A young woman fought back on tonight's Catfish -- because online frauds had been impersonating her for over 10 years.
The problem began, 25-year-old Nicole told Nev and Max, when she first joined MySpace. Before long, friends started telling her they saw her photos on other people's pages -- and those people were claiming to be Nicole. How bad did it get? It ruined several of Nicole's relationships. For example, she'd been dating a girl for three years, but her sweetheart thought the fake profiles were really Nicole stepping out on the DL -- and promptly dumped her.
"I'm tired of this and want to take my identity back," Nicole said.
But where to begin? Nicole chose one particular person who'd set up an entire FB page pretending to be her. Nev and Max swiftly investigated Fake Nicole's profile and realized the girl was based in Chicago; they then contacted a few of her online friends, including a guy named Ryan. Sucks to be him: The young man -- also from Cleveland -- had been "online dating" the Fake Nicole for a whopping 10 years and, while he'd never met her, was fully in love.
"Even though we obviously didn't start this episode to help this guy Ryan, we might be able to do two things at once here," Nev soon told the Real Nicole, suggesting that Ryan could give them more 411 about the Fake Nicole plus they could warn him of her deceptions in the process. Real Nicole agreed, and the threesome set off for Cleveland.
There, they eventually came face-to-face with the Fake Nicole, who was really Arica -- one of the Real Nicole's friends on Facebook and a girl Ryan dated 10 years ago in high school. Nicole knew her right away; Ryan, not so much ("I did not even recognize her," he said).
So why the ruse? Arica said her mom had forbidden her to date Ryan, so she created the fake profile (and assumed Nicole's identity) to keep in touch with him. She also said she hid behind the faux ID at a time she'd come out as bisexual and was enduring a lot of bullying. But Nicole wasn't exactly forgiving.
"I think this whole thing was complete bullsh-t, and I think it's all for attention," she said. "I feel betrayed, completely, in two different ways. You pretend to be my friend, and then you use my photos."
Ryan was similarly unsympathetic.
"You can say whatever you want, but you stole her identity and you talked to other people doing it," he said. "I haven't seen you in 10 years -- it's like a movie, but it's real."
Arica eventually apologized. Nicole, meanwhile, felt vindicated. "I feel better expressing myself," she said before heading home. "It felt good to fight back."
But how would you feel? Would you be just as angry -- or even madder -- if someone assumed your identity for a decade? Tell us if you'd go nuclear -- or if you'd able to forgive and forget -- then catch another Catfish Wednesday at 10/9c.