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Fake Gary Barlow catfishes elderly woman after bombarding her with bizarre messages

Fake Gary Barlow catfishes elderly woman after bombarding her with bizarre messages

Incredibly, the 62-year-old managed to outsmart the fake Gary Barlow after smelling a rat

A woman has revealed her heartbreak after being catfished by a man pretending to be singer Gary Barlow, who had struck up a conversation with her on social media.

Janet Smith, 62, is speaking out to warn others about online scammers, having thankfully been able to outsmart the bloke who’d targeted her.

The pizza restaurant worker from Colchester, Essex, was added by the fake Gary Barlow on Facebook, before he slid into her DMs.

He went on to bombard her with compliments while claiming that he’d ‘split up’ - presumably from his wife, with the real Gary, 53, happily married to wife of 24 years, Dawn Andrews, with whom he shares three kids.

Janet said: “I was talking to him all week and he was saying to me, ‘I’m busy, I’ve got a lot of schedules'.

“He was kind. He was nice. He was really lovely, saying, ‘Good morning. Good evening, I've seen your videos’ because I love to dance.

Janet Smith. (

“The words were really posh - ‘I’m in a meeting now’ and ‘I’m practicing for a concert’.

“And it was going well. He just kept saying ‘I’m Gary Barlow, I’ve split up."

Janet started to grow suspicious and managed to convince the scammer to reveal their true identity.

It turned out ‘Gary’ was actually a 24-year-old man from Nigeria, who, astonishingly, then apologised to Janet for trying to mislead her.

What a turnaround, eh?

“He sent me a message to say, ‘look I'm really sorry: I'm going to tell you the truth' and he told me his name,” Janet continued.

“He is very poor.

“He's on WhatsApp and he's texting me saying, ‘I’m sorry, I've done fraud but we come from a poor family. I do admire Gary Barlow, I like singing and I like his songs.’”

Janet eventually knew something wasn't quite right. (

She said the man eventually confessed his love for her, adding: "He said, 'I thought you would be able to help me and my family but it’s sad that you can't'.

"I asked him what he meant by that and he said 'some money to get some food in Nigeria.'"

Janet admitted she was ‘not in a position to do that’, but that she was left feeling ‘really guilty’.

"It’s so sad because he’s been saying to me ‘I love you’,” she said.

"I said 'I am 62 - you’re 24'.

“I’m saddened because he is poor and he’s got no money.

“For the last week, he’s been constantly texting me, asking me where I am.

“He was texting me from 9am to 3am.”

She is now sharing her story – which arguably could have turned out A LOT worse – to raise awareness of similar scams.

“Elderly people are going to be adding these 'celebrities',” Janet said.

“They’re going to be conning these old people.

"I understand that they are poor and they have to get money for their family, but people might lose a lot of money over this. It’s also giving celebrities a bad name."

Featured Image Credit: SWNS

Topics: Social Media, Sex and Relationships, Celebrity