Crystal is a woman from Columbia, South Carolina who was talking to a man named Derrick Phan living in Hong Kong. They met on PlentyOfFish and planned on getting married. However, there was one thing that was holding them back from these future plans. Crystal had never met Derrick in person since he got in an accident that prevented him from visiting her when she bought his plane ticket. Is he a romance scammer? Social Catfish interviewed her and performed an in-depth search to find out.
What Led Crystal to Online Dating?
Crystal was single and widowed for a number of years, so her friend suggested she tried online dating. Crystal signed up for PlentyOfFish and tried online dating for the first time ever. She met Derrick while she was swiping through her matches. They started talking back and forth then he suggested they go on Google Hangouts to get to know each other more.
“He seemed like the perfect match for me; we were compatible it seemed,” Crystal stated about their relationship.
At first, she was apprehensive about online dating because she was didn’t feel comfortable about not knowing who you were really talking to. After a while, she felt more comfortable about online dating once she started talking to Derrick. She felt safer online dating because she thought that Derrick was a real person she could trust.
They talked about plans for their future and talked about how they wanted to marry each other someday. He enjoyed talking to her about his son, his job, and his mother, while she talked about herself, her children, and her job.
What Were Some Red Flags That Derrick Could Possibly Be a Romance Scammer?
Derrick told her he grew up in Texas, even though his accent was really thick. He sounded like he just came to America, even though he claimed actually grew up here. He had no idea what some American phrases were that Americans could usually pick up in conversation.
He always said he was gonna finish his last job and then he was gonna come here. He talked about how they were gonna get married and move in together once he was done working overseas.
How Did He Start Asking Her For Money?
Derrick and Crystal were only talking for three weeks before he asked her for money. He would ask her to send him money because his debit card supposedly didn’t work in Hong Kong. She told him that she could help him that once, but she wasn’t able to do it all the time. However, he increasingly started asking for more and more money.
He wanted Crystal to send him $1100 so that he could buy a plane ticket to come and see her. However, once she got him a plane ticket he supposedly got hit by a truck on the way to the airport. He was rushed to the hospital and now he has all these hospital bills he needs to pay back. He’s been forwarding her emails from his doctor needing money for bills due to all of his injuries, expecting that she will help him pay back his hospital bills. In total, she lost $40k due to helping him pay off all these hospital bills.
Crystal is still talking to him so that she can get information on him for an investigation. She became suspicious after she ran all of his emails through Social Catfish’s reverse email address search and none of them were registered to a real person. Because of this, she hired our search specialist Linnie to investigate if he was really a real person based on other information she had.
What Did Social Catfish’s Search Specialist Find?
Linnie looked up his name in the reverse search bar. It asked where Derrick was from, so Linnie put New York in the search, which was one of the places he said he lived. After inputting all of this information, she found no information on a person with that name.
She searched up the addresses Crystal gave her, and there was no record that he lived at any of those addresses either. If Derrick were a real person, he would receive mail, finance a cell phone, hold a mortgage, and do more of those types of things. This would allow him to show up in the reverse name search results, but he was not showing up no matter what Linnie searched. Therefore, that’s how Linnie was able to know that it was a fake name.
Crystal sent Linnie a screenshot of an email from a certain company where they were talking about Derrick’s inheritance. However, it’s not common that a company would be sending her emails like this about inheritance. Therefore, this seemed like a fake scenario that would never happen with a legit company.
Linnie also confirmed that within that email, there was a fake document that was not from an attorney’s office. Along with this, they were asking for her passport picture even though it didn’t make sense for the document that was sent to her.
She also got an email from “hospitality,” when it was supposed to say hospital, which counts as a suspicious spelling error. To go along with this, doctors normally don’t stop what they are doing to compose an email about their patients’ conditions. Also, the doctor’s name was Charles Wayne. Both of these are first names, which is a common way that scammers come up with fake persona names to scam their victims.
When Derrick’s accident supposedly happened, he sent Crystal a photo of himself supposedly in the hospital bed. However, with further research, we found out that the photo he sent her was actually photoshopped. He photoshopped his head to another person’s body, making it look like he was in a hospital bed when he wasn’t.
Linnie also confirmed that the man in the photos is not the person she was really talking to. They found the actual man’s photos on another website with a different name. She tracked his location in Japan, which is a surprise because normally we find the scammers in Nigeria.
“They have an amazing way that they can tell you that white is black and black is white and you believe them. Psychologically, they use all these tools they know about how these work and that’s the hard part,” Linnie states about this investigation.
How Does Crystal Feel Knowing That Derrick is a Romance Scammer?
Crystal feels peace about these results, knowing now that Derrick is a romance scammer. She feels stupid and humiliated about these results but at the same time, she feels vindicated and knows that she can now block him. She doesn’t want the scammer to be able to scam other people and wants to find the real man in the photos that were used to let him know that his photos are being used to scam people.
Social Catfish is Here to Help You Unveil Your Romance Scammer!
If you think you’re dealing with a romance scammer, if you are a cargo scam victim, 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.