By Josie Adnitt

A woman who was catfished by a scammer pretending to be Gary Barlow met the singer after he saw her story and reached out to help.

Janet Smith, 62, believed she was talking to the Take That singer for about a week after she added him as a friend on Facebook.

But after the catfish bombarded her with compliments and told her he had “split up,” she grew suspicious and convinced the scammer to reveal their true identity.

The cheat said he was actually a 24-year-old man from Nigeria and was sorry for lying to her, but told Janet he really did love her and asked for cash.

The real Gary Barlow heard about what happened and invited her to Take That’s Carrow Road show in Norwich last night (28).

Before the gig, he met Janet, who gifted him a box of Milk Tray “for the boys.”

Pizza restaurant worker Janet, from Colchester, Essex, said: “Gary came running down the corridor saying hello and gave me a hug.

“He said he was so sorry about what happened and asked how I was – it was lovely.

“He came out with a jogging suit on. He wasn’t snobby. He was down to earth.

“I bought him a mug, some Mars bars, and some Milk Tray chocolates for the boys.

“He loved the mug and got a picture of us with it.

“He’s very kind – fame hasn’t gone to his head. It was like seeing a friend in the street.

“I told him I love dancing and showed him a dance, and he said ‘we need people like you’ and said he loved my vibe.

“I was laughing and he was laughing – he’s really kind and friendly. He gave me a cuddle and didn’t judge me.

“I always live each day like it could be your last. I don’t think he’s going to forget me.

“Even when he went he was shouting goodbye, it was wonderful.”

Janet believed she was speaking to the real “Back for Good” singer after adding what appeared to be his profile on Facebook on March 26.

However, she soon became suspicious that all was not as it seemed and realized the man she was speaking to couldn’t be the real Gary Barlow.

She managed to unmask the scammer after telling him he could have her WhatsApp number in exchange for his true identity.

The man confessed his love for her and said he came from a poor family, asking her for cash “to get some food in Nigeria.”

Janet said the whole experience had left her feeling “really guilty” and has shared her story to help others spot similar scammers in the future.

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