Beginning of the Christmas period, I spent (wasted) a lot of time chatting to Facebook scammers. It just started out of curiosity but after 2 days I got bored with them. Facebook money scams. The existence is hardly a surprise, but I was pretty taken a back by the number of them - how frequently I receive messages from them, and how impatient and aggressive they can be if I respond but don't respond in the way they want me to.
I'd had about 2,500+ Facebook "friends" over years. But in early December I suddenly started to receive many friends requests, all of which I accepted without looking stupidly. "Oh great, new friends!" Before I knew it the number of my "friends" grew to 5,000, the maximum number you can have. Before-I-knew-it means I never did anything to find out why I was receiving so many requests all of a sudden. Yes, very stupid.
I got messages from half-naked women the minute I logged in and, it was a bit too late when I finally discovered that someone had got me to join some sleazy adult relationship groups without my consent. I was a member of a porn video group, "Old men seeking young women" group, "Wet Filipino Maids" "International group sex" (how!?!?) etc etc. It all made sense.
Where R U From?
"Where r u from"... They should know where I live if they bother to look at my profile. Obviously they're randomly shooting messages and as soon as I say I'm from the UK, they jump on me. Smell of money. I've learned that if they start a conversation with "hi. where are you from", that's an indicator and I've learned to ignore them completely.
Facebook Money Scams
Those half-naked hookers - whether they're scammers, or real relationship seekers - didn't get very far with me because I'm a gay male. Young pretty girls in their profile photo, but you never know who they really are. They want to come to the UK to meet me. To which I reply "no thanks, I have a husband". Then they want me to introduce some British men. A lot of them would start asking me to send money so that they could travel to the UK - why the hell would I send any money to a stranger? I guess if I was a desperately old straight single man desperate to meet any young girls...? Even so. After 10 minutes of conversation?
Facebook Agency Scam
Scammers I have most encountered claim to be an agent for Facebook. They tell me that FB is running a lottery stake and I'm one of the lucky winners who've won $500,000.
Typically they say the money will be delivered to your home in cash. The "secure delivery charge" of $300 or so will have to be paid by you before the dispatch. The charge couldn't be deducted from the winnings "for tax reasons", you'll have to pay them in advance.
One woman told me I'd won $600,000 but asked me to get an iTune gift card for the minimum value of $50. She said a gift card would be used in their special ATM and that's the only way they could get large sums of money - it makes no sense or whatsoever but that's the way she said it was. She wanted me run to a shop to get a card, scratch the code at the back, take a photo of the code and send it to her.
I ignored, but an hour later she came back to me to say "Did you get a card?" I said yes I did. I Googled images of "iTunes code" and sent one to her. (Childish, I know...) She said "This card is already used, you have to go back to the shop and buy another one. The card has to be $50 or $100 in value". I sent another image to her. Of course that code would have been invalid too. She changed her tactics and told me all was good, $600,000 was on its way, but the money would be delivered to my home address and I'd have to pay a delivery charge of $350 now. I said "Okay, where do I send the $350 to?" She gave me a Western Union address in Jamaica.
She was increasingly becoming aggressive before I finally blocked her. "Have you sent the money? You must send it now. Send me money. I'll accept $300 if you send me now. Send me now! Send it!". Be patient, woman (or man). I'd try someone else if I were you.
One "American soldier who's in Afghanistan for peace keeping" messaged me, this hunky man in his 20's said the moment he saw my Facebook profile photo he fell in love with me - LOL. I'm 52. I bet they're doing that to 80 year old pensioners too. At least he checked my profile first and figured out I was gay - 2 points. He said he'd been longing to have a relationship with someone like me with big, warm heart (we'd barely exchanged a conversation yet! Minus 2 points). He'd at least want me to accept a Christmas gift from him. He wanted my email address so that a courier company could contact me. I was curious to see where it was going and gave him my disposable mail address... I did receive an email from a "courier company" (using Gmail!) asking my postal address which I ignored. The soldier's profile was deleted the next day.
Another female "American soldier who's in Syria", also for a "peace keeping mission" was looking for a genuine friend. Actually she was looking for love, but I said I was gay, so she wanted me to be her "real friend". Because she's an orphan. Her job in Syria was boring and she was dying to travel back to New York for Christmas. The soldiers are allowed to go home temporarily if there's an invitation letter from their family member or a friend. But she has no one. I gave her my email address as requested. What I received was great, except that it was again from a Gmail (lol).
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA JOINT FORCE WITH NORTH ATLANTIC TREATY ORGANIZATION – NATO- PEACEKEEPING BASE Libya
UNITED STATES MILITARY INTERNATIONAL LEAVE BOARD
RE: EMERGENCY LEAVE APPLICATION FOR ADAMS LOFT
This is to acknowledge the receipt of your leave Application made on behalf of SGT ADAMS LOFT a US troop on peacekeeping mission here in TRIPOLI, LIBYA under my command and military jurisdiction.
I must inform you here that she is of an important mission holding a profound position in security and monitoring duties as one of our military intelligence here.
Accordingly, you should also note that this is not time for her official leave but not withstanding she will be granted an emergency leave basically on your explanations and comprehensive introduction of your true personality coupled with his zeal to seek for this leave opportunity.
It is very important that you understand these points very well and the more reasons you must pay and support in other to give this office the support to give approval to your request to have him home only for marital reasons.
We have the following leave duration to be considered and approved for accepted Applicants seeking for coming home of their fiancée on peace keeping mission and as I have offered you the chance to choose from the below leave duration with non-negotiable payments attached to each leave duration.
The United States military officers seeking for emergency leave to fulfill marital proposal and promises are entitled for the following leave/ emergency vacation options as stated below and must use it as requested and no misconduct is to be tolerated:
EMERGENCY LEAVE CATEGORIES:
(A) 4 WEEKS LEAVE DURATION: $1200.00USD
(B) 7 WEEKS LEAVE DURATION: $3,000.00USD
(C) 16 WEEKS LEAVE DURATION: $4,400.00USD
(D) SEVEN MONTHS (HONEYMOON LEAVE) LEAVE DURATION: $6,200.00USD
The above leave Duration are made available for you to choose and send payment according to choice made for your fiancée depending on your capability and expected time that you will want him to spend with you.
The reasons of payment for emergency leave Application is to assist the US military authority in replacement expenses and supporting of troops coming to take over duties from any one going on emergency leave and must be considered worthy and a way of ensuring that our troops are protected and allowed to judiciously make use of their times for reasons they are applied and paid for.
This must be well understood for any applicant/fiancée, and instructions made herein must be dully followed with the payment of the amount fixed on each emergency vacation choice made in accordance of the rules and all guidelines clearly stated on this memo to avoid mistake or termination of approval.
NOTE: For payment of any choice of leave duration, applicants are to choose to pay all fees at one time or in two or three installments’ beginning with nothing less than 30% of the total charge for the leave duration option or choice made by applicants.
On the receipt of the full payment in less than 7 days of this notification the name of your fiancée will be processed and listed on the list of emergency leave to allow him to proceed on the applied emergency leave at the time you expected his arrival in your country and to get married to you legally.
Your fiancé will only be listed on receipt of the payment of the leave duration chosen or on receipt of the part payment of 50% of the total amount or nothing less than 30% all depending on choice made among the leave duration as stated above in categories A to C.
For any choice you have made from the above leave duration, payment must be made in full within 7 days from today either in full or part of the fee to get his name fixed on the vacation list on time and to avoid mistakes or miscalculations in replacement expenses as explained above.
WESTERN UNION TRANSFER PAYMENT INFORMATION BELOW:
RECEIVER’S NAME: MICHELLE SMITH
COUNTRY/ADDRESS OF RECEIVER: DAYVILLE CONNECTICUT
TEXT QUESTION: BEST COLOR
CAPTAIN ROGER SMITH.
UNITED STATES INTERNATIONAL LEAVE BOARD
Whether "the girl" was playing by herself or a part of a syndicate, I told her I did not have money to pay. That's when she started to become ridiculously aggressive. I could borrow money from a bank. "There must be lots of banks in the UK, go and ask them!" I got bored and ignored her completely - she told me to go to hell and sent me a photo of a vagina in return (!) Of course her profile was gone a few days later.
Fake Warren Buffet
Gordon, one of my Facebook friend contacted me, asked me if I knew more about our mutual "friend", Warren Buffet.
Oh yeah...! I didn't realise Mr. Warren Buffet was one of my Facebook friends! Of course it's a fake profile. My other Facebook friends include Angelina Jolie, Diana Ross and Jenifer Lopez with a single 'n'. The fake Mr. Buffet has about 120 "friends" and 1/2 of them are half-naked South East Asian women.
This is Gordon's story. He found Mr. Buffet on Facebook and he actually sent a friend request. He's absolutely admired the 2nd richest Wall Street legend for many years, therefore was ecstatic when his friend request was accepted. Subsequently he received a private message from Mr. Buffet offering him a lot of money to become a part of a foundation. Beyond excitement, as anyone can imagine. But of course, this fake Buffet wanted Gordon to send him some money first. Gordon became suspicious but had a glimmer of hope that the guy may be real. He contacted me to check his sanity.
I told him my opinion - the profile was most definitely fake, and there are uncontrollable number of scammers on Facebook. Later on the fake Buffet came back to him asking for his payment status. To which Gordon challenged back, and a few days later the profile disappeared. Today I found another "Warren Buffet", with his photo, already has 200+ friends but looks like the profile was created a couple of days ago... I guess this kind of thing will continue as long as social media exists!
Looking After Sick Mother
I've seen this kind for years on Facebook, but I encountered lot of them during the Christmas holiday again, I figure it's still going strong. Profile photo is always a pretty white young girl but she lives in Ghana "to look after her sick mother". Born in the USA but her English is funny. Her full profile name is typically two biblical names joined together, such as "Joanna Rachel", "Maria Claudia", "Philip Peter" (Are you really a girl!?)... She would tell me she was born in one major American city, e.g. Chicago, but the profile says she's from another major city e.g. Atlanta.
Her mother is critically ill in the hospital in Ghana. She wants me to send her some money to buy medicines and to bring the mother back to the USA. She'll pay me back as soon as she's back in the States because her uncle is a millionaire. But her uncle has a problem with his bank account and cannot send her money directly... Not just the story but the whole profile setup is cheap & tacky I feel like giving her my independent unbiased feedback for improvements (I won't!)
But I guess they carry on doing what they're doing because there's someone, somewhere in the world trapped and victimised by these scams. Never send money to a stranger however nice they are - no one will get a penny out of you!
As for me - I hear you saying "Gosh, you did waste a lot of precious time in the festive period, didn't you...and you're 52!?" Yes, yes you're absolutely right...