Twenty-one-year-old Kourtney says she met and fell in love with Dylan online and that they had a four-month relationship, despite never meeting in person. She admits to being so head over heels that she was planning to move to Los Angeles to be with him — until she received a Facebook message from a woman named Victoria, claiming Dylan was a fake. Victoria says she was also under Dylan’s spell, until she discovered a man named Daniel, who featured the same photos as Dylan on his profile. Victoria says she and her friend Ron began investigating to find out who was really behind Dylan’s profile. That’s when Kourtney says her life turned upside down. She says “Dylan” started harassing her, stalking and threatening her — and posted intimate photos of her online. Dr. Phil brings the players together in this modern day “whodunit.” Find out why Victoria and Ron think that Daniel and Dylan are the same person. And, find out why Daniel says Victoria and Ron crossed a line in their investigation. Is Daniel the catfish? Dr. Phil tries to get to the bottom of this compelling mystery.
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A Tangled Web of Lies and Deception
Kourtney explains how she fell in love online — without ever meeting the man of her affections. “He really just seemed like the perfect person for me.”
Kourtney says a message from a woman named Victoria changed everything. “I was in shock. I didn’t know what to believe. I felt like my whole world was crashing down.”
Kourtney says when she learned that the man she fell for, “Dylan,” wasn’t real, she stopped responding to his texts and just tried to move on with her life. That’s when she says he began calling her names and threatening her, sometimes sending 500 harassing texts a day. She says he told her he was going to "ruin her," and he posted intimate photos she had shared with him on Craigslist and TheDirty.com, claiming she was an escort and a drug dealer. She says she lost a gig as a fashion host and was fired from an internship because of the photo scandal. “Dylan has definitely been successful in ruining parts of my life. I feel I was scammed for no other reason than somebody was bored and unsatisfied with their life, but taking it to this level, months after trying to hurt me and ruin my life, that’s just sickness,” she says.
Dr. Phil asks Kourtney if she has any doubts that Dylan is not real. She says she doesn’t. Looking back, without ever having spoken to him on the phone or meeting him in person, she says she knows she fell victim to a catfish.
The Face of Dylan
Daniel explains how he learned his identity had been stolen, and who he believes is behind it.
Daniel says Ron and Victoria crossed a line when they both began contacting his girlfriend via personal email and by phone at her place of business. He says Victoria claimed that she was having sex with Daniel and gave his girlfriend intimate details of his personal anatomy — none of which were true. Fed up, Daniel says he called Ron and left him an angry voicemail, telling him and Victoria to quit harassing them or else they’d file a restraining order. He says Ron then emailed him with threats in return. “This guy is delusional and potentially dangerous,” Daniel says. “This guy knows where I live. He has my address. I don't know if he's going to show up with a gun at my doorstep.”
Dr. Phil asks Daniel, “This isn't you using an alter-ego and playing games with girls online?”
“No,” he says.
“You could be, in fact, Dylan. That’s one theory. You've been accused of that in this whole thing. I’m asking you straight up, is that true?” Dr. Phil asks.
“Absolutely not,” Daniel says.
Victoria explains why she doesn’t think Daniel is an innocent victim of identity theft. “It made me think, wait a minute, is this possibly the same guy?”
Must-See Video: Dr. Phil questions Victoria’s detective work. “Wouldn’t he be a dumb catfish to use his own last name?”
Ron explains how he got involved and why he believes Daniel is behind the Dylan profile.
Dr. Phil reads a sample email that Ron sent to whomever was pretending to be Dylan, which includes profanities, threats and claims that he has a connection to someone in a Los Angeles County prosecutor’s office. “You talk about decorum in business?” Dr. Phil asks.
“I was trying to provoke a response,” Ron explains. “I thought he was evil and doing bad stuff.”
“That doesn’t mean what you’re doing is correct,” Dr. Phil says. He tells Ron and Victoria that the way they went about searching for answers makes them look suspicious, and he doesn’t blame Daniel for not responding to them. “If I got an email from either one of you, I wouldn't respond in a million years — nor should you, from somebody you don't know. Those are scams. What you do is you contact secure sites. You contact the authorities. You don't contact people you don't know,” he says.
“I’m not saying it was right, but whoever was behind this, that wasn't right,” Victoria says. “It wasn't right what he did to her. It wasn’t right what he did to me.”
Dr. Phil points out that on the dating site where Ron and Victoria met, Ron had four profiles up — three of which were as a woman. Ron says he was trying to get a particular man to respond to him. “So, of the four of us, the only one who admits putting up fake profiles is you,” Dr. Phil quips.
Nik Richie, creator of TheDirty.com and author of Sex, Lies and the Dirty
, joins the discussion. He says, after hearing Kourtney’s story, he will remove her racy photos from his site.
Dr. Phil surprises Kourtney, whose dream is to work for ESPN, with a chance to meet with producers there to discuss an internship opportunity.
At the end of the show, Dr. Phil advises his audience, “It’s easy for some of the smartest people to lose all sight of common sense when they’re being reeled in by a catfish — an online imposter who tries to win your sympathy and your love by creating an elaborate scheme. I know you want to be the reason they breathe, but don't let that take away your common sense.”