by Bill Boyle
Catfishing, or creating a false identity on the Internet, is an international phenomenon and can also hit close to home. A possible case of catfishing has made the local elections even more interesting.
A supposed letter of endorsement, taken from social media and made part of a local campaign, is apparently a hoax.
San Juan County Attorney Craig Halls included a letter of support from Sara McGraw, an attorney for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), as part of his reelection campaign effort. The campaign included the letter in a paid October 15 advertisement in the San Juan Record.
After the letter was published, Rich Mylott, a public affairs official for the EPA, said that the letter is a hoax.
“While the EPA does have an attorney by the name of Sara McGraw, she did not write a letter of support,” said Mylott. “This is either a fraud or a hoax.”
Hall’s campaign officials acknowledge that they never met McGraw, except through Facebook.
They state that posts from an account in the name of Sara McGraw were sent to the Halls Facebook page beginning in July. They add that over several weeks, they were able to secure a letter of endorsement from McGraw through the Facebook messaging system.
Since that time, Halls campaign officials say that the Facebook account, supposedly from McGraw, went inactive and all messaging correspondence was erased.
“Whoever did this spent a lot of time setting us up,” said a representative for Halls.
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It has been 133 days since the last freeze in Monticello, one month longer than normal.