Sunday, June 25, 2017

Romance Scammer

Koibito Sagi

Been away from the blog, but not the internet. But apparently, this is potentially dangerous. I'm watching the news and they're doing a segment on romance scams. Ladies of a certain age (like me) are preyed up on by internet gigolos who are out to make a buck off our romantic fantasies. The thing is, they're international, and possibly working in groups. I'm watching this on the news, and it's so sad. The lady they're following has lived alone after the death of her mother several years ago, and suffers from a neurological disorder. Her "boyfriend" sang her to sleep during exacerbations of her disease. To her, the romance was real, and she sent her "boyfriend" a lot of money (as in, more money than most people make in a year), because she loved him and she thought she needed the money. 

I'm trying to think if this could have happened to me. When I first started out on the internet, I'd sometimes meet people I'd met there.

The first potential axe murderer I met was a closeted college table tennis player I'd met on IRC. He was fun until he came out and then he started picking fights with me. In retrospect, I should have cut a newly out person slack, but I decided we didn't really have any use for each other anymore and stopped chatting with him. 

I once let another potential axe murderer drive me to their house and cook me dinner. I figured it was all right because she was a woman. It was. She was a very good cook and her house was absolutely lovely and she had the cutest dog. We fell out of touch, but not because of any sort of particular animosity. 

And then there was the mailing list of the obscure cartoon I loved during my childhood. I met the group at ComicCon. And then later, one year during my single working girl days, my best friend's grandmother got sick (and later passed away) and my other best friend wanted to visit her boyfriend on the American East Coast (they later broke up) so no one would go with me on my annual international holiday. I contacted someone in this group from London, another person decided to join me from Switzerland, and we had the best time roaming the British Museum and seeing Mamma Mia in West End.

When Evil Ex dumped me, it was these potential axe murderers who consoled me and reminded me I deserved better, not the Pumpkin Daddy (He turned out to be the "better," but I didn't start seeing him as such until much later). They sent me candy and little trinkets and I ate Fig Newtons as I cried late at night. 

So yes, it could happen to me. If I were lonely and not sure about where my life was going, I could see myself finding solace in kind words that came through Line or WhatsApp or whatever. I hope the word will spread and people won't be scammed by these pathetic excuses for human beings. And if they are scammed, I hope the culprits are brought to justice.

One thing working in my favor...I can't seem to make PayPal work for me. Maybe I'll keep it that way, as a preventive measure.

1 comment:

Annie Crow said...

Yeah, I have a group of friends I know only online (well, I've met one of them now). We've been in touch for a few years now - a real comfort to each other at different times in different ways. Of course no one's asked me for money...