She had her heart broken by Bachelor star Richie Strahan on national TV – and now there’s even more devastation for gorgeous Nikki Gogan after she was duped by a conman.
The popular Bachelor contestant – who lost out to Alex Nation in the finale of the 2016 series – has revealed that she’s been ‘catfished’, after she fell for the affections of a hustler who deceived her over eight long months.
Catfishing is the term given to a love rat who pretends to be someone they’re not – often convincing their victim they’re richer and more attractive than they are, usually on social media – in order to win their heart.
Singer and Australian Idol winner Casey Donovan is another prominent Australian to fall victim to the love scam, meeting a man online and dating him for six years without ever meeting – only to learn that he was in fact a woman who’d duped her into having sex.
Now New Idea can exclusively reveal that Nikki too has fallen into the trap of a catfish con artist, after meeting a man through her work as a real estate agent.
‘I had no reason not to believe what I was seeing and being told,’ Nikki tells New Idea. ‘But I was very wrong.
‘It makes you really wonder how trusting you are when you realise how you accepted this big, elaborate story that ended up having so many holes.’
The 30-year-old had been working at Hollett & Lawrence estate agents in her home town of Northam, WA, when she received a call from a man named Matthew who wanted to inspect one of her properties.
He later arrived to view the property driving an expensive sports car, before attending at least three other inspections – traveling in a different luxury car each time.
While Matthew never bought any property from Nikki, the relationship soon became romantic and he even spent a lot of time with the bubbly blonde’s family – including Christmas Day.
As part of the ruse, Matthew drove around Perth pointing out various mansions he claimed to own and showered her with pieces of jewellery and luxury gifts from Gucci and Louis Vuitton – which Nikki now believes may be fake.
‘This guy Matthew made his world look and sound so perfect to Nikki,’ a source close to the beauty tells New Idea.
‘This was the ultimate act of deception. A guy who you think you really like and have developed really strong feelings for turns out to be the opposite of everything he claims.
‘Even the cars he would pick her up in turned out to be borrowed or rented. Who actually pretends to be someone else? Nikki isn’t even materialistic, so the whole fraud was just mean.’
The pair spent eight months together before Matthew called time on the relationship, when his web of lies became too extreme to maintain. It was during a chance meeting with another woman in Perth, who shared the same experience, that they realised they’d both fallen victim to the same fraud.
And after some research, it was discovered that Matthew isn’t a property developer, as he told Nikki, but in fact a restaurant chef. It’s now believed Matthew is a serial catfish conman operating in Perth, who targets beautiful woman who are likely to be interested in a man who is articulate and asset rich.
Her only encounter with the scammer since he called time on the romance was when Nikki bumped into him last month on the street – but while she attempted to say ‘hello’, Matthew simply ignored her and continued walking.
‘I am a very trusting person, that is how I have been raised,’ Nikki tells New Idea of the deception. ‘When I meet someone I will always give them the benefit of the doubt and accept what they say. It’s only when they let me down that I will stop believing what I am being told.’
But while Nikki is putting on a brave face in the aftermath of the cruel love hoax, a friend tells New Idea that it has left her devastated.
‘Nikki is hugely embarrassed,’ says the pal. ‘She felt foolish after being lead along by Richie on The Bachelor and now this. You can see how her being able to continue trusting men must be an everyday struggle.
For the full story see this weeks issue of New Idea - out now!