Perhaps you got a strange urgent email in the past couple years from a Facebook acquaintance saying that they got stranded while traveling in some foreign country. Hopefully, you got in touch with the person separately and both of you realized their account had been hacked.
But what if you’ve met someone on a dating site and have been getting along great, anticipating your first in-person meet ‘n greet…but something sounds funky? They send pictures that are a bit too sexy, call you “Sweetie” too soon, and a month later you’re still wondering if there’s another shoe a’dropping.
Now, based on what we hear about the ladies’ online profiles, being scammed is practically a daily occurrence. In fact, a “no scammers” notice is almost obligatory.
But here’s a cautionary tale for you guys, related to me by someone who took the trouble to share a screen-capture of his text affair.
The story starts in early April. Our guy — whom we shall simply call “Our Guy” — has been corresponding for a few days with a lady — whom we shall call “Tat” — from Tinder or Bumble or OKCupid (he can’t remember which) and gets a note saying that she’s quitting the site, but would like to continue corresponding. He doesn’t mind giving out his phone number even though he doesn’t think much could come of it since she’s about 15 years younger and a very pretty blonde who looks like she could get a lot of guys her own age. But what the heck…it seems every robocaller in the world has his number anyway.
They do some initial texting on April 3, and on April 4 she sends a very sexy beach blanket bikini pic, then an even sexier bikini shot which he simply describes as a “back view.” Then there’s a flirty sundress pic. Then another. In the meantime, they are texting back and forth a few times a day about mundane subjects like what they’re having for dinner, gardening, what part of town they’re in…and it turns out she lives just a few miles away in a luxury condo area. He suggests getting together in a nearby park.
Several days go by. She asks for him to send some pix and he responds with shots of his neighborhood, a sunset, his pandemic mask. A few days later, she sends a selfie so risqué that he blushes just mentioning it. Then a few days later she announces that her job as an interior design consultant is taking her out of town. Where? Malaysia. When is she leaving? Tomorrow.
Her next text announces she is in Kuala Lumpur. Our Guy asks for some shots of the area and is rewarded, if you can call it that, by a series ultra-revealing shower shots…and these are not selfies. These are full blown professional porn shots…which she claims are selfies from her cellphone in timer mode.
We should mention that Our Guy figured a scam from the moment she started calling him “Sweetie” and asked for his full last name. In fact, he was just waiting for an overseas trip to come into the plot.
Now we’re waiting for inevitable shoe drop: money.
Here it comes: “Sweetie need to talk to you about something.” Then, “Things hasn’t been going well and too many stress.” Then, “It’s my goods been held by customs…and the price for clearing is differ from what the agent told me.” (Grammar has not been fixed).
Our Guy, playing along, says he knows a customs agent in the U.S. who knows a contact in Malaysia, and thinks he can get the fix in. All Tat has to do is come up with 200 RM (Malaysian currency, which he just looked up; about $50 U.S).
Needless to say, the text conversation gets increasingly befuddled as Tat announces she needs $7,900 and Our Guy tells her he can fix everything as long as she can come up with the $50 — along with the name of her hotel and her passport pic.
On May 1, Our Guy decides to end the charade and lists the 10 red flags that gave her away.
Her final comment to Our Guy: “I trusted you so much to send you such private pictures.”
So, people, now that pandemic quarantining is loosening up, in your zeal to get out and about don’t forget the old school number one rule of safe contact: When someone asks for money, run, Forrest, run.