ST. JACOB’S, ON
Catfishing, an online scam using false identities to win people’s trust for financial gain, has become a huge problem in recent years, with people across the globe falling prey. So far Mennonite communities have been safe from the scam, since they all ban the Internet. That is, until now. Just last week St Jacob’s police arrested Mrs. Martha Horst on suspicion of catfishing more than a dozen men by leaving sweet little notes in their church mailboxes.
“I got this note from a mysterious ‘Mrs. Wenger,'” said Mr. Gingrich. “Well, I don’t know any Mrs. Wengers. I know a Weaver and a Weber and a few Witmers, but absolutely no Wengers. Anyway, she said she had seen me in the lobby and was dying to meet me. I was intrigued. As it turns out, all she wanted was my Social Insurance Number and my debit card.”
Mr. Gingrich is just one of dozens of men who’ve been duped by Mrs. Horst’s notes.
“One day there was a letter in the mailbox from a young woman in her 60s – or so she said,” explained Mr. Bender. “She asked if we could be pen pals and I said, sure, why not. It lasted for months. Whenever I’d ask her to meet me at Mary’s Zwieback Schack, she’d always come up with some excuse. I began to get suspicious…”
The catfishing scam went on for a full year before St. Jacob’s police finally caught their suspect.
“She messed up when she used the name Helen Reimer,” said the Officer. “There ain’t no Russian Mennonites around these parts. When you catfish in St. Jacob’s, you better catfish Swiss style!”
In total Mrs. Horst left 43 men with broken hearts and reportedly scammed a total of $78 in Canadian Tire money.