many to count and he never had any evidence to back this lifestyle of his up. I finally decided to look into the home he had purchased (the one that we had been designing for/working on for 8 months) and contacted the real estate agent I then found out it was taken off of the market and never sold. When I told the real estate agent for this house my story ironically she too had fallen into his web as well. She had spent months showing him million dollar homes but when it came time to sign the paperwork/show evidence of his income he had an excuse why it could not happen. Sound familiar? When I confronted my client about the house, he very calmly said that I had the wrong house that it was the OTHER house he had purchased. When I looked into the sale of the other home it had not sold either. This is when I decided to put a stop to this saga.
I called him and left him a message to call me back. When he did not, I sent him a text (as he always responds to texts) explaining that I needed to end things. Rather than to confront him on all the lies I had uncovered as I knew it would only lead to more lies, I told him something that was also true. I wrote that working with someone who wanted 24/7 contact with me and who also got volatile with me when I explained my family came first and that he was NOT family was not something I wanted to continue with. Anything that gives you that much anxiety and unhappiness is not worth it. His response, via text or course, was that he had just flown into Seattle to surprise me but understood my reasons and wished me well. He also listed the corporate condo he was supposedly staying at in Bellevue that conveniently would not disclose who was staying there. I sometimes wonder why he lied about being in Seattle. I do think that if he was in Seattle AND that he was who he said he was, he would have not given up so easily. But, I gave him the easy way out..I backed out.
I thought about deleting my previous blogs as it is rather embarrassing to be duped and then publicly write about it as it occurs. Then I thought of all of those other people out there that either have been in a similar situation or are about to, that hopefully this blog with either let you know to gather sufficient evidence of this possibly fictional person (catfish) or that you are not alone. If anything, it makes for a good design “catfish” story.