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The Asia Pacific Association of Threat Assessment Professionals (APATAP) Committee is excited to announce that our annual conference will be held at Disneyland, Hong Kong from 25 - 27 February 2019.

Our conference theme this year is “Online threats, offline lives: Reality and Practice of Online Threat Management”. This is a highly relevant theme to today’s society and reflects current advancements in the use of technology and social media in assessing and managing global, local, and individual-level threats.

We invite all mental health, law enforcement, security, workplace health and safety, and other professionals tasked with the prevention and response of behavioural risks to join us in this learning and networking opportunity.
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Tuesday, February 26 • 11:45am - 12:15pm
Catfishing: A Cyber World to Real World Case Study in Deception, Stalking, & Violence Risk

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Catfishing is a unique crime in which a subject creates a fake online persona in order to scam others.  The term was coined by the 2010 documentary “Catfish” as a reference to putting catfish in cod tanks during transpacific shipping in order keep the cod actively swimming.  In cyber environments, the analogy is that the catfish keeps online users thinking and on alert for scams.  The film later gave rise to the 2012 MTV series “Catfish,” and several high profile cases of online scams, most notably the 2013 false girlfriend persona of Notre Dame football player Manti Te’o.  In 2013, the Bureau of Diplomatic Security, Office of Protective Intelligence Investigations (DS/PII) became involved in a complex catfishing investigation when the U.S. Embassies in Moldova and Bulgaria received separate phone calls that an American female high school student was reportedly kidnapped in Bulgaria.  An extensive investigation involving DS, the FBI, and Bulgarian authorities to find the missing student ensued, but could not locate her.  Further investigative efforts revealed anomalies in the story.  A review of cell phone records and social media profiles determined that missing student was actually a fictitious persona created by one of the callers to target the second caller, who was the “boyfriend” of the fictitious persona.  The persona turned out to be an actual person whose online identity was stolen by the subject.  The subject used both physical stalking and cyberstalking to collect intelligence on the girl.  The subject then used the fictitious female profile to lure his male schoolmates into sexting him, instigating violence amongst them, and placing them at risk for being predated on by sex offenders.  The subject’s masterful plot was exposed by DS/PII, and he was arrested and convicted.    

avatar for Russell Palarea

Russell Palarea

President, Operational Psychology Services (OPS)
Dr. Russell Palarea is the Founder and President of Operational Psychology Services (OPS). He is an internationally recognized expert on threat assessment, insider threat, and counterterrorism, providing consultation in these areas to Fortune 500 corporations, global security firms... Read More →

Tuesday February 26, 2019 11:45am - 12:15pm HKT
Sleeping Beauty Ballroom, Conference Centre, Hong Kong Disneyland Hotel