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One of the women who scammed ISISvia Life News

Three Chechen girls ‘catfished’ Isis for money

The terror group attempted to lure them to Syria and deposited travel cash in their accounts, but the girls just took it and didn’t go

"A catfish is someone who pretends to be someone they're not using Facebook or other social media to create false identities" This is the Urban Dictionary definition for "catfishing", a term inspired by the 2010 documentary Catfish, a story about people faking entire lives on Facebook.

Often people "catfish" in pursuit of romance, but these three Chechen girls set up fake Facebooks in order to solicit cash from Isis representatives who gave them money to travel to Syria. Isis is notorious for luring young women to Syria via the internet.

Wise to this, the three women responded to contact from Isis and said that they’d go to Syria as long as they were provided with travel cash. Isis coughed up, the girls blocked whoever they were corresponding with and then kept the money, reportedly to the tune of around £2,000.

While one could probably successfully argue that they haven’t done much wrong, it’s actually illegal to scam people, even Isis. The girls were detected by a Russian police unit that was monitoring online activities for evidence of crime and they’ve been detained on suspicion of fraud. 

Russian police have advised people not to talk to Isis, especially not just to get some cash. Police officer Valery Zolotaryov told Russian newspaper Life News: “I don’t advise anyone to communicate with dangerous criminals, especially for grabbing quick money.” The women are under house arrest, and face at best a fine and at worst six years in prison. 

While this situation has had a relatively happy ending, Isis using the internet to lure women is a very real threat, with promises of luxury and freedom often broken on arrival. Watch out for weird friend requests.