An elderly American woman known as Terri has revealed she sent nearly $80,000 to her virtual boyfriend before she realized that her relationship may not be what it seemed.
Speaking as a guest on “Dr. Phil,” program, Terri revealed she met her man “Ricardo” on Facebook Messenger two years ago.
A month after they started talking, Ricardo asked Terri to invest $10,000 in Bitcoin, promising a speedy return of $1 million in six months.
Terri has been sending Ricardo money ever since, with only photos and phone calls to prove that her internet boyfriend exists — but she’s never gotten a return from her investments.
Ricardo claimed to be a U.S. citizen from Los Angeles, but says his relocation to Canada for work allegedly prevented him from meeting his lady love in person.
Whenever Terri tried to make arrangements to meet in person, she told Dr. Phil, Ricardo “always had an excuse.”
Terri’s sister, Tammy, felt she was being scammed and went with Terri on the show.
“People are still telling me that Ricardo isn’t real, that he’s scamming me and that he’s not in Canada,” Terri lamented.
“I don’t believe them … I believe Ricardo’s real.”
Dr. Phil agreed with Tammy’s skepticism and exposed “Ricardo” as a scam by fact-checking the story he fed Terri.
The man who really appeared in the photos Ricardo sent to Terri is named James — and this isn’t the first time his likeness has been stolen.
According to James, the photos are taken from his social media and “used for romance scams.”
“I’ve been dealing with this for over 10 years,” James said in a video sent to the “Dr. Phil” show. “I hope this video can show that I am the person in the photos, but I am not the person that Terri has been talking to and sending money to.”
While Terri was devastated to discover that her lover wasn’t real, she vowed to block the scammer and get a new phone number.
“I’m heartbroken,” Terri said to Dr. Phil, “but I’m done.”
Even though she was sad, Terri was able to joke about the situation and say that she didn’t blame James at all.
“If I see [James],” she said, “I won’t punch him out.”