5 awful online dating 'catfish' stories
A costly love
He might as well have fallen in love with a Nigerian prince. After giving $200,000 to a woman he met online, a Naperville, Ill., man grew concerned. He hadn't heard from the woman since she received the money. They were in an online relationship for two-and-a-half years.
Fearing that his lady friend had been kidnapped, the man called the police. Unfortunately, they informed him that "the female didn't exist," the Naperville Sun reported.
-- By Kristin Wong
Revenge disguised as romance
MTV's Catfish is an increasingly popular show that documents stories of online romance gone awry. One episode featured a single mom named Jasmine.
Jasmine was set to meet her longtime online boyfriend, Mike, for the first time. But during the filming of this encounter, she was confronted by a woman from her past -- Mhissy. Apparently, years ago Mhissy and Jasmine were involved in a love triangle in which Jasmine was "the other woman." As it turned out, "Mike" was merely an incarnation of Mhissy's spite -- and for two years, Jasmine fell for it.
Paula Bonhomme was devastated when her online love, a volunteer firefighter, died unexpectedly in 2006. They'd been communicating for a year, and “James” had sent her a series of gifts, including a lock of his hair.
Upon hearing about his death, Paula took a trip to the Southwest to visit James' favorite places. However, she soon found out there was no James. "James" was created by a woman named Janna St. James -- a friend of Paula's -- who had gone so far as to use a voice-altering device to pose as "James" on the telephone. Paula said of the incident:
"When you take it all apart and look at it, oh, you feel like such an idiot. … But when it's unspooled on you tiny bit by tiny bit and mixed in with reality, how do you even know where the lie begins?"
Mingle gone wrong
Despite her reservations, Debbie Best joined Christian dating website Mingle2.com. She hit it off with a man named John Scofield. "Our bond became a little bit stronger each conversation," Best told the Huffington Post.
But two months into the relationship, Scofield said he planned to use $700,000 in savings to travel to Nigeria. "That's when things kind of went to hell," Debbie said.
He started asking Debbie for money until it became harassment. She then found his profile on a site that identified Internet scammers. His response?
"Just send me the money!"
Debbie reported her phony boyfriend to the website, but she doesn't know if she'll trust anyone again.
To Russia, with love
A 45-year-old man from LaPorte County, Ind., fell for a woman from Russia. The two met on an online dating site and were chatting for about a month before the woman wanted to move in with him.
She kindly asked for $1,000 to buy a plane ticket to the United States. He obliged. She then needed another $2,000 to cover moving expenses. Again, the man obliged.
But after receiving the money, the woman deleted her profile from the dating site. The anonymous man emailed her, but she never responded. He had lost thousands of dollars—and a girlfriend.
Unfortunately, LaPorte County police said there wasn't much they could do since the scam originated overseas.