Dating scam: Facebook date match turns into cartel death threat

A Pasadena man is sharing his online dating nightmare in hopes of sparing others the same pain.

Cyber experts say operations like this one are more common during the holiday season.


It all happened Thursday on the Facebook app on the Facebook Dating tab.

Scott Davenport tells FOX 26 he thought he’d made a nice connection with a woman named "Noris," but it turned out not to be so nice at all.

"I initiated it," said Davenport.

"I think I said ‘hi,’ and then they replied with ‘hello darling’ or something."

Davenport was looking for love on Facebook Dating, after ten years of being single.

After meeting "Noris" Thursday night, she quickly asked for his number, and the conversation switched to texting.

"They said, ‘Where are you from?’" recalls Davenport. "I said, ‘Pasadena, Texas.

What about you?’…I could tell right away it was fake….I just let them know right upfront, if you want money, you’re wasting your time.

"Shortly after that, he received a disturbing set of texts from a separate number--someone named "Saul," the boss of the "Sinaloa Cartel."

"Saul" texted Davenport a series of graphic images of dead people and a death threat.

"They said that they would come find me and my family and killed all of us if I didn’t send them money right away," said Davenport.

"If someone makes a threat, notify law enforcement about the threat," said Adam Levin, a cyber-security expert and author of the book Swiped: How to Protect Yourself In a World Full of Scammers, Phishers, and Identity Thieves.

Levin says operations like this one often originate from other countries and may be routed through phone numbers that may appear local.

"Never trust, always question, always verify," said Levin.

He says the potential criminals like to prey on lonely people during the holidays.

Add in a pandemic, and they are capitalizing on that too. "People have been restricted in their activities because of COVID-19…people are more willing to communicate with people they don’t know necessarily online and may be more susceptible to providing information than they should be," said Levin.

As for Davenport’s search for love, he says he hasn’t gotten back online just yet, but he does plan to. Next time, he says he’ll wait a little longer to give out his phone number.