A Labour MP will call for new laws against catfishing in Parliament today.
At 4pm, Labour MP Ann Coffey will conduct a debate about the introduction of legislation that would seek to criminalise catfishing.
The proposed action would make it an offence to steal someone’s identity and pose as them to lure people into sexual contact.
Coffey also wants online dating and social media platforms to do more to tackle catfishing, such as providing warnings to users.
The Labour MP for Stockport has been campaigning for a law against catfishing after hearing about the experiences of her constituent Matt Peacock.
The model’s identity was stolen by a catfish who targeted over 30 women on various dating websites.
When he met the women, he told them he was Peacock’s cousin, and was on the date because Peacock couldn’t make it.
Some of the women believed him, and continued on the date with the imposter.
When the police did not press charges against the online fraudster, the Labour MP said she decided to step in.
Coffey told the Independent: “Without a specific offence, ‘catfish’ who cause so much distress to individuals and their families will continue to exploit and harm other people.
“Catfishing is a modern day menace affecting the lives of many innocent people. It can cause years of heartache. We must do something to deter this, and a change in the law is the most effective deterrent.”
Coffey has also been contacted by other victims of catfishing, including Anna Rowe, who collected 41,472 signatures for a Change.org petition to try and make catfishing illegal.
Read more about the story here.