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Cons, Scams and a Dead Man   Leave a comment

DATING SITE REBEL

I recently joined eHarmony for a month to meet my perfect match… So far all 72 and counting.  Even this self-proclaimed kinder and gentler web site which supposedly treats its members with much more dignity than the Match.com’s of the world, completely takes you to the cleaners if you don’t sign up for at least three months.  I decided for a “de-press only” with no starch and paid the excessive one month fee.   I opted out of the three month spin cycle so if I didn’t like the site, I wouldn’t be forced to keep receiving my six perfect matches four times a week.

You really have to sift through eHarmony to find the “one month option.”  And, they actually make you feel dirty when you select it, like you are not playing by the rules and destined to fail.  Well then call me a dating rebel.  However I keep expecting that mild mannered mid-fifties salt and pepper haired stylishly bespectacled dating expert from the eHarmony television commercials to call and berate me on my flawed approach to online dating.

CUPID IS STUPID

Actually, I chose eHarmony because I was on Cupid.com for just a few weeks and received tons of response… From 20 year old strippers pretending to be interested in order to lure me to their lair of pay sites and cash in on my innate desire to see them naked.  When I realized it was a scam, I quit Cupid quick.  I want a date I can undress in person.

THE WIDOW LESLIE PALMER

Recently a 50 year old woman started contacting me through the laborious and redundant eHarmony multiple choice questionnaire process.  It poses ridiculous queries similar to; “If you got pulled over by the Police and they found crack in your car, would you say it belonged to your date to avoid a third strike?” Or, “What would you do if your date remembered seeing you on an episode of Lock-up?”

I wasn’t really interested in this woman, but she seemed very nice so I played along.  I told her I wasn’t sure if we were a good fit (her teeth looked like corn on the cob with extra husk), so we decided to just email one another to see if we could develop a friendship.  But I knew I’d never want to meet her in person.  Moreover, she was a widow and went to England to settle her late husband’s will who passed away four years ago.  In the back of my mind I wondered why the will was still in probate after four years?

Also, when she told me his name was Brian Palmer, I knew I’d heard it before.  The answer was on the tip of my tongue.  For days I aimlessly wandered the streets of San Francisco perplexed as to where I had heard of this person before.

Suddenly while showering one morning it came to me. Months ago someone tried to relieve me of my money with a “dead husband will scam” where somehow I would become the beneficiary of millions.  Most important, the dead guy’s name was Brian Palmer, just like this stiff.   I jumped out of the shower.  “No fucking way!”  It was all coming together.

LAZY: THE WORST KIND OF CRIMINAL

Taking to heart what I’ve learned about sending nasty emails and then regretting them later, I decided to wait and see if “Leslie,” probably a 250 pound Nigerian man in a shiny suit two sizes too small, made a suspicious move.  Maybe the name thing was just a coincidence.  She certainly wasn’t good looking enough to be playing the “promise of sex” angle.  I’d rather join the Priesthood than see what’s under that skirt.   So, what if I called her out on this and was wrong?   Then I would have insulted her and her poor beloved dead husband.  I cringed thinking about how that would play out.

But when I got into work the next morning an email saying she ran out of money in England and needs me to help her out was waiting for me.  Then she asked for ten thousand dollars.  What kind of help did she need?  Was she planning on sailing back to the United States on a yacht?

The Nigerians strike again!  I knew it was the Nigerians because they run most of the internet scams.   They are incredibly lazy and keep using the same names, photos and catch phrases in all their cons.  Moreover, they get very impatient and ask for the money way too soon.  And, their grammar is atrocious.  It’s actually kind of pathetic.  I was sort of feeling sorry for these inept Nigerians trying to steal from me.  I almost wanted to tell them where they went wrong so they wouldn’t keep making the same mistakes.  I like to help people.

THE BEG-A-THON BARK

It seems like everywhere I go someone is trying to get my meager amount of monetary reserves.  At least six people beg from me to and from work everyday.  I get telemarketed to death daily for things like a free soup spoon if I sign up for ten magazine subscriptions I don’t want.  I can’t even get gas without somebody trying to “save me the trouble of pumping it myself” in return for a few dollars.   Then I am hit up for donations by legitimate charities when I venture out for lunch.  By then I am so embittered by embezzlers I literally bark at them when I see volunteers approaching with their clipboards.

And now the beggars are starting to ask for specific dollar amounts!  When you give them some loose change  you often hear “Oh come on, can I get at least a dollar?”  It makes you want to snatch the money back.  I gave someone a dollar once and he actually asked for at least a five!  He said you can’t do anything with a dollar.  “In that case, may I have it back?” I asked.  “I can find something to do with it.”   I was going to the laundromat that evening and could change it into quarters.

SCAMMERS WITH NO MANNERS

I have no sympathy for the scammer.   “I ran out of gas on the freeway,” says the out of breath man running toward me at the gas station.  “I need money for a can of gas so I can get my pregnant wife to the hospital.  For some reason my credit card isn’t working.  My wife is ready to pop!”

“Where’s the car?  I’ll give you a ride with the gas can to help you save time,” I offer, already knowing there is no car, wife or need for any gas.

“Oh, well it’s way up there on the freeway.”  He points to in the opposite direction.  “It’ll be faster if I take it myself.”  He was starting to sound annoyed with me.  Like I was fucking him up at work and questioning his ability to run sixty miles an hour.

I pulled out my cell phone, “Let me call an ambulance for your wife.  What kind of car do you have?”

All I got was a shot of his back as the man briskly jogged across the street to another gas station looking for a better shill.  No goodbye or anything.  He had no idea how many times I heard that scam before, on both coasts!  Yet I get it at least twice a year.  And it must work or these guys wouldn’t keep using it.

A STAIN ON SOCIETY

People running games on others has gotten to the point where you can’t even be on a dating site without wondering if the person on the other end of the questionnaire is for real.  It used to be you just worried if they looked like their picture.  Now you wonder if they have a mug shot.

When I run into scammers plying their craft, especially on the internet, like with the Brian Palmer ploy, I play along for as long as possible wasting as much of their time as I possibly can.  Then, just when they think I am the sending money, I blow the lid off the whole thing.   I have my “gotcha moment.” I envision their anger with me for frittering away their valuable scamming time.  It’s really all you can do.  But it still infuriates me they have figured out how to infiltrate yet one more venue.  They are like a mysterious stain that appears on your favorite shirt and no matter what you do you can’t get it to completely disappear    These parasites are a stain on society that is actually getting worse.

LAW AND ORDER

It’s a fantasy.  The computer con men are hiding behind so many aliases, fake IP addresses and international borders they will most likely never be caught.   And the police could care less about the panhandlers on the street.  They won’t even come out on a nuisance call involving them because the California jails are bursting at the seams.  All you can do is be vigilant, don’t give money to anyone, just offer help.  If they turn down non-monetary assistance, you know they are not for real.

And if you really are sick of the cons, scams and games constantly being hurled toward you, you can still go one place where there is some law and order. Just check your local TV listings.  Law and Order is on seven days a week in every market across the United States.   It’s the closest you’ll get to anyone trying to put a stop to this nonsense that plaques the weak, infuriates the strong and utterly fascinates me with its boorishness and greed.