I know my last scambaiting experience was met with hilarity by all. I had been considering finding another one. Imagine my delight when someone found ME before I even the chance to go looking! This scam is actually fairly widespread, and a lot of people are falling for it. It takes a bit to even realize it IS a scam. Since most of us would always help a friend in a bad situation, it makes all of us vulnerable. Read a news story about it here.
Players involved in conversation:
Jason is a good friend of mine from high school. While we have drifted over the years, I really like him. If he really was in trouble, I would give him money. However, he wouldn't ask for money from me unless he is in really dire straights.
Tara: Tara is a mutual friend from high school. Also a lot of fun. Jason and Tara have maintained a very close friendship throughout the years, but they are JUST friends.
So, this morning I was on facebook while the kids were eating breakfast. Facebook has an instant messenger application, and I had the following conversation. I will differentiate between REAL Jason, and Fake Jason.
FakeJason: Hey Wendy, how are you?
Me: I'm tired, want to go back to bed. How are you?
FakeJason: I am really bad
Me: How come?
FakeJason: I am in London
Me: Well, that sounds really good. What happened for that to be bad?
FakeJason: I was robbed at gunpoint last night
Me: That sounds so scary, are you ok?
FakeJason: I am injured on right hand bitter about that. But, Thank God I am ok.
(hmmm, never heard Jason say "Thank God" before. And Hmmm, I think I'd know if Jason had gone to London)
FakeJason: I talked to embassay and they talk about getting plane ticket home not until March.
Me: Why so long? How long were you SUPPOSED to be there? Did the robber get your passport or something?
FakeJason: I am raising money to buy new plane ticket home.
FakeJason: I still have my passport and health Thank God.
(ok, I was now 99% sure this was a scammer. I decided to do a little test. But first, I sent a message to Tara to double check because I didn't want to harass Jason if he really WAS in trouble)
Me: Was your girlfriend with you when it happened? Is Tara ok?
FakeJason: NO, she wasn't there.
Me: Did you actually go to London without her? I keep telling you that you should go out and enjoy being single a bit before you settle down and marry her.
(note: Tara and Jason have never been romantically involved. She is a lovely girl, and I would never say mean things about her for real. I thought she'd be amused at the way I was portraying her because it is so far from the truth)
FakeJason: Can you wire money for plane ticket home? I will pay back at atm when I get home.
Me: Which home are you trying to go to?
FakeJason: West Jordan
(this is his actual hometown, but not where he lives).
FakeJason: How is Jim?
Me: So, is Tara stranded there too? I can give you money for her plane ticket too, even though I think she is too controlling. I don't want her stuck in London too.
REAL Jason: Um, I think you sent this to me by mistake
Me: No, I meant to send it to you. I feel like I have to tell you my feelings on your relationship with Tara.
Real Jason: HUH?! What are you talking about?!
(during this time, Tara manages to get a hold of Jason and brings him up to speed)
FakeJason: I need money so I can buy plane ticket home. Can you please help me?
Then, both Jasons log off.
I was DYING to mess with FakeJason some more, but I was pretty sure it was all over. I also was almost late to take my kids to school. So, I left my computer on, and took off to school and kickboxing. On the way, RealJason called me. He was glad to hear that I hadn't fallen for it.
I got home, and Fake Jason was gone for good. I was sad he didn't play more with me.
But, this is a very real scam, and part of the reason I'm telling about it, even though the interaction wasn't that great is because I want everyone to be warned and to not fall for it. Make sure you get some sort of confirmation that your "friend" in trouble is really your friend before you do anything.