A deceived woman, convinced she was engaged in a clandestine online romance with a charming Netflix celebrity, recently disclosed that she had transferred $10,000 to the imposter and ended her marriage in pursuit of this illusion.
McKala, a single mother hailing from Kentucky, invested more than a year in the belief that she was sharing heartfelt messages with Dacre Montgomery, the Australian actor renowned for his role as Billy Hargrove in “Stranger Things.”
The aspiring actress and filmmaker displayed a willingness to go to great lengths to be with her imagined paramour, despite never having met him in person or engaged in a conversation over the phone.
Subsequently parting ways with her spouse and dispatching thousands of dollars in gift cards to the scammer, she started harboring suspicions about the authenticity of their connection and sought assistance from the YouTube series “Catfished.”
McKala shared that she encountered her enigmatic suitor shortly after separating from her “very toxic” husband and joining an online artists’ forum to connect with fellow creatives.
She initially struck up a connection with an individual using a username, who later claimed to be Dacre, one of her favorite actors. Despite her initial skepticism, certain actions by this person gradually convinced her of their authenticity, as she recounted to Catfished.
The real Dacre has been in a committed relationship with model Liv Pollock for six years. However, the person McKala was communicating with asserted that they were unhappy in their relationship, describing Liv as controlling and constantly supervising him.
McKala, empathizing with this situation due to her past experiences with her controlling ex-husband, continued their conversations for months. Eventually, this “Dacre” confessed his feelings for her and asked her to be his girlfriend.
He insisted on keeping their relationship secret, citing the need to maintain appearances since he claimed to have technically broken up with Liv six months prior.
Upon checking both Dacre and Liv’s Instagram profiles, McKala noticed the absence of any romantic photos posted at that time, strengthening her belief that she was truly communicating with the actor.
The Catfished team pointed out that a year without a phone conversation was an unusually long time. McKala acknowledged this as a “huge red flag” but rationalized it by accepting his explanation that Liv’s controlling nature prevented them from talking.
“Dacre” then issued an ultimatum, forcing her to choose between him and her husband. She unequivocally chose him, seeing no competition.
Her faith in the relationship was further solidified when, just before the release of Stranger Things season four, he urged her to watch episode four, in which he made an appearance. This detail convinced her that she was indeed in contact with the actor.
McKala also revealed that he sent her poems resembling those found in Dacre Montgomery’s poetry book, “DKMH: Poems by Dacre Montgomery.” These similarities assuaged her doubts, and when he requested financial assistance, she willingly came to his aid.
“Before I knew it, it was turning into $100, $200 gift cards,” she recounted, explaining that the scammer would sell these gift cards for less than their actual value and keep the money.
McKala estimated that she had sent him approximately $10,000. She had believed his claim that he needed the money due to his girlfriend’s control over his finances, but the Catfished team doubted this explanation.
Upon investigation, they discovered that the actor earned $150,000 per episode of Stranger Things, and there was no evidence of Dacre and Liv breaking up, as they frequently appeared together on red carpets and in interviews.
Further scrutiny revealed that the check supposedly sent by “Dacre” was a fake, matching hundreds of counterfeit checks found online with the same signature. Even the lasagna he claimed to have cooked was a lie, as the image he sent her was taken from a recipe by Martha Stewart.
Discovering that she had been catfished left McKala heartbroken, but she expressed gratitude for finally uncovering the truth about her online relationship.
“Love makes you do crazy, stupid, irrational things,” she acknowledged, recognizing her vulnerability to scams due to past trauma.
“If you’re someone like me, you’re afraid of abandonment and you’re a real big people pleaser and you’re very co-dependent… These scammers, they just kind of come in and they leech off that.” she added.