At Social Catfish, we interviewed a woman named Cherrie who was scammed out of $6,500 by a man who claimed to be named Sebastian. Cherrie met Sebastian on LinkedIn after seeing that he had invited her to be her friend. Cherrie accepted this friend request and started forming a romantic relationship with him. They would talk every day for hours and eventually moved their conversations to Google Hangouts. One day as she was talking to him, he requested some money to help with some construction equipment. She sent the romance scammer money through Bitcoin and gift cards, but something didn’t seem right. She found out his identity in the most shocking way… Watch the video and read the article to find out how.
Cherrie’s Romance Scammer Story
Cherrie had been divorced for almost 20 years and was hesitant about dating again. When she first met Sebastian, she didn’t know whether or not to add him on LinkedIn. After she accepted his invitation, he messaged her right away which she thought was really weird. He started to act all flattering and started to ask her questions about her life to get to know her. Cherrie wasn’t used to this in her relationships, so she thought it felt nice that she had a gentleman in her life.
He said that his wife had passed away from cancer and that he always donated money to a cancer foundation. He didn’t talk too much about himself after that but started to talk to Cherrie about how he wanted to marry her. While Cherrie thought it was a bit too soon, she also thought it was really romantic and enjoyed the romance he was bringing to her.
The first time he asked for money, he claimed he was hungry and needed money to eat. He claimed that the only way he could get this money was through Bitcoin, so Cherrie sent it over to him through a Bitcoin machine. Then he needed $500 sent to him supposedly for a contracting project through Apple gift cards, which she thought was weird.
Then supposedly there was an accident where a girl had a head injury, and her family was supposed to send Sebastian more construction equipment. However, the family claimed they needed more money since their daughter was injured. They claimed they needed $1 million but he got it down to $750,000 and paid most of it. He asked Cherrie to help with the rest and she did.
How Did She Find Out That Sebastian Was a Romance Scammer?
One day, she was on a Facebook page about people who love Scotland. She decided to post about her Scottish boyfriend and how much she loves him. That’s when someone commented on her photo to inform her that she was dating a catfish since his name was different from the name on his official Instagram account. Cherrie found out that this man’s name was Paul Bennie who is a gay man, and co-founder of a non-profit called Human Kindness, that helps people impacted by COVID-19 with his mother.
When she saw his Instagram account, she knew immediately that she had been talking to a catfish this whole time. That’s when she started looking at his friend list and started chatting with a girl who was friends with him. She said that he was her boyfriend and Cherrie told her that he was her boyfriend too. After they realized they shared similar stories about giving him money, they knew they had been scammed. They both dumped him after talking with each other.
You can also find out if the person you’ve been talking to is a romance scammer by using the search bar below:
We Did Some Research About Other Fake Profiles on LinkedIn
Teo Barona recommends Sebastian as a board of director and a CEO. However, when we ran a reverse image search, we found out that he is actually a model and actor named Kleiner Kielort. This proves that this profile was fake.
Next, we took a look at Harold Baldwin who claimed that he worked at the same construction company as Sebastian. After running a reverse image search, we found that the guy in the photos is actually a man named Dr. Murat Aksoy who is a Turkish Vascular Surgeon.
Finally, we looked at the fake profile of Agnes Chiang who also recommended Sebastian’s services. When doing a reverse search on her image, we did not find exactly who it belonged to. However, we did see that her photo was being used on several dating sites and social media profiles, leading us to believe that this LinkedIn profile is fake.
How to Avoid a Romance Scammer
- Perform a reverse search with Social Catfish in the search bar above to see who it is you’ve really been talking to.
- Don’t give money to someone on the Internet that you’ve never met in person.
- Don’t give out your personal information to someone that you are talking to online.
- If someone is moving the relationship super fast, be cautious by slowing the relationship down.
- Don’t get too serious with someone without at least video chatting with them or meeting them in person first.
- If they have a job overseas, this is a huge red flag that they might be a romance scammer since they usually use this as an excuse to not see you or video chat with you.
- If someone is randomly contacting you out-of-the-blue on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter this usually means they are a romance scammer.
- Report any scam that you’ve been a part of to the FTC, IC3, and FBI.
Social Catfish is Here to Help You!
If you think you’re dealing with busting a romance scam or have had your pictures stolen, Social Catfish is here to help you!
If you want to be a part of our next YouTube video or blog post and share your story, now is your chance. You can educate our audience about what you have gone through and make sure no one else goes through the same thing. All you need to do is email ShareMyStory@socialcatfish.com, and we will get back to you with more details.
You can also reverse search any information you have on the Nigerian romance scammer to see who it is you’ve really been talking to. If you have their name, email address, phone number, social media username, or image you can search it up in our search bar to see if there is more information on the suspected scammer you are talking to.