This is a scammer, right? Romance or whatever.

DrezDrez Registered User regular
edited October 12 in Help / Advice Forum
Please note, I'm a terribly unhelpful mixture of dense and intuitive when romantic intent is even a remote part of any social equation. I also try to be as helpful as possible and I fear this is easily exploitable and I sometimes maybe overcorrect in the opposite direction because I don't want to get scammed. I'm an optimist and hopeful and I try to assume the best about people which, of course, often ends up biting me in the ass.

This started about 3 weeks ago.

I am not on any dating sites. I am on various social networking site and most of my profiles are public for numerous reasons, and will remain so; this is the triumvirate of Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Twitter is, by far, my least used social app.

A couple of weeks ago I got a random message from a woman on Twitter that I almost didn't even respond to at first because it was such an odd occurrence. Just a couple of hellos and such at first, nothing deep or romantic/flirtatious. Anyway, I responded and exchanged some pleasantries with her. Her Twitter profile seems at least somewhat legitimate. She doesn't seem to be very active, but she does have followers and follows others and her account is at least many, many months old.

A couple of red flags:

1) She asked me if we could talk via text instead of Twitter after only a couple of pleasantries. I (perhaps stupidly) gave her my number, but I wanted to play this out.

2) She almost immediately switched over to calling me "dear" and "handsome." In almost every text. This was BEFORE she even asked me for a photo or anything. Admittedly, my Twitter account has at least one photo of me publicly viewable. Like, she escalated the romance talk so very quickly. It went from "hi, tell me about yourself" to "dear" and "handsome" and "I wish I were there with you" in the span of a day of getting my phone number.

3) She peppered every conversation with light flirtation with no reciprocation on my part. I mean it was 2 weeks of calling me handsome when I was responding with "ok" or "cool".

4) At one point, she mentioned maybe talking on the phone so I could hear her voice. But I wasn't up for it that weekend and she never mentioned it again. I brought it up myself and she said something about having OCD and a specific traumatic situation regarding phones so she can't really talk on the phone. I didn't press her on it.

5) Her word choice is a bit...off, but not necessarily that off. This could just be me living in NJ/NY rather than a real red flag. See the next point for a possible example.

6) She sent this text in the midst of some random conversation: "I also pray that may God come my way and help me out in any possible calamity in the future." The word choice there - calamity? Do people use that word? Also, this is a super big red flag to me because she is saying this to me. She's talking about God, but she's planting the seed that she foresees "calamity" for her in the near future. My prophetic reaction at the time was "she's going to ask me for money, and this is her planting the seed for that."

***7) She texts me on Friday asking me how I am doing and I tell her and ask how she is doing. She says she isn't happy. I ask her why. She tells me that her grandmother (who she lives with) and who is sick (which she told me at the offset during the "what's your living situation" phase of our initial conversations) needs medicine and she (the Twitter girl) doesn't have enough money to afford it. It's for her grandmother's "breathing." This is immediately triggering for me. She didn't ask me for the money, but that's clearly what she is hinting at, and she said it's $100 - so she threw out an exact number. I immediately fire off the following two texts in rapid succession: "I'm very sorry to hear that. Doesn't her medicaid or medicare or whatever cover that?" and "I wish I could help but I cannot at this time."

She responds:

"It doesn't cover this, dear."
"Why can't you help, dear."
"This is very important to me and my grandmother."

I was literally shaking in anger and stress after reading that even though I basically predicted it.


Things that give me pause about her actually being a scammer (in other words, maybe she isn't? This is my optimism creeping in):

1) Her phone number does seem to originate from the area she claims to live in.

2) She did send me photos and google reverse image search did not find any hits.


I'm sad. A part of me is always willing to give someone the benefit of the doubt and try to help them out of a bad situation. If I believe her, then yeah her life has been a bit of a wreck and I can empathize and I don't want to be yet another person treating her poorly. But I'm dealing with ANOTHER friendship where I lent/gave someone money and I feel used from that situation, too, and I'm worried that maybe I'm just a fucking idiot that allows himself to get taken advantage of.

Also, to be blunt, I have absolutely no romantic interest in this person. If I had ever had any, that went out the window when she mentioned the $100. I'm willing to bet that a part or various parts of the stories she told me are true.

What I keep coming back to is that as soon as she made that comment about "calamity" (#6 above), I immediately thought "she's going to ask me for money" and here we are.

I haven't responded to her. She keeps texting me asking me how I'm doing and now she's asking me why I'm not responding.

Sorry for the long read. Thoughts?

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Posts

  • Local H JayLocal H Jay Registered User regular
    It's a scam.

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  • EncEnc A Fool with Compassion The Land of Flowers (and Dragons)Registered User regular
    100% Scam.

    bowenThegreatcowElvenshaeTofystedethSmrtnikJaysonFourdispatch.oOrcaAlexandierL Ron HowardRingoDaenrisHahnsoo1HappylilElfIncenjucarDisruptedCapitalistjoshgotroE.CoyoteSkeithtynicDirtmuncherDouglasDangerCelloMoridin889TarantioCelestialBadgerchromdomSatanic JesusCambiata
  • DrezDrez Registered User regular
    Should I just block her and ghost her or just say I can't help and I'm not interested in talking anymore.

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  • DrezDrez Registered User regular
    I just had to text someone else to please stop asking me for money. This has been a bad day/weekend.

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  • XaquinXaquin Right behind you!Registered User regular
  • bowenbowen How you doin'? Registered User regular
    block the number

    not a doctor, not a lawyer, examples I use may not be fully researched so don't take out of context plz, don't @ me
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  • firewaterwordfirewaterword Satchitananda Pais Vasco to San FranciscoRegistered User regular
    Scam for sure. Block and report the twitter account. Sorry bud.

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  • ceresceres When the last moon is cast over the last star of morning And the future has past without even a last desperate warningRegistered User, Moderator mod
    Don't give randos your number.

    And it seems like all is dying, and would leave the world to mourn
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  • DrezDrez Registered User regular
    Yeah. That was dumb.

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  • DrezDrez Registered User regular
    edited October 12
    I mean, the sad thing is, this person’s Twitter profile is at least 6 months old and it looks like her politics, at least, jives with mine.

    God, it’s so easy to play me. Even now I’m still entertaining the remote thought that she’s somehow genuine and stressing about just ghosting on her because I have hang ups about being ghosted on myself.

    The fuck is wrong with me

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  • zepherinzepherin Registered User regular
    Even if it wasn’t a scam. If I’d been dating someone for 3 weeks and they asked me for a hundo for Grandma. I would re-evaluate the relationship at that point. If I’d had a deep connection or a sexual relationship I would be more inclined to help, but I would likely ghost them, because that’s sketch.

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  • Gabriel_PittGabriel_Pitt (effective against the Irish) Registered User regular
    You're human? A scam like that is about pushing peoples' buttons so that some part of them is thinking about 'well, what if it isn't?' and pushing that part that wants to give the benefit of the doubt. Don't feel bad about blocking them and forgetting that they ever existed because they probably have a dozen identical conversations to yours going on at the same time, trying to snag a couple with the strongest 'benefit of the doubt' urges.

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  • bowenbowen How you doin'? Registered User regular
    Yeah plenty of people take advantage of nice people too.

    Everyone has to be vigilant for this. No one's immune and it can come from seemingly innocuous places.

    not a doctor, not a lawyer, examples I use may not be fully researched so don't take out of context plz, don't @ me
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  • OrcaOrca Registered User regular
    The whole thing reads fishy but maybe...up until the money came out. At that point, 100% scam. Sorry.

    :bro:

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  • DrezDrez Registered User regular
    I guess I just have one of those “take advantage of me” faces, I suppose.

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  • DrezDrez Registered User regular
    You're human?

    For now.

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  • firewaterwordfirewaterword Satchitananda Pais Vasco to San FranciscoRegistered User regular
    Definitely don't beat yourself up over this my man. Be thankful you trusted yourself and your intuition before getting in deeper.

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  • ceresceres When the last moon is cast over the last star of morning And the future has past without even a last desperate warningRegistered User, Moderator mod
    I definitely get it. Block the number though, and if it were me I would probably flag it as spam.

    And it seems like all is dying, and would leave the world to mourn
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  • RingoRingo HE KEEPS REPEATING THE LINE I'M GONNA CRY BLEASE LET HIM LIVE YOU MADE ME WATCH SO MUCH KISSING IN THIS FILM LET INIGO LIVERegistered User regular
    Drez wrote: »
    I guess I just have one of those “take advantage of me” faces, I suppose.

    The scammer didn't choose you. They sent (and are still sending) out hundreds of these things on Twitter. You just happened to be someone (probably among many) who responded. The good news is you caught the scam before you lost any money, which means the scammer didn't get the actual thing they wanted. The fact that they caused you emotional turmoil doesn't matter to them which is why these types of scammers are absolutely despicable.

    Also the fact that they wanted to talk over the phone and then suddenly didn't points to this being a team of scammers and that 'alluring lady voice' isn't always available, so try to stop envisioning the scammer as some poor soul who really needs your help. This is an entire operation that relies on playing the numbers to find victims. Report their number and twitter account then walk away. Don't try to engage them, it's all too easy for someone to decide to continue fucking with you because they're bored.

    Also be on the lookout for this! You may have ended up in the "almost got 'em" pile, and with having linked public social media (and your number) the same team might try to hit you with other scams down the line.

    Sterica wrote: »
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  • Gabriel_PittGabriel_Pitt (effective against the Irish) Registered User regular
    Drez wrote: »
    I guess I just have one of those “take advantage of me” faces, I suppose.

    You entered the conversation willing to offer good faith, while their only goal right from word one was 'how do we manipulate any responder into giving us realbucks?'

    To quote Wargames 'The only way to win is not to play.'

    Rhesus PositiveElvenshae
  • DrezDrez Registered User regular
    edited October 24
    OK, I'm upset.

    I just woke up to a text from the other person I mentioned in the midst of all this - the one that I had to tell in no uncertain terms not to ask me for money anymore - begging me for $20 and saying they need it to get something to eat and that they literally cannot eat without it.

    I've been acquainted with this person for many, many years now so I gave them a little more leeway than the rando I started this thread to discuss, but it's just too goddamned much at this point. I've given this person more money than you can fathom, especially considering how insignificant our relationship actually has been over these years.

    I don't know what to do. Someone is begging me for $20 and saying they can't eat. This is how it started in April with this person, but then $20 became them asking me for money every 3-4 days and then a sob story about how their phone is going to get turned off and how will they ever find a job if they can't pay their phone bill? and I stupidly helped them out of that. I don't even want to explain how much I gave them without the prospect of ever being paid back.

    My first action when I got this text was to turn off iPhone notifications for texts from her. I feel like I have two options:

    1) Ignore her forever, though we do have mutual real life friends right now and we're connected on one social media platform.
    2) Respond, send her exactly $20, and tell her that I'll be blocking her number as I asked her not to reach out to me again for money.

    In the off chance that I actually am the only thing standing between her and starvation, is that second option excessively cruel? I just can't be responsible for some 31 year old. I'm 40. I don't have a kid. I don't have a wife. I have me and my own fucking problems, financial and otherwise. And I don't want anything to do with this person anymore. But I also don't want her to starve and I don't want to be unnecessarily dickish.

    Thoughts?

    edit: The thing is, it literally upsets me every time she texts me. 15 minutes ago, I was napping and happy. Now, my entire emotional state is thrown off because she's asking me for money again. Maybe a part of this is on me in managing my own emotions, but I need to excise her from my life somehow and I need some kind of closure on all this.

    Drez on
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  • E.CoyoteE.Coyote Registered User regular
    I had to deal with that style of begging from close relatives with some pretty serious drug problems. Found out they were hitting up everyone they knew for money telling them it was an emergency for rent/electricity/food. Unless that person is a really good friend or family it's pretty odd for them to be asking for money...

    CelestialBadgerShadowfirebowenDrez
  • DrezDrez Registered User regular
    E.Coyote wrote: »
    I had to deal with that style of begging from close relatives with some pretty serious drug problems. Found out they were hitting up everyone they knew for money telling them it was an emergency for rent/electricity/food. Unless that person is a really good friend or family it's pretty odd for them to be asking for money...

    I hate to say it but the "drug" thing did cross my mind at some point. I don't want to judge anyone but "ask for 30-50 dollars every 3-4 days" kind of triggered that thought for me.

    Anyway, I just muted her texts for now.

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  • EncEnc A Fool with Compassion The Land of Flowers (and Dragons)Registered User regular
    edited October 24
    Send her information for food banks in her area. Couch it in language that "if you are at the point where you have to message people online to eat, you need a more dependable source of food than my $20 can provide. I've linked the local food bank here. They can help you make sure you have groceries not just this weekend, but for as long as you need to get back on your feet. I'm sorry things have gotten this bad for you, but this year has been hard on all of our budgets and I'm already stretched my finances helping you over the years more than I really can afford right now."

    Edit: to be more helpful.

    Enc on
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  • CelestialBadgerCelestialBadger Registered User regular
    If you can afford it, a therapist might be a great idea to help you talk through why you are so vulnerable to malicious people like this. Don't discount the possibility that you may have issues like autism which cause difficulties in reading people's intentions. This doesn't make you dumb or a bad person but definitely something to work on.

    ElvenshaeIrukaDrez
  • MulletudeMulletude Registered User regular
    edited October 25
    You seem like a good hearted person and sadly that can make you a target for shitty people. Don't feel bad saying 'no' more often to anyone.

    My wife is easily manipulated because of her wonderful heart. She's started sticking up for herself more in these take take take situations and I can tell she feels better about herself in general.

    I'm sorry you have to put up with this but seriously, don't be afraid of just a flat 'no' with no need to explain yourself.

    Mulletude on
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  • MichaelLCMichaelLC In what furnace was thy brain? ChicagoRegistered User regular
    Keep her muted/blocked and do not respond again. If you want to send info like Enc suggested, make sure that's the last one.

    There's nothing you can do for them at this point that will fix them.

    Echo wrote: »
    Something working on the first try is a source of great suspicion.
    Drez
  • bowenbowen How you doin'? Registered User regular
    It may feel like a dick move to not help someone but in most cases this person doesn't actually need your money and is looking for a handout. Unless I'm like absolute besties with the person and know their life situation and life story, I do not give them money, full stop.

    not a doctor, not a lawyer, examples I use may not be fully researched so don't take out of context plz, don't @ me
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  • DrezDrez Registered User regular
    Thanks all. You’ve helped my resolve here.

    And when finally get a therapist, this is definitely one of the myriad topics that I am going to bring up.

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  • ThundyrkatzThundyrkatz Registered User regular
    Drez, I have 2 older brothers who have been doing this to me and everyone else in their lives for ever. There is no end. You friend probably does need $20 to eat today, because yesterday they spent all their money on something they did not need. Booze, cigarettes, drugs, who knows. The point is, they are suffering today because their decision maker is broken. It is not you job to, or likely within you power, to solve their problem.

    The last cash I gave one of my brothers was $100 to buy a Christmas gift for his kids, 10 years ago. Who knows if any such gift was bought? I told him, this was the last time I would ever give him so much as a penny. He still asks, but I remind him, and that’s the end.

    You are not a bad person Drez, the fact that you feel bad shows that you have empathy. Don’t stop being caring because these people took advantage of you. Like Enc said, when they ask for help, offer to help connect them with people that can help them. Trust me, they will leave you alone real quick when the spigot is turned off.

    DrezE.CoyoteJaysonFourElvenshaeHappylilElfRiboflavin
  • DrezDrez Registered User regular
    Drez, I have 2 older brothers who have been doing this to me and everyone else in their lives for ever. There is no end. You friend probably does need $20 to eat today, because yesterday they spent all their money on something they did not need. Booze, cigarettes, drugs, who knows. The point is, they are suffering today because their decision maker is broken. It is not you job to, or likely within you power, to solve their problem.

    The last cash I gave one of my brothers was $100 to buy a Christmas gift for his kids, 10 years ago. Who knows if any such gift was bought? I told him, this was the last time I would ever give him so much as a penny. He still asks, but I remind him, and that’s the end.

    You are not a bad person Drez, the fact that you feel bad shows that you have empathy. Don’t stop being caring because these people took advantage of you. Like Enc said, when they ask for help, offer to help connect them with people that can help them. Trust me, they will leave you alone real quick when the spigot is turned off.

    This is exactly what I thought. I gave her a few hundred dollars a month ago and she needed more in 3 days.

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