After that, it certainly seemed like things were going to end “upside down.”
A ‘Stranger Things’ woman became the victim of a ruthless catfishing scam in which she began an online relationship, divorced her husband and sent $10,000 gift cards to someone who was an actor from the hit Netflix series represented.
McKayla, a film artist and single mother from Kentucky, claimed she was in a “very toxic” relationship with her husband, which is why she joined an online artist forum to socialize YouTube channel Catfished.
“I’m incredibly excited to connect with other filmmakers who share the same passion for the art of filmmaking. I am currently looking for creative collaboration opportunities and believe that together we can create something truly remarkable,” she wrote on the forum.
She later received a message from a user named “DK MH” telling her he’d like to chat and eventually claiming it was “well-known actor” Dacre Montgomery, who played Billy Hargrove in “Stranger Things.”
“DKMH” is the title of Montgomery’s book of poetry.
“Me and he just hit it off, but obviously I’m suspicious from the start until he starts doing things that make me believe he is who he is,” McKayla said.
“I’m obsessed with ‘Stranger Things.’ Billy is just this bully he’s trying to dominate, which is completely different from his actual personality.
Although they never met in person, according to McKayla, “Montgomery” would always complain to her about his relationship troubles.
Those issues included his girlfriend Liv Pollock controlling all of his bank accounts and having some money issues, eventually leading to McKayla sending “Montgomery” $10,000 over time.
“That’s one thing that we really grew closer over, and essentially through the relationship he left with me after a few months, where his partner said she was controlling him a lot, he couldn’t do the things that he wants to do, she’s always there, (she must) always be in charge.”
“I kind of understood that because my ex-husband was like that,” she said.
After a year of private messaging, “Montgomery” had asked McKayla to be his girlfriend, even though the two had never met in person.
The fake actor told McKayla to keep the relationship a secret since he was still in a relationship with Pollock.
At one point, the con artist gave McKayla an ultimatum to choose between him and her husband.
McKayla then broke the news to her now-ex-husband: “Look, it’s not working. You won’t let me be me, you won’t let me be free, I said you have to go.”
With her husband out of the picture and McKayla living with their 7-year-old daughter, Montgomery came up with the ultimate question.
“Maybe I need a little help with the money my queen… Liv is in control of all the accounts and I don’t have access,” Montgomery said via text message.
McKayla sent the scammer $100 and $200 via gift cards, payment apps, or cryptocurrency, a tactic scammers use to make it difficult to trace the funds’ destination.
“When I added it all up, it was about $10,000,” the woman claimed.
McKayla would also get money back from Montgomery — in the form of gift cards and checks — one of them for $5,500, in which to set up a bank account to deposit the check into and ship the money back to him.
Investigators examining McKayla’s story determined that “Montgomery” was about an individual posing as a “romance scammer,” someone who attempts to form a relationship with someone in order to then leave them vulnerable and to play with his feelings in order to make a financial gain out of them.
Catfished found that Montgomery would never need $100 and $200 gift cards since he made about $150,000 for the 19 Stranger Things episodes he appeared in from 2017 to 2022.
The sender determined that one check was a fake, while several other “fake” ones with the same signature were found online.
McKayla says she doesn’t want other people to be victims of a scam like her, as the scam took advantage of her feelings and left her vulnerable.
“If you’re someone like me, you’re afraid of abandonment and you’re a really big people lover, and these scammers just come in and suck it off.”