One cannot help but feel sorry for 67-year-old Michael Morgan, who thought he had found love with Caryl Jones, a 35-year-old nurse working at Groote Schuur Hospital.
He was so taken with Jones, who he met on Craigslist, that he travelled 13 000 kilometres from North Carolina, across the Atlantic Ocean, to meet her.
How much did he know about her? Well, according to IOL, he had that photo above to go on, as well as her claims that she had inherited $12 million (about R140 million) from her diamond baron dad.
My alarm bells would be going befok right now, but the retired divorcee thought he had hit the jackpot:
[He] placed a personal ad on Craigslist in December 2017.
He met Caryl the following month and they started chatting via email and text messages. After exchanging photos, they also called each other.
He says Caryl claimed to be a nurse working at an exchange programme at Groote Schuur, and that she was a British citizen whose parents were living in Cape Town.
She told him her father had died and that her mother was suffering from Alzheimer’s disease.
“She was going to come to me, but claimed she could not fly over to the US because her mother told her she had inherited $12 million from her dad,” Michael [above] explains.
“She claimed her father worked in the diamond industry. She said she attempted to travel with the money, but that she had been stopped by customs. She said she needed a passport which cost $44 000, and that she needed R7 000 to get it.”
Rather than give her the cash, Morgan decided to fly to Cape Town to meet Jones. Sadly, we all know where this is going:
“I gave her my flight itinerary and she knew I would be wearing a cowboy hat and a sweater saying ‘big daddy’. But when I got there, she was not there.
Look, he rocked up in a sweater reading ‘big daddy’. Someone needs to marry this man. Moving on.
“I got myself a South African cellphone number and told her where I was staying and even called her.
“On Wednesday, I took a taxi to the address which she said was her home, 27 Clifford Avenue, Vredehoek. But there was no number 27 in that road.
“Then we drove past Groote Schuur and I told the taxi to stop. I went to administration and asked if they have a Caryl Jones on their staff listing.
“They hesitated at first, but later told me there was no one there with that name and said that love was truly blind.”
Morgan says he spent about $1 700 (R20 000) on flights, around $300 (R3 500) for taxi services, and then his hotel stay, but there is a little ray of sunshine coming out of this one:
Michael left South Africa on Sunday and says despite his heartbreak, Cape Town was a “perfect holiday destination”.
I don’t know whose picture the ‘catfishing’ scam artist was using, but it pays to exercise caution with people you meet online.
Here’s hoping Michael returns to our shores soon, big daddy sweater and all, for a happier ending.
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