A 60-year-old man has told of how some of his friends don’t even talk to him anymore – after he was the victim of an elaborate cat-fishing scam that saw naked images of him posted on social media.
The man – known as Bart – said the scam also saw him lose around €6,000, as he thought he was meeting the new love of his life.
Bart said he began talking to a lady in Ghana via Skype and had shared intimate images with the woman.
However, when he went to Ghana to meet the woman, nobody was there.
He was subsequently contacted to say the chat had been hacked, with the hackers demanding €60,000 or else the uncompromising images would be posted online.
Bart refused to make the payment and said naked images of him were posted on Facebook.
He said gardai told him they couldn’t get involved because it was outside their jurisdiction.
Speaking to Joe Duffy on RTE Liveline, Bart said the woman had initially got in touch with him following work he was doing with not-for-profit clothes shop which he was to supply to an orphanage in Ghana.
Things snowballed and Bart said he fell “head over heels” for the woman. He said she’d even sent him money for his birthday, so he had no reason to believe anything untoward was going on.
“I never heard of Skype before I met her and she said go on Skype and we can chat on Skype.
“I met her then on Skype and we were chatting very intimately.
“I was so excited about going to Ghana and everybody was telling me I was wrong, but I couldn’t see beyond that.”
He said that after going to Ghana, the woman didn’t turn up, despite him sending her a sum of money for requests she made, such as security.
“I got a phone call then to say that our lines had been hacked and they wanted €60,000 off me or they were going to put pictures of me on Facebook naked with her,” Bart said.
“I didn’t give them the €60,000 and they put the photographs on Facebook and that, Joe was totally, totally embarrassing.
“Not alone was I after losing somebody who I thought was going to be the love of my life, again after my wife died, it was just humiliating. It’s even humiliating to talk about it,” he added.
Bart said he also paid a guy purporting to be an investigator in order to get the money that he had sent back.
And this was also a scam – with Bart saying he lost around €6,000 in total.
When asked about his friends seeing the photos, Bart said:
“Some were very supportive, a lot were supportive, but some don’t even talk to me today and that’s 18 months ago.
“People thought I was selling my body, believe it or not, that’s how bad things were,” he added.
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