The Day I Found Love in Zimbabwe
As many of you are aware, there are plenty of dating scams online. It usually starts with a friend request from someone you don't know. Of course, they have an attractive profile picture, and when you look at the profile, they have very few friends, or lots of recently added ones.
Most of us will never fall for the scam, but there are some that do. A friend of mine fell for the online dating scam, sending money to a woman to pay bills who then wouldn't bother to talk to him until she messaged to ask for more money. I've known plenty of other guys who message for months with a woman online and even begin to believe she is a "girlfriend" without having ever met the woman.
It may not even be a woman on the other end.
Now when I get a random friend request I delete it, unless we have a mutual acquaintance or you send a message to explain why you are adding me. That said, I do have a story to tell about someone who attempted to scam me online.
I was on Facebook one day, doing the usual and checking Mafia Wars (remember that) when I received a message. It was a woman. She said hello and sent a friend request. I looked at her profile and instantly my radar went off. The pictures were too good to be true. The scammer wasn't dumb enough to use model pics right clicked from Google, but obviously had stolen someones online profile photos and set up an account under a different name.
She was very attractive, and it was as if this scammer had done their homework in knowing what I would be attracted to. But that’s how I knew it was fake. If it's too good to be true than it probably is.
"She" sent another message so I figured what the hell, this could be fun, and accepted the friend request. You know, I tend to jump in if it might make for an interesting story. This time the message was longer and revealed the broken English characteristic of overseas scammers.
She would always send me messages at weird hours, usually well past midnight. After a day or two of messaging, she started to refer to me as "honey" and then began to tell me how much she missed me. That was odd because the limit of our conversation had been messages like "hi" and "how was your day?".
I played along for awhile when my love announced that she was going on a trip. So I asked where she was headed. She replied that the family farm was in trouble. Her father had died and she needed to go to Zimbabwe. Now of course, this is an odd location for a farm, especially since she "lived" in Italy. So I just said good luck.
The next day I received another IM. She said that the mango picker had broke and the farm was in trouble. They wouldn't be able to harvest the mangoes and the farm would fail if they couldn't sell those crops. As you can see above, a mango picker is a rather simple device that should not cripple a farm if it should fail.
I played along, "Oh my god how terrible. Well I just got my retirement check. How much is a mango picker?" She was ecstatic. "would you do that for me honey? Buy us a mango picker? They cost about $10,000. Can you send money right away?" Sure, I mean I am ready to help a family in need.
She asked that I wire transfer the money via Western Union. So I said I will get right on that. The next morning she messaged asking if I sent the money. I told her I did. A little while later she messaged to say she was at the money store and they didn't have the funds. "Well gee, I don't know why. I sent it yesterday. Maybe it needs a day to transfer". I told her to try again tomorrow.
Tomorrow came and she was at the money spot again. The funds were not there (surprise!) I messaged to tell her "Did you really think I would send you $10,000? Go scam someone else". She didn't give up though, getting straight to the point..."look, are you going to send the money or not?" I told her no, and she was upset "you wasted my time". I laughed.
I tell you this story, because well, friends don't let friends buy strangers mango pickers.