This is one of the worst romance scam stories we have ever covered, so be prepared as you read this story. Katy Qi from Chicago, IL started dating online on a site called OurTime. She met a man named John Bao Duong online after only a few months of online dating and started connecting with him instantly. However, something didn’t seem right once John started asking for money non-stop, causing Katy to drain her life savings. He ended up being a romance scammer that duped her out of $370k. Here is her story.
Why Did Katy Start Online Dating?
Katy is a mother of two children who owned a restaurant with her ex-boyfriend, who is also the father to her kids. They were in an unhealthy relationship and decided to separate, so they sold the restaurant they owned together. Katy felt like he didn’t care about her so she was ready to move on after they split up.
After the restaurant was sold, she put all her energy and effort into her children. However, once her kids were sent off to college, she turned to online dating with barely any experience. She felt very lonely once her kids went off to college and felt like she needed a companion, which is why she turned to online dating.
What Made Katy Fall For Her Romance Scammer?
She met John online through the dating app OurTime and continued to have conversations with him. She thought that he cared about her with the flirtatious things he would say, and swept Katy off her feet.
He told her that he went to church all the time and believed in Jesus. He would also make donations to the less fortunate when he could. He came off as a good loyal man, and eventually, talked about marriage. Things were really starting to look good for this new couple until he started to ask Katy for money.
How Did the Romance Scammer Start Asking Katy for Money?
John told Katy he was starting up a construction company and needed $21,320 to register his new company. He told Katy that he had to start up his business immediately, meaning that he needed the money right away. Katy sent him the money, but it wasn’t good enough for John.
He asked Katy if she had other money in her bank and she told him that she had money in her Citi Bank for her kids’ tuition. He asked her to pay for the contracts that he needed and always promised that it would only last for 2-3 months. However, this wasn’t the case as the money he needed for the contracts seemed endless.
He always told her he would pay her back but she hasn’t seen even a penny of her money back. He stated that he needed $80,000 to hire people to the company and $70,000 for gear and cleaning products due to the pandemic.
Katy was in deep after giving him all this money but was scared that if she broke it off with John he wouldn’t give her her money back. Whenever he would run out of money to pay his workers he would ask Katy for more and more money. She was paying for an entire company’s salary for months.
Where Did Katy Get All This Money?
She got all her money from Citibank through her kid’s tuition money and life savings. She also borrowed $70k from her brother, $90k through a loan and her 401k, and she borrowed $80k through her life insurance. Now, she has to keep working to earn all her money back.
What Made Her Stop Sending the Romance Scammer Money?
John said that there was an accident at his job where something exploded. The explosion supposedly injured some of his workers while some died from this accident. Because of this, he was asking Katy to pay for their hospital fees.
She told him she could no longer give him money and exhausted all her resources. However, he was persistent, so she tried to send him more money. She tried to refinance her house, but thankfully, the bank denied her request.
What Did Our Search Specialist Find Out?
Linnie, our search specialist, started to investigate who this man really was after the Scamfish interview. She looked up his license to see if it was real, and the name, John Ba Duong, and other information such as his addresses, jobs, and contact info checked out. However, they couldn’t find his social media profiles to verify his photos.
When doing a reverse image search, they found that his photos were actually of another man, and not of John. Because of this, the driver’s license was proven to be photoshopped after they found the source of the original image. The photos that were sent to Katie of John at the hospital were also photoshopped.
The scammer took the head of the original photo and photoshopped it onto the photo of him in the hospital as “proof” that he was injured. What the catfish will often do is take photos from the Internet and photoshop the face of the person you think you’re talking to onto the photo.
They will use these photos to prove that they are a contractor, and engineer, at the hospital, or anything else that they want you to believe. The number used to contact John was only found on the fake website of his supposed company.
Social Catfish is Here to Help You!
Katy is now recovering financially. We sent her to a therapist and are working hard to get some of her money back.
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.