Middletown police looking into 'catfish' scam involving basketba - Cincinnati News, FOX19-WXIX TV

Middletown police looking into 'catfish' scam involving basketball star

(file) (file)
Candace Parker (Wikicommons) Candace Parker (Wikicommons)
MIDDLETOWN, OH (FOX19) -

Police are looking into a possible catfish scheme involving a Middletown resident and a professional basketball player.

The attempted scam started when Tennessee resident John Richardson received a Facebook friend request from a profile claiming to belong to Candace Parker – a former Tennessee Volunteers standout and current WNBA player for the LA Sparks.

“Catfishing” is when a scammer makes a fake profile, typically impersonating another person, to lure a victim in.

A few weeks after Richardson accepted the friend request, messages started flowing in from the Candace Parker-wannabe. 

The person asked Richardson to send money and iTunes gift cards.

He thought it was an unusual request from a millionaire basketball player. He claims he wasn’t fooled by the phony profile, but decided to play along with the scammer.

 “They asked me for $500 and I told them I can’t do that,” he said.

Richardson, who is a former police officer, tried to get as much information as possible from the scammer in hopes of handing it over to authorities. He connected the profile to an address in Middletown and alerted the police department.

According to a police report, Middletown resident Richard Bartram, of Central Avenue, is believed to be behind the bogus account 

Richardson “unfriended” the phony Candace Parker and the Facebook profile has since been removed. No one has been arrested in connection with the alleged scam.

The real Candace Parker is, in fact, going through a divorce, according to media reports. But Parker’s actual Facebook Page has nearly half a million followers. 

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