Damn you, Catfish!!!

So this is going to be a long post, I apologise in advance but I need to let it out, so I hope you bear with me and laugh at the ridiculousness of this. Looking back it now seems hilarious.

As I have mentioned in previous posts I am a fan of Asian drama, films , music, and especially have a soft spot for Korean culture and entertainment. I have many Korean friends and currently learning the language because I have a trip planned to go there. This means I often have random connections online with Koreans and we end up chatting and I have met people in various industries , including entertainment. My job means I also have sometimes interactions with low key celebrities.

So I admit, despite being a massive kdrama fan and reviewer for shows ( I worked for a Korean magazine for a while), I don’t know details about every actor I have ever watched. I also don’t know the many bands and K-pop acts even when they are in the show I am watching. I have a busy life but will follow and look up something or someone I like when it sticks with me – looking at you Song Seung Heon!!! I do have good knowledge in general and know how things work but I am a research fiend when it matters.

I used to be a singer in a girlband too, then an indie band, and I have a lot of people still connected to me in the music industry. I also have many famous author friends and people who work in film and Tv too. So it’s not uncommon for me to have interaction with people who are in the business or have a level of fame. I have a vast amount of people who see me as a friend and I know I do somehow invoke trust in people who end up telling me their life story. It’s a regular occurrence. I am not new to the inner workings of being an idol or how it all works and generally I have a pretty good BS meter on testing someone’s honesty. I have lived that life. I am pretty experienced and mature when it comes to life issues.

So I was surprised when I got a message on Tiktok from an account of what seemed like a relatively well known Korean actor/bass player. My friend had shared the profile with me and asked if I thought it was real, so I had liked some of their videos earlier in the day. I immediately thought catfish due to the low follower count compared to their other media but I shrugged it off, liked their pics and forgot about it. A lot of new accounts sometimes go undiscovered until fans find them and then they take off and this one was brand new. Later that day I received notification the account had liked several of my videos and then another hour later they dropped me a private message. Nothing WOW…generally asking how I knew their work.

I know what you’re thinking – that’s an obvious fake but I cannot tell you how many times I have had weird interactions with celebrities in random ways and this does happen. I have had crazy experiences in my life. I humoured them, I replied and all the while I kept thinking ‘catfish’ because it was weird that I was actually watching ‘Summer guys’ with this actor in it at that moment of the day.

Here’s the dangerous part where I want to warn vulnerable fans and maybe fellow authors though, as we have now seen a pattern in them targeting some of my friends in the same field. This person is so convincing and knows every single detail and iota of the person they are posing as that in a couple of weeks convinced both of us he was actually Lee Jung Shin. The lies were effortless, the persona matched up to interviews online, and he dropped in details in a non obvious way which synced up to the real persons life. He knew everything!! He also moved us to skype as he said his agency watched all his accounts and it was the only place he got total privacy. All pretty plausible. I have a PA and she has access to all my social accounts too, she posts on my behalf, reads my messages and even schedules things. It’s a normal thing in this business.

All through the encounter my friend and I kept close private contact as he was talking to both of us and we frequently asked one another if we thought it was fake. We genuinely did not know and some nights would search out articles going back ten years to corroborate things they said and could find no fault whatsoever. This person knew everything. I cannot stress this enough, and sent pictures and videos that took us an age to find on social media. We could not determine truth or fakeness. They also synced their interactions with us to match new posts on the real actors social media so it looked genuinely like they were the ones posting. It was a very clever act.

Now most catfish go after people for online romance and this was the one thing I kept waiting on that would flag it as a catfish. But it never escalated to that. In fact they had the respectful manners you expect from a Korean celebrity and would even subtly compliment but always make it clear they were only interested in friendship. We even spoke about him reading my book and how he liked the idea of one day working on a script for a drama as he has starred in a few. I have an editor who is helping me work towards creating an Asian show idea. The line ‘I want to only focus on my comeback, acting, and music and not romance’ stuck with me and made me trust in their interest in me. If they had shown any signs of flirting I would have ditched them as I was not interested in anything weird. They would speak about their band mates, their contract, their current works, and all sorts of personal stuff that pulled you in and broke down the mistrust. That’s next level devious and someone with patience. This was not a short period. This went on weeks.

So what was their goal? And how did we figure it out?

Ahhhhh, money, money, money. It took them a while but going back over the literally hundreds of messages between us, they laid a story in there slowly about wanting to make a solo rap album that was completely unlike anything from CNBlue. That management was against it and they were rejected and told it breached their contract. Now this was a conversation that was dragged out over a long time, even setting up dates they had ‘management’ meetings and acting particularly sad and depressed over the outcomes. Always coming to ‘vent’ to me and share his disappointment and look for solutions to how he could make them understand. Like I said I am an ex singer in a band and I have been there, fighting with my management and not happy with what they wanted. So I was pulled in believing that this was genuine. All the while these conversations were removing doubt about their identity and sucking me in. I was angry and upset for him and truly believed this was now my friend. I wanted to fix it and help him. Being a loyal and supportive caring friend is my weakness.

I was supportive and helped them feel better. I believed them when they said they had a friend betray them and sell secrets to the media and swore on my dog’s health I would never do the same. That scandals could be very damaging in Korea and he didn’t want his management knowing how he was disillusioned and wanted to leave the band. He even talked about breaching his contract and leaving next year. I am angry even thinking about it, as, if I had been another type of person I could have sold fake news to the media and created scandals with some of the things they said about their bandmates, management, life etc. It enrages me to think how well they concocted a fabrication so detailed and multi layered that they fooled two mature authors who don’t really get starstruck. And yet if they are doing this to others they can cause so much stress for the real idol. All it takes is one person selling the conversation as real.

So eventually they asked me to invest money (4 grand) and help them pay producer and studio fees to help them make a solo album behind their management’s back, and that’s when I knew it was fake. I grew up in and around the industry and my family members are producers, sound engineers, musicians and all sorts. Serious musicians have home studios, instruments, practice rooms, and access to things like mixing desks recording equipment. It’s not hard. It’s pretty normal to have all that when music is your passion and so easy to make your own stuff at home. They also have a whole array of friends in the industry whom would happily sit and make music over a few cans of beer as a favour for a friend. It’s the norm. I’ve done it myself. Late night jam sessions, playing around all night and recording random songs. Also I immediately googled his net worth and there was no way he couldn’t afford the amount of money our catfish was asking me to invest. Dude is the richest bass player in Korea apparently.

It dawned on me right away, the reason he targeted me and my friend and we know others for sure have been, is that we have a pretty established fan base, make our own income and they probably thought we too were rich. They thought we could be fooled and would maybe fall for their charms, didn’t know anything about Korean idols, and help them with their ‘solo career’. Only I happen to be a wizz at research, a massive Asian fan, and found Lee Jung Shin has solo songs out there on Spotify. So that blew his whole story out of the water.

Now I want to warn other authors, other vulnerable fans, that this person is out there and will convince you. And trust me, they totally will. I am not one to get duped in life very often. I am sure even the superfans among CNBlue would have had a hard time picking out the flaws in their details. I certainly know gullible authors with money who would be fooled into falling for the charms and good looks of a Korean idol. The fantasy and romance of it and believing they were a special confidante. This person has no moral code and plays with your emotions. A more emotional person would be heartbroken. I am lucky I’m a badass, cold hearted weirdo, with trust issues, who continuously had doubts in the back of my mind so I never fully relaxed. LMAO. It means I got out with only anger, and no deep emotional wounds. Of course, I’m mad about the hours I invested in this person by being their support. I was woken in the night many times by their messages, lost sleep stressing on their behalf, when they needed a friend to talk to. I would reply in breaks at meetings because they seemed upset and down and I was worried about their mood and wanted them to feel I had their back. I know I’m a good friend, value my relationships with people over everything else, and they never deserved any of my time or attention or genuine concern over their problems.

The upside to this entire thing is that I discovered the talents of CNBlue, realised I had watched all 3 members in drama before and knew who they were from that angle. I did buy the album in support of my new ‘friend’ and downloaded some songs because that’s who I am as a person. I do not regret those purchases as they support the real Lee Jung Shin and CNBlue. And when I discovered they were fake I then went online and searched out contact info for their agency to prewarn them of possible damage should this person continue to search out western authors, and fell into their fan club. I am now a true CNBlue BOICE fan and will help protect the band. Thanks to the twitter fans for the warmest of welcomes.

I have been adopted it seems, by their fan members on twitter and now I have their song on replay on my YouTube as I write this. I feel the catfish did me a favour in that aspect, as music will always be in my soul and now I have a new band to adore. A worthwhile one of 3 very talented men. I’m angry at being duped but I am furious that my friend was really hurt as she is way more caring than I am and got emotionally involved in believing this was a true person who trusted us to keep his secrets. So on her behalf I outed this person and hope they have severe karma burn for playing with peoples feelings and kindness. You can mess with me but DO NOT mess with my friends, because I bite.

So dudes….this fella …AVOID. I have now been told he did it on Instagram too and the real Lee Jung Shin warned his fans. So I would have been saved had I been a fan of his before now I guess. LOL

Image

For the real links, and accounts. I will leave you a very helpful tweet from a BOICE fan on twitter.

https://twitter.com/kath_jyholic/status/1361953708125339648 this has links to all the bands media, fan clubs, insta etc.

And the song I am totally in love with ….for your pleasure. This gave me all the feels and weirdly I think the lyrics sort of suit this scenario LOL. Lee Jung Shin is the tallest one, playing Bass guitar. I personally swoon over Jung Yong Hwa’s vocal skills though.
Lyrics in English (turn on subtitles) or I have put them below the video.

Today’s weather is clear
It’s cloudy in the afternoon
But it will keep raining
In my heart

Sorry friends
I have to skip again today
I know how you feel
But please give me some time
My heart is still hurting

At the beginning and the end of the day
Now, in the strings of goodbye
Tied together, tangled
Like a knot

Sometimes I’m fine
Sometimes I miss it madly
Sometimes I want to forget it

It’ll all be over soon
It’ll be forgotten
It’ll be numb …

We’re here then, now and forever…
Memories drip drip drip again
Still Nobody,
Nobody but you…

I can’t say Goodbye
Baby, You, You

Sometimes I’m fine
Sometimes I miss it madly
Sometimes I want to forget it

I hope we become happier
I really hope so
There will be better days

We’re here then, now and forever

We’re here then, now and forever…