Sometimes, being a fan gives you a lot: Happiness, pleasure, a sense of community. And sometimes, it just sucks really bad.
Here is a cautionary tale for you: A Stranger Things fan named McKala claims that she was catfished by an online scammer who tricked her into thinking he was actor Dacre Montgomery, who plays the role of Billy on hit TV show.
As she details in a YouTube video (which you can watch below), the scammer claimed that in order to break up with his own girlfriend (the real Montgomery is in a relationship with model Liv Pollock), she needed to send him money. The woman claims she eventually sent $10,000 to the person she believed was Montgomery.
McKala, who is a single mother from Kentucky, said she joined a forum for artists, where someone began chatting with her, and then claimed he was Montgomery. She says the scammer earned her trust by telling her to tune in to Stranger Things for a specific episode the night before the Billy character returned and sent her poetry like the kind Montgomery had previously published. As for why a working actor in Hollywood would need money, the scammer told McKala that his finances were controlled by his girlfriend, who held their own money in a joint account. The victim of this scam ultimately divorced her husband amidst all the deception. (Experts call this a “romance scam.”)
Word to the wise: If anyone sends you private messages and claims to be someone famous, never under any circumstances believe them. I know of no documented example of an actor from a popular Netflix series actually demanding $10,000 from a fan — but I know of plenty of examples of this sort of behavior from scammers. A few years ago a fan at a WWE event jumped the guardrail and attacked wrestler Seth Rollins, supposedly because a scammer had convinced the fan that he was Rollins, and then had him send him hundreds of dollars in gift cards. (Why anyone would think Seth Rollins, who makes millions of dollars a year and is married to another WWE superstar who also makes millions of dollars, would need a gift card for a couple hundred bucks is beyond me, but that’s neither here nor there.)
You can watch the whole story of the Stranger Things catfishing scam below. Stranger Things is expected to return for a fifth and final season on Netflix at some point in the next few years.