Catfishing is sometimes done lightheartedly and sometimes done very seriously. Either way, it is the process of assuming a different identity online. People who do this will play a part and pretend to be someone else.
This isn’t always necessarily malicious, but it can lead to some serious complications. There’s one way that it could even lead to criminal sex charges that could change the course of someone’s life.
Lying about their age
The problem is that catfishing sometimes includes people lying about their age. They may do this on hook-up sites or apps where they look for romantic partners.
But the statutory rape laws in California state at the age of consent is 18. Someone may go online looking for a partner and find someone who claims to be 18 years old. Odds are that they’re not going to ask to see proof of the person’s age, like a driver’s license, unless there are other red flags. But they could be easily tricked into thinking that someone is 18 when they are actually still a minor.
If this happens, the adult may still go meet up with the person, not knowing that they’re doing anything wrong. They never intended to break the law, but that doesn’t change the fact that a sexual encounter between the two parties could be highly illegal. This could lead to someone being at risk of spending a long time behind bars and having to register as a sex offender, all because the other party lied.
If you do find yourself in a situation like this, don’t hesitate to contact us to learn more about your options.