THE SCAMMER…continued

SCAMMING THE SCAMMER

So I had confronted the scammer, and he begged for time to explain. But I was angry, and his praying hand emoji just made me more angry.

Me: “Unless you have a good explanation for doing this, I am not interested in talking to you anymore.. I don’t have time to waste on a scammer.”

Scam man: “I am tempted to come clean with you of this man Lars. But I have to be sure you are really who you say you are. Please take my call.”

Me: “No.”

Now at this point I was between angry and still hooked into the emotion of This man Lars. I didn’t know what to say anymore because I felt confused about the situation. Betrayed and confused.

Scam man: “I read between the lines a few days ago and I knew you only wanted to play along with me.”

Me: “What are you getting out of it?”

Scam man: “I am only having this conversation with you because I feel there is something special about you. Unless it’s just the Universe playing a trick on me and using you to grab my emotions.”

Me: “So who the heck are you? Be honest. For one thing I know your name isn’t Lars.”

Scam man: “Yes.” Here there were a couple of deleted texts. Then the truth came out. “I’m a black man!”

There was a stunned silence from me. There was no response from him. Then he started to write. “I am not happy about what I do.”

Me: “Then why are you doing it?”

Scam man: “I have no better options.”

Me: “Everyone has an option.”

Scam man: “I HAD NONE TILL I GOT HERE. HEAVEN KNOWS I NEVER WANTED TO BE HERE!”

Me: “It’s time for you to find your way out of it.”

Now at this point I was between mother Theresa and the devil. This man was appealing to my benevolent side, but I was still angry.

Me: “Stop lying to women.”

Scam man. “It brings tears to my eyes every time I do it. It’s not fun for me, but I have no other option.”

Me: “I will never have given you money, it that’s what you wanted.”

Scam man: “I am waiting for something to take me off this path. I never was going to ask you for money. I pray every morning to be taken off this path.”

Me: “Then get off this path now. Make me your last victim.”

Scam man: “I am restrained from telling you my story. But I am just trying to survive.”

Me: “You are spending a lot of energy with me for no money.”

Scam man. “Have you ever met anyone from Nigeria before?”

Me: “Yes, but not like this.”

Scam man: “What about Ghana?”

The conversation went on like this for a while, him explaining the poverty in his country, and then him telling me he was a thirty six year old Nigerian man who was in debt to a crime syndicate. I blocked him here, and sat back to think about things. I was still emotionally involved with Lars and his life, now I found out there was no life with Lars and the reality shifty made me very uncomfortable.

To be continued…..

Well, I started this blog with the idea to talk about how my solitary writing career involves my canine pack of editors, but I realized that there are humans in this world who act with less integrity than my pack.

THE SCAMMER:

     It was late one night, March 2020 in COVID isolation, and I was bored with feeling alone. I wondered what other bored and lonely women were doing to break the monotony of staying alive at home, and I just wanted to see a new face, any face other than my own. I had what I thought was a brilliant idea.

     “  Check out on line dating apps!”

     If nothing else it would break the monotony. So I scrolled through endless new faces, but I couldn’t see anything about the life of these men unless I registered myself. So I hurriedly found a photo and filled out a fictions name and life.

  Foreword to two days later when my mailbox was brimming with ‘intros’ from suitors. I was a little overwhelmed to say the least, but I decided to check some of them out. Of course I only chose the ones who were half way across the world, just to be sure I wouldn’t meet them immediately. I had registered as being back in my birth country, the UK, so it didn’t sound at all strange to these men from Europe who wanted to date me.

     “I’m away on business in the US, and I won’t be back until after the COVID quarantine,” I said. After all, that’s the ‘date guys’ used all the time in their profiles..

That was when I suddenly got an introduction from a Swedish man called Lars..

Hmmm. I hadn’t seriously been looking for an on line boy friend, but his intro sounded nice. He liked my picture, thought I had nice eyes, which was surprising because the photo was smaller than a postage stamp! Anyway, we got into a few exchanges here and there and he soon suggested we move off the site to an ap called Hangout.

Now ladies if you are reading this, take note. Any guy who suggests you get off the dating site and contact them privately is to be treated with suspicion. They are culling you from the safety of the herd!

Lars asked a lot of questions about me right away, and when I told him to slow down with the questions he said it was natural to ask in order get to know me. He wanted a phone call, and I worried that I was getting in over my head. Once again this had just been an exercise born out of curiosity. I took the bait and we talked for ten minutes. He was charming, had been born in Sweden, but when I questioned his unusual accent…it didn’t sound Swedish, he politely ended the conversation. Red flag. But I was still curious to talk to another human being, so when he started sending messages through Whats Ap, it became a nice daily routine of keeping in touch.

That was where I should have stopped, but Covid isolation and the fact that I had found a very intelligent and emotionally available male to talk to during this tough time seduced me in further. He always wanted to know how I was doing, how I had slept, how my day had gone. Wow! Even the men I know in person are not that communicative, so I kept going.

     Fast forward two weeks, all the time keeping up this daily communication which had now been several phone conversations and a routine of good morning and goodnights with kiss emojis. It was then that I started to be suspicious. It was too good to be true, so when I asked for another photo one night and he sent a serious looking picture that could be right off his passport page, It was a day later, one evening before the goodnight chat, that I decided to do a reverse image search on the internet, and there he was. Multiple images of the same man, in different photos, and different poses. They all had names other than Lars under them, and were dated over a period of several years, and then the alert was there; this poor man’s photo had been used by romance scammers for quite a while. It turned out on further digging that he was actually a Brazilian psychologist, and the poor man’s photo was now gracing the pages of many internet dating sites on women’s computers.

      My first thought was that I had to pull way back from this conversation, assess what I had found out and try to detach myself emotionally from Lars, or whoever I had really been talking to. It was then my phone clicked and the usual message came up.

     “Hi baby, did you have a good day? I just got up my time and I wanted to send you a goodnight kiss.”

     My stomach churned uncomfortably, but I hadn’t decided yet what I wanted to to, so I played along and sent a goodnight kiss back. My sleep was less than peaceful that night and I had dreams of ghosts chasing me through empty hallways. I woke up sweating, and made the decision to confront this scammer.

     The next morning, an hour after my good morning kiss from Scam man, as I now called him, I waited to reply and he became uncomfortable, texting me again and again to see if I was alright. Then I dropped the hammer and told him I knew he was not who he said he was.

     Now for the record dear readers, it has been suggested by various internet sites that a scammer should not be confronted but just blocked from contact ever again, and I don’t know why I didn’t follow the advise. Perhaps I wanted to tell him off, perhaps I wanted revenge, I don’t know my state of mind at that point, but I felt angry.

     Scam man replied after what only seemed to be a heart beat. “Can I talk to you on the phone? Please.” Praying hand emoji. 

to be continued…….