It was just a normal day at Social Catfish. The marketing team was busy at work, coming up with creative ideas and talking amongst one another. That’s when our social media manager, Jennifer Williams, got a message from one of many Nigerian scammers, who we will call Bill for the purpose of this article, telling us that his friend, Lisa, was being scammed by a man named Philip.
Bill lives in the country Nigeria where most people make a living off of scamming older women in the United States. He started talking to Lisa, at first with intentions to scam her. He then started to get to know her and form a friendship with her and revealed to her what his true intentions were. Now he doesn’t plan on taking her income but instead wants her to pay for his trip to California to see his friend.
She then confided in him that she was seeing a man named Philip, who he claimed lived in Texas and was on a business trip to England. He was telling her that he was trapped in the English Embassy which is a major red flag for someone who is one of the Nigerian scammers. Bill said that he knew Philip was a scammer, and was working on a plan to steal Lisa’s funds.
At first, Jennifer interviewed Bill to get more information on how Nigerian scammers scam, and why he wanted to help Lisa.
So Philip is a scammer, and you know he is scamming the same person you’re talking to?
Yeah he’s doing that and I don’t like it, so I want him gone. The reason why I want him gone is he’s actually going to scam all her savings when she receives $60,000-$80,000 in let’s say the next two weeks. She already told me that so don’t worry.
So she told you that she’s sending him $60,000-$80,000?
She’s not sending him, she’s gonna recieve that from her husband.
So she told you she’s getting it from her husband, so you know that she’s gonna have this money and if she continues talking to Philip he’s going to try to take that money?
He’s not going to try to take it, he’s going to take it. And I don’t want it to happen because umm… let’s say I have my own selfish reasons. We are all not good you know?
Then, we interviewed Lisa trying to let her know of the motives of the Nigerian scammers.
So our platform is to bring awareness to catfishing, online dating, fraud, and scamming; so do you online date?
I just started like a few months ago, and I’ve been on three dates.
Ok, how many people are you talking to right now?
I’m talking to three people.
It was brought to my attention that you are maybe talking to someone that may not be who they say they are online, and that would be Philip. Are you talking to a guy named Philip right now?
Yeah, I am.
And how long have you been talking to him?
I think since October.
Is he a sweet talker?
Yeah, he is. He’s the opposite of what I’m used to.
Do you FaceTime him?
I FaceTime him. He can see me but I can’t see him.
So he hasn’t shown his face?
No, not like we’re doing now.
The founder of Social Catfish, David McClellan, walks into the interview and introduces himself.
David: My advice is to just be really careful. You do have a bit of a target on your back, nothing that I would essentially be fearful of. These guys are trying to manipulate you and play you. If you can’t meet somebody in person and there are excuses as to why they can’t FaceTime, start asking those questions and be really wary of those who say they’re close to you. We just FaceTimed right here and this is 2020.
If they say they’re a contractor, or an engineer, or some sort of engineer but won’t meet up in person, question them. From what I heard yesterday, it seems like one or both people are trying to play you and we just want to give you a word of caution to just be careful of that.
Lisa: Ok, I appreciate it. Thank you for what you do.
Jennifer: Someone may have information as far as you receiving a divorce settlement, a certain amount. To me, this is also another red flag. They are gonna try so hard to get it.
That puts a bigger target on your back if they know that you’re coming in with a big chunk of money real soon. They’re gonna try everything to ask you, or make you feel bad or guilty, to get you to send the money. Just be very careful about that. Especially, now that they know.
Lisa: Yeah, I hear you. Thank you.
Jennifer: No problem, be careful out there, ok?
Lisa: I’m concerned about Philip. I don’t know if he’s a scammer or not, to be honest with you. Nor can you say he is. That’s the only concern I do have, I don’t feel that Philip is a scammer.
David: I mean, I know that if I were stuck somewhere I would have friends or family to go to the bank for me. If he has access to a phone, he could call the bank and figure it out, and have them send a debit card to him.
Lisa: I work for a bank, and you have to identify yourself in person if there’s been a compromise.
David: So he said somebody stole money out of his bank?
Lisa: They were trying to.
Lisa: So, they locked the account and put notes that there’s been a compromise and stolen identity, and stuff like that. So, you definitely have to go in person.
David: I mean if you just want to send over any information you have, we’ll look into it for you. And then you make whatever judgment that feels appropriate from there. But at least we will give you information to arm yourself. Has he been asking for any money, like gift cards?
Lisa: No if there’s any money involved, it would be BitCoin. And it would be for a room for a day or two or something. And that’s about it. But other than that, no.
David: Yeah, it’s just not common to ask for BitCoin. You have to have a way to access your BitCoin online through your wallet. We see BitCoin often through scams because they’re untraceable. Any other questions for us?
Lisa: No not at this time I don’t, thank you.
David: We will look into that stuff, and give us a few days and we will sync back up.
After the Interviews
Williams started to do her own research on Philip. She ran a reverse image search, a phone number search, and a username search. The phone number belongs to a woman outside of Texas who has quite a record. The woman has a couple of theft violations, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, repeat telephone harassment charges, and driving while intoxicated. We have tried to contact this number, but no one has answered.
Williams found out the guy in the pictures that was trying to scam Lisa was a man named Luca Rajabi.
“A ton of catfish do this every day. I’m public enough that if people are going to use my images for whatever reason, I can not chase down every single matter,” Rajabi states.
If you feel like you are in Lisa’s shoes and need our help figuring out if you’re talking to Nigerian scammers, Social Catfish is definitely the place for you! You can run reverse searches to see if the person you are talking to is who they say they are. If you would like a chance to be in one of our next Scamfish videos, email firstname.lastname@example.org.