Gullible Guys Beware The Social Network 'Beauty Queen' Scam
Boy, Did I Look Foolish!
I want to be real honest with you now. I mean what I say. I am not, repeat not, a good-looking guy. Never was. Never will be. Not a problem. For I am learned to be comfortable in my skin and not worry about the Brad Pitt's, Matt Damon's and Johnny Depp's of the world. One day they too will face old age. On second thought, these movie stars will think of a way to always look good. You can take that to the bank.
I Was Minding My Own Business . . .When
I noticed that I had received an email from a girl that I did not know. I was working on my Facebook account at the time, so my mind wasn't focused as it should be. Foolishly, I opened the email. My heart stopped. My blood pressure shot up five points. I nearly fainted. Glad that I didn't for I was at home alone. The email had an accompanying photo of a gorgeous girl, similar to these in this story. A heiterosexual man's dream. Beautiful, brunette hair. Full lips. Perfect skin. I was dreaming. I must be dreaming. No girl who looks this good ever sends me an email. For any reason. Okay, I thought. I will read the email. No harm in that. Cannot commit adultery that way. Men can rationalize anything. Any situation.
The Email Started Off By Saying . . .
"Hi. I am new to Facebook. I don't know anyone. I need a good friend to teach me how to work on Facebook. You seem like that kind of guy. Would you help this lonely, Christian girl by being her friend?"
Ring-a-ding-ding! Red lights started flashing. Sirens, whistles, fog horns sounded so loud that the windows of the office in my home rattled as if it were an earthquake. I was scared for a moment. Sweat began to form on my forehead. My hands begin to shake as I tried to REPLY to this 'lonely Christian girl's' email. What else could I do? We are put here on earth to help the down-trodden, right? Jesus would do this, I thought. With that last bit of personal justification, I replied, "Hello. (nice start), my name is, Kenneth Avery. How are you? And I have to ask, "Why did you send me this email?"
Then I hit the REPLY button and that was that. I had terrible mixed emotions. Part of me was sorry that I had replied to this beauty, while another part of me said, 'hey, life is short,' so I just finished up my work for that day and shut down my computer. That night, I had millions of thoughts racing one behind the other--what if she really is wanting a friend? I'm a granddad, this won't work. I am an old guy. Girls do not want old guys. Were just a few of the thoughts that kept me tossing and turning before I fell asleep.
While Checking My Messages On Facebook The Next Day . . .
There she was. Again. Holy hot water, Batman! What do I do now? With shaking, unsure hands, I opened up her email. Her name was allegedly, Melissa Sherry Clinton. Odd name for a girl. What do her family and friends use for her nickname, Mel-Sherry? Sherry-Clint? Like I said. That was her alleged name. I checked her profile page and sure enough, that was her alleged name. Her email this time said,
"Hi, lover! Thanks for replying to me. I thought about you all night. I just can't wait to hold you in my arms, sing pretty love songs to you and tell you how much I adore you,"
Actually, not a bad read. I have never, even in my single days of chasing women all over Alabama and Mississippi, did I EVER get a note as steamy as this one. Sparks were flying from the screen of my PC. Now my mind, although gullible, was beginning to get suspicious. That comes from my background in the newspaper business--"take nothing at face value. Ask questions beyond the surface regardless if you do know what you see and hear is the truth," was what I was taught. Thank God, I remembered.
I hesitated before answering her second email. The first question in the back of my mind was, "what if this is a scam?" Followed by, "what if this is on the up and up?" I had a dilemma on my hands. A carousel of emotional, mental torment. What to do? What not to do? I sat and reread her second email while, honestly, enjoying her photo which was NOT pornographic in any way, guys. I know you thought that this girl was a porno star wanting new traffic. No, she was dressed rather modestly. But the look on her face said it all. But I won't aggravate the HubPages editors by writing it here.
I Replied To "Melissa Sherry Clinton's" Second Email with . . .
"Listen. I do not know you. What you say is very flattering. I am honored that you would say these rather edgy things to me, but I am not into adultery, cheating on my companion, even if she were allegedly treating me bad. I am an old guy. A sick guy with fibromyalgia and severe neuropathy. I do not mind being 'just friends,' and maybe correspond like pen pals, if you want to, but what you are suggesting, is not for me.
For the second time, I hit REPLY, went about my work for HubPages, (which in all honesty, I enjoy a lot more than Facebook. Free plug, HubPages editors), and had a rather quiet day. But "Mellisa," her alleged name, was still rolling around in my mind like a trolley car in San Francisco that never misses a stop. Thoughts of this girl hit right on time. Every time. And things for me were getting sticky. I did the one thing that I urge all gullible men who might be faced with my dilemma with a girl online or in-person who wants 'more than a walk in the park,' go take a long, hard, honest look in the mirror at yourself. That's all. If you are like me, seeing a true reflection of yourself can be very sobering. Even if you do not drink.
The next morning, I had my coffee and was booting up my PC with "Melissa," her alleged name, on my mind. Maybe she got the hint. Maybe she is long gone. Maybe the earth is square. Yeah, right. She was gone alright. When I hit my Facebook icon, went to messages, she was there waiting on me in her third message that read . . .
"Hello, sweetheart! I thought about you all night long. And I agree with you. I do not want you to hurt your family. (at this point, I let out a sigh of relief), I just want you and I to be close friends to share our dreams, hopes, love of God and stuff. I travel a lot and I have a job that keeps me on the road a lot, so being good friends ONLY sounds terrific to me,"
Now I was pretty-much relieved. No adultery. No sneaking out of town, which was a no-brainer for she allegedly lived in Memphis, Tennessee and I didn't have money to go there. Besides what would I say to my companion? "Honey, see ya' in a few days?" COMPANION: "Just where are you going?" "To Memphis. To comfort a new Christian friend." COMPANION: New Christian friend? What's her name? See? My case was already made. I wasn't about to do a stupid thing by mortgaging my home, selling my blood, borrowing money from my banker friend, Dana Scott at my bank in Hamilton, First State Bank of the South. No sir. I was going to be cool as Henry "Fonz" Winkler. I was through with online, edgy-girl emails.
Then on the third day, I booted up my PC while sipping my hot, fresh coffee. I hit the Facebook icon, went to messages and guess who? "Melissa Sherry Clinton," her alleged name, was there. Probably spent the night. Poor girl. What devotion. And yes, she had sent yet another lengthy email that read . . .
"You, lover, make me want to write love songs, poetry, and listen to songbirds. I have thought about us being friends and that is cool. But do you want to date me in secret or in the open?" (WHHHAAAAATTTT? Date? Secretly or openly? In-person? Cannot afford this and besides, it's wrong. No one dates online. Not feasible. I thought) "I just need a sensitive, caring man like you, who I don't care about his age, to take care of me. I am 29 years old, single, and have money, but no good man for a friend. Talk to you later."
Now I would have sworn that I saw Glenn Close run by my office window wielding a butcher's knife in her hand carrying a white bunny that I didn't even own. No, Michael Douglas wasn't in my front yard to be honest. Oh come on. You have seen "Fatal Attraction," right? This was turning into that for me in real-life. Now I was just plain bored. Wasn't turned on or off by this girl's suggestive verbiage. That happens to some guys when they reach my age, 57. I was really thinking more about having dinner that evening at our local Huddle House in Hamilton, Alabama more than the bold, 29-year-old girl from Memphis. Not even this girl would be able to stage a comeback from my last rejection. I was feeling good. Confident. Back to my old, broken-down self.
The next morning around 11:00, I did my usual morning routine: brought my cup of hot, fresh coffee with me as I booted up my PC. "it's gonna be a good day," I thought to myself slightly smiling as my PC roared to life. By the way, I drink Community coffee and use a DELL Inspiron PC. That's for the benefit of you who think that this is all made up. No. This, sadly, is a true story. I hit, as usual, the Facebook icon, went to messages and yes, "she" was there. "Melissa Sherry Clinton," her alleged name. With a fourth email. I started thinking of my lawyer's phone number as well as the number of my minister. Both are very useful in situations like this.
With a hint of frustration and anger, I hit the OPEN button to the email and she had written . . .
"Hello, my good man friend. I enjoyed your email that you sent me. Being friends with you is a warm experience. Now, you just tell me, what can I do for you today?" (I told her that I had checked her profile page and viewed her rather 'worldly' photos which she took as a compliment. I told her the fourth time that I was NOT going to do wrong by her. And maybe there was some other guy on Facebook that she could use in that capacity). Then it came. Like a bolt of lightning in a Kansas thunderstorm, the "real" reason she had been emailing me. She went on in her email to say: "I hate to ask you for a favor this early in our friendship, but I am trapped in Nigeria, in a motel room with all of my antiques, gold that I have bought, and some rare wedding items. The manager wants me to pay him $450.00 before he lets me go. Would you wire me the money?"
I was halfway angry. Halfway excited that this near-ordeal was finally over. My only response before reporting her abusive email practice to Facebook was, "Why don't you give the motel manager some of the gold you have? " Amateur. She must have thought by looking at me that I was born two days ago. And I am not going to sit here and say that I am a sharp-thinker for I am prone to making human mistakes just like anyone else. I wonder where girls like this were when I was 18, single, and had the time and health to entertain them?
A final piece of advice to you guys, like me, gullible, which is not an ugly word, let me share with you a few pieces of advice on how to spot an online scam artist who are sometimes an attractive young girl:
- If the girl who approaches you comes on too soon, beware. She is not playing by the rules, guys. If this girl I talked about in my story had taken her time and led up to her question of wanting money, I might have given in. But she played her hand too quick.
- Before you do anything for any girl who is not familiar to you, check her background, her profile on Facebook or any social network if she has one.
- Make sure, like I did, that some of my old prankster buddies were not setting me up.
- Ask the girl approaching you where she lives, works, background, anything you can use to find out who she really is and what she wants. Did you know that even foreign terrorists use this con to get money for use in their fight against us in Afghanistan and Iraq?
- Finally, be cool, wise, and slow to answer.
- And keep this old saying in mind: "If she appears too (looking) good, she is."
Turns out, the very next day, I went through my usual morning regiment--coffee, booting up the PC, hitting Facebook icon, going to messages and I couldn't believe it.
There was ANOTHER GIRL "Monica Lisa," her alleged name, who started off her email word-for-word like the "Melissa Sherry Clinton," all together now, her alleged name.
This time my reply was, "no thanks!" And went to my favorite website: HubPages for another day of writing.
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