Catfish investigations: A lesson learned
Leeds Private Investigator
“I met Sarah online. We had the same interests and both of us had just been through horrible break-ups. It was like talking to the other side of the same coin, she understood everything that I’d gone through. My brother, who is naturally more suspicious than me, wondered if this online angel who seemed so wonderful was for real. I said that I’d asked a lot of questions; we’ve all heard stories of online relationships being based on lies so I had wanted to reassure myself.
We talked for a week or so, but she was reluctant to meet up. She said it would be difficult, whatever that meant.
It was during the third week chatting to her that she broke down in tears and told me that she was in arrears with her rent and that the landlord was threatening to evict her. I asked her how much she needed. £2000 would be enough to pay off the arrears and cover the next month’s rent. She’d spent her money on her divorce, food and school clothes for her two daughters.
I did what I thought any friend would do if they could, I offered to lend her the money. Sarah refused but I, foolishly as it turned out, nagged her until she took the money. I posted a cheque that night.
And then reality hit. I never heard from Sarah again. Her online profile disappeared. Her e-mail address didn’t work, and she was no longer resident at the address she’d given me. Her ex partner was still living at the address and he said that he’d given her any mail that had come for her as they’d agreed. Panic! She had my money.
My brother looked as though he could kill me, or her, he was so angry that I’d been duped. He contacted Owl Investigations and arranged for a private detective to carry out an investigation on Sarah and the situation. They didn’t call me an idiot or chastise me for being trusting. They told me that it sounded like I was the victim of fraud, and that a catfish investigation would reveal more.
“Sarah” was a known criminal and not actually called Sarah. She didn’t have any children and had no rent issues. She’d caught a ferry to Ireland once the cheque had cleared and was supposing that I wouldn’t seek a catfish investigation. She was arrested when she returned to the UK to see her sister who was under surveillance.
It hurt that someone could have used my compassion against me. I’ll be cautious of tales and who I chat to online, in fact, I’ve come off social media. My brother has been kind enough not to raise the subject again and I will hopefully accumulate the money over time. A criminal case found in my favour. That helps but to be honest, my pride is more wounded than my bank balance.”
Con artists test your susceptibility to lies and gain your confidence as they chat to you online. When there is an emotional or financial cost attached to a friendship please speak to Owl Investigations catfish investigation specialists.