How to cut a ‘catfish’ con artist’s bait

Posted at 7:18 PM, Apr 10, 2014
and last updated 2014-04-10 19:18:32-04

An online security expert weighed in on signs of a Facebook catfishing scam after an Emporia woman was nearly duped by a con artist using Bishop T.D. Jakes' likeness to reel her in.

"This is an appeal to the trust factor inside of Facebook, which is you are who you say you are.  So people assume it to be true, which is actually not always the case," said online security expert Hemanshu Nigam.

Someone using a Facebook page with a picture of the famous bishop messaged Claudette Woodley last month, offering to send her money to replace her broken furnace.  In return, she was asked to wire $80 to Nigeria first.

"When somebody says send me money to get money, that's the biggest tell-tale sign," said Nigam.  "If somebody is asking you to send money out of the United States and their location is inside the United States, you're getting scammed."

When it comes to Facebook profiles, Nigam said there are things that can signal a catfishing scheme.

"How long has that profile been up? How many friends do they have?" Nigam said.

"Sometimes what these scams will do is create multiple profiles," said Nigam.  "But when you click on any one of those, you start seeing similar characteristics. Bad English, profile was just created, barely any friends."

The clerk at the Emporia Walmart stopped Woodley from sending the money.

NewsChannel 3 has been reaching out to T.D. Jakes Ministries, but we have not received a response.