How I got scammed on WordPress

People often like a story about how someone else was scammed.  It just makes people feel a little better.  The title says I got scammed but really, I scammed myself.

It all started around October of 2012 when a blogger (Journeyman1977) commented on one of my posts.  As I usually do when someone comments, I check out their blog.  This guy had a fascinating story about his life that also made you feel sympathetic for him.  He wrote about how he was framed in Sri Lanka by his family member and had to spend 17 months in a shithole jail.  While having posted bail and awaiting trial he made a decision to flee and become a fugitive.  His plan was to arrange an escape to France or America where he has citizenship.

During his time spent hiding from the authorities he started a blog and wrote constantly on his blog and others.  It seemed so fitting as he had so much time on his hands with limited options.  His followers grew immensely as did the heartfelt comments of support for his situation.  Many followers including myself were there for every step of his journey through despair, alcoholism, betrayal, ptsd and hope.  His comments always appeared genuine as did his reasons for blogging and interacting.

Fast forward to about March of this year and a blog post he had published described a man who was alone on the streets with no funds and losing all hope to be able to ward off capture in the very near future.  This is where I go retarded.  I wanted to help this person as his story seemed genuine.  This is why I say I scammed myself.  There was no pleading for a donation of any sort but I took it upon myself to offer a bit of money to him.  My philosophy was that I’m not financially starving so if I can, why shouldn’t I help someone out who needs it.  He gladly accepted and was very appreciative.  I sent him $250 through Western Union…the #1 preferred method of scammers.

It was not much longer after this when things just started to not make sense.  He got greedy and so did his story.   I’m leaving a lot out cause it would take me forever to give you all the details.    With contact through instant messaging via smartphone his stories began to not make sense and mostly revolved around situations where he needed more money.  I refused as it didn’t seem genuine anymore.  Once I fully realized I was taken for a ride I ceased communication.  His whole story was a lie.

So what was the his whole motive from the beginning?  I think it was to get attention.  He thinks he’s an aspiring writer who decided to test out the waters on WordPress.  Every person he deceived was another pat on the back for him and his ego.  It wasn’t that his story was so tight and refined that made it believable.  It was the hearts of his readers that made it believable cause if any of us thought with our brains instead of our hearts we would have written him off right away.

Believe it or not I’m not as embarrassed about getting frauded in this fashion as one probably would be.  I can definitely understand how anyone reading this would think I’m a totally stupid and a naive person.  I don’t blame you.  Looking back I can think of 2 dozen things that made no or not much sense.  It was an unbelievable story to begin with.  I think another reason why many of us bought into this guy’s story is that we didn’t think a person would actually take so much time and effort to fabricate a fraudulent story for months and dedicate so much energy deceiving others on WordPress.  It was a full time job for him to make up stories, read blogs and to comment on them as well.  He told a tale of an ex-military soldier, aspiring writer, fugitive that wanted nothing from blogging but just a way to vent and reach out.  In reality he’s just a bottom of the barrel person from a 3rd world country that can’t get any attention with his writing without being a fraud.  He talks about how ashamed he feels for his father about how he turned out.  I’m sure your father is proud of you now.  The worst kind of person is one who takes away from the world, leaving it a shittier place than if he wasn’t born at all.

The $250 doesn’t affect me much. The thought of what I could have done with it instead crosses my mind.  Of course I think about what I could have purchased for myself but I also think about how I could have given it to someone who really needed it.  I could have given $25 to 10 homeless people.  $10 to 25 homeless people.  I could have even given it to someone who wasn’t even homeless!  Anything would have been better.

The only thing more amazing to me than getting scammed $250 is that I allowed the opportunity for it to happen.  This is not something I ever thought I would ever do.  Give money to someone that I don’t know in another country for a cause that I can’t even be sure is real?  At least when a bum off the street is bullshitting me for money, I can be pretty sure that he at least needs it.  It’s not like one of those stories you hear about someone getting scammed off a dating website or from ebay.  In those situations people are expecting something in return or their greed got the better of them.  I expected nothing.  I just wanted to help a guy out who I thought was in a real shit situation.  I guess this guy was part of my community at the time and I must have been in a spiritual mood.  I fucked up and my guess is that I won’t forget this ever.  Suspicions and a scar will always come to mind before doing anything charitable for a stranger again.  But then again I doubt there will be another situation as retarded as this so I shouldn’t be so jaded.  I’ll take it as another life lesson.  I’m out $250 so the least I can do is get a story out of it.

 

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28 comments on “How I got scammed on WordPress

  1. David Yerle says:

    That sucks, but don’t blame yourself for falling for this. If anything, it shows you’re a good person. Also, when a blog has been going on for so long the lie gets so elaborate that it must be hard to assume the guy’s making it up.

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  2. And a fine story it is. Totally agree with above commenter. You’re a good person and I agree with the thinking that the worst kind of person is one who leaves the world a worse place than he/she found it. Is that so much to ask of a human, that if you do nothing else in your life, at least try not to suck the life out of your community, whatever that may be. I give money I really can’t spare to every homeless person (and even that is sometimes questionable) who asks me, more if they have a dog. Maybe the dog is a prop. We can’t exactly research these people so we err on the side of compassion, and that’s what you did. That doesn’t make you naive, it makes you humane.

    Are you sure his whole motivation wasn’t really money? Maybe he thinks he deserves it for all the time he put into this work of fiction. Now he has a story too, but with a really shitty ending. Or maybe he’s skillfully mentally ill. I looked back at some of his comments…is he really even from a third world country? Maybe he’s from Arizona.

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    • MrJohnson says:

      It’s so easy for people to want to be a leech. Easy money is so hard to come by for most people that when they get an opportunity to be a bloodsucker they seize it. Ya I think the dog is somewhat meant for business purposes but probably a companion as well. I feel more badly for the dog usually.

      I doubt his motivation was related to money. If it was he’s an unambitious scammer. I think one of his motivations was to communicate with women cause pretty much all of the bloggers that he was in contact with were female. I never thought of it, maybe you’re right in that he is f’d in the head in some way. Everything tells me he is from Sri Lanka but what the heck do I know. I wouldn’t trust my instincts anymore hahaha. Maybe he is from Arizona and is actually a woman!

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    • MrJohnson says:

      And he actually ‘liked’ one of my posts just very recently like a couple of posts ago. He’s got another WordPress name as “Joe”

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      • This guy? Joe–Catholic. Recovering alcoholic. Former Soldier. Fugitive in the 3rd world. Dreamer. Believer. Never a quitter. Quote addict. Linguist. Runner. Dog lover. Optimist.

        Have you noticed how many bloggers don’t put their links on their gravatar page? You can’t get to their blogs so what’s the point? Anyway looks like he’s at it again. That takes a lot of unashamed nerve, and especially to like a post of someone he’s already scammed. Well he does say ‘never a quitter’!! Damn! There are much more descriptive words for the likes of him.

        Women–yeah like when women write to guys in jail who have done horrible things. The Boston Marathon bomber has a big following of stupid young women who think he’s cute and could never have hurt anyone.

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      • MrJohnson says:

        Ya that guy. He used to have a blog with that account but deleted it as well. I forgot to mention that he claims to be a Catholic. Not that it really means anything either though.

        I always thought of a few reasons why people don’t link from their Gravatar page. Most of the time I just thought they didn’t know how or didn’t get around to it. Or maybe they didn’t have their own blog and just wanted a profile picture. Or they are hiding something. Who knows.

        So that’s the way to a woman’s heart? Will have to think of something horrible to do and deny it.

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  3. Jimmy says:

    Wow man, I am sorry to hear about your loss. It’s amazing what people will do and how far they will go to scam people out of money. Last summer I started talking with a woman from Africa. We had a few conversations online, and she even talked to me through her webcam so I saw what she looked like. After a week of chatting she started asking me for money to help her finish medical school. She wanted 300 dollars sent Western Union. Needless to say, that was the last conversation I had with her. Which brings me to my question for you. Debra has been kidnapped by Drug Cartels, they are demanding a paltry 250 bucks to release her, I need her to help me make money to feed our animals, could you send that Western Union?

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    • MrJohnson says:

      Ya it kind of sucks. That was probably at least 5 years worth of good socks. Webcam too? Times must be getting hard if they are putting that much effort these days.

      I will do better. I will send $500! I think this Debra person is tricking you though. The Cartel is giving her free drugs and she is pretending to hate it but in actuality she doesn’t want to leave. Just forget about her. It will be easier that way.

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  4. kalyrical says:

    You did it out of kindness, and hey, at least you realized that you have it in you to care. I find it so odd that someone spent so much time on this, but if he managed to convince so many, I guess props to him and his writing…not so much on the scamming bit.

    Oh going back to that bit about giving a homeless bum on the streets your money, and at least being sure that he needs it, that’s not always the case. I remember in Hong Kong, they did a story where they revealed that some people dress up as homeless people and beg near the subways. It turns out that they make roughly $300 a day or something. Which is probably a bit less than $70 in canadian. So I guess you never really know? :/

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    • MrJohnson says:

      That is one thing I got out of it. That I could actually do something like this. I think when you base your incredible story on true events it lures people in. If he had announced it was fiction, hardly anyone would give a crap.

      You’re right it isn’t always the case. No one is getting my money then. No one! jk..hahaha. Some panhandlers make decent money even in Vancouver. Before I give any money to a homeless person again I will have to do a sniff test to make sure he smells.

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      • lightpuma says:

        Damn. $250? I would give like maybe 100 at most if I felt super compelled. But you know, I agree with everyone else that your heart was in the right place. Your spirit with which you gave still benefitted. I kind of keep it as a rule of thumb though to never give to individuals online. I only donate towards registered and proven charities/funds.

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      • MrJohnson says:

        Lightpuma, it’s been a while. I thought you were dead or that I offended you away. Sometimes your heart is in the right place but also in the right place to get scammed. I don’t even care about the money anymore.

        I’d think twice about so called reputable charities. Part of your donation almost always goes to charity expenses like 6 digit salaries.

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  5. vH says:

    He was probably also a Nigerian prince who was providing you with a huge investment opportunity through GlobalFinances that would make you into a stay-at-home mom making $300 a day.

    Chances are, if a random stranger on the internet is asking me for something other than sexual favors, I would ignore it.

    -vH

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    • MrJohnson says:

      Chances are I would ignore it too but ya. I asked myself first if it was a scam can I live with it. Also I felt if I actually believed his story and knew he was in dire need of help, I should help or I’m just letting this guy suffer cause I’m too cheap and selfish. I guess next time someone in real need of help might just have to die.

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  6. In a way, I can’t and can believe that something like this could happen. I can’t believe that someone would like him would create a whole life in a blog just to get $250 out of you but maybe more out of others to. I can believe it because people can not be trusted.

    I trust no one and barely myself. Sorry you are out money….

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    • Oh and maybe you should report it to WordPress? I’m sure they do something about these kinds of things…maybe?

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      • MrJohnson says:

        I don’t even know if he had any motivations for money. I think it was for entertainment. Perhaps he put the bait out purposely or by accident.. I don’t know. But I’m pretty sure I’m the only sucker.

        Ya I shouldn’t have trusted myself. My instincts are obviously a bunch of liars,

        It’s funny. I had more faith in a blogger’s bizarre story than I do in a popular online company to be able to do anything about this.

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  7. Yeah so Mr. J made a mistake with this guy. But it’s not fair to say that everyone online who’s hurting is a bullshitter. What if it was Mr. J who needed help, and we could afford to help him? I’ve gotten close to him through his blog and emails, and I trust him. He’s my friend. I’ve made other good friends through blogging too. I haven’t posted in a while but people still write to see if I’m OK, which is more than people in real life do.

    Sometimes people need immediate help. It’s more often impossible than possible to get help from a ‘registered charity.’ Try going to a registered charity sometime when you’re desperate–what a joke–I’ve been there. Most of that money never reaches the people who need it most. I’d rather give my money to a volunteer working in the trenches a thousand times over than giving it to say, the ASPCA, who sends me address labels and key chains and plastic membership cards that I have absolutely no use for. A guy in my town died a few years ago and left $80,000 to our city dog pound. Now they have a nice bathroom and the asshole animal control officer has a big fancy office. He’s never even there. The dogs are still in the decrepit, broken-down runs they’ve been using for 40 years. But it still doesn’t make the donator a sucker. He didn’t know that would happen.

    Just because you get to know someone through the written word does not make them a liar. OK so Mr. J got scammed on this one. I like him better for it, that he did it, that he’s that generous to help someone he thought was in need. It wouldn’t do any good to report the guy because he didn’t ask for money. Sometimes people who get scammed are just plain stupid, but that’s hardly the case here. Please don’t get all jaded Mr. J.

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  8. Mr. Johnson! What a fantastic summary of what happened. I too, would have thought differently if I wasn’t thinking with my heart. I actually told family and friends about this dude’s story. Although it makes me feel like a sucker, I can’t help but think the joke’s on him. Can you please send $100 via Western Union? I’m short on cash for my Skinny Pirates this weekend. 🙂

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  9. What a good story. I’m not sure what country you live in but in America we have this show called “American Greed: Scams, Scandals” and something else that begins with a “S.” I watch it every chance I get. And the things people pull on other people is downright shameful and unbelievable. But I’m sorry you scamed yourself. When I lose monies I always apply it to educational tuition. LOL’s. I always say, “Well if I had paid for a life lesson class I would have paid this much.” So it is that much monies that taught me my life lesson. Have a great weekend!

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    • MrJohnson says:

      Educational tuition. I guess so eh? From Canada. No black people here! Well, not in Vancouver anyway. And most of the classes I paid for were a waste too so maybe it’s just as worth it. Hahaha.

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      • Never been to Canada, but I need to visit there for business reasons. Really! No black people in Vancouver! Wow! And, I once felt many of my college classes were a waste of monies and my time. But I’m finding out everything serves a purpose if you live long enough. Have a great day in Vancouver!

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  10. WOW. JUST WOW.
    I honestly don’t know what to say.
    If it makes you feel any better, I would have done the same. You have out of the goodness of your heart. It will come back to YOU.

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  11. […] How I got Scammed on WordPress […]

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