Just going to chill and chat online?

Sometimes when you're single, and even over 50, it makes you a prime target for scammers.  You certainly need to be on your guard if you're involved with any online social networks. Of course... anyone can be a target.... not just our age group. Like the story published on the CBC website titled "Man tried to blackmail women he met on dating site"  -- this guys was convincing women to share sexual videos of themselves with him, and then afterwards tried to blackmail them.

The man in this story was caught and charged, but there are smarter scammers  out there, and it's possible they can't be charged. I'm going to share a story with you out of my personal experience with Facebook.

I got an email a few months ago that a young lady, Betty (not her real name) had sent me a request to add her as a friend. It was during the work week and I was going through my messages pretty fast. I meant to click the link to learn more about her, as I didn't recognize her name. Instead, I accidentally clicked the wrong link and added her as a friend. Well, I thought, no harm. I clicked through her profile; she didn't have a lot of information on it, but there were a couple of pictures of her with a small boy. She claimed to be 27 years old, live in the southern states and was single.

I didn't think too much about it and then a few days later I got an email from her saying, "Hey there, big Steve. How come a handsome man like you is still single?"

This wasn't my first experience with a young woman looking for a sugar daddy. So I sent her an email back asking what her game was, how much money she hoped to get out of me... and then suggested she forget the whole thing and go find a young man her own age to date.

Then I came to find out, that she had been going through my friends list on Facebook and sending friend requests to other single men over 50 and claiming to be a friend of mine. So my friends were adding her.

After she had read my reply to her message she instantly de-friended me, but it was too late for some of my friends. She struck up a conversation with some of them and moved it along pretty quickly until days later when she told them a "sob" story and then asked for money. I've actually had two friends email me about this.

Technically, I suppose her action isn't illegal; although it could be -- I don't know. But it might turn out a lot worse. What if she stated sending these men nude pictures of herself and then after receiving money and doctoring a few emails, turn around and try and blackmail these men? It's possible she could threaten to go to the police and claim the men were blackmailing her to send nude photos of herself. Then she emails these men with this threat of what she will do unless they want to cough up some serious cash.

Hopefully, the two friends who emailed me about her have de-friended her and aren't having any more to do with her. I don't really know if she would go to these lengths, but she did approach one of them for money. I don't know if he has sent her any. I warned both of them that I figured she was a scammer and not to contact her anymore.

For that matter, she might not even be a woman. The Jamaica Star online published a story a couple of months ago titled "LUSTING MEN CAUGHT IN SCAM - Facebook used in latest con".

If my friends and I can get caught up in this kind of scam, you can too.  The book pictured to the left titled Outsmarting the Scam Artists: How to Protect Yourself From the Most Clever Cons is written by Doug Shadel and is available in paperback form Amazon.  He says, "While anyone can be targeted, many victims are older." In his book you will:

  • Get practical tips to combat all kinds of scams, from simple lottery tickets to non-existent oil and gas deals and religious ponzi schemes
  • Learn how to protect yourself by securing your mailbox and fraud-proofing your trash
  • Get inside the head of sophisticated scam artists to discover how you can become the type of individual they avoid

Some of this book is based on other types of scams, but the underlying theme is the same as "Betty" uses. She appeals to your emotions, and gets you to "buy" into send her money. Watch now as the author of the book talks about this very thing.

And you know what the worse thing is about this? Many of these crimes, and in particularly social crimes go un-reported. The victims feel stupid; they feel it's their own fault -- they should have known better.

Have a look at Outsmarting the Scam Artists: How to Protect Yourself From the Most Clever Cons on the Amazon website. Perhaps it will save you money and help keep you safe.

Sitting in your big comfy chair at home with a blanket wrapped around your shoulders and using your laptop to surf the web and chat with friends on Facebook (or any other social network) doesn't mean you're safe.... even if your doors are locked.

 


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