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Old 28th April 2022, 12:15 PM   #1
The Atheist
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Romance Scams

I have great difficulty finding sympathy for stupid people who pay out hundreds of thousands of dollars to someone they only know from the internet.

A woman came forward the other day and admitted to having been scammed out of 1/2 mio by a romance scammer, and since the story broke, another woman has admitted to losing an almost identical amount to the same bloke.

Personally, I admire his style. A million bucks between two sad old women is pretty good going, and if there are two, there will be a lot more somewhere.

Nice lifestyle he must have.

https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/cri...er-woman-duped

Quote:
Donna pleaded with the man she thought was her “prince charming” to repay her, saying: “I need this money ... this is my kids’ money, this is my granddaughter’s money”.
Not any more, it isn't!
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Old 28th April 2022, 12:45 PM   #2
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People are hurting and lonely and desperate. I have no difficulty at all finding sympathy for them.
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Old 28th April 2022, 01:06 PM   #3
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I sympathize with them. They are lonely people who think they’ve found love. Yes, it’s stupid to send money to someone you’ve only known through online correspondence, but who hasn’t done stupid stuff because we thought we were in love (or lust, whatever)?
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Old 28th April 2022, 01:52 PM   #4
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Is sympathy more expensive down under? Up here it doesn’t cost much and I certainly can find it for victims of a con.
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Old 28th April 2022, 02:11 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Dr. Keith View Post
Is sympathy more expensive down under? Up here it doesn’t cost much and I certainly can find it for victims of a con.
I have a lot less sympathy for victims of the classic appeal to greed scams. If you fall for the Nigerian Prince, or some other get rich quick scheme, that's on you.

But people who make an emotional connection out of a mixture of hope and need, and then get exploited because of that? Yeah, I have a lot of sympathy there.

It's not an exact fit for this context, but I'm reminded of Churchill's eulogy for Neville Chamberlain. It reads in part:
It fell to Neville Chamberlain in one of the supreme crises of the world to be contradicted by events, to be disappointed in his hopes, and to be deceived and cheated by a wicked man. But what were these hopes in which he was disappointed? What were these wishes in which he was frustrated? What was that faith that was abused? They were surely among the most noble and benevolent instincts of the human heart[...]

https://winstonchurchill.org/resourc...e-chamberlain/
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Old 28th April 2022, 02:34 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
I have a lot less sympathy for victims of the classic appeal to greed scams. If you fall for the Nigerian Prince, or some other get rich quick scheme, that's on you.

But people who make an emotional connection out of a mixture of hope and need, and then get exploited because of that? Yeah, I have a lot of sympathy there.

It's not an exact fit for this context, but I'm reminded of Churchill's eulogy for Neville Chamberlain. It reads in part:
It fell to Neville Chamberlain in one of the supreme crises of the world to be contradicted by events, to be disappointed in his hopes, and to be deceived and cheated by a wicked man. But what were these hopes in which he was disappointed? What were these wishes in which he was frustrated? What was that faith that was abused? They were surely among the most noble and benevolent instincts of the human heart[...]

https://winstonchurchill.org/resourc...e-chamberlain/

Well put.
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Old 28th April 2022, 03:38 PM   #7
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A friend of my wife is clinging on to a guy that claims he is a special, government, deep secret agent that requires he move around to different cities frequently. She's totally attached. Just waiting for the wire me money requests.
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Old 28th April 2022, 03:44 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by The Atheist View Post
I have great difficulty finding sympathy for stupid people
"Omit needless words" - Strunk & White.

You start a lot of threads bragging about how you don't care about people. Maybe like... don't. Just an idea.
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Old 28th April 2022, 03:53 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by marting View Post
A friend of my wife is clinging on to a guy that claims he is a special, government, deep secret agent that requires he move around to different cities frequently. She's totally attached. Just waiting for the wire me money requests.
That is some top-notch dumbassery, right there.

Reminds me of Bill Paxton's character in True Lies.
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Old 28th April 2022, 04:12 PM   #10
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The last six or so months I worked for Homeland Security I just did marriage fraud. Sometimes the victims of mail order bride scams were sort of sad and pathetic, lonely guys. Mostly though, we'd call them INCELS today, sexually deviant emotionally stunted psychos.
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Old 28th April 2022, 08:03 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by xjx388 View Post
I sympathize with them. They are lonely people who think they’ve found love.
On Tinder? Do me a favour.

They're dumber than people who fall in love with Siri.

Originally Posted by JoeMorgue View Post
You start a lot of threads bragging about how you don't care about people. Maybe like... don't. Just an idea.
I have an even better idea.

If you're offended by it, don't read my threads, and certainly don't respond to tell me what you think about what I think.

The subject is morons sending money to people who are so romantically deluded they talk themselves into believing preposterous scams.
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Old 28th April 2022, 08:33 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by marting View Post
A friend of my wife is clinging on to a guy that claims he is a special, government, deep secret agent that requires he move around to different cities frequently. She's totally attached. Just waiting for the wire me money requests.
Has anyone tried to talk some sense into her? Show her some stories of people who have been scammed?

I understand that some people are too attached to their fantasies, but I would at least try.

At the very least, if he were actually secret agent, the government would be paying for his expenses.
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Old 28th April 2022, 09:04 PM   #13
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I might have posted about this a while back. I got a letter (snail mail) from some guy who claimed he been in love with me since he met me as a nurse taking care of his dying wife. Now that she'd passed on he really wanted to get together.

It was bizarre especially since I hadn't worked in a hospital for decades.

Turned out he'd been banned from a dating site or two for pulling the same scam for years. He was looking for lonely single nurses I guess. Could be he was getting names and addresses from any number of places you can find licensed nurse information.

There was a news article on the scam from several years back and I contacted the reporter. But she no longer worked for the news source.

I never replied to the letter.
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Old 28th April 2022, 11:07 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by The Atheist View Post
If you're offended by it, don't read my threads, and certainly don't respond to tell me what you think about what I think.

Because that's what the ISF is all about, isn't it? Letting dumb thoughts remain unchallenged, not responding to them, and not telling posters what you think!

The title of this thread should have been Internet Romance Scams.
Originally Posted by The Atheist View Post
I have great difficulty finding sympathy for stupid people who pay out hundreds of thousands of dollars to someone they only know from the internet.

In principle, it isn't any different from old-fashioned romance scams. First the internet and now the social media have just made romance scams so much easier. The same thing goes for psychic scams, and the pandemic has probably created even more vulnerable people, more isolated widows and widowers.
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Old 29th April 2022, 12:21 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by Skeptic Ginger View Post
I never replied to the letter.

I assume the letter had a return address or maybe a phone number or e-mail address. There ought to be an internet site for sharing those addresses and maybe getting proactive by scamming them. On YouTube, videos about exposing and scamming the scammers seem to be very popular.
https://www.youtube.com/results?sear...g+the+scammers
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"Stupidity renders itself invisible by assuming very large proportions. Completely unreasonable claims are irrefutable. Ni-en-leh pointed out that a philosopher might get into trouble by claiming that two times two makes five, but he does not risk much by claiming that two times two makes shoe polish." B. Brecht
"The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is required for their real happiness. The demand to give up the illusion about its condition is the demand to give up a condition which needs illusions." K. Marx
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Old 29th April 2022, 01:56 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by marting View Post
A friend of my wife is clinging on to a guy that claims he is a special, government, deep secret agent that requires he move around to different cities frequently. She's totally attached. Just waiting for the wire me money requests.
You need to send Arnie and Tom after him, and make him pee his pants!
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Old 29th April 2022, 02:09 AM   #17
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Anyone interested in this should watch 'The Tinder Swindler' on Netflix, a documentary about an Israeli guy who targeted North European women who found him 'tall dark and handsome'. He'd get them, one after the other, to take out loans, which he then used to love bomb other women by taking them out on jet-setting dates. One big ponzi-style scam as one date would be funding the next dates. As they had taken out the loans voluntarily there wasn't much redress. He received a couple of short prison sentences but largely got away with it. It is easy to laugh at these women and think, I could never be so gullible or stupid but I sympathise with the victims as they have been psychologically manipulated and betrayed. There can be few amongst us who have never had a relationship that in hindsight was them using you, for whatever reason. Perhaps they think 'there is money there' and want to divest you of it, or for social status (the trophy girlfriend) only to move on to the next one, or they are just sex addicts interested only in notching up the bed post.
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Old 29th April 2022, 02:10 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by Dr. Keith View Post
Is sympathy more expensive down under? Up here it doesn’t cost much and I certainly can find it for victims of a con.
No Dr Keith. Sympathy is in plentiful supply here, and free. Its just that some of my fellow antipodeans excel in having a permanently nasty disposition, and really don't give a fat rats-arse about anyone but themselves... as you would have seen at Parliament Grounds in Wellington during February and March of this year.

We have an excellent, private non-profit organisation here called Netsafe who provide information and advice free of charge on how we can help the older, more vulnerable members of our community.

https://www.netsafe.org.nz/romance-scams/
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Old 29th April 2022, 03:13 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by The Atheist View Post
I have great difficulty finding sympathy for stupid people who pay out hundreds of thousands of dollars to someone they only know from the internet.

...


Personally, I admire his style. A million bucks between two sad old women is pretty good going, and if there are two, there will be a lot more somewhere.
I'm such an edgelord for siding with the bullies and greedy con artists, and having no sympathy for the lonely.

Why not just put them on your list of people who should be forcibly euthanized along with the over-60s, the obese and the disabled.
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Old 29th April 2022, 05:35 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by dann View Post
Because that's what the ISF is all about, isn't it? Letting dumb thoughts remain unchallenged, not responding to them, and not telling posters what you think!
Sadly at this point pretty much.
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Old 29th April 2022, 05:44 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by smartcooky View Post
No Dr Keith. Sympathy is in plentiful supply here, and free. Its just that some of my fellow antipodeans excel in having a permanently nasty disposition, and really don't give a fat rats-arse about anyone but themselves... as you would have seen at Parliament Grounds in Wellington during February and March of this year.

We have an excellent, private non-profit organisation here called Netsafe who provide information and advice free of charge on how we can help the older, more vulnerable members of our community.

https://www.netsafe.org.nz/romance-scams/
That is an excellent site!!
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Old 29th April 2022, 08:18 AM   #22
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Originally Posted by angrysoba View Post
Why not just put them on your list of people who should be forcibly euthanized along with the over-60s, the obese and the disabled.

I think they are supposed to be the same group. They are also the only ones that are killed by Covid-19.
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"Stupidity renders itself invisible by assuming very large proportions. Completely unreasonable claims are irrefutable. Ni-en-leh pointed out that a philosopher might get into trouble by claiming that two times two makes five, but he does not risk much by claiming that two times two makes shoe polish." B. Brecht
"The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is required for their real happiness. The demand to give up the illusion about its condition is the demand to give up a condition which needs illusions." K. Marx
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Old 29th April 2022, 08:46 AM   #23
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Are stupid people supposed to be blamed for being stupid? Why?

We can't help it.
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Old 29th April 2022, 09:43 AM   #24
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Originally Posted by dann View Post
I assume the letter had a return address or maybe a phone number or e-mail address. There ought to be an internet site for sharing those addresses and maybe getting proactive by scamming them. On YouTube, videos about exposing and scamming the scammers seem to be very popular.
https://www.youtube.com/results?sear...g+the+scammers
There was an email address. I did not want to reply and give him my email address in the process.

Initially I was going to contact the state board of nursing but I never did.
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Old 29th April 2022, 09:54 AM   #25
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Maybe it's an envy thing? Like I see that there's tons of money to be made, with a little bit of hustle and a callous disdain of my fellow man, if only I had the intestinal fortitude to hide my callous disdain and feign human empathy long enough to seal the deal. So I resent those who are like me, but also able to fake it til they make it.
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Old 29th April 2022, 09:59 AM   #26
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Romance scams seem like way too much effort when it'd be way easier to simply find a rich person and convince them to marry you.
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Old 29th April 2022, 12:42 PM   #27
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Originally Posted by TragicMonkey View Post
Romance scams seem like way too much effort when it'd be way easier to simply find a rich person and convince them to marry you.
Many a true word said in jest. It is all very well advising Lonely Hearts to not part with any money and to hear alarm bells should the money question arise. However, many relationships are sealed by precisely moving in with each other and sharing your bank account and bills. So if a scammer mimics all the processes of courtship, it is easy to see why some people are duped into parting with money they thought they were sharing together.
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Old 29th April 2022, 01:15 PM   #28
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AFAICT scamming is more the norm rather than the exception when it comes to international dating (/mail-order brides). Most isn't for hundreds of thousands of dollars, though. Even say a $50 gift or springing for a $1000 plane ticket isn't chump change by the standards of many countries.
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Old 29th April 2022, 01:18 PM   #29
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Originally Posted by smartcooky View Post
No Dr Keith. Sympathy is in plentiful supply here, and free. Its just that some of my fellow antipodeans excel in having a permanently nasty disposition, and really don't give a fat rats-arse about anyone but themselves... as you would have seen at Parliament Grounds in Wellington during February and March of this year.

We have an excellent, private non-profit organisation here called Netsafe who provide information and advice free of charge on how we can help the older, more vulnerable members of our community.

https://www.netsafe.org.nz/romance-scams/
My apologies for over generalizing.
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Old 29th April 2022, 01:30 PM   #30
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
I have a lot less sympathy for victims of the classic appeal to greed scams. If you fall for the Nigerian Prince, or some other get rich quick scheme, that's on you.

But people who make an emotional connection out of a mixture of hope and need, and then get exploited because of that? Yeah, I have a lot of sympathy there.

It's not an exact fit for this context, but I'm reminded of Churchill's eulogy for Neville Chamberlain. It reads in part:
It fell to Neville Chamberlain in one of the supreme crises of the world to be contradicted by events, to be disappointed in his hopes, and to be deceived and cheated by a wicked man. But what were these hopes in which he was disappointed? What were these wishes in which he was frustrated? What was that faith that was abused? They were surely among the most noble and benevolent instincts of the human heart[...]

https://winstonchurchill.org/resourc...e-chamberlain/

I think most scams these days are not clearly one or the other, they are mixed. A relationship is the beginning. Followed by a need. But, not just a need, but a short term need with a high ROI. Lend me this money for a few days and I’ll pay you double in return just to say how much I appreciate it.

The longer cons tend to require more hand holding, more of a relationship.

But yes, to the extent the Nigerian prince scam still works and greedy people are conned by their greed, it is hard to be as sympathetic as one is with those who are taken for being caring.
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Old 29th April 2022, 02:26 PM   #31
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Originally Posted by dann View Post
In principle, it isn't any different from old-fashioned romance scams.
Yeah it is - it's an organised international criminal gang.

https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/cri...-swindler-scam

I'd be curious to know how much money they make; it must run into some pretty heavy millions. NZ's a pretty small country, and with $1M just from the two dumb coozes who admit to it it wouldn't surprise me if it's upwards of $100M overall around the world.

Easy work, I'd say.
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Old 29th April 2022, 04:01 PM   #32
smartcooky
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Let me tell you a story... its quite short, I promise

I have a long time customer who I will call "Dana". She has been a regular customer for about ten years. Dana is in her early 40's, has no children, and her husband, a builder, died from a heart attack at work about twelve years ago. Since then she has lived alone. She is not unattractive, she has a really nice way about her, and a pleasant personality, but I always get the impression she is lonely.

In early February, Dana started bringing in photos of a man to have me print them for a photo frame and albums etc. This, she said, was a nice man called "Chuck" she had met and was getting along with well. As soon as I saw these photos, I was suspicious. It was of a man who was obviously US military... an Army Colonel if I recognise my US military insignia correctly.

Now, I don't know Dana personally as anything other than a customer, but I can tell she is reasonably well off - a lonely, well-off woman ripe for the plucking by a scammer. I thought this looked like a scam, so I decided right there, I was going to do something about it. The problem is, using her photos of this man would be a privacy violation. I ran this past my partner and her response was that I "need to do the right thing", so I decided that the privacy thing was the lesser of two evils, and that in good conscience, doing nothing and allowing a potential scammer to harm Dana was not an option.

These are two of several images she had.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/5uusw15c2t...age1.jpg?raw=1

https://www.dropbox.com/s/ckjkyd7zy2...age2.jpg?raw=1

I did a Google reverse image search on them.... the first one came up blank, but the second one got a result.

https://www.google.com/search?tbs=sb...gjlFZKUp&hl=en

...and below a bunch of similar photos, there was a link to a Twitter account for a "Daniel Blackmon" that showed the exact same photo. Without going into details, further investigation led me to this confirmation that it was a scam...

https://taskandpurpose.com/news/army...romance-scams/

I contacted Netsafe, told/showed them what I had found, and asked them if they could recommend how I should proceed. The guy I spoke to recommended either talking to Dana directly if I felt comfortable doing that, or finding a friend of hers to contact, or send her the information anonymously. I didn't feel comfortable taking the personal approach, and I didn't know her well enough to know her friends, so I sent her an email from a burner gmail account I created for the purpose. The email simply said "Dana, you are being taken for a ride" and I linked the "taskandpurpose.com" link above.

The following week, she came in to have some other work done. I she didn't mention "Chuck", and hasn't brought in any more photos of him since, so I'm hoping that she received my email and understood. Some time soon, if I am at the shop when she comes in again, I'm going to take her aside and admit it was me that sent her the email.
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Old 30th April 2022, 06:15 PM   #33
Delvo
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Originally Posted by The Atheist View Post
Quote:
Donna pleaded with the man she thought was her “prince charming” to repay her, saying: “I need this money ... this is my kids’ money, this is my granddaughter’s money”.
Unless that part was a lie, she's not just a victim; she's also a perpetrator of a different kind of crime against her own family.

You are within your rights to throw your own money away at scammers. You aren't within your rights to throw away other people's money.
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Old 30th April 2022, 07:47 PM   #34
theprestige
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Originally Posted by Delvo View Post
Unless that part was a lie, she's not just a victim; she's also a perpetrator of a different kind of crime against her own family.

You are within your rights to throw your own money away at scammers. You aren't within your rights to throw away other people's money.
Or it was a figure of speech, and she was referring to something along the lines of an inheritance, intended but not owed.

But yeah, I guess if you squint hard enough you can f a way to blame the victim. if you want.
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Old 30th April 2022, 07:53 PM   #35
Venom
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
People are hurting and lonely and desperate. I have no difficulty at all finding sympathy for them.
Originally Posted by JoeMorgue View Post
"Omit needless words" - Strunk & White.

You start a lot of threads bragging about how you don't care about people. Maybe like... don't. Just an idea.
This.

I actually pity stupid/slow people. It's not entirely their fault after all.

I do have a lot less sympathy for misanthropes who try to find any fault in the victim for....whatever reason, with a tacit free pass for the perp. Raises an eyebrow.
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Old 1st May 2022, 02:27 AM   #36
The Atheist
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Originally Posted by Venom View Post
I actually pity stupid/slow people.
They're neither stupid nor slow, as far as I can tell, just desperate.

Desperate enough to believe some bloke they've only ever interacted with on the internet is someone they can trust with all of their money.

WC Fields laughing in his grave.
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Old 1st May 2022, 02:36 AM   #37
Vixen
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Originally Posted by The Atheist View Post
They're neither stupid nor slow, as far as I can tell, just desperate.

Desperate enough to believe some bloke they've only ever interacted with on the internet is someone they can trust with all of their money.

WC Fields laughing in his grave.
No, not even desperate. If you look at The Tinder Swindler, a Netflix documentary, you'll see for yourself that the scammer's victims were young, attractive and fashionable. Hardly desperate by any account. Simply trusting and taking people at face value. OK so now they are hardened.
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Old 1st May 2022, 03:14 AM   #38
Vixen
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Originally Posted by smartcooky View Post
Let me tell you a story... its quite short, I promise

I have a long time customer who I will call "Dana". She has been a regular customer for about ten years. Dana is in her early 40's, has no children, and her husband, a builder, died from a heart attack at work about twelve years ago. Since then she has lived alone. She is not unattractive, she has a really nice way about her, and a pleasant personality, but I always get the impression she is lonely.

In early February, Dana started bringing in photos of a man to have me print them for a photo frame and albums etc. This, she said, was a nice man called "Chuck" she had met and was getting along with well. As soon as I saw these photos, I was suspicious. It was of a man who was obviously US military... an Army Colonel if I recognise my US military insignia correctly.

Now, I don't know Dana personally as anything other than a customer, but I can tell she is reasonably well off - a lonely, well-off woman ripe for the plucking by a scammer. I thought this looked like a scam, so I decided right there, I was going to do something about it. The problem is, using her photos of this man would be a privacy violation. I ran this past my partner and her response was that I "need to do the right thing", so I decided that the privacy thing was the lesser of two evils, and that in good conscience, doing nothing and allowing a potential scammer to harm Dana was not an option.

These are two of several images she had.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/5uusw15c2t...age1.jpg?raw=1

https://www.dropbox.com/s/ckjkyd7zy2...age2.jpg?raw=1

I did a Google reverse image search on them.... the first one came up blank, but the second one got a result.

https://www.google.com/search?tbs=sb...gjlFZKUp&hl=en

...and below a bunch of similar photos, there was a link to a Twitter account for a "Daniel Blackmon" that showed the exact same photo. Without going into details, further investigation led me to this confirmation that it was a scam...

https://taskandpurpose.com/news/army...romance-scams/

I contacted Netsafe, told/showed them what I had found, and asked them if they could recommend how I should proceed. The guy I spoke to recommended either talking to Dana directly if I felt comfortable doing that, or finding a friend of hers to contact, or send her the information anonymously. I didn't feel comfortable taking the personal approach, and I didn't know her well enough to know her friends, so I sent her an email from a burner gmail account I created for the purpose. The email simply said "Dana, you are being taken for a ride" and I linked the "taskandpurpose.com" link above.

The following week, she came in to have some other work done. I she didn't mention "Chuck", and hasn't brought in any more photos of him since, so I'm hoping that she received my email and understood. Some time soon, if I am at the shop when she comes in again, I'm going to take her aside and admit it was me that sent her the email.
She's probably already guessed it was you. Perhaps better to save her face by just hinting at it and that way she has it confirmed it was indeed you and that you know she knows that you know she knows it was you.

If you take her aside to tell her, she might hate you for crushing her dreams, even if you were only the messenger.
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Old 1st May 2022, 03:53 AM   #39
Sideroxylon
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Originally Posted by JoeMorgue View Post
"Omit needless words" - Strunk & White.

You start a lot of threads bragging about how you don't care about people. Maybe like... don't. Just an idea.
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Old 1st May 2022, 04:30 AM   #40
Matthew Best
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Originally Posted by The Atheist View Post
I have great difficulty finding sympathy for stupid people who pay out hundreds of thousands of dollars to someone they only know from the internet.
Originally Posted by The Atheist View Post
They're neither stupid nor slow, as far as I can tell, just desperate.
Er, hello? I may be stupid, but I'm not so stupid as not to notice this discrepancy.
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