Katonyia Fernandez was scammed by a guy claiming his name was Earnest on Instagram. He stole pictures from a Nigerian celebrity, Jim Iyke, and pretended to be the guy in the photos. They chatted for a span of 6 months, where Fernandez was trying to be cautious and be friends with him at first. Eventually, she started seeing signs that he could be a scammer and reached out to us for help.
Romance Scammers Rely on VOIP Numbers
She first noticed the signs that something wasn’t quite right when she tried to call him the few times she did. The calls were super spotty and were always cutting out. This was a major sign that Earnest had a VOIP number, which is a number that is linked to your username instead of your device.
You usually download an app on your device, log in to it with your username and password, and now have a completely new phone number on your device with the desired area code. This makes it look like you’re from the area that you’re telling someone you’re from.
Romance Scammer Pretending to Be Jim Iyke Uses Sephora As An Excuse to Ask For Money
Then he told Fernandez that he was trying to build Nigeria‘s first Sephora. However, Sephora supposedly told him that he needed to take on the responsibility of building and funding it. Because of this, he called Fernandez freaking out because he couldn’t find the gift card he needed to demonstrate something. He tried to ask Fernandez to fund it, but she lied and said she couldn’t afford it.
She then hung up on the phone call and started crying as she texted him, “So I guess it’s over then?”
“Why would you think that?” he replied.
“Because you just showed me that this is about money, and I don’t have money to give,” she replied.
How Did Fernandez Realize That Earnest Is a Romance Scammer That Stole Photos From Jim Iyke?
That’s when he tried explaining that it wasn’t about the money at all, but she didn’t believe a word he was saying. She went onto Google and started to do her research on romance scammers. That’s when she stumbled onto Social Catfish and asked us to help her in exchange for her sharing her story with our audience.
We looked into Earnest and found that there were no records of a guy named Earnest ever existing. We ran an image search on the pictures sent to Fernandez and found that the photo he was using belonged to a Nigerian celebrity named Jim Iyke. Her feelings were hurt finding out this information, but in the long run, she was glad she didn’t send him any money.
What is Fernandez Up To Now?
Since this situation happened, she was able to move on and find someone who truly does care for her on a dating app. She met someone that she knew 25 years ago and ended up falling in love for real with him. Her advice to those who need it is to pray about what happened if you are religious. She also stated that it’s ok to cry as you’re letting go of the situation.
We are all human, and we all need to use wisdom when going on these dating apps. After the scam, she did a lot of research on online romances before getting back on a dating app and meeting the guy she’s with now.
How to Spot a Romance Scammer and Avoid Them
Romance scammers are known to sit in an office-like environment as they scam people out of their hard-earned money. This is a full-time job to many people, and chances are you are talking to multiple scammers if you are talking to a fake profile. They will do whatever and say whatever they can to make you think they care about you so they can get your hands on your life savings.
The best way to tell if you are being scammed is to look to Social Catfish to help you when it comes to running an image search on the person you are talking to or running a reverse phone search to see if their number is a VOIP number. We can also help you run social media username reverse searches, address searches, and email address searches if you need them.
Jim Iyke is one of many social media influencers who has had their images stolen by scammers. There are many romance scammers using fake profiles that you need to keep a wary eye out for. This is why you always need to trust your gut, and never send money to or receive money from anyone online.
If you would like to share your story with Social Catfish and be featured in our next YouTube video or blog post, you can email us at ShareMyStory@socialcatfish.com. This will give you the opportunity to educate our audience on the experiences you’ve gone through so they can realize the signs of a romance scammer before ever being scammed.