Ashley Kirilow, a 23-year-old Canadian woman who told friends and family she'd been diagnosed with breast, ovarian, brain, and liver cancers, was given over $20,000 by donors over the course of about two years before admitting that she never had cancer.
Bethany Storro, a Vancouver, Washington, woman claimed to have been the victim of a horrific acid attack by an African-American woman. The assailant allegedly approached her outside a Starbuck outlet and threw a cup of acid on her face, leaving her badly scarred. After several weeks of fruitless investigation Storro admitted that it was all a hoax.
A Baltimore woman, Dina Leone, told her friends and family that she had been diagnosed with stomach cancer. Through Facebook and blogs, she updated her friends and followers about her treatment-until police determined it was all a hoax. For over three years she had pretended to have cancer, making up stories of her hardships and doctors.
People with factitious disorder often make up elaborate stories because they are seeking attention or escapism. Others do for financial gain, stealing money from those who come together to support them. As Catfish shows, many are harmless and lonely people who suffer from depression or another mental illness.