Every day, people meet online. Whether this happens on social media or a dating site, when singles connect, they use the platforms to slowly (or quickly) get to know each other through conversation, messaging, meeting in person, and sometimes texts. Continue reading Karen’s catfish story.
Social Catfish user 32-year-old Karen was catfished by a man pretending to be a love interest. Sadly, her situation isn’t unique, but her story highlights that even being ‘careful’ isn’t always enough to avoid being outsmarted by a catfish with a scam.
Karen stuck to paid dating sites, as she felt she’d meet better quality matches than people do on apps like Tinder. After striking out at meeting anyone she was interested in, she was delighted to begin talking to Erik. Erik was a professional man, with a job as a private contractor for Shell. Working as a petroleum engineer took him on many travels, yet he and Karen began to message more and more.
Eventually, they upgraded their connection to Facebook, where they became “Facebook friends” and used the site to message and call one another. It was comforting for Karen to see his online photos and they both found one another very attractive.
No fool to the idea of being catfished, Karen’s mind was put at ease after they spoke on FaceTime, several times. It seemed proof that Erik was a real, legit person and someone she’d possibly have a long romantic future.
As their connection advanced into a close-knit one over the next month, they made plans to meet in person. Karen was excited and, therefore, disappointed when Erik canceled their initial meeting, due to work. As he explained it, a contract had come up, which might lead him to work in Scotland for a while. Understandably, Karen had wanted to meet sooner but understood Erik’s dedication to work.
Erik flew to Scotland to work on an oil rig when his first ‘disaster’ struck. He showed her photos of where he was (the plane and then the oil rigs themselves). Erik wrote to explain that he’d lost his wallet and all of his credit cards and needed Karen’s help to remedy the situation quickly and asked if she could send him a $50 iTunes online gift card. He claimed that he had to use iTunes to access the internet and cancel all of his credit cards.
Knowing it was a bit of an odd request when they hadn’t even met in person yet, Karen suggested other options or remedies, but Erik claimed they weren’t going to work. Wanting to help this man she already liked so much, she gave up and just sent him the card.
Though he was away working, they continued to communicate every day. Erik professed his “like” of Karen and how much he missed her and couldn’t wait to meet. As the holidays approached, his other boat-mates left to go home to their families. Erik also wanted to return and meet Karen but needed her help again. He asked that she help him send money to his travel agent, and he could merely pay her back once they met up.
Karen couldn’t come up with the funds right away since it was Christmas time. Erik, therefore, had to stay on the rig, but two weeks later Karen deposited the money into Erik’s travel agent’s bank account, so they could finally meet!
At $400, the money was a lot to spend, but Karen felt relieved that the waiting was over. Erik was coming home and had been adamant he’d pay her back once he arrived.
Erik confirmed his travel agent had received the money and would email him his ticket and that is the last Karen ever heard from him! Despite writing him back asking him to let her know his travel plans, he did what Catfish do and disappeared with her funds!
Suddenly, her phone calls on Facebook “Messenger” now showed “failed.” She sent many written messages, but he never replied, despite still showing as a Facebook “active” user and still her “Facebook friend.”
The pain of being heartbroken was only compounded by the pain of being scammed a total of $450.00. Though she saved his photographs and information, in hopes he’d one day be prosecuted, it can be tough to catch an out-of-country catfish.
Even though Karen found the experience painful, she is now one of our many Social Catfish users who is using her story in hopes of safeguarding others from the trauma of experiences like hers.
Read our catfish tips to avoid being scammed and NEVER, ever send money to someone you don’t know well and in person.