A catfishing-related Skype suicide is suspected in the UK, where 17-year-old Daniel Perry is believed to have taken his own life following a cruel online hoax.
The Skype suicide of Perry is thought to have resulted after the teen was blackmailed, in what investigators say was an extensive love hoax perpetrated with dollar signs in mind.
According to UK media, Perry believed he was in contact with a young woman in Illinois over Skype, and the two chatted and exchanged content over the popular telecommunications service.
The Independent reports that Perry leapt to his death in July after he was bullied and extorted over the catfishing hoax:
“Daniel Perry, a 17-year-old apprentice mechanic from Dunfermline in Fife, leapt from the Forth Road Bridge outside Edinburgh on July 15. The teenager is said to have fallen victim to a scam where internet users are lured into online chats and then blackmailed… It has been reported that he was sent a message that warned his life would not be worth living unless he deposited money into a named account. His mother described her son as a ‘happy laddie’ who was not depressed.”
Since Daniel Perry’s tragic death, his mother says she believed that her son feared exposure over the Skype catfishing incident, adding:
“Knowing him as I do, he has felt embarrassed, horrified and thought he’s let everyone down… But he wasn’t doing anything wrong, just what anyone his age might do.”
Daniel Perry’s family also reports that before the alleged Skype suicide, the teen had been harassed and bullied on the social site Ask.fm — but UK media reports made no mention of an investigation into the reported harassment.