It was only two days ago when I published a post about online safety. What do you think happened to me today? Scam! Clever and convincing – but nevertheless scam. So here I was, confidently giving other bloggers online safety advice – and two days later I fell for it myself. Must have jinxed it.
The good news is that this time no one tried to hack my account. Which in itself is a relief. There was no harm done either. Thanks god for that.
So, to the point. As mentioned the other day, I have lately been receiving a fair number of (random) friend requests on Facebook. Amongst those was a friend request from someone who got my interest immediately. A fashion designer. Quickly referring to the mighty power of Google, I found out that he is a high end fashion designer – quite famous, apparently. Wow. Friend request accepted. This is how dreams come true, isn’t it: maybe I have been spotted??
In my defense, I must say that I am not that naive. My blog is followed by a few (genuine!) fashion brands. I have also received a few productive partnership proposals so far, and none of them were scam. More about this – in good time, but two companies manufacturing tall fashion products have been in touch with me regarding reviews of their shoes and clothes. They are serious businesses and I do trust them.
So why did I fall for today’s scam? I can tell you why. Those of you who have seen ‘The X-Files’ will know what I mean by saying that I want to believe. Yes, it is too good to be true. But who knows, it may actually be genuine?? No harm trying to find out, is it!
Today, trying to popularise my blog (as I do), I posted some links on various tall women/fashion groups. I decided to post a link on this designer’s timeline, too. Minutes later he messaged me: ‘OK, how tall are you?’ Obviously caught his attention, I thought, and happily replied. I, then, decided to dare and ask how he’d found me. I was told that he has a team of people whose job is to look for plus size and tall women to be their models. This is how I was introduced to him, so he added me on Facebook. So far sounds logical – do you agree? I quickly browsed their page, and yes, there were a few photos of plus size models there, so all tied up.
He then went on to ask about my measurements. Nothing too personal, I thought, so happily replied. Then he asked if I could do a Skype interview, like, there and then. Hm – a bit too keen. I couldn’t, but he accepted my suggestion to do it in half an hour. Someone called Dave was going to interview me on his behalf. Which, again, seemed logical, as the boss wouldn’t get involved in interviewing, would he. I was still puzzled: what do they want to interview me for?? After all, I am the blogger, so would make more sense for me to interview them.
The answer was beyond my expectations. They wanted to see if I could be a model for them. Oh wow. Feeling my growing power, I decided to confront him a bit further: they are an American company, while I am based in the UK, so what modelling are we talking about?! The answer was that I would be a home model: I wouldn’t have to move; their team would come to me to do the shoots of me wearing their clothes, which would then be published in magazines and websites.
I know: too good to be true.
So we exchanged Skype ID’s and he did ring me at the said time.
Before that, suspicious like hell, I quickly gathered my Facebook council. Two of my friends with fashion experience helped with advice. I was assured that such a thing as home modelling does actually exist, but it pays less than ‘regular’ modelling (as if I would hope for high rates, anyway).
The most important advice, though, was to trust my instinct. Which, I must say, told me something smelled a bit fishy. I couldn’t put my finger on it – but, remember: I wanted to believe. I still do, actually. Not because I madly want to be a model. Who am I kidding, at the age of 40+ there is no such thing as starting a modelling career. I am not that naive, remember. But I do tend to trust people a bit more than I should.
As it happens, there were some technical issues with Skype, so we agreed to repeat this in the evening when I got home. The person I saw on Skype did look like the designer himself (so it wasn’t that Dave guy, after all). And all he wanted me to do was stand by the door – obviously to see how tall I really was. So I’ll give him that, there was nothing offensive or rude. I decided it was all good. I wanted to believe.
Until an hour later I checked my messages again – to find that this user no longer existed. Most of his messages were removed, as apparently had been ‘identified as abusive or marked as spam’. So the Big Brother had been watching again, Facebook protected me. Oddly enough, it didn’t protect me from men sending me photos of their intimate parts – but protected me from innocent messages asking my measures! The messages have been removed temporarily until the sender’s account can be verified.
So, here I was in a dilemma: to pretend I didn’t notice this and still do the interview, or to try and find out what the hell was happening. A typical Scorpio, I don’t do patience, so decided to drop him a quick message on Skype: ‘Did you deactivate your Facebook account, by any chance?’ To which he, actually, replied: ‘Too many botherings’.
This is where the story ends. I did decide to go through with it and turn Skype on after work. Who knows, after all, it may all be a genuine partnership request. I was actually late for the appointment (about 8 minutes). He didn’t respond to me. He didn’t respond to a message I sent him half an hour later. I decided not to ring him either – why ask for trouble…
I am still baffled. What the hell was this? Why would you come up with such a strange type of scam? A weirdo who lures women into modelling career hopes, so he can get them undressed on Skype? This is all I can think of.
Strangely, though, he is still on my Skype – and hasn’t been any trouble at all. Could there be a chance he is genuine? Or do I just want to believe??