Hi all! I’m gonna tell you a little story about how I was catfished by an Instagram user! Sigh, it’s quite embarrassing but at the same time was a blessing in disguise. Although my story has a happy ending these situations happen very often and are very dangerous! Many ill people hide behind their computers and lure innocent people in to meet up or take money from. Please be careful of the information you share to a complete stranger you meet online, you never know who is on the receiving end!
As you may know being a single mom is incredibly busy, a little lonely and you find yourself in a very vulnerable place. As for me, I didn’t consider myself vulnerable until this incident happened to me. I was unsuspecting of an innocent hello from a fellow Instagram user. By his profile picture and posts he seemed handsomely pleasant and he wanted to get to know me so I went along with his request and said hello back.
He told me he was an American pilot living in Northern California and traveled frequently to Istanbul but had a supposed contract that kept him there for long periods of time. He continued to tell me he was a widower with a six year old son (who mostly stayed with the grandmother while he traveled for work). We shared many common interests in music, religion and books/poetry. His English was superb so the thought never crossed my mind that he could be foreign. We shared photos back and forth (little did I know he was stealing photos from another account) and even promised to video call when he had better cell service. I started to question when the promises were followed by multiple excuses why he couldn’t call. One being the cell service in Istanbul was poor but I thought to myself “why the heck would one of the largest cities in Turkey have bad cell service?!” then quickly told myself “what do I know? I’ve never been overseas before!” Sadly gullible, I know, but in my defense he connected with me when I was in a very sad place. I had just been rejected by a guy I met on a dating app. We had an amazing first meeting and laughed the night away until 2 am on a work day but because I am a Christian and I have a kid he didn’t want to pursue me any further, I was never even given a chance. Dating is brutal in a single mom’s world. It’s hard enough to find the time and energy to go out and then when you do, it’s a big disappointment!
As I continued to get to know my new friend I was eager to see him live on video. Before I could get deeply involved I wanted to make sure he was who he claimed to be. I had a hunch the whole time but I ignored my gut instinct. He was quick to say he was in love with me and that I was his dream girl, which for any woman, this is a big red flag right there!! He even convinced me that on his way to work he would buy me flowers and take a picture with them so I knew he was legit, again another stolen photo!
I told him he needed to prove himself and if truthfully the cell service was bad then he could simply write my name/date on a piece of paper and take a selfie with it! Well, he did this but it was clearly photoshopped with an obvious font designed to look like handwriting! Oh boy, when I saw this I hit the ceiling! I was so mad I immediately jumped onto Instagram and searched all the possible pilot hashtags I could find until I finally found the real pilot he was pretending to be, Captain Joe!! Luckily Captain Joe is very popular social media icon and I only had to search for about an hour until I found a young man’s post about meeting the famous German pilot. I contacted his official page and alerted him of the imposter. I also told my friend I had figured him out and I immediately blocked him!
Again with overwhelming disappointment, I was sad that I lost my new friendship and wondered how I could get along so well with this person. After a couple of days, I really did miss him so I wrote him back and told him I was giving him one last chance to tell me the truth and reveal his true identity, and so he did!
I will keep his name private but I will describe him a little to you all. He is a Nigerian, handsome young man in his mid twenties, has a smile that warms your heart and has the sweetest disposition. He models in photos for fashion in his country, loves learning about America and dreams of being here one day! I know all this because we have video chatted on multiple occasions and I consider him a real friend now. He has taught me so much and I don’t fault the man, I even understand what he was doing and have completely forgiven him as well.
One time I was sharing my story to an older gentleman at a restaurant bar and he told me about when he was a young man in his mid-20s. Like my Nigerian friend he pretended to be someone else, particularly an FBI agent, so he could impress a girl he met at a club. He went all out with earpiece and all! This man did not grow up to be a loser either, he is a very successful business owner of three large companies! He told me young men do this sort of thing all the time when they want to impress a girl. They try to be something bigger and better than who they currently are. As for my sweet friend, a girl like me is very rare in his country, maybe even nonexistent and he wanted to catch my attention and my heart.
Above all he treated me like a real person instead of a sex object and his gratefulness helped me to understand what it feels like for someone to really like me for who I am. Unfortunately, he lied about who he was and we could be nothing more than just friends. Another thing though is he opened my eyes to a way of life others live across the world as he walked me through his home streets and I watched on video! I loved seeing him shake the hand of every single person he passed on the dirt roads, it was almost like he is a star in his own part of the world. I’m so happy to have made this connection because it also made me appreciate the luxuries we have in our country. Running clean water is abundant and electricity is continuous.
[**UPDATE** after chatting with an acquaintance of mine I realized how naive I was being and was reminded that not all people have good intentions…I have decided not to engage in conversations with my Nigerian so-called-friend because I realized that any true friend of mine would never lie or try to deceive me. Sadly that’s life and I have moved on with lessons learned.]
Finally to conclude, I have made a new connection with Captain Joe as well!! I would have never know about his Instagram account if this situation had not occurred and now I’m one of his newest fans! “Yeah Buddy!” ~ Captain Joe.
I urge you to follow Captain Joe too. He has an exciting Instagram page about his travels and a very informative YouTube channel about aviation! Here are some of his links:
Instagram – @flywithcaptainjoe
Website – www.flywithcaptainjoe.com
My prayer for you, especially the lonely single moms out there, is to have a clear head and be alert of your surroundings! Don’t allow yourself to be manipulated into believing lies from an imposter, whether you meet that someone online or in person! Cheers to you all and have a blessed week!
With all my love,