There are many romance scammers that catfish their victims on online dating apps and social media platforms as soon as it gets close to Valentine’s Day. Some romance scammers steal photos of social media influencers and pretend to be them since their photos are so accessible yet they aren’t famous enough to recognize them. However, there are some instances where romance scammers pretend to be a major celebrity and the victim believes that it’s actually them. In the most recent case, someone became a Bruno Mars catfish and scammed a woman out of $100K. Here are some crazy catfish stories that will blow your mind this Valentine’s Day, including the story of the Bruno Mars catfish.
Bruno Mars Catfish Scams Woman Out of $100k
A woman was 63-years-old at the time when Bruno Mars supposedly messaged her, wanting to get to know her more. He sent her a direct message on Instagram back in 2018 and has been talking to her since. He would send her photos of Bruno Mars on tour and flirtatious messages to get the woman to fall for him. After developing an online relationship with her more and more each day, he asked her for money only a few months into their relationship.
The romance scammer convinced her he needed checks for a plethora of reasons. He asked if she could mail him checks for $10k one time and $90k for another time. According to TMZ, checks were made out to “Chi Autos” and “tour expenses” as requested by the fake Bruno Mars. He said that if she helped him pay for the tour, he would come home to her and be with her.
Once authorities got involved, they discovered that Chinwendu Azuonwu was the one pretending to be Bruno Mars in order to get his hands on this lady’s money. He was taken into custody and charged with third-degree felony money laundering. They are hoping this scammer can cooperate with authorities so that they can uncover an even bigger group of scammers. His bail is set to $30,000 during a court hearing at Harris County.
Romance Scammer Claims He Needs Money For Daughter’s Surgery
A woman named Mary Darby was on a dating app when she thought she met the man of her dreams. This man told her how much he had fallen for her and how much he meant to her, which made her fall even more for this man. Things were going great for a few months as he showed he genuinely cared for her and wanted to get to know her.
However, things took a turn for the worst when he claimed that his daughter needed surgery and couldn’t afford it. He then started asking Mary for a plethora of gift cards in order to help him pay for his daughter’s surgery. He created an account for her to deposit these gift cards into.
The first time he asked for money, one of the co-payments ended up being $500. Then, the scammer said he needed another $500 for surgery and then again asked her for $1,000 for another payment toward the surgery. Mary helped pay all these money amounts plus more, not realizing at the time that the story wasn’t real.
Romance Scammer Claims He Was Sent Overseas on a Business Trip
This woman who we will call Emily met this guy who we will call Eric on an undisclosed dating app. Emily was the first one to reach out to Eric after seeing his profile, and since then they were messaging each other every day. After a small amount of time, Eric told Emily he could already see a future with her, which didn’t sit right with her. She thought that Eric was taking things too fast, and suspected that something fishy was going on.
She tried to figure out why he was so interested in her when she was 69-years-old and he claimed to be almost 55-years-old. She would try to scare him off and think of reasons why he shouldn’t be with her, but he stayed anyway. He wanted to meet her at a local restaurant since they were hitting it off over messaging. However, the day before the date Eric supposedly had to go away on a business trip overseas.
While he was supposedly overseas on his business trip, Eric had lost one of his suitcases with a bunch of account information in it. He asked Emily if she could help him buy equipment for his job and send money to him, promising to pay her back. Emily was suspicious of this but finally agreed to help Eric out with the funds. She believed him since her money was going to a third-party agent that Eric swore he never talked to.
Weeks went by, and Eric continued to pester Emily about sending him money. Emily’s family tried to chime in and help, but Emily would lie to them stating that she wasn’t sending him any money. When she tried to confront Eric about how she felt whenever she would send him money, Eric would always turn the tables back on her and claim that she was hurting his feelings.
She then had enough when her family started to show her articles about countless romance scams. She thought that Eric would never do that to her until he canceled yet another in-person meeting on her. She finally came clean to her family admitting that she gave $12,000 to him. With the help of her family, she ended up deleting all of Eric’s contact information and never talked to him again.
How to Avoid the Bruno Mars Catfish and Other Romance Scammers
Don’t give money to someone on the Internet that you’ve never met in person.
Don’t give out your personal information to someone that you are talking to online.
If someone is moving the relationship super fast, be cautious by slowing the relationship down.
Don’t get too serious with someone without at least video chatting with them or meeting them in person first.
If they have a job overseas, this is a huge red flag that they might be a romance scammer since they usually use this as an excuse to not see you or video chat with you.
If someone is randomly contacting you out-of-the-blue on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter this usually means they are a romance scammer.
Report any scam that you’ve been a part of to the FTC, IC3, and FBI.
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