The 56-year-old Oakland woman, identified as Yin, told ABC7 that she had no time for a social life as she worked as a hairstylist and cared for her elderly mother.
“I never talk about … mention about meeting new guy at work because I’m a shy person (sic),” said Yin.
Yin went on March.com and bought a six-month membership. She met someone named “David Perez,” who claimed to be a Marine Corps Major and a divorced father, from San Francisco.
Do you know this U.S. Marine? His pictures have been used to scam an Oakland woman out of her life savings, after she used a popular dating site. I’m working on the story. #ABC7now pic.twitter.com/EcksYJongb
— Dan Noyes (@dannoyes) March 18, 2019
They had exchanged photos and even texted. At one point, Perez said he was deployed in Afghanistan.
“I fell in love with him quickly, you know,” Yin told ABC7 via ABC11. “Like really deeply fall in love with him, trust in everything he said.”
Yin showed the local news station a text message from him, which said, “Today was just an ordinary day until I thought of you and suddenly everything, everywhere became extraordinary.”
He also wrote, according to the text she had received, “We have to keep our relationship between us ok. Promise me that. Because most friends could be jealous.” She answered him with: “Sure! I promise.”
I’m preparing a special report later today about scam artists. Have you lost money to a scam?
— Dan Noyes (@dannoyes) March 18, 2019
After about five weeks, he tried to scam her for money.
He told her that he is on a secret mission in Afghanistan and needs money quickly. “I know you’re doing everything to help me, but I just want you to try your best,” he told her at one point.
“I was so nervous shaking, I did not know what to do,” Yin told the ABC affiliate. “I told him, he said don’t worry, don’t worry, you know don’t cry.”
An extreme case of #catfishing has cost an Oakland hair stylist her life savings. The scammer used a U.S. Marine’s photographs, and she respected and trusted the military. Finishing up the investigation for tonight. #ABC7now pic.twitter.com/tC171lpI22
— Dan Noyes (@dannoyes) March 19, 2019
Yin then sent money to someone she never met.
According to ABC7, she sent “$273,000 … over quarter of million dollars.”
Kerry O’Brien with the Federal Trade Commission’s Western Region told the I-Team that she isn’t alone.
“Talk to your friends and family about your relationship,” said O’Brien in the report. “If they’re suspicious, you know, you probably should be too, but the main thing is don’t be embarrassed if you fall victim to this type of scam. These people are really good at what they do.”
Yin used most of the cash from a Chase Bank account, and, according to ABC7, there isn’t much they can do.
“This particular case is difficult because the customer confirmed and willingly made the transactions. This is why we urge customers to only send money to people they know and trust. We will continue to look into any and all options,” she said.
Yin realized what was happening when she said he would meet her at a birthday dinner at a restaurant. He never came, she said.
“He said he was in the, in the restaurant waiting for me,” Yin told the station. “I went there, I couldn’t see him, that’s why I said a, you know, it’s probably a scam.”
The scammed California woman then told Match.com that she lost her life savings to a scam artist. They then deleted the “David Perez” account and refunded her money, which amounted to about $107.
She filed a complaint with the FBI several months ago, but she hasn’t gotten any word back from them.
According to Digital Trends, at the end of “Catfish,” the documentary, the term “catfishing” was coined.
The narrator says, “They used to tank cod from Alaska all the way to China. They’d keep them in vats in the ship. By the time the codfish reached China, the flesh was mush and tasteless. So this guy came up with the idea that if you put these cods in these big vats, put some catfish in with them and the catfish will keep the cod agile. And there are those people who are catfish in life. And they keep you on your toes.”
“They keep you guessing, they keep you thinking, they keep you fresh. And I thank god for the catfish because we would be droll, boring and dull if we didn’t have somebody nipping at our fin.”