BBC has released a video showing how one of its reporters, Athar Ahmad alongside a private investigator, Laura Lyons, unmasked a Nigerian online dating scammer who claimed to be Paul Richard, a US soldier based in Dubai but was later discovered to be a Nigerian named Okechukwu who owned a barbing salon in Ibadan, Oyo state.
Athar whose mission is to unmask online dating scammers had set up an account on a dating site as Kathryn Hunter – a wealthy divorcee looking for love. Not longer after he registered, four men, all claiming to be soldiers, hit her up. The most consistent was Paul Richard who claimed he was a US soldier in Dubai.
“It’s not long before the catfish begin to bite. Four men approach me online and they all claim to be US soldiers”
Paul asked for her number and when he called her, his dialing code showed he was calling from Nigeria and what was most astonishing was his thick African accent despite his claim of being a US soldier. He later sent her his picture which was that of a white soldier. When asked why he had such an accent despite being American, Paul said he had a cold, hence his distinct accent.
As the conversation between them continues, Paul professed his undying love for Katryn and wished he could marry her immediately. He also started asking her to send him money.
A breakthrough in unmasking his identity came when he accidentally leaves a name tag – Dan Coolman – on one of his WhatsApp pictures.
Laura carried out a search on all the Dan Coolmans in Nigeria and was able to narrow her search down to one who runs a barbershop in Ibadan, Oyo state. A more detailed search on the number showed it was registered to one Daniel Joseph Okechkwu.
With this information, Athar and his team visited Ibadan to confront Okechukwu. However, before they got to his barbing shop, he had fled. When contacted, Okechukwu confessed to the crime, saying it was his first time of venturing into online dating scam. According to him, he was forced to close down his barbing shop because it wasn’t making money as it used to. He asked for forgiveness and also pleaded with Athar and his team to give him money so he would stop scamming people online.Follow Us (follow on whatsapp for Zee World Updates)