A man who posed as a woman online and in the flesh and dated another man for six months before defrauding him of more than 58,000 yuan (US$8,700) has been given a two-year suspended sentence by a court in China. Two years ago, a man, surnamed Gao, pretended to be a woman in an online catfish scam and asked people online to find “her” a match. One individual introduced the scammer to a single male relative, surnamed Zhang, from Jiangsu province, in eastern China. The pair began what Zhang thought was an online relationship primarily through WeChat messaging. While pretending to be a woman, Gao convinced Zhang to lend him 58,400 yuan for a variety of fabricated reasons such as paying social security, mortgage payments, and for a grandmother’s hospital stay during their supposed relationship. Man seeks divorce after paternity tests reveal 3 daughters are not his kids The couple only met twice in person during their six-month “relationship”, including when Zhang took Gao as his “girlfriend” to meet his parents. When they first met in person, Zhang noticed something odd and asked why Gao had an Adam’s apple. Gao then lied to Zhang, claiming that “she” had surgery when “she” was young, which raised no suspicions on Zhang’s part. When they met for the second time, Zhang invited Gao to his home and introduced “her” as his “girlfriend” to his parents. However, Gao’s make-up and clothing were so convincing that neither Zhang nor his parents noticed anything out of the ordinary. Zhang finally realised he had been scammed when Gao refused to repay the loan and decided to sue, still believing it was a woman he had been dating after they split up in January 2021. However, when Zhang went to retrieve Gao’s information in order to file the lawsuit, he was shocked to discover his former “girlfriend” was recorded in the system as a male. Zhang reported the case to the local public security bureau after discovering the deception. Officer meets former teacher, note from passed loved one and delivery driver hero Gao was arrested by police at the end of 2021. A local court in Jiangsu ruled earlier this month that Gao was guilty of fraud and sentenced him to two years in prison, suspended for two years and six months, and fined 25,000 yuan (US$3,750). After news of the scam broke many were shocked by the surreal nature of the plot and the “professional” lengths Gao had gone to. “The fraudster must be very confident in his make-up skills to meet him offline,” one person commented.