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Re: Catfish

Message 1 of 2

I know that you posted this some time ago, but I am new here, so could not post sooner.


I am so sorry to hear that this happened to you! We have had a similar experience in our family -- our 20-something son was approached in a Target store and befriended by a woman somewhat older than him who extracted all his savings, little by little, through sob stories that my good-hearted but naive son believed. All communication after the first face-to-face encounter happened electronically. Thankfully, since he was young and had not had a job for too long, she did not get much money -- even so, she took all he had. She got him to buy several hundred dollars' worth of iTunes cards at a time (after each paycheck) and text her the card numbers. She somehow transfered them into cash -- sold them, I guess? We are thankful he went no further with it, such as by giving out his account and PIN numbers, SSN, etc., which if the situation had continued, he might very well have done. I discovered what was going on by accident when I found a couple of thousand dollars' worth of iTunes cards in Target bags hidden in his bedroom, and asked him about them. He reluctantly explained everything, and took his father's and my counsel to heart and cut her off, resisting futher messages and voice mails begging for him not to abandon her. Apparently she had convinced him she loved him and that they would have a future together whenever she got herself financially "straightened out." It was a shame!


My sister-in-laws" elderly, widowed father-in-law was also victimized by a catfish -- he had much, much more to lose, of course, than my young son had, and she took it all. I nevr tried to find out whether catfishing is "legal" (though surely unethical). Since the victim actually agrees to whatever it is the catfish asks for and  the victim gives away is his own property, it seems to me there is no crime, but I do not know since I am not a lawyer. Taking advantage of vulnerability, generosity, good-heartedness, naivete, etc is as old as the hills, not easily discovered by loved ones, and very hard to stop. My in-laws' father-in-law fancied himself "in love with," or was at least fond of, his perpetrator and he was legally responsible for his own decision-making, so he was free to do what he did in spite of attempts by his grown children to stop him. He gave away his childrens' and grandchildrens' inheritance to this woman.


Since your husband was giving away community property (yours and his) you may have some legal recourse, but if there is nothing left to recover (if the catfish got it all), there may be nothing you can recoup. Your very unfortunate story may serve as a warning to all of us who are married but each has freedom to access family funds without the other's approval. Might be a good idea for all of us to consider accounts which require two signatures to access funds -- that way at least no spouse can take the money independently. Though it may be too late for you, I hope you have benefitted someone else through sharing what happened.


All the best!

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Message 2 of 2

I am new to the AARP community so please forgive me if I am repeating a topic that has previously been talked about.

I am in the process of going through a divorce. I am 64 years old and this is the end of my third marriage. Two ended in divorce one ended in death. This is the last emotional state that I want to be in at this point in my life.

My husband was catfished. I had no idea what that was and how long catfishing has been around until it happened to me.

My husband was approached by someone (for this forum we will say a woman) on FaceBook. He friended them. The picture of the person he friended was a picture (which is probably not them) of a young 20 something female. As soon as they started corresponding on FaceBook that person (probably a man) started asking him for money, using excuses such as (mother needed money for medication). When I overheard a phone conversation he was having with this person he confessed. He begged and pleaded and swore that he would never do it again. That lasted for maybe a week. He did it again, and again and again. $300, $1,300, $600. He gave them his ss#, his mother's maiden name, account numbers etc. They forwarded his mail without his knowledge. We closed credit card accounts several times, got the post master involved, went to counseling and he still kept getting scammed.

After 3 or 4 months of this I had enough and I filed for divorce. I thought he would be happy and this would give him his freedom to be with his 20 something person. Well that wasn't good enough he's trying to get every dime he can get from me (I think this 20 something person) is behind this. Because the more money he has the more they can take.

My husband was an executive and very intelligent but when they got their hooks in him they won't let up. I had to divorce him or else I would have been ruined financially. I understand from his daughter he is still being scammed.

I had no idea of this scam until it happened to me. Now I know this has been going on for years and it happens alot. They even have a tv show about it.


I'm curious, has anyone else had this terrible thing happy to them?


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