But we have outcome in the 4th, a selfie Paul claims is him in the military uniform.
It leads us towards the Instagram page of Juan Avalos, a life that is real whoever page features exactly the same pictures delivered to us by Paul. He has got uploaded a caution about catfish because therefore numerous fraudsters have actually been utilizing their photos to scam individuals.
Juan told us: “this option will state almost anything to anyone and lie. We come across a lot of communications, also if We suggest to them it isn’t me personally they nevertheless don’t think it as they are therefore profoundly in love. “
For the following weeks that are few my producer continues to talk to Paul Richard regarding the phone when I listen in.
Paul speaks gushingly about their life that is future together their intends to proceed to the united kingdom to be with Kathryn once their army solution finishes.
The lovoo dating app conversations develop longer and much more regular, punctuated with kisses, flirtatious responses and a request that is regular images.
There is only one thing standing in the form of our future pleasure – Paul’s son is ill and desperately requires medical assistance. He wants $800 (?620) to fund young Rick’s therapy.
Paul states we have to spend the bucks to their nanny in america, a lady called Marcy Krovak.
It really is a breakthrough because, unlike Paul Richard, Marcy Krovak is a real individual.
Mule: a person who transfers cash or products for the catfish
Catfish require genuine individuals to get money for them as some type of recognition needs to be shown when transactions that are collecting. Some of those cash mules are innocent victims tricked into forwarding on money, other people come in from the scam.
We do not understand whether Marcy is with in so we head to Slippery Rock, Pennsylvania, where she lives on it or not.
We deliver her a tiny bit of money to see it up if she will pick.
The following three times are spent sitting in a blacked out van outside Marcy’s neighborhood Western Union.
We spot lots of ladies who appear to be her going in but each and every time it is an security. That is false.
Then, simply once we think our sting has unsuccessful, we get a notification telling us the bucks is found making use of Marcy’s ID.
But it is been gathered 400 kilometers away – in nyc.
Whenever we ask Marcy what’s happening, she claims she is additionally a target of our catfish: “we never ever would definitely head to Western Union and choose that cash up however now someone’s utilized my information and gone and chosen it. It absolutely was maybe perhaps not me personally, I didn’t get it done. Please find this individual. “
The unveil: Unmasking the catfish
It looks like we now have struck another dead end, then again our catfish makes an error.
Paul Richard inadvertently departs title label – Dan Coolman – using one of their WhatsApp images.
We sort through all of the Dan Coolmans in Nigeria therefore we find a person who operates a barbershop in Ibadan. He is utilizing the exact same quantity that our catfish happens to be calling us from.
Dan Coolman is another name that is false but we find the phone is registered to Daniel Joseph Okechkwu.
We then find a Twitter account with that title plus the profile that is same because the one utilized by Dan Coolman.
We now have finally uncovered the genuine identification of our catfish.
We head for Ibadan, but because of the right time we make it happen he is gone. The doorways into the barber store are locked and locals state it has been closed for days.
There clearly was an image of y our catfish posing with an individual from the region of the building, but no-one generally seems to understand where Daniel Joseph Okechkwu went.
After 3 months of conversing with our catfish, we opt to phone him and make sure he understands whom we actually are.
Interestingly, he does not say goodbye right away. He sticks to their tale about being a soldier that is us insists his title is Paul Richard. He denies scamming anyone and then concludes the phone call.
It feels as though an end that is disappointing our search, but later on that night he calls right right back.
This time around, Daniel Joseph Okechkwu confesses. He claims it is the first love scam he is ever taken and because of the closure of his barber shop that he has been forced to do it.
He appears honest and then he apologises when it comes to real means he’s got addressed us.
Our catfish states he desires to stop being fully a romance fraudster. But he requires us to offer him cash, to make certain that they can manage to stop tricking other individuals from their money.
It is a classic catfish twist. They never give up the scam even if they are rumbled.
You can view BBC Panorama’s Billion-Pound Romance Scam on Monday November that is 19th at on BBC One, or a short while later on BBCiPlayer.