GREENVILLE — A local woman, suspected of being the victim of an online con artist, appeared in two episodes of The “Dr. Phil” show which aired Monday and Tuesday.
Barbara Bunch Adkins, a Greenville resident, appeared on the popular daytime show hosted by author and Psychologist Dr. Phil McGraw. In the episodes, family members expressed concern that she was being “catfished,” or being fooled by someone with a fake online persona, often for financial gain.
In the first episode, “I Am Convinced My Granny is Being Catfished By a Man Who is Posing as a Financial Planner and She Could Go To Jail!” Adkins admits she has wired money to her online boyfriend, a “David Chris Jr.,” whom she has never met in person.
According to Adkins, “David Chris Jr.” claimed to be an overseas financial advisor who assists people with getting government grants, and is currently on assignment in Nigeria. She says she can’t wait for “David Chris Jr.” to come home from Nigeria where he’s “stuck dealing with ‘business issues.’” Adkins says she is looking forward to retiring in Michigan with him in his lakeside home. However, her daughters and granddaughter say they believe this will never happen. They say “David Chris Jr.” does not exist and Adkins is just being used as a “money mule” for illegal financial transfers.
Adkins says she’s in love with an online boyfriend, “David Chris Jr.”, and she says he is in love with her.
“When my husband died, I was completely devastated. I was so very depressed until I finally met David,” said Adkins, who was married for 44 years before her husband died nearly three years ago. “David gave me a new lease on life … He makes me feel very special.”
Just one problem — the two have never met.
Adkins says she was introduced to “David” when a “cousin” sent her a message on a social media site with a link to “David’s” purported financial planning page. After communicating online, Adkins says that “David” asked her to send him money.
“He explained, if I send him $2,000, he could get me a government grant,” she explained.
While she didn’t send him $2,000 for the grant, Adkins admits she has sent “David” — who she says claims he lives in Michigan but has been in Nigeria for the past year on business — money since they began talking.
“Over the past year, I have helped David out financially. He needed some help paying medical bills,” she said. “In the past nine months, I have sent him about $5,000.”
Adkins also says she sent “David” $600 for a plane ticket home, but a few days later, she says he claims he was arrested for not being able to pay a hospital bill, and is still stuck in Nigeria.
Adkins said that once “David” makes it home, she is looking forward to the life they will have together.
“David has made me feel like I’ve never felt before,” she said. “My hope is one day, maybe we can make a life together.”
The second episode involves an investigation of “David” in which Dr. Phil continued his discussion with Adkins. Viewers were told they would meet the man behind the photo of “David Chris Jr.” and hear what he has to say. Dr. Phil continued his investigation, including interviewing people and even sending an investigator to Nigeria, to find out answers for Barbara and her family.
To see clips from the episodes, visit The Dr. Phil Show website at www.drphil.com.