She seemed too good to be true.
A 28-year-old British man, who won’t share his name for reasons that will become obvious, was in love. A woman named Carrol Brown friended him on social media, right out of the blue. It was like she fell from Heaven.
Brown’s photographs depicted a gorgeous brunette with a fitness blogger’s body. There were plenty of pictures on her profile. She even posted videos of herself working out.
Meanwhile, the man (let’s call him “Dave”) was thrilled with the attention this beautiful woman was showing him. They would text and email, and it seemed like a relationship was forming. But soon, warning signs began to pile up.
Dave wanted a phone call.
Brown said that she couldn’t possibly call him. When Dave pushed the issue, she reminded him that she was “shy.” That’s the excuse she used when Dave asked her to introduce herself to his mother and sister, who wanted to meet the woman Dave swore he would marry.
When Dave got frustrated with Brown’s constant evasion, she began leaving voicemail messages in an effort to cheer him up. That was the second big clue that Brown was not who she said she was. The voicemail messages were clearly computer-generated.
At some point, Brown sent Dave a picture of “her” birthday cake. She asked him to send her a birthday present. If that wasn’t red flag enough, the ruse finally fell apart when Dave found a social media account that seemed to feature pictures of Brown. This page belonged to a fitness social media manager named Courtney Wilsnagh.
So happy to announce I'm a KYMIRA Sport Athlete !!😅😁
Use COURTNEY15 for 15% off …your welcome 😉 pic.twitter.com/GogEDOpM44
— Courtney Wilsnagh (@courtzwilsnagh) October 21, 2015
Wilsnagh was real. Carrol Brown was not.
Dave finally realized he was the victim of a sophisticated catfishing scheme.
During his infatuation with a woman who did not exist, Dave had opportunities to marry women in his community. Twice. He turned them both down. He said that he would marry Brown as soon as he had enough money to buy a diamond ring. He even worked two jobs to speed up the process.
The woman he loved was an invention designed to make him mail expensive gifts to the scammer (or scammers).
A reporter from Unliad, where, curiously, Wilsnagh also works, spoke to Dave. Dave’s quote is heartbreaking.
“It’s really hurt me, I loved her a lot. I got two marriage proposals that I turned down for her,” the man said. “It’s difficult to breathe daily. I think what happened to me? What have I done to deserve this? Did I do anything wrong? I was deeply in love with her and now I feel like I’m dying. I don’t have answers for my family, I don’t have answers for my friends, I don’t have answers for this world, I’m feeling very bad.”
If nothing else, we can all learn from Dave’s tragic experience. When love on the internet seems too good to be true, it probably is.