Cheri went through a divorce in 1981 and spent years as a single mom and grandmother. She finally decided to try online dating, so her friend helped her set up a Plenty of Fish profile. That’s where she met Garret who lived in Naperville, IL, while Cheri was from Muskego, WI. They formed a romantic relationship until she realized that she was helping a romance scammer with his crimes. Here is her story.
Why Did Cheri Decide to Try Online Dating?
Cheri is a single mom of two grown children and thirteen grandkids. She has been divorced since 1981 to get away from her ex-husband’s drug and alcohol problem. They were married for six years before she decided to get away from an awful situation. She did not know about his addictions before they were married. She was the one who divorced him due to her fears of her children being around drugs and alcohol. He has passed away since they have been divorced due to his unresolved addictions.
She decided to try online dating after being single for so long and went on to Plenty of Fish. Her friend helped her set up her account and get started on the online dating site. She saw Garret’s profile on POF and loved that he was a Christian and affectionate. She decided to message him and quickly hit it off with him. They would text and call each other all day and all night, reading devotions and praying with each other. She fell madly in love with him.
Romance scammers know how to say and do the right things in order to get their victims to fall for them, especially Garret. He would talk on the phone with Cheri’s 8-year-old granddaughter every night, and she loved it. Cheri loved that Garret was becoming a part of the family, even if he was miles away over the phone.
How Did the Romance Scam Start?
One day at the grocery store, he asked Cheri if she could buy him a vanilla gift card for $115. She told him she didn’t have an extra $115 to spend, and he started to guilt-trip her for not wanting to help him. He told her he would pay her back and told her that if she wanted to spend the rest of her life with him she needed to help him purchase things too.
However, he was only asking for a gift card since the money would be untraceable making it nearly impossible for Cheri to get her money back. This happened to her 3-5 times throughout the course of their relationship.
How Did Cheri Work for the Romance Scammer?
Then, he started asking her to go pick up phones for him at AT&T. She had to pay the sales tax of around $100 each time she went to go pick up phones for him. She would then send the phones to Garret’s construction workers in New York so that they can communicate with one another on the job.
However, something seemed off to Cheri since he would change up the location of where she would purchase the phones each time she did this favor for him. Also, whenever she would question him, he wouldn’t take no for an answer. He would keep reminding her that he was going to be with her forever and would pay her back once he saw her.
Cheri would sneak off during her lunch break to make these purchases, so she kept asking Garret why he couldn’t go get the phones. His excuse was that he was busy working, but so was she. She would have to drive an hour to a phone store and ship them off with UPS while rushing on her lunch to get it all done in time. She felt like she had to do this though because whenever she would confront Garret he would get mad at her for even suggesting that she didn’t want to do this.
How Did She Find Out that Garret Was a Romance Scammer?
One day when she went to go get more phones, she went to the same phone store for a second time. The salesperson looked at her like she had seen her before and said that there was a hold-up on the account. She then got a bad feeling that something was going to happen and went outside to call Garret. As soon as she told him there was a hold-up on his account, Garret instructed her to get out of there as fast as possible without saying anything to the salespeople.
She rushed out of the parking lot, scared that police cars were going to come around the corner at any moment. She drove away from the phone store and into another parking lot to cry. She wondered what she was doing and why she believed that everything was okay when obviously it wasn’t.
She had her sister over the weekend after this happened. Cheri’s sister saw the UPS labels and a phone sitting on her bed and asked her what that was for. Cheri told her that she needed to send them to Garret since he had her pick them up for him. Cheri’s sister then proceeded to ask why he couldn’t pick the phones up instead.
Cheri claimed that Garret was busy and couldn’t do it so she was helping him out. Her sister took pictures of the phone and a day later called Cheri to ask if she knew the phones were going to Dubai. She claimed she knew, and her sister proceeded to tell her that he was a freight forwarder.
Garret would talk bad about her family during the duration of their relationship. He would claim that he couldn’t wait to get home so that they could prove her family wrong. He did this so that Cheri would pull away from her family and do the things he was asking her to do without telling anyone. By doing this, he made sure that Cheri couldn’t get talked out of being in a relationship with him or falling for his scam.
The team at Social Catfish suspects that he was using someone else’s phone carrier account to purchase the phones. He then asked Cheri to pick up the phones and mail them to different parts of Dubai, claiming that he had construction workers there too. However, instead, he would take the phones shipped to him and sell them for cash.
How Did the Break Up Affect Her?
After she knew the relationship with her romance scammer was done, she would cry constantly in her room. She didn’t want to see anyone and didn’t want to go to work after what happened to her. She called out of work for a week and would ask her daughter to bring her food. She would eat in the bedroom away from her family. She felt angry and thought that it was their fault her relationship with Garret was ruined, even though it wasn’t their fault. Garret stopped talking to her completely after Cheri found out this was a scam.
Cheri wants everyone to know that they need to listen to their gut and their families if something seems suspicious. Don’t turn your back on them, because your loved ones will always be there for you. If they are telling you that you are possibly dating a romance scammer, you need to believe in what your loved ones are telling you and become suspicious too.
Social Catfish is Here to Help You!
If you think you’re dealing with a romance scammer 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 the 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 cargo 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 romance scammer you are talking to.