Scammers pretend to be Brad Pitt and swindle a Spanish Internet user out of 170,000 euros.
The story of this scam begins in 2022, according to Antonio Estella Aroza, the victim’s lawyer. His client joined a fan club dedicated to actor Brad Pitt on Facebook. As she became more and more involved in the group, Brad Pitt himself ended up interacting directly with her, or so she thought.
The only information made public is that the scam victim is from Grenada and “middle-aged”. Her lawyer chose not to provide any further information.
The crooks have been perfecting their scheme for just over a year. As Mr. Aroza explains, “they’re professionals: they mark time, they know when to give affection and when not to respond”. And when to ask for money.
A promise to make a film together
As it’s only a short step from friendship to love when it comes to scams, the actor suddenly fell in love with the woman. It was always a long-distance relationship, as is usually the case in these affairs, until the scammers promised that the fake Brad Pitt would come to Spain to meet her in person. As if that wasn’t enough, she was also promised that they would make a film together.
Then the demands for money began. The lawyer explains that the woman made transfers of up to 30,000 euros at a time to various Spanish and European bank accounts. Mr. Aroza points out that, in line with his experience in this field, these accounts were opened with stolen identity cards.
Just under a month ago, the woman realized that her relationship with the actor was a sham. She then contacted a lawyer. A complaint was lodged with a Granada court for fraud, identity theft – Pitt’s identity – and money laundering. Mr. Aroza believes the banks should have tracked the transfers due to the size of the amounts. In a series of transfers, the woman deposited 170,000 euros in the accounts of the swindlers to finance the film.
The scammers used the now traditional system of photomontages to maintain the ruse. They used images of the real Brad Pitt with superimposed messages containing words of affection for the woman in somewhat sloppy Spanish.
For the time being, the court has not ordered an investigation, says Aroza. While the real Brad Pitt turns his attention to his next Hollywood project, there’s no guarantee that the fake isn’t out looking for another victim.