Sometimes on the internet, what you see is not what you get. That goes double for dating apps.
Sorrachat “Nat” Phonwattana learned that the hard way this week when he was conned into sending THB89,000 (about US$2,700) to a scam artist he had met on a dating app.
Yesterday, our humbled hero brought all his gathered evidence to Meung Police Station in Chantaburi province to officially file a police report.
Sorrachat explained to authorities that he could hardly believe his luck when such a pretty woman, who went by the alias “Kwan,” started talking to him via a dating app on Nov 5, reported Amarin TV.
And so began the classic “catfish” maneuver, in which someone adopts another personality online in order to part a mark from his or her money (or sometimes just to mess with them).
When the two moved their conversation over to LINE, a popular phone-based messaging app, “Kwan” immediately brought up her financial “misfortune,” claiming that she didn’t have money to pay for necessities for she had “misplaced” her ATM card.
More than ready to sweep in as the hero, Sorrachat didn’t hesitate to transfer money to what he thought was his very own damsel is distress — over and over again.
In the span of two days, Sorrachat ended up making a baffling 13 transfers that totalled THB89,330 (US$2,700), according to Thairath.
When Sorrachat tried contacting “Kwan” to arrange the payback, the catfisher deleted her profiles and simply disappeared into thin cyber air.
Was he the only one that didn’t see that coming? Apparently.
Investigators at Meung Police Station told Sorrachat that they were unable to help him as this qualifies as a civil matter. They, instead, recommended he contact a lawyer to build a case and take it to court. (Editor: Authorities are potentially about to gain the ability to track internet traffic and seize private computers, but where’s the legislation protecting us from catfishers, eh?)
As it turns out, Sorrachat wasn’t the only victim.
Ariyapat Meegeaow, 37, was shocked to find out that it was her face that had lured poor Sorrachat to his financial doom. Ariyapat, who only found out when a friend showed her the fake profiles, filed her own complaint over alleged identity theft at Bangkok’s Hua Mak Police Station yesterday.
“That can’t be me. I’m past the age to use dating apps,” Ariyapat told Amarin TV in an interview.
Meanwhile, Sorrachat told the local media that he had learned from his mistakes. In fact, he said, he has written “Don’t lend money to anyone” on a piece of paper and stuck it near his bed (because this story couldn’t get any sadder).
It is an expensive lesson he doesn’t ever want to forget, he said.