I had a very nice chat with one of my hundreds of friends on Facebook yesterday. She initiated the chat, and something was different, but I couldn’t figure out what nagged at me until much later.
After a few sentences she started telling me how bad things were. I couldn’t quite understand what was going on, because she and her family moved to Perth from South Africa a few years ago, and they were quite happy as far as I know.
So she went on and told me someone robbed her in a violent attack in a park in Kentish town. I had no idea where Kentish town was, as I’ve never even heard of a park like that in Perth.
So I asked her where this park was. London, she says. So I ask her what the hell she’s doing in London?
i went there to visit a resort
it was a brutal experience, all cash i had on me were stolen and my credit card was collected too
By now I already realised that something was not adding up. See, this friend is Afrikaans and she would not have told me a hair-raising story like this in English. And I seemed to remember that she was in Fremantle as recently as Sunday – it was actually still on her profile statement on Facebook.
So I responded in Afrikaans, which is her first language. She actually responded correctly to the question, but answered me in English, which did not make sense. She also added that her husband was with her – why would she then contact me for help, if her husband was sitting next to her and she did not mention any of his credit cards also getting stolen?
In the meanwhile I got hold of her phone number and gave her a ring. Yep, she’s in Perth all right - happy as can be, with no idea that someone else was busy scamming money off people on her behalf.
Imagine you would be stupid enough to help someone financially, only to find out that they’re actually not even in London, and that your money is long gone? I wonder how many idiots fall for these scams?
So - be warned, if your “friend” contacts you on Facebook and asks for money, make sure it’s really your friend. If it really is one of your real-life friends, chances are they wouldn’t corner you on Facebook for a few bucks. (Not my friends, anyway.)
And remember to change your password regularly so that you don’t end up with ex-friends beating you up about money that you supposedly owe them…