Costa Rica court suspends fraud trial against Luis The Cuban Milanés citing

first_imgRelated posts:Costa Rica court hands Luis Milanés, aka ‘The Cuban,’ 15-year prison sentence Citigroup pays $180 million to settle hedge fund fraud case Shooting evokes some of the darkest days from the United States’ past Alcatel-Lucent makes $10 million payment to Costa Rica’s ICE in corruption settlement A fraud trial in Costa Rica against 63-year-old Cuban-American businessmanLuis Angel Milanés Tamayo was suspended Monday morning following a request by a defense attorney who said his client suffers health problems.A criminal court in San José granted attorney Hugo Navas’ request based on medical reports stating that Milanés’ heart condition prevented him from attending the trial. Milanés was scheduled to attend court at 8 a.m., but he arrived with his lawyer at about 10 a.m. to file the request.Milanés, aka “The Cuban,” is facing a fraud trial for the sudden closure in 2002 of his “investment” company, Savings Unlimited. That same year he fled Costa Rica after a group of about 500 victims – mostly U.S. and Costa Rican citizens – denounced him for allegedly making off with $46 million of their money. After six years on the run, Milanés was arrested on June 19, 2008 at an airport in El Salvador, where local police nabbed him with someone else’s Costa Rican passport.In May 2011, he reached an agreement with plaintiffs and pledged to begin paying them by using nine properties with an estimated value of $12 million. He also promised to give them $1.8 million in cash by November 2012.A criminal court last September ordered Milanés to be brought to trial and prosecuted after he failed to pay back more than half a million dollars of that settlement.Last November the owners of a San José business group that included Milanés closed a hotel and two casinos and laid off 250 employees. Attorney Hugo Navas, also the group’s attorney, at the time said the closure was due to high operating costs.Milanés was ordered to undergo health evaluations by Judicial Police forensic experts on Monday afternoon in order to reschedule his appearance in court. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

At some point the Minnesota Vikings may trade Adr

first_img At some point, the Minnesota Vikings may trade Adrian Peterson.Or they may not.The running back has been the subject of a flurry of rumors lately, with many involving him possibly — or maybe even likely — landing with the Arizona Cardinals.None of that will happen unless the Vikings decide to trade Peterson, though, and Monday ESPN Vikings reporter Ben Goessling said the team really does not want to do that. Derrick Hall satisfied with D-backs’ buying and selling Top Stories Comments Share Your browser does not support the audio element. LISTEN: Larry Fitzgerald Sr.- Minnesota Sports Writer Former Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson retires The 5: Takeaways from the Coyotes’ introduction of Alex Meruelo But Tuesday, a new report surfaced.Vikings quietly going about the business of shopping Adrian Peterson.He has requested-I want out! pic.twitter.com/32LFzCSBiE— Larry Fitzgerald Sr. (@FitzBeatSr) March 17, 2015 Larry Fitzgerald Sr. is, of course, the father of of Arizona Cardinals receiver Larry Fitzgerald and a well-known reporter based in Minnesota. He joined Bickley and Marotta on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM Tuesday to further discuss the situation.“Adrian has just made up his mind that he doesn’t have the kind of support from the ownership group that he wants,” Fitzgerald said. “He’s put his heart and soul into this team from the time they drafted him and he’s in a position to think the way he wants to think, but that’s how he’s thinking.”Vikings brass has reportedly had multiple meetings with Peterson in an effort to smooth things over with their all-time leading rusher. However, it’s very possible they have been unable to do so, and in that case may decide coming up with a trade is the best option for both parties. And if that’s the case, buckle your seatbelt. Grace expects Greinke trade to have emotional impactlast_img read more

Governor signs bill package to create consistency for veterans

first_img Categories: Maturen News 22Jun Governor signs bill package to create consistency for veterans Rep. Maturen: State programs now have uniform definition of a veteranGov. Rick Snyder today signed into law a 21-bill package standardizing who qualifies as a veteran under state law.“The state has a number of laws that concern veterans and, until now, each one offered a differing definition for who was considered a veteran,” said Rep. David Maturen, R-Brady Township, who sponsored a piece of the legislation. “These amendments clarify who qualifies, eliminating the confusion veterans and their families faced in the past.”House Bills 5332-5348 and HBs 5548-5551 create a standard definition of the term “veteran” that is also consistent with the federal definition. The updated wording is “an individual who served in the United States armed forces, including the reserve components, and was discharged or released under conditions other than dishonorable.”HB 5333, introduced by Rep. Maturen, who is a U.S Army veteran, amends the Veterans’ Military Pay Act to refer back to the new, clarified definition.The bills are now Public Acts 199-219 of 2016.#####last_img read more

The gold stocks never got a sniff of positive terr

first_img The gold stocks never got a sniff of positive territory. They gapped down at the open, rallied along with the gold price between 10:30 an 11:45 a.m. in New York, and then sold off for the rest of the day, as the gold price rolled over. The HUI finished down 2.74%, finishing on it’s low of the day, and giving back everything it gained on Wednesday, plus a bit more. The daily HUI chart is M.IA., so here’s the 5-day chart, and it’s pretty ugly. The dollar index close late Wednesday afternoon in New York at 80.64, and then traded basically sideways until around 1 p.m. Hong Kong time. Then it dipped down to 80.40 during the next couple of hours, and then rallied back to around unchanged by shortly after 9 a.m. in London trading. The index spiked up to its high of the day [80.80] at 8:30 a.m. in New York, and then fell all the way down to 80.25 by 11:35 a.m. After that it traded flat for the remained of the Thursday session. The index finished the day at 80.26, which was down 38 basis points from Wednesday’s close. There was zero correlation between the currencies and the precious metal price action yesterday. The platinum price didn’t do much yesterday, but for the second day in a row, palladium was the star of the day after it rallied briefly in mid-morning trading in New York. Here are the charts. It was a very similar chart pattern for the silver equities, but they only gave back about half of what they gained on Wednesday. Nick Laird’s Intraday Silver Sentiment Index closed down 2.17%, and virtually on its low as well. Looking at these equity charts, you have to ask yourself one question, dear reader; and that is “whose buying all these precious metal shares that have been falling off the table for the last year or so”, as somebody owns them. The CME’s Daily Delivery Report for Day 5 of the December delivery month showed that 199 gold, along with 169 silver contracts were posted for delivery within the Comex-approved depositories on Monday. In gold, the short/issuers were of no particular importance. What was important, but no surprise, was the fact that the only long/stopper of note was JPMorgan Chase in its in-house [proprietary] trading account, with 193 of those contracts. In silver, the largest short/issuers of note were Jefferies and HSBC USA, with 82 and 75 contracts respectively. JPMorgan stopped 121 of those contracts, of which 116 contracts were for its in-house [proprietary] trading account. The link to yesterday’s Issuers and Stopper Report is here. There were not reported changes in GLD yesterday, and as of 9:39 p.m. EST yesterday evening, there were no reported changes in SLV, either. Joshua Gibbons, the “Guru of the SLV Bar List”, updated his website for the goings-on inside SLV for the past reporting week, and this is what he had to say — “Analysis of the 04 December 2013 bar list, and comparison to the previous week’s list: 819,078.4 troy ounces were removed (all from Brinks London), no bars were added or had a serial number change. “The bars removed were from: Doe Run (0.3M oz.), Met-Mex (0.2M oz.), and five others. As of the time that the bar list was produced, it was overallocated 737.6 troy ounces. All daily changes are reflected on the bar list.” The link to Joshua’s website is here. The U.S. Mint had another sales report yesterday. They sold another 8,500 troy ounces of gold eagles; and 1,000 one-ounce 24K gold buffaloes. It was rather quiet day for gold in the Comex-approved depositories on Wednesday. They reported receiving only 6,365 troy ounces, and didn’t ship any out All of the activity was at Brink’s, Inc., and here’s the link. For a change, it was even quieter in silver, as nothing was reported received, and only 1,456 troy ounces were reported shipped out. The link to that activity is here. I have a decent number of stories again today and, as usual, the final edit is up to you. Completing the December delivery intrigue is copper, where no deliveries have been made yet and a clear backwardation has developed. Just as a reminder, JPMorgan is very long copper futures. Is there any market these crooks don’t seek to dominate? The ironic aspect is that the Volcker Rule is set to be finalized by the CFTC next Tuesday, December 10. I say ironic because if either a legitimate Volcker Rule or position limits were established, JPMorgan would not be allowed to dominate the markets as it does. Who knows – maybe JPMorgan sees the handwriting on the wall and that is why they positioned themselves for an upside price explosion. – Silver analyst Ted Butler: 04 December 2013 Wednesday’s short covering rallies in both gold and silver ended up being flashes in the New York pan, as nothing happened in any of the world’s precious metals markets during the following 24 hours. Instead, it was followed by the same price pressure that we’ve become accustomed to, interrupted only briefly by a smallish rally in mid-morning trading in New York that got capped shortly before lunch. Since today is the first Friday of the new month, we get the jobs report at 8:30 a.m. EST, and I expect that JPMorgan et al will do the dirty with their high-frequency traders starting milliseconds before the numbers are actually released, because I’m sure that they’ll be given the “heads up”. I’d love to be wrong, of course. But using the past as prologue, I have to place my bet on that outcome. We also get the latest Commitment of Traders Report, along with the monthly Bank Participation Report which strips out the Comex futures positions of all the banks [both U.S. and foreign] and for that one day a month we get to see how dominant the U.S. banks really are in all four precious metals. As far as the COT Report is concerned, I’m expecting more improvements in the Commercial net short positions in the precious metals, especially after the hammering they took at the hands of “da boyz” on Monday. Gold, silver and platinum all set new lows for this move down on that day, and gold and silver set marginally new lows again on Tuesday as well. So if the numbers are reported in a timely manner, all this data should be in today’s report. Nothing much happened during early trading in the Far East on their Friday, and the tiny rallies in gold, silver and platinum in the afternoon session got sold back to unchanged about 45 minutes before the London open. London has been open an hour as I type this paragraph, and nothing much is happening there, either. I would suspect that traders are waiting for the jobs numbers just as we are. Volumes in both gold and silver are extremely light, and the dollar index is up about 10 basis points. And as I fire this off to Stowe, Vermont at 5:15 a.m. EST, all four precious metals continue to languish, and volumes are still very subdued. The dollar index is not doing much, either. Before heading out the door, I note that Doug Casey’s new book Right on the Money will be released on December 16. Right on the Money is the second book in the Conversations with Casey series. This time, the conversations focus on speculating, economics, investing, politics, and how to profit in times of political and economic chaos. “In it, famed speculator and New York Times best-selling author Doug Casey tackles investing head on. In his typical no-holds-barred style, Doug shares his philosophical views on economics, politics, and life itself… and his tools to turn them into actionable investment ideas. This book is nothing less than a speculator’s guide to profiting from the Greater Depression… a set of keys to a potential fortune, available only to contrarians who are brave enough to use them during a time of chaos and volatility gripping our world.” If you want to learn more, or find out how you can order it, all you need to know is at this link here. That’s all I have for today, and considering what might [or might not] transpire at 8:30 a.m. EST in New York, nothing will surprise me when I power up my computer later this morning. Enjoy your weekend, or what’s left of it if you live west of the International Date Line, and I’ll see here tomorrow. Sponsor Advertisement The chart pattern in silver was very similar, with the inflection points coming at the same time as the ones in gold. And after getting sold back down in electronic trading, the silver price didn’t do much after that. The high and low in the March contract were reported as $19.60 and $19.27. Silver finished the Thursday trading session at $19.435 spot, which was down 28 cents from Wednesday’s close. Net volume was a very healthy 47,000 contracts. We get the jobs report at 8:30 a.m. EST, and I expect that JPMorgan et al will do the dirty As I mentioned in The Wrap in yesterday’s column, once the big short covering rally in gold got capped during the New York lunch hour on Wednesday, it continued to get sold down almost with a break going into the London open yesterday morning. This trend continued until the low was in a hair after 10:30 a.m. EST. The subsequent rally lasted until shortly before noon, and then got sold down again starting around 2 p.m. in the New York electronic market. The high and low were recorded by the CME as $1,243.20 and $1,216.30 in the February contract. Gold closed in New York at $1,225.10 spot, down $18.20 from Wednesday, giving up virtually its entire gain from that day. Net volume was pretty hefty at 161,000 contracts. Skyharbour Resources Ltd. (TSX.V: SYH) owns a 100% interest in approximately 400,000 acres of land between seven uranium properties in the uranium rich Athabasca Basin region in northern Saskatchewan. Six of the properties consisting of approximately 388,000 acres of prospective ground are strategically located near the Alpha Minerals (TSX.V: AMW) and Fission Energy (TSX.V: FIS) Patterson Lake South (PLS) uranium discovery area. The properties were acquired for their proximity to the PLS discovery and interpreted favourable geology for the occurrence of PLS style uranium mineralization. Skyharbour’s land position is now one of the largest in the Patterson Lake area. The Athabasca Basin hosts the world’s largest and richest high-grade uranium deposits accounting for approximately 20% of global primary uranium supply. There are still areas in the region that are highly prospective and underexplored as illustrated by the new 49.5 metres of 6.26% U3O8 discovery at the Patterson Lake South property. Please visit our website for more information.last_img read more

Generation Z and the Future of Business

first_img 5 min read Millennials The World Government Summit in Dubai always leaves its attendees and viewers with a gratified, inspirational understanding of what governments and businesses across the globe are doing to improve the lives of citizens everywhere. This year, as the Raising Awareness and Human Social 2.0 panel wrapped up, there was one undeniable takeaway: the voice of Millennials and Generation Zers are forcing governments and businesses across the globe to change how they operate. Through the panel, featuring top entrepreneurs and executives Renato Libric, Rana Gujral and Ryan Patel, we learned that the traditional methods of operating a business has been flipped on its head and now requires much more thought and consideration.Related: 5 Ways Millennials Are Like No Generation Before ThemWhat has changed?The times have changed from when a company could focus solely on making as much capital as possible without having to worry about their global outreach and opinions. Now, an organization’s stance on what they believe in, as well as their own goodwill in the world, are equal, if not more valuable, than the products they produce. This new wave of pressure to “do good” came about because of the advent of social media, empowering millennials and Gen Zers.The panel moderator (Melissa Jun Rowley) touched on how millennials and Gen Zs are digital natives who have quickly realized, not only the power that they hold, but how to use it. “They collaborate with people on the other side of the planet” and are more “socially aware than any generation ever has been.” Thus, making them a very forceful consumer.Related: Marketing to Millennials? Make It Personal and Customized.How does this change impact businesses?As Ryan Patel (board of director at American Red Cross LA, former VP of global development at Pinkberry) noted, “companies can no longer just be okay with, ‘we made enough money, now let’s do something good’ It has to be engrained in their DNA.” Because if it’s not and if a consumer sees something they don’t like, they’re going to let the brand know directly.Patel also expanded on this thought, stating that it’s vital for companies to now be engaged with their consumers. “It’s no longer okay to write a check for companies. Just like it’s no longer [okay] for governments to say “we’re doing something.”… Consumers, Millennials and Gen Z can look you up and see what are you doing to make an impact. We must be transparent.”One of the biggest changes in this new consumer behavior is if they like what a brand stands up for, they want to get behind it.Renato Libric (CEO Bouxtie Inc.) explained how just last year, his company Bouxtie Inc., went viral after a devastating Florida hurricane. Bouxtie had changed the gift card industry, eliminating the plastic card and allowing people to send gift cards digitally. Libric noted, “Victims of the hurricane were posting videos of the flood damage they had suffered online and people from all over the globe saw a cause, began communicating with them peer-to-peer, and then used Bouxtie, which prides itself on being transparent, to send digital gift cards for places they can buy what they need, to try to make a difference and get these people back on their feet.”Renato also explained that Millennials and Gen Zers are more interested in experiences than putting their money into an actual, physical product. He stated that today’s younger generations will spend, “five to seven days [discussing online] with friends [which company] has the best outreach.”Renato gave an example of how consumers today would be more apt to ignore a new Nike ad and instead buy a new pair of shoes from a company who will turn around and help those in need in Africa. It’s this behavior that is clearly changing the playing field for all companies, new and old.Related: Trump’s Tax Plan: The Top 3 Things You Need To KnowHow does this change impact governments?This altering trend pushed upon companies by Millennials and Gen Zers also pertains to governments. As Rana Gujral (entrepreneur, HACK Temple) said, government’s, “have to satisfy what an audience is looking for.”“For governments, if they want to get elected and they want to stay relevant, they have to speak to their audience.” This is due to the fact that, if they don’t speak to their audience directly, that audience will move on. Gujral noted that millennial and Gen Zers are very, “in-tune with themselves and really believe they can make a change.” Naturally, they want to see someone in government, “who is speaking from their heart.” If they don’t, they will be vocal about it until they get what they want.Millennial and Gen Zers should be proud of themselves. They were handed a medium (social media) in which they could do what they wanted with it and they turned around and have begun changing how the most powerful people in the world operate. No matter where your opinion on this topic lies, you do have to admit, enabling a generation to use their voice to push others do good in the world, is never a bad thing.The World Government Summit is an annual conference featuring more than 100 distinguished speakers from across the planet, focused on creating a dialogue that will shape the future of governments and help improve the lives of citizens everywhere. Cynthia Johnson A global forum has found that the generation born since 1980 is having a profound effect on government and business. Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. Generation Z and the Future of Business Free Webinar | July 31: Secrets to Running a Successful Family Business Register Now » Learn how to successfully navigate family business dynamics and build businesses that excel. Add to Queue Co-founder and CEO of Bell + Ivy, marketer, speaker and author March 3, 2017 Next Article Image credit: Paul Bradbury | Getty Images –shares Guest Writerlast_img read more

Google Shutters Google After It Exposed Data for Hundreds of Thousands of

first_img 3 min read Image credit: Beck Diefenbach/Reuters via engadget Add to Queue Google –shares Next Article Register Now » Learn how to successfully navigate family business dynamics and build businesses that excel. Mallory Locklear This story originally appeared on Engadget Google exposed private data from hundreds of thousands of Google+ users and then chose not to inform those affected by the issue. The Wall Street Journal reported that sources close to the matter claim the decision to keep the exposure under wraps was made among fears of regulatory scrutiny. Google said it discovered and immediately fixed the issue in March of this year.According to the Wall Street Journal’s sources as well as documents reviewed by the publication, a software vulnerability gave outside developers access to private Google+ user data between 2015 and 2018. And an internal memo noted that while there wasn’t any evidence of misuse on behalf of developers, there wasn’t a way to know for sure whether any misuse took place. Google said that it also found no evidence that any of the developers behind the 438 applications that used the API in question were aware of the bug. Exposed data included names, email addresses, birth dates, gender, profile photos, places lived, occupation and relationship status.Though Google allows developers to collect Google+ profile information when granted access by users, a bug gave developers access to the profile data of friends of those users as well, regardless of whether those friends had chosen to share that information publicly. Google said in a blog post that nearly 500,000 users may have been impacted, but because the company keeps the log data from this specific API for only two weeks at a time, it can’t fully confirm who was truly impacted and who was not. The company noted that information like Google+ posts, messages and G Suite content weren’t included in the exposure.”Our Privacy and Data Protection Office reviewed this issue, looking at the type of data involved, whether we could accurately identify the users to inform, whether there was any evidence of misuse and whether there were any actions a developer or user could take in response. None of these thresholds were met in this instance,” said Google. The Wall Street Journal reports that CEO Sundar Pichai was notified of the plan to not disclose the data exposure and a document obtained by the publication warned that if it was indeed disclosed, it could result in “us coming into the spotlight alongside or even instead of Facebook despite having stayed under the radar throughout the Cambridge Analytica scandal.”In light of this issue, Google will be shutting down the consumer version of Google+ and will do so over the course of 10 months in order to allow users to transition out of the service. The company aims to complete that process by August of next year. Additionally, Google is giving users more control over the data they share with apps, will limit the apps that can receive permission to access Gmail data and will limit the ability of apps to retrieve call log and SMS access on Android.While Pichai declined to appear at a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing that touched on election meddling and security, he will testify before the House Judiciary Committee next month and discuss bias, privacy and Google’s rumored work in China. The company also didn’t tell users about the exposure. Free Webinar | July 31: Secrets to Running a Successful Family Business Google Shutters Google+ After It Exposed Data for Hundreds of Thousands of Users October 9, 2018last_img read more

Fueling macrophages with energy to attack and eat cancer cells

first_imgReviewed by Alina Shrourou, B.Sc. (Editor)Jan 21 2019Immune cells called macrophages are supposed to serve and protect, but cancer has found ways to put them to sleep. Now researchers at the Abramson Cancer Center of the University of Pennsylvania say they’ve identified how to fuel macrophages with the energy needed to attack and eat cancer cells. It is well established that macrophages can either support cancer cell growth and spread or hinder it. But most tumors also express a signal called CD47, which can lull macrophages into a deep sleep and prevent them from eating. Researchers have found that rewiring macrophage metabolism can overcome this signal and act like an alarm clock to rouse and prepare macrophages to go to work. Their findings were published in Nature Immunology today.Macrophages are immune cells just like T and B cells, but differ in that they can eat cells that are not supposed to be in the body. In fact, they are the most prominent immune cell found in cancer, but unfortunately, most are often convinced to help cancer grow and spread. Cancer cells frequently stop macrophages from attacking them by expressing CD47, a “don’t eat me” signal. Researchers now say that merely blocking inhibitory signals like CD47 is not always sufficient to convince macrophages to attack cancer. Instead, two signals are required. First, they need a signal to activate them – such as a toll-like receptor agonist. After that, a second signal – such as a CD47 inhibitor – can lower the threshold needed to wage battle on the cancer.”It turns out macrophages need to be primed before they can go to work, which explains why solid tumors may resist treatment with CD47 inhibitors alone,” said the study’s senior author Gregory L. Beatty, MD, PhD, an assistant professor of Hematology-Oncology at Penn’s Perelman School of Medicine. Jason Mingen Liu, an MD and PhD graduate student in Beatty’s lab, is the study’s lead author.Related StoriesStudy: Nearly a quarter of low-risk thyroid cancer patients receive more treatment than necessaryUsing machine learning algorithm to accurately diagnose breast cancerBacteria in the birth canal linked to lower risk of ovarian cancerThe team used this approach by activating macrophages with CpG, a toll-like receptor agonist that sends the first signal, and found that it rapidly induced shrinkage of tumors and prolonged survival of mice even without the requirement of T cells. Unexpectedly, they also found that the activated macrophages were able to eat cancer cells even in the presence of high levels of CD47.To understand the molecular basis of this phenomenon, the team traced the metabolic activity of macrophages and determined that activated macrophages began to utilize both glutamine and glucose as fuel to support the energy requirements needed for them to eat cancer cells. This rewiring of the macrophages metabolism was necessary for CpG to be effective, and the researchers say these findings point to the importance of macrophage metabolism in determining the outcome of an immune response.”Cancer does not shrink without the help of macrophages and macrophages need the right fuel to eat cancer cells and shrink tumors,” Liu said. “To do this, a shift in metabolism is needed to steer the energy in the right direction. It is the metabolism that ultimately allows macrophages to override signals telling them not to do their job.”Beatty points out that patients with diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and other conditions are routinely treated with drugs that could affect macrophage metabolism, but virtually nothing is known about how these drugs might impact immunotherapy responses in cancer, meaning the team’s discovery has implications even for existing treatments. Source:https://www.pennmedicine.org/news/news-releases/2019/january/energizing-the-immune-system-to-eat-cancerlast_img read more

We asked catfish why they trick people online—its not about money

first_img Brood parasitism in fish If you have engaged with internet culture at all in recent years, you have probably come across the term “catfish”, first coined in the 2010 documentary of the same name. A catfish is someone who uses false information to cultivate a persona online that does not represent their true identity. This commonly involves using stolen or edited photos, usually taken from an unwitting third party. Catfish will use this information to create a more appealing version of themselves, then engage in continued one-on-one interactions with another person (or people) who are unaware of the deception.Falling prey to catfishIn the 2010 documentary, Nev Schulman learns that a woman with whom he has developed an online relationship over nine months is actually fake. Another married woman (who originally claimed to be her mother) has used pictures from a model’s account to create the complicated, phoney relationship.There have been several high-profile cases of catfishing reported in the media since then. Singer Casey Donovan, in her 2014 memoir, wrote about a six-year relationship that turned out to be fake – in her case, the catfish even lied about her gender. In 2011, NBA star Chris Andersen became embroiled in a catfishing scandal that ended in prison time for the catfish. Then there is the popular MTV reality docuseries, hosted by catfish victim Nev Schulman himself. It is currently in its seventh season of “[taking] online romances into the real world”.A complicated problemSince 2016, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has collected and published data on dating and romance scams. Its website provides detailed statistics of reported romance fraud in Australia, yet there is little information available about social catfishing – deception in the absence of financial fraud. There are also questions about the legality of impersonating someone who does not exist. Our likelihood of falling victim to catfish scams is increasing along with our screen time. Credit: Shutterstock Until these issues are resolved, there is no clear avenue to pursue for victims of social catfish. Victims may remain unaware of the deception for months or years – another reason catfishing often goes unreported – making it even harder to quantify.The personality traits of catfish scammersAs smartphones and connected devices become ever more pervasive, the chances of falling victim to deception are increasing along with our screen time. But what sort of person becomes a social catfish? We have begun psychological research to investigate this question. In the past year we have recruited 27 people from around the world who self-identified as catfish for online interviews. The interviews focused mainly on their motivations and feelings about their catfishing behaviour. Some of our key findings included: Provided by The Conversation Loneliness was mentioned by 41% of the respondents as the reason for their catfishing. One respondent said: “I just wanted to be more popular and make friends that could talk to me, some part of the day.”Others claimed that a lonely childhood and ongoing struggles with social connection were contributing factors.Dissatisfaction with their physical appearance was also a common theme, represented in around one-third of responses: “I had lots of self-esteem problems … I actually consider myself ugly and unattractive … The only way I have had relationships has been online and with a false identity. “Another respondent said: “If I try to send my real, unedited pictures to anyone that seems nice, they stop responding to me. It’s a form of escapism, or a way of testing what life would be like if you were the same person but more physically attractive.”Some reported using false identities or personas to explore their sexuality or gender identity. For example: “I was catfishing women because I am attracted to women but have never acted on it … I pretend to be a man as I would prefer to be in the male role of a heterosexual relationship than a female in a homosexual relationship.”More than two-thirds of responses mentioned a desire to escape: “It could seem magical, being able to escape your insecurities … But in the end, it only worsens them.”Many reported feelings of guilt and self-loathing around their deceptive behaviour: “It’s hard to stop the addiction. Reality hit, and I felt like a shitty human.”More than one-third of participants expressed a desire to confess to their victims, and some had continued relations with them even after coming clean.Somewhat surprisingly, around a quarter of respondents said they began catfishing out of practicality, or because of some outside circumstance. One said: “Being too young for a website or game meant I had to lie about my age to people, resulting in building a complete persona.”No simple solutionWhat does it take to become a catfish, and how should we deal with this growing problem? Unsurprisingly, our initial research suggests that there’s no simple answer. Social catfishing seems to provide an outlet for the expression of many different desires and urges. Although not yet officially a crime, it is never a victimless act. As we move further online each year, the burden of harmful online behaviour becomes greater to society, and a better understanding of the issues are needed if we are to minimise harm in the future. From our small survey, it appears that catfish themselves aren’t universally malicious.Psychologist Jean Twenge has argued that the post-millenial generation is growing up with smartphones in hand at an early age and are thus spending more time in the relatively “safe” online world than in real-life interactions, especially compared with previous generations. Catfishing will likely become a more common side-effect for this generation in particular. The next phase of our research is to learn what we can do to help both victims and the catfish themselves. We hope to recruit at least 120 people who have catfished so that we can develop a more thorough picture of their personalities. If you have been a catfish, or know someone who has, please contact us to participate in our research. This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article. Explore further Citation: We asked catfish why they trick people online—it’s not about money (2018, July 26) retrieved 18 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-07-catfish-people-onlineit-money.html This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.last_img read more