When people are placed into unfortunate situations, they can find themselves playing into the hands of others at their own expense. While not all people can say that they have been scammed during their lives, even less can say that a so called "friend" was the one who scammed them. Below, people share how they were manipulated by people they trusted the most.
Some content edited for clarification.
"I was an introverted teen that never had any real connections with people, had a group of friends but nothing super close and family life was pretty cold. All that made me desperate deep down for some sort of connection with someone, and that's when the catfish entered.
I encountered them through a Steam friend seeking forum, and they added me saying that we enjoyed the same games and all that. At first, it was purely platonic; we played games and it was fun. Unlike everyone else in my life at the time, they wanted to get to know me, they actually seemed interested in getting to know me, asking me about my life, my feelings, school all that.
Over the next few weeks and months, they said all the right things to me and flirted with me. They sent pictures to me, and honestly she was really cute. I sent her a pic of me, I hated my appearance and am not at all attractive, so I was half expecting her to immediately block me. My anxiety was through the roof, but they actually complimented me and said I was handsome and cute. I was shocked as I had never received compliments about my appearance in my life, and at this point, she had me wrapped around her finger. We chatted over the phone too, and their voice sounded normal, not masculine, but not exactly feminine either, so I didn't doubt them.
Eventually she confessed her love for me and I at the time didn't realize it but I felt the same. She suggested we start an online relationship, and I was so down for any relationship with a pretty gamer girl. A few months passed and everything was great. I loved the attention she gave me and fact she actually seemed to care, we talked every day almost nonstop and spent nights chatting over the phone. Then the weird stories started, I assume she brought these in because she was bored with me but knew at this point I was so into this relationship that I would buy anything.
She told me that her family was abusive towards her and that her sister took advantage of her. Apparently, her sister was in love with her and obsessed. I had no idea what to do after being told something like that; I told her I'd do anything I could to help or something like that. This story would keep coming up with the sister finding out about me and thinking I was trying to steal her sister.
At the time, I thought she was done with me she or got what she wanted from me or maybe even she was in too deep and just wanted out. Some months after that whole thing went down with her sister, she started saying things like her depression was coming back and hinting at suicidal feelings. I had dealt with depression too, so I tried my best to make her feel somewhat better however I could. Her depression and suicidal thoughts kept getting worse until she told me she was done and was going to commit suicide. She told me it wasn't my fault and that she loved me, but she couldn't handle life. I had no idea what to do she stopped responding on message, I called and nothing. I was terrified and felt like my world was collapsing. I told her I was going to call the cops in case she was hurt or something using an address she sent me ages ago, as I went to actually call the cops she responded saying for me not to and trying to convince me to let her go and I should respect her decision. But I was clinging so hard onto this reality of this smart, funny, cute girl actually showing me love. After what seemed like forever, the back and forth of her trying to get rid of me the mask fell, and she started being abusive towards me, insulting me and ripping my heart out. I think she was just trying anything to end this relationship. I left the phone after that back and forth in shock and basically just crawled into a ball and cried. She blocked me shortly after and I heard nothing for weeks.
I was broken after that. Basically never left my room and stopped going to school. Cried nonstop and I felt like I was dying. I kept thinking she would come back because it was one of her depressive episodes, and she would be okay like I am after mine but the other thought was that she actually hurt herself and it was my fault. I spiraled out of control for the next few months.
She added me back about a month or two later telling me the truth, she was actually a guy, originally started doing this as a way to get free stuff, which I did end up buying her games and whatnot during the relationship, but with me he started to feel something and got scared wanted to end it. The abusive sister was his friend's idea that knew about the catfishing, but he didn't want to do it. They blocked me again before I could even respond.
I got fooled and this caused a lot of issues with my life and largely effected who I am today. My first and only ever real connection with someone, and it was built on a lie."
"A 'Friend' asked me to cash a check for him. He didn't have a bank account and said he’d recently lost his ID. We were young enough that it was plausible he didn’t have a bank account having never had a legitimate job.
The check was stolen. I didn’t get in trouble, but the money was taken from my account to pay back the affected parties. It hurt losing a chunk of change and feeling used. I'm over it now. I choose better people to be around."
"I was ripped off by a 'friend' I had a crush on who turned out to be a backstabber.
This was many years ago when I was nicer and much more trusting/naïve. These two 'friends' had moved into the house I owned. I rented out the rooms to make some extra money. They each paid $300 a month with everything included. The first friend had lived with me for months before the other moved in and I had become very close to him. But he wasn't interested in me so that was annoying, but we trusted each other. I was looking for another person for the spare room to make some money. Through a friend of a friend, of a friend ... online ... we found someone. At first, he was a nice guy. He'd pay his bills and treated me nicely.
After some time he started talking to me less and less. It got to the point where everything was monosyllabic answers — yep, no, meh, ugh, and he'd walk off. It got to the point I felt unwanted in my own house and I went into a very nasty depressive spiral.
Well, that went on for a while, and we all started to work at an Amazon warehouse, but different shifts. I was an idiot and locked myself out one day. So I managed to get a friend of a friend who was in the area to get me to his place in the next town since I didn't have any friends locally. It was getting very cold and rainy so there wasn't any place I could stay without being kicked out for the next 10+ hours until they got off.
I get to my friend's place, we hang out, and I call my roommates asking if they can simply pick me up on their way home. He starts going, 'Oh ... uhmmm well ... CLICK! ... 'Well that's odd ...' I call the other roommate, and basically the same thing ... My cool friend I was with tried them too since they were also friends. He gets the same treatment. Well, sadly my friend couldn't give me a ride since he had his license revoked, so he was biking to work.
I tried contacting my friends, but guess what, my phone had died, my laptop had died too, so I had no way of communicating. I got stuck at my friend's place for five days. No way to get home as it too far to walk home. By this time I had lost my job, as I couldn't afford to get to work, I had $10 on me, that was it.
On the fifth day, I got desperate and the last of my money I bribed a friend of a friend to get me home.
I finally got home, all of their stuff was gone. Along with the only working TV which they swore I gave to them but didn't and other various other things that were mine. I found their keys on the table and a food bowl overflowing for the cat.
After calming down a month or so later, I figured out how much they owed me with the missing TV, other stuff. I also learned that they had basically eloped together as they had become a couple and only kept saying they couldn't pay their rent because they were saving up to move out and get eloped."
"It was a kid the late 80s and had a 'friend' call me up who invited me over to his house because he wanted to clean my Nintendo Entertainment Systems (NES). I thought it was strange, but he was very insistent and I didn't want to argue. I brought it over, he started cleaning the NES. He asked me to get something from the kitchen. I went, found it after a few seconds of searching, and brought it back. He said he was finished, left the NES on top of his TV, and left the room to get something.
But then I noticed my NES looked different. I stared at it a bit, it was missing a crack that had always been there. Looked on the floor where his NES was, it had the crack. The little jerk tried to switch them. I tensed up, as didn't want to argue with the kid, and confrontation wasn't my strong point. I just switched them back as quickly as I could. He was gone for a while, so I actually had a lot of time. After he came back, I told him I had to go, thanked him for the cleaning, and went home.
After about 30 minutes, he called my house again. He asked me which NES I took home. I told him I took mine. He asked again, 'Yeah, but did you take the one on the TV or the one on the floor?' I just told him again, I took mine. he sounded defeated as he said 'alright, bye.'"
"So, I used to role-play on Facebook. There was a guy who used to play Negan from 'The Walking Dead' who I quickly became friends with. He used to post pictures of his family — a girlfriend and three children, including a step-daughter he acquired from a different relationship. The girl's mother died, and she was left with him.
Weird things started happening. Tragedies kept happening. Small ones at first, like fires where nobody died, him having to dump his girlfriend because she relapsed, the harrowing tales of him as a single dad with all those kids... It all seemed so much, but our friend circle, and I, earnestly believed everything he said.
Then he told us his ex-girlfriend died of an overdose. Then, there was a carbon monoxide accident that killed two of the kids. He started dating the sister of the dead ex-girlfriend. She had kids she was bringing into the relationship. This new girl even had an account and pictures, with him and her posing together, looking happy.
Negan started a GoFundMe to pay for funeral expenses, using his real name. After weeks of him in my inbox, threatening suicide and acting crazy, I donated $200 to his fund to help him. The page was shut down shortly after for being a fraud. A mutual friend did a quick Google search, and we were horrified.
People on Facebook were saying 'Negan' was a former friend of theirs. It was them... The 'dead' ex, the current girlfriend, and their families... Nobody was dead. The kids weren't his. He was friends with these two ladies before, and they let him stay in their homes. He took pics of their kids, and of them, and was claiming they were his family. The children were safe, and in the cares of their mothers, who were horrified to find the GoFundMe pages with their children on it, saying they're dead.
I got a refund, and the entire writing group blocked Negan. I realized I was, in fact, too trusting, and now it's hard for me to believe anyone online anymore, for any reason. No matter what it is. I just assume everyone is a Negan, and I tread lightly, especially regarding my money."
"I have a friend. Scratch that, I had a friend.
This friend commissioned me to do art of a character of theirs, no problem. I was relying pretty heavily on this particular commission to get grocery money as it had been a painfully slow month, and I just wasn't going to have the funds to both pay my rent and get food. My partner had also had a medical emergency and had been off work, so I was doing the heavy lifting for funds. It was stressful, but I was confident that so long as I had this commission done we would scrape by for the month, we would still have to be careful, but we wouldn't starve and rent would be paid on time.
The initial character was relatively simple, and they agreed on the quoted price quoted the price.
I got to work on this piece right away, and suddenly this person decided they wanted me to do a different character for them, no problem, sketches don't take that long and I have no issue scrapping a sketch to do a different piece for a client if they decide they want something else.
The character they switched to was not nearly as simple as the first. It had complex hair, a complex outfit involving a lot of finicky fabric and various animal skulls, a different body shape which was going to be a little trickier to draw, and wings.
I got the piece done with great turnaround; I didn't do anything but focus on this piece for days. I didn't have a choice. Food. Eat. Live. Plus they were a friend, so I was happy to really buckle down and make this great. I finished it, sent it their way, and they loved it, were absolutely head over heels with it. I asked if they would fill out the payment form and get that done.
Later on, I got back and checked my payment processor to be sure nothing had gone wrong. The money was there, yay! Except it wasn't the correct amount of money. The money I had been sent was the amount for the original quote, not the updated one I'd given them. When I confronted them about it, they got very weird about the whole thing and basically laid out that because the original quote was a certain amount, that that was all the money they were willing to pay, and was all the money they had set aside for this.
The original quote was around $100, and the updated quote was closer to $300, but I had made it very clear that this was the updated price they would be paying, and they had agreed. When I pointed this out and confronted them about it, they threatened to not pay me anything. My payment processor doesn't have seller protection for digital goods, and because there would be a chargeback fee, I would be left in the red. So I was essentially backed into a corner to take the $100 or end up with less money.
I took the money.
We're not friends anymore, I won't do work for them, and now they've made the whole thing more difficult for other clients because I expect full payment upfront and won't begin working before I get my money. Which is unfortunate because that can make clients antsy (it's a lot more common to pay after work is done or to pay half up front and half upon completion), but I literally can't afford to be taken advantage of like that again. I'm mad about it to this day, and it's completely changed how I handle all my clients and my work in general now."
"A guy on my wrestling team sold me what was supposed to be an 8th but was like a gram of the devil's lettuce. A week before the season started. He dodged me until practice started up.
He was a bigger and stronger guy, but a crappy wrestler. I repeatedly suplexed him in practice until he promised to give my money back the next day. When he didn't have it, I hit him with a blast double and then put him in an arm bar with a figure 4 lock on his head (it was a legal move at the time around 2008). I squeezed so hard he passed out and pooped his pants. He came too and went home.
I told his girlfriend (a good friend of mine) I made him crap his pants because he tried to scam me, and she made him pay me back under the condition that she'd break up with him if he didn't. He brought the money to me the next day.
He stopped showing up to wrestling practice after that."
"Back in the day, I took over car payments for a friend with the understanding he'd sign over the note when it was paid off.
Well, we paid the place in person, but then he said no worries he'll just take over the payments. I should have listened to that alarm going off in my head.
A couple of months later, after I had put close to $3,000 into the car getting it up and running really well, I woke up one morning and the car was gone. It turns out that it had been repossessed. I estimate I was about $4,500 out-of-pocket by then.
That was the end of that friendship."
"I was 15 and had a job delivering newspapers, and my 'friend' found out I earned and saved over $300. He wrote a passionate letter about how he just did work to his truck that his dad bought him, and wanted me to loan him $300 to buy an alarm, for which he would pay me back through a payment plan he wrote up.
I never got a cent back from him, and now he sends me messages on Facebook to see how I am, and I want to tell him I lost my house, and I work part-time jobs to make ends meet, and I could really use that $300, even thought I'm now in my 30s."
"I used to sell a lot of virtual items for real money. I sold items across multiple games but most of my money came from 'Team Fortress 2' (a video game) hats and 'Counter Strike' (another video game) weapons.
Back in the day, there were a lot of gambling sites for Counter Strike where you could put your skin in and it’s dollar value would be put into a pot. If you won, you got all the other people skins. There was this friend I had known for well over three years. We had been playing games for a while, and he was a trader himself. This friend was about 15-16 and was in a movie when he was younger which gave him a large chunk of change. He became basically addicted to gambling skins and lost his entire inventory. He would buy items and keys from places and immediately gamble them. After about a week or so, he asked me to sell him about $800 worth of items for only about $700 since he was a friend.
It turns out that he had gotten access to his bank account with the money from the movie stored away for college. He spent nearly $15,000 of the $25,000 he had. Once his dad found out they went straight to the bank and claimed fraud that someone stole the card and used it to purchase items. The bank issued a full refund to him which caused PayPal to do a giant chargeback in every single account he had bought from. I checked my PayPal about two months after I had sold him the items to see my account balance, now down $700. I was basically crying on the floor trying to figure out how I was going to explain it to my parents. Not only was I out $800 of items to the kid but had to sell another $700 worth of items to cover the PayPal debt."