“My mother’s credit cards were maxed out,” he says.
“She even went so far as to sell her house to send this guy more money.” He says Gilda is now renting a two-bedroom townhouse and has basically lost everything.
For more than a year, 65-year-old widow Gilda says she has been in a romantic relationship with “Eric,” whom she met online and has yet to meet in person or even speak to over the phone. Cary says when his father passed away four years ago, his mother, Gilda, was debt-free, and the house was paid off.
She admits she’s sent “Eric” tens of thousands of dollars — nearly draining her life savings and even selling the family home, in part, to come up with the funds. Gilda’s sons, Paul and Cary, and daughter-in-law, Linda, believe Gilda has fallen victim to a catfish, or online imposter, and they fear she’ll end up bankrupt and homeless. He says in recent years, she tried online dating — and soon fell victim to a $2,500 scam.
She says Eric has promised to pay her back, as soon as he returns to the U. Cary says his mom has been acting like a lovesick teenager — hiding her cell phone to conceal her communications with “Eric,” lying about what she’s doing and where she’s going — and even sending “Eric” topless photos! Phil enlists the help of private investigator Doug Kane to track down details on “Eric.” Plus, he has two surprises for Gilda. More than 16 million kids in the United States are at risk for hunger each day. Visit Feeding America to find your local food bank. “We thought she learned a lesson the first time, but everything changed after she met Eric,” he says, adding that Gilda has never spoken to Eric over the phone or seen him in person since she met him online more than a year ago.
He says he has gotten so frustrated that he has kicked her out of his home. “I’m definitely convinced he’s a scammer.” He estimates that his mother has sent Eric about $150,000, and says her finances are now in shambles.
Still, he says he tried to dissuade her from connecting with Eric.
“I pleaded with my mom to look for somebody who was more compatible, because this guy was at least 20 years younger,” he says.He says he thinks Gilda isolated herself because she was embarrassed by some of the sexual content in her text messages to Eric.“I believe that she’s being catfished,” she says, adding that Gilda is a good grandmother, but she and Cary don’t want her around their kids when she’s constantly texting Eric.“It’s distracting, and she’s not paying attention to the kids at all.” She says she has also asked to have her children’s photos removed from Gilda’s Facebook page, if Gilda continues to associate with Eric.“I was concerned that my kids would be kidnapped or used, in some way, to get more money from her,” she explains.Paul says he feels partly responsible for his mother’s current situation, because he encouraged her to try online dating.