Manti Te’o, Catfishing, & Romance Scams

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Fooling people into loving the unreal seems to be the new trend.  I miss the days when we would just fall in love with the unobtainable.  For my Davin’s Den co-host Joe that would be Farrah Fawcett based on a poster.  We knew in our heart of hearts that we could not have this person so we loved them but did not believe they loved us back.  Sure it was unhealthy to be in love with a celebrity we would never meet but at least they were real.  And really it is only a crime until you show up in their bushes wearing nothing more than a diaper with a binky in your mouth professing how you really are soul mates.

Today we are all connected via the internet yet it seems the more we are connected the more we are isolated.  We have all seen a group of people sitting together staring down at their phone or ipad texting or typing away completely ignoring the people they are with.  If you are a shy person or afraid of crowds you can create a whole life for yourself on the internet without leaving your house.  You can meet people and fall in love or steal from people and cause harm.  All from the comfort of your couch or internet cafe.

When I first heard about Manti Te’o I thought he must be in on the hoax.  How could he not…a girlfriend of four years that he never met all while living in the same country.  Then I drew on my own experiences and research.  There are plenty of Manti Te’o’s out there.  Manti is lucky he is not broke or dead.  The person pretending to be his girlfriend apparently had no motive other than to be in contact with Te’o.  Manti is going through public ridicule.  Clearly embarrassing but he is alive.  He may have been heart broken and made to play the fool but he will move on.  It could have been MUCH worse.  He is a Mormon, he could have had 5 fake girlfriends.

People wonder how you could fall in love with somebody you never met.  It happens all the time.  Think about the hours he spent talking to this person.  He believed she was real so of course he felt a connection.  Even when you do not believe they are real if you spend hours talking to them you feel a connection.  A relationship is built.  Even hostages develop feelings for their captors called Stockholm Syndrome and the hostages outright know the captors are trying to harm them in some way.  The more we are exposed to somebody the more we relate to them.  Even if we know we are working in a bullshit farm or at gun point from a psychopath.

The thing that makes you scratch your head is in this day and age with both of them living in this country how could they have not at least had a video chat.  This is what makes Catfishing so hard to believe in the United States.  We all have access to the same technology.  A video chat or two should happen at some point if they are on the up and up.

It gets a little more fuzzy when you are dealing with people from other countries.  We really do not know what technology the person on the other end has access too.  However if a guy or gal looks smoking hot and they are in a desperate situation and you are their only hope then you should run.  You are probably being scammed.  These scammers are ruthless and many are tied to terrorism.  You are playing with fire and you will most likely get burned.  That being said, you are talking to a real person.  It is probably not who you thought you were talking to but somebody is on the other end.  People do fall in love but it is rare.  I have heard stories where the scammers get the person being scammed to fall in love, reveal themselves, and have the person work for them.  It is amazing how powerful words across a screen are.  I mean so many of us just want to be loved or accepted and when we find somebody that we think does this common sense goes out the window.  We do it in real relationships with people we see all the time.  Is it so hard to think that once you fell for a picture on a screen that you would no longer cling to common sense.

And yes it is possible for a scammer to fall in love with a person being scammed.  Think about it, whoever is reaching out to play a hoax on somebody is obviously missing something in their real life.  Normal people do not try to fool other people for gain or sport.  Normal people are more productive with their time.  So is it so unrealistic for a scammer to find somebody who is actually nice and compassionate and fall for them?  Again, it is not likely but it is possible.

It is easy to ridicule those who fall for what us outsiders would clearly call bullshit on.  That being said, who among us has not done stupid things and turned a blind eye in the name of love.  I feel bad for these people that fall for these hoaxes.  In the past I would have sat in judgement and called them dummies.  I don’t do that anymore.

Now excuse me, I have to tell somebody I am a fluffer and touring with Dice.  Some people will believe anything.  What a bunch of maroons!

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