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11th Apr 2024

Fake Gary Barlow catfishes elderly woman online


Gary Barlow

“They’re going to be conning these old people”

A woman has been left broken-hearted after she fell victim to a catfish online who claimed to be none other than Gary Barlow.

Janet Smith, 62, was convinced that she was messaging the Take That singer after an account with his name began messaging her on Facebook.

Over a week, the scammer bombarded Janet with compliments, saying that he, as ‘Gary’, had split from his partner, and that he loved her.

However, the woman grew suspicious of his behaviour and demanded that they admit their true identity.

The person behind the Gary Barlow catfish account revealed themselves as a 24-year-old man from Nigeria.

Janet, who is from Colchester, Essex, is now hoping to spread awareness and warn elderly people about online scammers and catfishes.

“Elderly people are going to be adding these ‘celebrities’. They’re going to be conning these old people,” Janet said, per The Mirror.

“I understand that they are poor and they have to get money for their family, but people might lose a lot of money over this. It’s also giving celebrities a bad name.”

The catfish apologised for his actions but claimed he did love Janet and asked for money.

She says that the scammer has been in constant contact with her since revealing who he really to her.

“It’s so sad because he’s been saying to me ‘I love you’.” I said ‘I am 62 – you’re 24’.

“I’m saddened because he is poor and he’s got no money. For the last week, he’s been constantly texting me, asking me where I am.

“He was texting me from 9 am to 3 am.”

The scam began on Facebook in late March after the woman believed she had added the real Gary Barlow.

They messaged back for forth for a week, with Janet saying he was ‘kind’, ‘nice’, and ‘lovely’, as well as complimenting her videos.

She says he maintained the image of a ‘busy artist, claiming he has schedules, meetings, and concert practice to attend.

However, the 62-year-old began to question if it could really be the Take That hitmaker, not believing someone that famous could possibly be messaging her.

“I kept saying, ‘You’re not the real one! ‘ And he was saying, ‘You’re lovely, you’re kind, yes, I am Gary Barlow.'”

To find out once and for all, she exchanged her WhatsApp number for his real identity.

“He sent me a message to say, ‘Look I’m really sorry: I’m going to tell you the truth and he told me his name.

“He is very poor. He’s on WhatsApp and he’s texting me saying, ‘I’m sorry, I’ve done fraud but we come from a poor family.

“I do admire Gary Barlow, I like singing and I like his songs.'”