Because of embarrassment, victims rarely admit they were scammed. Most victims are women over fifty years old, single, and looking for a relationship, as reported CBS news’ Meg Oliver explained.
Reed had fallen for a catphish she met on Facebook. He called himself “Scott Humpal,” and he evidently asked Reed for money to pay medical bills. Despite never having met him, she sent this stranger more than $50,000 over several months. Reed’s family reported the scam after she ran out of money and showed signs of plotting to kill her 88-year-old mother for the life insurance. Reed has been charged with fraud and conspiracy to commit murder.
There is in fact a real Scott Humpal, although he wasn’t the one in touch with Reed. Effectively a victim of stolen identity, he lives in Corpus Christi, Texas. Humpal’s wife had died in a plane crash, and shortly after the tragedy, he began receiving suspicious Facebook messages. Humpal didn’t know the people sending him messages. He responded only to be told that the people who’d contacted him had been conversing with someone claiming to be him on an Internet dating platform. Humpal discovered that scammers had created multiple profiles using his name, and that “hundreds” of women had fallen for the fake Humpal.
Adam Levin, founder of Cyber-Scout, calls catphishers “emotional terrorists, not caring whom they destroy or how they destroy them. All they are after is money.” Levin said Humpal was the ideal victim of identity theft for catphishing: he’s a handsome and well-to-do widower.