There are many posts that regularly do the round on social media detailing various scams. I’m sure you are familiar with some of the commonly circulated ones! Warning about killer spiders in bananas and needles in Halloween sweets. You know the sort of thing, right? Well, I have first-hand experience of a legitimate scam circulating the web at the moment.
Keep your friends close, but be careful who you befriend.
As a writer, I am big on networking. I have a vast array of friends across sites like Facebook and Twitter. But it’s important to be careful who you befriend, particularly on Facebook. I recently had a friends request, nothing new there, however, it did raise an alarm as this person was French, and I’m not! Also, we didn’t appear to have any friends in common, plus she was an attractive young lady. I thought nothing of it and accepted the friends request without a second thought. After a few minutes, she had waved at me
And then it got weird.
Being a single man I obviously waved back. After a bit of back and forth exchanging pleasantries such as “where do you work?”, “how old are you?” etc. she dropped the question men just love to be asked… “Do you live alone?” this along with “are you single” drop serious hints as to a person’s intent and like all single men this prompted me to check out her Facebook profile.
Slick like Rick.
When I searched through her profile all of her pictures were flawless. Model-like. This struck me as a little odd for a lady claiming to work in a French Supermarket. When I scrolled down through her Facebook page there were just model calibre pictures, no personal comments until I scrolled a little further and found a plethora of posts with African families. It all seemed a little surreal. So I started to question what the scam was.
Video killed the radio star
The conversation then took a turn and this lady became increasingly provocative. Talking exclusively about things of a sexual nature. She then started to encourage me to video chat with her. I declined the phone calls at first but then curiosity got the better of me and I answered the call and sure enough, there was the girl from the pictures in her underwear! This was all a little surreal. So I hung up and did a quick google search to see what scam she was using.
I found a relevant article on the Daily Mail website from a man who had endured a similar scenario it turns out that, when chatting, the woman encourages the unwitting victim to do uncompromising things, which they then video capture and use to blackmail you into giving them money. Armed with this valuable information I went back into the chat applet and proceeded to “mess with her”. This consisted of me “flirting” but in a way that was obviously taking the mickey, before proposing to her and offering to pay for her plane ticket to move to England to marry me. Expecting a payout she handed over her PayPal details which I then used to transfer two pence into her account. I then explained to her I’d be paying for her ticket in monthly 2p instalments, at which point she blocked me.
Now obviously I cottoned on almost instantly to the rouse. But there will be others that don’t! So I guess the moral of the story is really quite a simple one. Make sure you be careful about your privacy settings and who you add on Facebook and for heaven’s sake don’t get your junk out on video chat with a stranger!