Woman, 63, reveals how she was conned by scammer who pretended to be Yellowstone star and demanded £200 of Apple vouchers to meet him – Notice Today Online



A Kevin Costner fan was conned by a scammer pretending to be the Yellowstone star who demanded she pay £200 to meet him. 

Eileen Leeks has been in awe of the 69-year-old actor for years and began following a Facebook page a few months ago which she believed to be his.  

But after joining, she was soon set upon by scammers who urged her to buy a £100 Apple voucher if she wanted to meet the Hollywood star, the BBC reported. 

The 63-year-old, who lives in Felixstowe, finally gave in after being messaged relentlessly, purchasing two of the vouchers only to find out she had been conned. 

But the scam then escalated even further when Ms Leeks was contacted by someone she believed to be Costner via a video call and was asked to move to America where she would be offered a new job and a flat. 

Eileen Leeks, 63, was scammed out of £200 by scammers on Facebook who promised her she would be able to meet the Hollywood actor
Eileen Leeks is a huge fan of the Robin Hood actor and began following a Facebook page a few months ago which she believed was his. Pictured: Costner attends an event for his new film Horizon in June 2024

Recalling the bizarre exchange, Ms Leeks said she decided to purchase the two vouchers after being constantly nagged by the scammers. 

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But upon doing so, they only began to ask for more money. 

‘I then got a message back saying I had been scammed and I would have to buy a VIP membership card for over £1,000 [in order to meet Costner],’ Ms Leeks told the BBC. 

‘I thought you’re joking – he’s a millionaire.’

In another bizarre turn, Ms Leeks then received a video call from a person posing as Costner, telling her that she had been scammed. 

‘His face was moving and that’s why I thought it was really him. He was sitting in a chair in his office and he was moving,’ she said. 

After the call, the scammers contacted Ms Leeks again, this time posing as Costner’s management team telling her the call was not from the actor and ‘people were using his face and voice to scam people’.

Kevin Costner plays the character of John Dutton in the hit TV show Yellowstone

Ms Leeks eventually reported the scam, before the fraudsters tried one last time to trick the innocent 63-year-old. 

They told her to move to America in order to start a new job, promising her her own apartment if she did so.

‘I thought, ‘I don’t believe this, what on earth is going on?’ she said.

‘If fans think they are going to get a job in America and an apartment and they get all the way over there then they will lose an awful lot.

‘I am unemployed and I’ve lost a lot of money, so I am not very happy.’

Unfortunately Ms Leeks is not the first person to have been fooled by a fake celebrity online.

Janet Smith, 62, was catfished by a man pretending to be Gary Barlow – who turned out to be a scammer attempting to take her money.

Janet, from Colchester, Essex, genuinely believed she was talking to the Take That singer for about a week, after she added him as a friend on Facebook. 

The fake Barlow bombarded her with compliments and messages and said he had ‘split up’ – which Janet took to mean from his wife.

She believed she’d added the popstar last month, and was talking to him all week – sometimes from 9am all the way through to 3am the following morning.

In a long string of messages, he told Janet he loved her and praised her dancing in videos.

Janet Smith, 62, was catfished by a man pretending to be Gary Barlow – who turned out to be a scammer attempting to take her money

The fake Gary bombarded her with compliments and messages and said he had ‘split up’ – which Janet took to mean from his wife

Screenshots show how the scammer told Janet ‘my heart chooses you’ and asked her to keep a secret

The scammer insisted Janet would ‘know me very well’ but claimed his management was monitoring him

The scammer would break up discussions, however, by claiming to be in a meeting and to be practicing for a concert. 

When he started to ask for money after a few days, Janet, who works in a pizza restaurant, started to get suspicious and realised the man she was speaking to couldn’t be the real Barlow. 

He was eventually unmasked as a 24-year-old man from Nigeria. 

After finding out she had been scammed, Janet said: ‘It’s so sad because he’s been saying to me ‘I love you’.

‘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.

‘Elderly people are going to be adding these “celebrities”. They’re going to be conning these old people,’ she said.

‘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.’

Initially, Janet believed that she had added the real Barlow on Facebook on March 26 this year.

Janet is now speaking out to raise awareness of online scammers – and warn older people to be alert

The scammer also asked if Janet was a journalist during their initial conversations

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

‘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.

‘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.”

After a few days, Janet started to get suspicious and realised the man she was speaking to couldn’t be the real Barlow.

‘Gary Barlow would not talk to somebody like me, he’s too famous,’ she said.. ‘I just thought, this isn’t Gary Barlow.’

‘I kept saying, “you’re not the real one!” And he was saying, “You’re lovely, you’re kind, yes, I am Gary Barlow.”‘

Eventually, Janet managed to persuade the scammer to reveal the truth by telling him he could have her WhatsApp number in exchange for his true identity.

She added: ‘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 said that she is sharing this story to help others avoid such scammers in future

After a few days, Janet started to get suspicious and realised the man she was speaking to couldn’t be the real Barlow

The cheat said he was actually a 24-year-old man from Nigeria and was sorry for lying to the pizza restaurant worker from Colchester, Essex

‘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.’

The man eventually confessed his love for her.

Janet said: ‘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.”‘

When Janet asked how much he needed, his response was: ‘I don’t have the power to tell you how much you will give me, only you know in your heart.’

Janet told him she was ‘not in a position to do that’, but says that the whole experience has left her feeling ‘really guilty’.

Janet said that she is sharing this story to help others avoid such scammers in future.

She said: ‘There were 20 Tom Jones. And Michael Barrymore has been coming up. When they send a message, it’s similar.

‘I think a lot of these foreign people are doing this because their countries are poor, but people think they’re real celebrities.’

MailOnline has contacted Kevin Costner’s representatives for comment. 

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Woman, 63, reveals how she was conned by scammer who pretended to be Yellowstone star and demanded £200 of Apple vouchers to meet him – Notice Today Online

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