Woman was 'flattered' by 'Gary Barlow' on Facebook but there was a problem

Janet Smith met the real Gary Barlow after a scammer tried to con her out of her hard-earned cash
-Credit: (Image: Janet Smith © SWNS)


A woman who was tricked by a fraudster pretending to be Gary Barlow ended up meeting the real singer after he heard about her ordeal.

Janet Smith, 62, thought she was communicating with the Take That star for around a week after befriending him on Facebook. However, when the imposter showered her with flattery and claimed he had "split up" with his wife, she became suspicious and managed to get the scammer to confess their true identity.

The fraudster revealed he was actually a 24-year-old man from Nigeria, apologised for his deception, but told Janet he genuinely loved her and still requested money.

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Upon hearing about the incident, the genuine Gary Barlow invited her to Take That's concert in Norwich. Before the show, he met with Janet, who presented him with a box of Milk Tray "for the boys".

Pizza restaurant employee Janet, from Colchester in Essex, said: "Gary came running down the corridor saying hello and gave me a hug. He said he was so sorry about what happened and asked how I was - it was lovely.

"I bought him a mug, some Mars bars and some Milk Tray chocolates for the boys. He loved the mug and got a picture of us with it."

"He's very kind - fame hasn't gone to his head. It was like seeing a friend in the street."

Janet Smith was catfished by a scammer pretending to be Gary Barlow
Janet Smith was catfished by a scammer pretending to be Gary Barlow -Credit:Janet Smith © SWNS

"I told him I love dancing and showed him a dance, and he said 'we need people like you' and said he loved my vibe. I was laughing and he was laughing - he's really kind and friendly. He gave me a cuddle and didn't judge me."

"I always live each day like it could be your last. I don't think he's going to forget me. Even when he went he was shouting goodbye, it was wonderful."

In an unfortunate case, Janet thought she had befriended the 'Back for Good' singer, originally from Frodsham, for about a week until she started having doubts about him. With some clever manoeuvring which involved offering her WhatsApp number in return for the truth, she managed to unveil the man behind the mask.

Gary Barlow offered Janet a chance to meet him after hearing her story online
Gary Barlow offered Janet a chance to meet him after hearing her story online -Credit:SWNS

Initially, Janet believed that she had found the real Gary Barlow on Facebook. She said that the scammer was "kind, nice and really lovely" in his messages and would claim he was "in a meeting" or "practicing for a concert" when he couldn't reply straight away.

The man eventually confessed his love for her, but still begged Janet for cash. She said that the conman asked for "some money to get some food in Nigeria". It seemed to become very sinister when Janet quizzed the scammer for how much he wanted and he replied: "I don't have the power to tell you how much you will give me, only you know in your heart."

Janet admitted the ordeal had her burdened with guilt. She chose to speak out to raise awareness and prevent others from falling prey to similar scams.

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