“The fact that someone out there has been using my likeness in an attempt to coerce people out of at best conversation and at worst money is deeply unsettling”


Phyll Opoku-Gyimah has spoken out after her photos were falsely used on dating website Plenty Of Fish for the purposes of catfishing. Posting on Twitter, Phyll stated: “The fact that someone out there has been using my likeness in an attempt to coerce people out of at best conversation and at worst money is deeply unsettling. To make matters worse, they’ve placed an ad in the ‘women seeking men’ section of the website. It could never be me”.

“If anyone sees this profile, please PLEASE report them. The only social networks I’m on are Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and TikTok and that’s it!”

Co-Founder and CEO of UK Black Pride and Executive Director at Kaleidoscope Trust, Lady Phyll is a trailblazer of LGBTQI rights. Established in 2011, Kaleidoscope Trust exists to fight for the human rights of LGBTQI people across the Commonwealth, working with governments, change-makers and civil society organisations to introduce meaningful policy improving the lives of LGBTQI people globally. Last week, the organisation celebrated its tenth birthday in a star-studded celebration.

Catfishing is defined as a “deceptive activity where a person creates a fictional persona or fake identity on a social networking service, usually targeting a specific victim. The practice may be used for financial gain, to compromise a victim in some way, as a way to intentionally upset a victim or for wish fulfilment”.

Though the app banned filtered photos in 2019 in a bid to encourage more honesty, at present, Plenty Of Fish has little regulation to protect its users from catfishing attempts. In the UK, catfishing is not illegal: in 2016, 3889 victims reported being subjected to catfishing attempts, with a myriad conned out of money.

In January 2021, Amir Tofangsazan was imprisoned for tricking women into sex, posing as having a myriad of successful careers including a CPS prosecutor, a barrister, and a trauma surgeon. Using Facebook images of a male model to create a false dating profile, he used dating apps including Tinder, Bumble and Plenty Of Fish to entrap single women looking for love.

So, how can you protect yourself from online catfishes? Whilst there’s no way to ensure that your photos aren’t used for catfishing purposes besides reporting this to the dating app in question, there are a number of red flags to look out for to identify a potential catfish. If a user is reluctant to pick up a phone call or video call, doesn’t have many followers or friends, only use professional photos, or they ask for money, stay vigilant.

If you suspect that you’ve been the victim of catfishing or that your photos have been used falsely for the purposes of catfishing, you can report this to Plenty Of Fish using the “report user” text at the bottom of the user profile in question.

DIVA magazine celebrates 27 years in print in 2021. If you like what we do, then get behind LGBTQI media and keep us going for another generation. Your support is invaluable. 


Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.