Romance scam warning – ‘catfishing’

It’s hard enough to admit you’ve been conned. But one scam in particular can be so demeaning few people talk about it. It’s the “romance scam,” also known as “catfishing.”

For 6 years now, Betty Forrester in Spartanburg County has been a widow.

It’s something the Pacolet grandmother listed on her Facebook page when she created it a few months ago.

” I had a 35 year marriage to my husband that was wonderful and if I could find another man like he was. I would say yes, in a minute, even at my age,” she sadi.

Enter this man Benito Oghogho. His profile says he lives in Florida but is from Italy.

And when he friended Forrester, it wasn’t long until he was professing his love.

“He was sending me pictures of himself. He was sending me roses animations. He was sending me love songs. And they make you think somebody cares about me,” she said.

It wasn’t before long he was asking Forrester for her address. He told her he was traveling and in trouble and needed to send her his belongings and cash to keep it safe.

The only catch; he needed her to pay for the costly shipping upfront, nearly $3000.

“‘The end result is always going to be going for cash. They’re going to build this profile, they’re going to study you, they’re going to research you. And then continue to milk you,” said Peter Stone, the Management Program Director at Spartanburg Community College.

“I went along with him, and at the same time I was saying to myself Betty this is scam, you’re being scammed but I was still going right along with it.”

And yet when Forrester thought to read the fine print of the shipping documents, she finally listened to her gut.

“At the very bottom of it, it said, beware, not to mention to anyone that this package was coming, that was what made me get in touch with 7news,” she said.

7NewsI was able to take his profile photo, and drag it into a Google image search. As suspected.. Several websites show it belongs to a different man altogether, who probably doesn’t know his image has been stolen.

Forrester never sent a dime.

“I told him I loved him and all of that stuff, but I’m really (laugh), glad it’s gone (laugh) out of my life.”