Maggie Knottingham, 57, finally FaceTimed a man she had been talking to online for months.
“HELLO,” he said, “I’VE BEEN TRYING TO REACH YOU ABOUT YOUR CARS EXTENDED WARRANTY.”
This was the sixth time Maggie had been catfished in a year. “Once I was talking to a nice Canadian soldier,” she explained. We were in love. We spoke every single week about our lives, goals, and dreams. We exchanged photos and gifts. When I finally was brave enough to video chat, he answered the phone telling me I qualified for student loan forgiveness…”
Robotic spam calls have been getting more and more creative over the years. Our investigative team spoke to a government task force personnel member assigned to trace the catfish. “It used to be that they used telephone numbers that appeared to be from your area to get you to answer the phone, now, some guy name Joshua has proposed marriage to 1,200 women online, just to get them to hear about an exclusive loan offer.”
Maggie wants other people to be aware of her misfortune. She says since this has happened too many times, she sat down and made a list of red flags she should not have ignored.
“One never remembered my name, and one sent me a photo of Enrique Iglesias claiming it was him. They were never available to FaceTime until months later. One told me his name was Tony but his friends called him AutoBot9000. It didn’t seem suspicious at the time. You know how men like to make up dumb nicknames for each other,” she recalls.
It is unknown how many people on average are targeted for these scams. The task force personnel has advised people to not answer their phones in the future for any number you do not recognize. If that does not work, consider throwing your phone into the nearest river.