A woman who believed she was communicating with Bruno Mars was scammed out of thousands of dollars.

According to CBS DFW, a woman who lives in the North Texas area, and was looking for love, found herself a victim of a terrible scam that led her to lose almost $200,000.

The woman asked to remain anonymous so that others who become aware of her situation do not try to take advantage of her once more. Henceforth, the woman will be referred to as "Jane."

Jane found herself as a widow, and was looking for love, apparently in all the wrong places. In this new age, relationships largely start online. There's absolutely no shame in meeting someone over the internet, but you must be careful with what information you share with others.

Jane mistakenly assumed that famous artist Bruno Mars himself was communicating with her after receiving a message online from someone impersonating the artist. Jane quickly became enamored with "Mars" and disclosed personal information about herself and her finances.

Once aware that Jane had money, "Mars" began requesting assistance from the woman.

Jane obviously trusted "Mars" and began sending cashier checks to help with expenditures like rental cars, jet fuel, and tour costs. In return, Jane received an engagement ring in the mail for her devotion.

Soon "Mars" told Jane that he wanted to move into her home, and Jane quickly built a studio in her garage complete with bunk beds for the band.

Then, the worst happened. "Mars" was apprehended and taken to jail, then demanded money from Jane for his release. A "security guard" showed up at Jane's home and collected the money for his release. In the end, the demand of money became so much that the imposter even threatened to kill Jane if she did not deliver.

Jane finally smartened up and contacted the authorities, who discovered that the checks were being cashed by two Nigerians in Houston. Investigators believe that the man who was communicating with Jane is actually in Nigeria.

Jane states that she learned her lesson about catfish, but says that if Bruno Mars ever reached out for monetary help, she would still happily oblige.

Whew, maybe she didn't learn after all.

Hopefully, the real Bruno Mars will hear about this crazy story and at least give the woman a call or perhaps an autographed photo. Obviously she's someone who would go above and beyond for him.

If you're not familiar with the term "catfishing", it's when a person creates an entirely fake persona or identity to fool a victim into giving them something. That something can be money, but it can also just be attention or an outlet for bullying.

According to relationship site 2Date4Love, 15,372 people have reported catfishing to authorities over the past year. Just imagine how many cases don't go reported. In the U.S., catfishing cost victims a combined $211.3 million in a single year.

The Cybersmile Foundation, an anti-bullying nonprofit, has a list of signs to watch for and ways to prevent yourself becoming a victim.

Even if the person trolling you doesn't ask for money, they're still being manipulative and can cause you distress and harm. Be careful.

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