I’ve heard stories of women getting scammed from online dating sites, and I never thought I would be a target. Most of the stories involved men starting up long-distance, virtual romances with women. Eventually, the romeos would ask for money, either to come meet their true love in person or to help with a personal tragedy – a dying mother, a sick child, or a cancer diagnosis.
I always thought I was immune to this sort of scam because most of the stories I’ve heard involved older women and I refuse to engage in correspondence with anyone who doesn’t live in my immediate area. I trust no one. Then one day I got a message from a profile that looked like a Jaguar in a parking lot full of Hondas. For the purposes of this article, I’ll call him Mr. Beautiful. He simply wrote,
It was the classic non-committal male introduction. I probably get 20 messages like that a week, from “Hey” to “Hello” to “What’s up?” Most of them go unanswered but this one peaked my interest because the sender was a full-on pretty boy, light brown hair, striking bone structure and a chiseled hairless torso. Now anyone who knows me well, knows I have a “type.” If you lined up all of my ex-boyfriends and trysts, most of them look like they need a sandwich, or two. I like a lanky man. A massive chest and chiseled abs have never been my thing.
I’m also overly cautious around men who are drop dead gorgeous. As I’ve said before on this blog,
He who gets the pussy easily, does not treat the pussy well.
Of course there are exceptions to that rule, but most of us know exceptionally good-looking men who go through women like a rottweiler goes through chew toys. Mr. Beautiful was so attractive, I wouldn’t put him in the top 10% or even 1% of the men I’ve seen. I would put him in the top one tenth of one percent of absolutely, crazy, perfect men I’ve ever encountered. It just didn’t make sense to me that he would be on a free dating site. He had his occupation listed as “model” which made sense, but models come in contact with plenty of attractive women all day long. A typical beautiful person for hire will meet other models, makeup artists, photographers, art directors, interns, agents, managers, stylists, and even celebrities.
Suspecting fraud, I started analyzing his profile further. All of his photos were candid. He didn’t post professional modeling shots. Whomever created his profile tried to make it look casual and believable. They used well lit snapshots that appeared right out of his daily life. I still thought though that someone could have downloaded the images from a social media account and the entire thing was a ruse.
As an experiment, I decided to send him a brief email back. He responded by asking a few questions about what I did for a living. I thought this was odd, as most men ask where I live, they don’t ask what I do. Questions about my occupation still wasn’t enough to figure out if this man was the real deal or not. I told him a few superficial things about myself, but didn’t give him my name.
I then read his profile more closely and discovered he was using his actual name on his account, which is extremely unusual for anyone on a dating site. A quick google search later and I found out the name and images he was the former face of Calvin Klein fragrance. The information on his profile and Wikipedia page were almost completely identical. It wasn’t an exact cut and paste, but there was absolutely no additional information about him on either source. It seemed a bit too perfect, but I still wanted a greater smoking gun. I didn’t want to go out with this man, I just couldn’t help but try to find the evidence I needed to crack the facade.
I kept digging and found two Instagram accounts. One had 32,000 followers, and the other had only 300. The smaller account was made up of a bunch of the same photos at the dating profile. The smaller Instagram account also had some of the exact same information as the dating profile such as his dog’s name, and more bits of personal information. Both Instragram accounts were public. It didn’t appear that one was personal and the other used for publicity. If that were the case, then why not make the smaller profile private? It seemed like someone created a phony Instagram account to further legitimize the fake dating profile.
I got a second email from Mr. Beautiful.
“You know I hate this site. Why don’t we just chat on this other app.”
My suspicions were completely verified when I realized he wanted me to follow him to some sort of third-party site. OKCupid has a chat feature so there was no reason we had to go outside of it to talk in real time. I googled the app and found that it was rife with porn offers and other adult solicitations.
“I don’t think your profile is legitimate. I think this is some type of scam. I’m out.”
I tagged his profile as phony but waited before I blocked any future messages. I wanted to see if he responded. I located the real model on Facebook and left him a simple message on his fan page that someone was impersonating him on OKCupid.
I got absolutely no response from the Mr. Beautiful profile or the model he was impersonating. I doubt the real model even noticed my comment. He probably had someone manage his Facebook page for him. It was surprising though that whomever created the phony Mr. Beautiful account didn’t even try to plead innocence. I honestly expected an email like,
“Hey, I’m real. What are you talking about?”
My bet is when I called the scammer out on their deception they just deleted me and moved on. I’m sure they probably emailed dozens of women hoping some of them would take the bait.
When I started talking about this on my Facebook account, most of the comments I got were from men along the lines of
“So this happens to women too?”
My guy friends all had stories to tell of women from other countries seeking green cards, ladies asking for money and prostitutes posing as every day gals just looking for a date.
Of course an International male model could be on a dating site, even a free one, but the two Instagram accounts, the perfect match to his Wikipedia page and the insistence on using an outside application to communicate just screamed FRAUD.
I couldn’t help but think of the classic line regarding New York real estate
If it looks to good to be true, it probably is.
Meeting the face of Calvin Klein fragrance on a free dating website is about as likely as finding a one-bedroom in the Upper East Side with a balcony, an eat in kitchen, and jacuzzi tub for $500 a month. I’m sure it could happen in some alternate universe but it’s highly unlikely.
Part of me wonders if Mr. Beautiful really did have a legitimate profile. Maybe I was just being too suspicious and we would have rode off into the sunset to have our painfully awkward first and only date. I think instead I dodged a bullet of requests for nude photos, an avalanche of dick picks, pornographic spam, unauthorized charges on my credit card, computer viruses, malware, identity theft or requests for money. I guess I’ll never know. HA! Whomever created the fake account wasn’t an idiot, but one of the many gifts I got from my difficult divorce was – NEVER TRUST ANYONE. Sure it causes me problems from time to time, but I’m much less likely to fall for a scam artist in an International model’s clothing. I still prefer a thinner guy with messy hair rather than a pretty boy with rock hard abs anyway. If someone wanted to dupe me, they would need to use a much more average looking guy who desperately needed to fill out his clothing. If he had a pair of specs on his face….it could be my undoing.
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