Reading time: 2 – 2 minutes
How hilarious… I am barely a month into my online dating scene and I find I have been targeted with a scam. Thank god I am internet-savvy and very research-oriented, because in all seriousness, I might not have figured this out for a long time. Why wouldn’t I have figured it out? Because as much of a researcher and an internet-savvy person I may be, I am also a sucker for kindness and giving the benefit of the doubt far too long.
I had received an email from a guy in Russia, flattering me and asking if he could basically be my pen pal and just have a gay friend with whom to share. I thought this was cool, kind of reminiscent of high school when I did have literal “pen” pals. I even affectionately thought about it today while at work, thinking this was a nice treat, no pressure, because I have been avoiding actually going on any dates. A pen pal might be a nice, non-threatening way to just have fun.
So I go to write him back tonight, re-reading his broken English email, and I decide to search on his country so I can speak intelligently with him, ask him questions, etc. About 6 entries into the search results, I see the words “INTERNET SCAMMER”. Some part of me must have known, because for some reason it totally made sense to me within seconds despite my original affection for the idea of a pen pal.
Sure enough, the alert from ANTISCAM not only included the guy’s picture, but his email to me nearly EXACTLY as I had received it. The letter continue on, eventually leading to a request for money, presumably once the victim is hooked with prospects of a foreign love affair coming to fruition through a few cash advances and a ticket out of Russia.