"Love Makes You Do Crazy, Stupid, Irrational Things": A Single Mom Fell Victim To An Online Romance Scammer Pretending To Be Dacre Montgomery From "Stranger Things"
"The day Season 4 came out, the day before, he texted me and he said, "Hey, you need to watch Episode 4' ... and when it came out the next day, he showed up in that episode, and I was like, well, 'Who else would know that?'"
Stranger Things is one of the most popular Netflix original series, with millions of dedicated fans who have fallen in love with the characters and the actors who play them.
Recently, an unidentified online scammer purportedly took advantage of a Stranger Things fan when they pretended to be Dacre Montgomery, who plays the character Billy on the show, according to Entertainment Weekly.
The victim's name is McKayla, and she is a single mom from Kentucky. McKayla requested help from a YouTube channel called Catfished to find out if the person she had been in a relationship with was actually Dacre.
According to Catfished's video on McKayla’s experience, which has garnered nearly 600,000 views, the story seemingly began when McKayla joined an online artist forum to connect with other artists.
McKayla began messaging a user on the forum who told her that they were the famous actor from the Netflix show.
After multiple intimate conversations, McKayla revealed that “Montgomery” asked her to be his girlfriend, but she never spoke to him via phone call or video chat.
After a year of online communications, the scammer told McKayla that she needed to make a choice to be in a relationship with him or her husband. McKayla said she told the scammer, "There's no competition, you treat me better."
McKayla revealed that one of the reasons that made her genuinely believe she was speaking to Montgomery was that he knew details about new episodes of Stranger Things that would turn out to be true once the episodes aired.
McKayla also shared another instance that convinced her: After she bought a copy of Montgomery's book, DKMH: Poems by Dacre Montgomery, the scammer would send her additional poems that she believed matched Montgomery's writing style.
McKayla eventually began sending money to the scammer after he claimed that his girlfriend, Liv Pollock, controlled their joint accounts and he would have to constantly ask her for money. "I understood that point because my ex was very controlling with our money," McKayla told the YouTubers.
After McKayla shared all the evidence she had, the Catfished YouTube team did some research and found information that directly contradicted many things the scammer was telling McKayla.
The scammer had also sent a check to McKayla that the team found had a fake signature commonly used by online scammers.
"Love makes you do crazy, stupid, irrational things, I promise. And trauma does one heck of a thing to a person. So instead of judging that person on why they did that to a total stranger that they had never met, maybe look and see if that person has been traumatized by something," McKayla said.
Online scammers are clever, so here are some tips to protect yourself and your money. According to Australia's Scamwatch, you should never give money or personal information to anyone online, never click a link in a message, and contact your bank if you suspect any unusual activity.
You can watch Catfished's episode on McKayla here.