You might recognise Sabrina Nichole. Well, not her exactly. You see, the 25 year-old former-Playboy model and now OnlyFans creator has a problem. That is: catfishes can’t get enough of her content.
I stumbled across Sabrina after someone using the name “Savage June” slid into my DMs using her photos. They hoped I’d buy some nudes so they could “send money to my sick grandma in Sweden.” A reverse image search quickly revealed who the real Sabrina was, and with a little more digging the scale of the problem emerged: an uncountable number of active Insta accounts using her photos and some version of her actual name; just as many fake Twitter accounts doing the exact same thing; and Reddit post after Reddit post of dating app profiles featuring her face. And between it all, a few accounts that could have possibly been the real Sabrina, expressing serious signs of frustration.
I sat down for a video chat to find out what it’s like to be the face that launched a thousand scams, at least
While it’s difficult to quantify, the sheer weight of anecdotal evidence collected by her fans suggests that the Texas-based model is likely one of the most popular faces for catfishes in the world. All that comes at a cost to the victims of these scams. But what about how it impacts Sabrina herself?
VICE: Hey Sabrina. So the idea for this story actually came about because someone pretending to be you tried to catfish me.Sabrina Nichole: You and everyone else. I swear, this is a plague on my life.
So when did you realise this was starting to happen?I can remember the first time that it got really serious. This was maybe six years ago. I had a group of people who got into my DMs on Instagram back when I was pretty small, talking to me like they knew me. That really bothered me, like “I don’t fucking know you, why are you talking to me like we’re friends?” One of them even started getting mad at me because I didn’t go and see him.
It turned out there was this giant Facebook page pretending to be me-I don’t have Facebook-that had garnered a huge amount of fans and was scamming people out of money, getting people to buy them plane tickets, stuff like that. That was the first time it really took off for me, but it’s only gotten worse since.
Do you have any idea about how widespread this problem might be?I have to assume it’s so far beyond my reach. Of course not all of them are going to try and pretend to be Sabrina Nichole; they use a huge variety of names, and I can’t take time out of every day to find them, because if I take them down they just come back. There’s no repercussions for them. If they’re really big I do try and take them down because that’s more influence that they have over people.
If you spend time on Instagram or any of the dating apps you might have even talked to her
Have you ever tried contacting these catfishes? Like DMing them and saying “hey, what the fuck are you doing?”They don’t care. I used to reach out to them because it used to really get under my skin. Now I don’t give a fuck. There’s no reason to talk. They’ve already pissed me off so I don’t think I could have a genuine conversation with them. Some of them who have gotten into my DMs have video-called me and I wish I would have caught it in time to answer. They’re not going to be me-I don’t know what they’re expecting from video-calling me. Like, what are you doing?