Ohio woman Judy Mezzatesta was shocked when she fell for an online scam, but even more surprised when she fell in love because of it.
Mezzatesta said she knows to ignore requests from strangers on Facebook, especially from men who contacted her after she changed her relationship status from married to separated.
However, when she received a message from an Army man in need of money, she felt a little sympathetic to his cause.
“He just messaged me this crazy story how he was in the army and his wife had died,” Mezzatesta said. “He told me he needed money to get out. I think when someone asks you for money, it raises a red flag.”
When Mezzatesta researched the man, Master Sgt. Troy D. Turn, she discovered multiple men with the name. She began messaging him regularly, but then he began to profess his love.
“Right away [he said] ‘I love you. I want to marry you.’ And I was just like, who is this guy?”
Mezzatesta soon discovered something that cleared up the mystery behind the man. Women from around the world apparently are scammed by people with fake profiles – people masquerading as men who claim to fall in love, then cash in.
However, the servicemen whose profiles are used also get scammed. According to the real Troy D. Turner, he had no idea who was behind the fake accounts.
According to Turner, experiencing the scam profile that uses his profile pictures and information is “like going into your house and finding everything has been taken.” Though there is an open fraud case and investigation into the profile, police have reported that it’s unlikely the case will ever be solved.
For now, Turner must simply report the fake profiles to Facebook.
Despite the scam, Mezzatesta and the real Turner eventually met -- and have since gotten married. Turner noted that as much as he hates the scammer who uses his information, he’s happy that the situation allowed him to meet his wife.