Hunting Down the Posers

When Wannabes Pretend to Be Someone Famous (But Are Actually Infamous!)

Not sure if Mark Scheifele is aware of the fact he has a poser on-line. Photo by Marjorie Roden

Anyone who knows me well knows that I have an Instagram account. I use it to watch things about different people whom I look up to, mostly in the professions I work in the most, those being film/television and sports. 

What is a rather sad thing, though, is when someone pretends to be someone they're not.

Now, I know that most professional actors and athletes do not have time to really do much on there. In fact, one of my favourite hockey players has put up less than 20 photos on his Instagram feed. I get this. All of these professionals have their careers to focus on, and more than likely want (and NEED!) to keep their private lives, well, PRIVATE!

However, I have been approached by some individuals pretending to be people I look up to and respect professionally. And as a habit, I always play along a bit to the point of not letting them know anything all too personal about who I am. 

I have made it public knowledge that I do some acting, that I make films, and that I also work as a journalist & photojournalist. Which is why I find it concurrently hilarious and sad when people attempt to do this with me and then get all snarky and hurt when I call them out on it.

For instance, about a year ago, someone was pretending for a couple of months that he was Chris Pine on Instagram. Now, I know from all I have heard about him that he is a very private person. Also, at the time, he was overseas in Scotland shooting the soon-to-be-released movie OUTLAW/KING, which made a few red flags go up right away. However, as it was just some harmless flirting going on (with several sappy emoji-clad messages), I could see no harm in it. Besides that, I needed to see what this charlatan's endgame was.

Eventually, this version of Chris Pine asked, no, more like BEGGED me to send "him" a bunch of money due to needing his furnace in Los Angeles fixed while he was away. Now, let's think about this: the real Chris Pine was in Scotland, shooting a film in cold, damp weather. He was thousands of miles away from his home in the United States, and the part of the US that he is said to live in is NOT AN AREA THAT REQUIRES A FURNACE! An air conditioner, perhaps, but a FURNACE??? Get real! 

As I was a student at the time, I told this person NO WAY. This individual kept harassing me about it until I finally dropped the ball onto their pointy little head: I KNOW YOU AREN'T WHO YOU SAY YOU ARE!!! 

And the kicker? 

I screen capped ALL of the messages this person had sent me and posted them into a private album on Facebook and let a few people who I know have ties with the real Chris Pine professionally see exactly what had been going on, and the contact information I had for this person. 

Needless to say, that account got reported very quickly as these actions were slanderous towards the actor himself. 

The second—and most short-lived try—at trying to fool me was a couple of weeks ago, where an individual on Instagram approached me and pretended to be Mark Scheifele.

The English messages sent to me were very much written in broken English. This was naturally the first huge red flag that went up, but I played along with it for a bit and chatted with this person online for a little while. Then this individual demanded that I join "him" in Google Chat. 

I refused, but instead gave this person my cell phone number. My logic there is that I can easily block someone if they get abusive, but thankfully it didn't get to that point.

This individual—who claimed to be Mark Scheifele—actually phoned me up, from a Washington State area code. He was trying to convince me over the phone (again) about this whole "Google Chat" thing (I only use that for collaborative works by the way!).

I was in an office with a friend of mine, and when the call came in, I heard this voice that was not at all the same as Mark Scheifele's voice. 

There was no Canadian dialect, and not much grasp of the English language. A high pitched middle Eastern dialect was also present, about 3 octaves higher than my own rather feminine voice, and a good 10 octaves higher pitched than the voice of the real Mark Scheifele, who also has a very clear Canadian dialect.

It was also kind of obvious that this individual had not yet reached puberty, or if he had, he wasn't quite there yet.

At this point I told the individual point blank, "I don't know WHO you are, but as I have actually spoken to Mr. Scheifele in the past, I know you are NOT HIM!" and hung up on the wanna-be Scheifele, who sent me a bunch of texts telling me like "When I drunk, voice goes weird" and "Please don't be made at me." 

As soon as I hung up, my friend, who was listening to my side of the conversation, started laughing so hard, he was crying.  

The moral of the story here is to not think that everyone on the internet is a fool, dumb enough to believe someone is who they claim they are. And if you try and fool someone into this, expect for the tables to turn on you, and also expect that table to land on you.

NEXT UP: A story about the Winnipeg Jets' training camp being held right now. Story shall be up on SUNDAY, so please keep your eyes open for it. Thanks!!!