Monday, July 29, 2013

Scammed

I feel compelled to start with the disclaimer:  I'm not a Dr. Phil watcher.  Any clips I've seen of his show, at least of late, seem fraught with really toxic shouting matches, and who needs that after a hard day at work, right?  The PR agent inside me (the one I try not to be online or anywhere) doesn't want to own Dr. Phil.  However, today I must, because I got sucked in.

The subject of the show was a woman who clearly had been scammed by an online romancer.  She, in the U.S., had found love on Match.com with a fellow in the U.K. with an accent that is decidedly not from the U.K.  The quickie version is that in a year's time, she has never met him face to face, but she has sent him over one hundred and eighty thousand dollars.  The excuses and needs were completely lame and unrealistic, and she had to scrape up the money by stealing from siblings, cashing out her children's life insurance policies, and quitting her job for the sole purpose of pulling all of the funds from her 401K. 

She continued to believe in this guy's authenticity no matter how concrete and detailed the evidence meticulously stacked against him.  Just as an example of his complete fraudulence, his passport photo showed his hair sticking up from outside the square.  Dr. Phil noted that this man's pattern of behavior and requests matched exactly with other former guests and their online disasters.  The timelines were the same, as if these manufactured identities were part of an organized effort, and that is exactly what it is.  They've traced former guests' scammers to an office in Nigeria where people sit in cubicles, create social networking profiles and fish for people to fool.

It was so painful to watch.  She focused all of her life on a guy who never answered when she called, never gave back...it was like he was invisible.  What a waste of time.  What a waste of money.  What a waste of energy, effort, and invested emotion. 

What a fool.  How could anyone fall for such a...oh...wait a minute...

Well, in my defense, his profile picture was pretty intriguing...

4 comments:

  1. And I thought my life was insane!! I feel sorry for her but how blind can she be?

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  2. It was really crazy, Julie. I felt sorry for her son, who looked to be about 20. He was at his wit's end trying to make her see the truth. We all have enough calamity without inviting it in, right?!

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  3. Replies
    1. An occasional laugh at myself softens the blow, Andrew. :)

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