How much money can catfish rake in by lying and tricking people online? One man, from Millville, New Jersey, managed to help steal a whopping $2.1 million from over 30 women, as part of a detailed scheme. How was he so successful at tricking women he met while online dating?
He pretended to be a trusted member of the United States military. While September 2019 ushered in his capture and arrested, for one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, con artists like him are all over the ‘net. Join us as Social Catfish reviews the tools and cons of criminal catfish use and learn how to protect yourself!
How Rubbin Sarpong Stole Over $2 Million in Elaborate Ghana Dating Scam
Rubbin Sarpong, 35, recently appeared in federal court to face a charge of wire fraud. Based on court filings, he and other conspirators (most who live in Ghana) would create dating site profiles. However, they never intended to look for (real) love or connection. Instead, the profiles were meant to appear authentic.
The scammers would imitate U.S. personnel members and claim they were stationed and living overseas. This gave them the excuse of being “unavailable” to meet. Theft of this level didn’t happen overnight. It lasted from January 2016 to September 2019.
These charges have the potential to land Sarpong in jail for a very long time – up to 20 years, along with a $250k fine. How did he and his fellow con artists make people think they were in love with them? First, they would trick the victim into thinking they were in a real relationship with an online service person.
Next, their requests for money would begin. Usually, the fake service member would claim they needed to ship gold bars to the United States.
These gold bars did not exist. Not knowing this, victims would wire money or send money orders, personal checks, and cashier checks, expecting to be reimbursed.
Sarpong and his conspirators told victims a bunch of excuses as to how they acquired the gold bars. They would explain that they were “awarded” the gold bars from their role in the military. Since the victims believed they would be fully reimbursed for any loans or money forwards once the gold bars arrived, they would send Sarpong money.
One poor woman, gave Sarpong $93k, thinking she would meet his online persona at the airport, where, of course, he did not show. He had sent her fake bills to show that he had $12 million of gold bars from his family, which were safe in trunks. He also forged a U.N. (United Nations) Identity card to “prove” his citizenship and U.N. delivery agent status.
All of this was a lie.
When Sarpong’s invented character failed to show up to the Baltimore/Washington International, where they’d planned to meet, the woman committed suicide the following day.
In the meantime, up until his arrest, Sarpong kept his social media accounts active. He would pose with fancy cars, jewelry, and more, making sure everyone knew he was wealthy.
These images may help convict him, as he would post things like, “WakeUp with 100k” and “Making a phone call to my bank to let them know I’m coming.” His share of the money con was over $800k.
Have you ever been asked to wire money, send gift cards, or help online connections by sending cash or check? Even if you think that you’ve met an attractive member of the military when online dating, beware that they might be a catfish trying to trick you!
Catfish of this variety are con artists, and they use the military as an excuse to not meet in person. They are online criminals who get their victims to fall for romance scams. The victim thinks they’ve met their one and only, a lasting life partner, but the scammer has stolen all the images the victims have seen and don’t exist.
Social Catfish can help you track down scammers and take legal action by searching for their name, email address, phone number, username, and images. Once you find out that you’re being tricked or lied to, you can file a police report or report the fraud to the IC3.
Together we can help keep the web a safer place. Stop letting catfish win! Do a Social Catfish search today: