A nurse has shared a fake photo sent by an online ‘catfish’ – who asked for her hand in marriage after just a day chatting on Facebook.
Karen Prescott, 48, was stunned when the “fit fella” approached her on the site – but now hopes her hilarious story can act as a warning about the perils of online dating.
The man – who called himself ‘James’ – had the cheek to ask her for £1,000 to help him get out of the army.
It was one of several slip-ups that gave him away – along with shoddy photo editing skills, tall tales and unconvincing Manchester accent.
The mum-of-two from Southport, Merseyside, says the ordeal has made her think “this dating malarkey” is “too much” for her.
Karen said: “This fit fella messages me, only after one day he starts declaring his undying love for me, wants to marry me and spend the rest of our lives together.
“But he [claims he] is stuck in the army and needs £1,000 to get out so he can be with me.
“How thick does he think I am?
“I told him the photos clearly aren’t him and he said I made him cry because I don’t trust him or love him back.
“I asked him to send a picture of him with a piece of paper with my name on and he sent this!”
Karen met ‘James’ on Facebook’s dating website. He sent her an image of a topless man – and claimed it was him.
He sent another image that was doctored so it showed her name on a blank piece of paper. A finger in front of the note looks suspiciously cropped, and the amateur edit has left the digit looking oddly bent.
The sign, which Karen believes was photographed in front of a mirror, says: “I love you Karen Prescott”.
Karen believes the person she was speaking to was a ‘catfish’. The term describes people who lure others into a relationship by way of a fictional online persona, often using fake photos taken from other people’s social media profiles.
Karen continued: “He told me his name was James Jack, said he was from Manchester but in Andover with the Army.
“Said he’d just returned from Iraq, has one daughter, and has been divorced for three years.
“I tried to video call him and he said it was a breach of security because he is in the Army.
“He did ring me and tried to do a Manchester accent but he was clearly not British and I’ve never heard anything so funny in my life.”
Karen has since blocked and reported the man.
She has offered advice for those looking for love online.
She said: “Trust your gut. Nobody loves anyone without meeting them, and never send any money or give personal details.
“If it looks too good to be true, it probably is.”
Facebook Dating has a series of safety guidelines. Users are advised to keep all identifying information private, report and block anyone who asks for this information, and to watch out for scams. Facebook also says users should never send money.