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Nigerian romance scammer speaks about what changed his ways: "Got desperate"

Posted at 9:03 AM, Feb 14, 2023
and last updated 2023-02-14 10:03:57-05

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Love then bust. Romance scams almost never end well. It seems women are easier targets.

According to the Federal Trade Commission, the U.S. lost $547 million to romance scams in 2021.

Scammers use dating apps and social media to find anyone desperate for love. Adekunle Adedeji, a former romance scammer from Nigeria, said most of his victims were divorced women.

KRIS  6 Anchor Sierra Pizarro: "What did you do with the money you got?"

Adedeji: "I spent it lavishly. I did a lot of things, a lot, a lot of expensive things."

Adedeji used catfishing tactics to lure victims. He would grab online photos of military men and pretend to be them. Adedeji started scamming in 2016. He says this is how most people make a living in Nigeria.

“I am not trying to justify the fact that romance scams are bad. I just want people to forgive us, for the things I've done. I want to beg for forgiveness,” Adedeji said.

Social Catfish, an online investigation service, released a study on the most catfished states in America. Texas is third on the list, with close to 2,000 victims losing more than $65 million to romance scams in 2021. That is an average of $37,000 per victim.

Adedeji said he stopped scamming in 2021 after feeling guilty about ripping off someone he calls "Lisa from Texas." He said she gave him about $25,000 dollars.

He now works with the Social Catfish company, helping investigate scams.

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