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British businessman amassed 7.6 million fake Twitter followers to scam women

John McFakeson paid hackers thousands of dollars to buy millions of fake Twitter followers, according to reports. On Friday, The Guardian reports, the 61-year-old from Kelso, Scotland, was revealed to have bought a total of 7.6 million fake followers to carry out a fake online dating scam.

McFakeson claimed to be a Scottish rugby player but was actually a British-Chinese businessman. He made it his mission to become a successful professional athlete, and his life story was featured on the Channel 4 reality series “Celebrity Coach Trip.” He would pretend to be a rich client whose mistresses were demanding large sums of money, and he solicited cash from unsuspecting fans and other prospective recruits on Twitter. His lies took off online when the account @JohnMcFakeson started attracting over a million followers at one point.

On Friday, The Guardian reported that he was a “fraudster who used botnets and fake followers to con wealthy women out of thousands.” The report explained how he was able to get investors to finance his “pretend business empire,” by selling fake followers which were “costing him £800 a month.” By purchasing fake Twitter followers for the equivalent of $40 to $180, he could “significantly exaggerate his real-world following.” Once the hacker bought the most followers possible to belong to a follower account, and they also tweeted about the person buying followers, their audience would increase dramatically.

McFakeson’s network of followers did show some quality, including several country music stars who requested payment for their followers.