celebrity

There's something a little off about Dina Lohan's boyfriend.

Dina Lohan, the mother of accent-ambiguous actor/reality TV host Lindsay Lohan, has a boyfriend. And she wants to tell the world about him.

The 56-year-old, who is currently a housemate on the second season of US Celebrity Big Brother, revealed on Thursday night’s episode that she is in a relationship with a “special someone”, and has fallen deeply in love.

“I can’t wait to tell you about this guy,” she told fellow cast member Kandi Burruss. “I’ve been talking to him for five years. Like, every day. A lot. I feel like I know him.”

Lohan, who is based in New York, went on to explain that she hasn’t actually been able to meet this man face-to-face as he lives in San Francisco where he cares for his mother. He also doesn’t use video calls.

Clocking Burruss’ raised eyebrows, she added, “I swear to you he’s real. I swear. It’s crazy, but I’m going to marry him… It’s really, really true. I talk to his mum!”

Video via CBS

After listening to the story. Burruss, a songwriter and star of Real Housewives of Atlanta, said what, sadly, we were all thinking: “Girl, that’s a straight up catfish. Five years but no FaceTime?”

Catfish is term used to refer to someone who creates a fake persona online, typically in order to lure someone into a relationship. The lengths these people go to vary, but often include a false name and stolen or edited images.

Despite skepticism from Burress, Lohan insisted her partner’s story is true.

“It’s real!” she said. “Some guys just don’t use iPhones”.

Should Burruss’ suspicions turn out to be correct, Lohan would be far from the first to fall victim.

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The MTV series, Catfish, has been uncovering dozens of similar cases since 2010. Creator Nev Schulman launched the show after being duped into a nine-month online relationship with a woman who’d used her sister’s name and photographs of a model.

Closer to home, singer Casey Donovan, has been open about her experience of a six-year relationship that turned out to be false – in her case, the catfish even lied about her gender.

“I spent six years of my life loving someone who never really existed,” she wrote in her 2014 memoir, “being ‘supported’ by a best friend who was deceiving me from the beginning, pulling all the strings.”

Why do people catfish?

Research has shown that the motivation for catfishers varies, from loneliness to insecurities about appearance and exploration of gender or sexual identity.

Sadly, in some cases, these relationships are also ultimately revealed to be sophisticated, long-running financial scams.

According to data gathered by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, 3,763 Australians reported being victimised by romance scams in 2017, with combined losses of $20.5 million. The cases were almost evenly split between genders (52 per cent were female), and occurred across all age brackets, with the largest number of reports coming people aged 45-54.

As romance scam victim turned advocate, Sharon Armstrong, previously told Mamamia, people can be quick to dismiss victims as stupid or naive, but it can happen to anyone:

“All these [critics] sit back in some form of judgement, instead of actually thinking, ‘My God, that could be my mother, it could be my sister, it could be my daughter, my uncle, my brother, my father, my grandfather, my best friend.'”

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