Catfish scams – SCAM OF THE MONTH

Catfish scams – SCAM OF THE MONTH

Nadine was scrolling through social media when a message appeared from a man named Mark. He said he was impressed with her art. Nadine thanked him. Mark’s account didn’t have many followers or pictures, but she was pulled in by his kind message and his model-like looks. They talked for weeks and eventually Nadine asked him to hop on a video call. While the service was spotty, she was convinced it was the same man in the profile picture. They spoke on the phone many times, too. Mark was from England, and he spoke with an English accent which helped confirm Mark was real.

Mark professed his love for her. He wanted to meet her, but claimed he needed money for a flight and his medical bills before he could come since his cards weren’t working. He promised to pay her back after. Nadine used most of her savings to pay for his bills. Eventually, Nadine’s sister stepped in. She did a reverse image search and found that Mark wasn’t who he said he was. He was using someone else’s identity to scam Nadine.

Did you spot the red flags?

  • Nadine should have been more wary of Mark coming on so strong and contacting her unsolicited.
  • While it was good Nadine asked Mark to hop on a video call, she should not have taken the blurry video and English accent as reasons to fully trust him.
  • Nadine should have been more skeptical when Mark asked her to send him money.

What you should know about this scam

Reverse image searches are a great way to confirm someone’s identity. If the search shows the person has another identity, and the relationship exhibits other red flags of romance scams, it is best to stop talking to them. Many scammers will claim they are the one being impersonated and try to trick the user into staying.

Voices can be faked using artificial intelligence. This means scammers could sound like a celebrity, have an accent, or sound like someone you know. Unnatural pronunciations or pauses are some telltale signs, but as AI voice changers improve, they will be harder to spot. Remember to think twice before trusting someone just because of their voice.