With an extensive background in everything to do with the internet and information technology, I spend too much time online reading the news media, browsing commentary on Instagram, managing an RSL blog site, emailing, writing articles, and more.
Online chatting is also an activity in which I have an interest since I like meeting new people and making friends, but as everyone knows, making friends online can be wrought with challenges.
In this article, I’ll provide you, dear reader, with a few examples of those challenges.
My Instagram account, apart from having a photo of an obviously old, white male also states clearly that I’m married. I have been for just over 50 years. This doesn’t prevent the dozens (literally) of requests for chats I receive from ‘photographs’ of usually attractive young women. The first few times I felt flattered after all, what healthy heterosexual male doesn’t want to be sought by female fans? I usually ignore or delete such requests, but on several occasions I’ve accepted the offers purely to see where they lead. Here are several of my experiences.
Chat 1, a person presenting as a female from a US city. This woman, much younger than I chatted for a couple of weeks, and when I discussed whether she was a 20-year-old Nigerian beavering away in a slum surrounded by used Kentucky Food wrappings and a few other colleagues sitting in front of computers trying to find suckers to send money, she sent me a copy of her passport. I felt a bit guilty inferring she was a fraud. She seemed intelligent, was a sound communicator and we chatted for perhaps three months. I quite liked chatting with her. Then, one day, she asked if I could send her some money to help with rent. My heart sank.
She didn’t give me the flick immediately, but I could tell she was disappointed at having invested so much time and effort in me and then getting a knock-back. Eventually, we chatted less and less and our dialogue ended. She was perhaps the only genuine person with whom I’ve chatted. I was sad to see her go, despite the fact she had asked for money.
The truth is, all of the people who approach you, tick ‘like’ and want to chat want something. Other than those looking for romance, it’s usually not friendship. That’s the sad state of online meetings. It’s a rich harvest for criminals trying to relieve you of your money or to do something else probably illegal as you’ll see by Chat 2.
Chat 2. This ‘lady’ chatted with me for a week or two and then presented me with a nude photograph she said was of herself. I was a little surprised and when I asked her why she had given me such a lovely photo, she said she enjoyed sharing her body with me. My pulse raced for a second or two and my imagination wandered for equally as long. We kept chatting for a week or so when she asked me if I could receive some parcels for her. She’d send them from the USA and I’d receive them here. After the consignment containing mobile phones arrived, she’d be flying to Australia to spend time with me and said she’d be working with a firm to supply the phones to buyers who had purchased and paid for them.
When I asked obvious questions like why she didn’t simply post the products directly to clients, she said her firm was intending to establish big in Australia and wanted to present them individually for promotional purposes. It was a special assignment for her, and I could spend time showing her my country and doing other things left to my imagination.
Even if I hadn’t been a police officer in a past career, I would have been highly suspicious of such an arrangement. I had visions of a parcel full of drugs or something else illegal arriving in Sydney and the Australia Federal Police charging me with importation and possession of prohibited drugs or other materials. It had all the indicia of an attempt to commit a criminal act. I thanked her for the lovely photographs and the offer and we parted. I often wonder if she found someone else silly enough to receive parcels with unknown contents.
Chat 3. Another lovely ‘lady’ I selected from the long line of keen chatters lives in Nigeria. Yes, really Nigeria. Nigeria is second to India as a source for online scams and criminality.
We talked about numerous different things for a few weeks, including the fact that she was a university student studying at a Nigerian tertiary institution. After a few weeks, she told me she loved me and when I said I was old enough to be her grandfather and already married, she told me age didn’t matter. Maybe not to her, but I was certain my beloved wife wouldn’t be happy with me carrying on a romantic relationship with a 20-year-old Nigerian woman – or any woman for that matter, despite the great distance between us.
After I’d spent some time advising her that it was unlikely she was in love with me and she would be far better off finding someone in her own age group to fall in love with, she asked me if I could send some money to help pay her course fees. She provided the student number and password to her university account which I accessed, so I would know she was a real person. If I didn’t pay some fees, she needed a new laptop, perhaps I could get her one.
I informed her about my strict policy of not sending money (or laptops) to strangers although I appreciated her plight of wanting to continue her degree which was a good thing. Our conversation and apparently her love for me died almost immediately. Perhaps she needs to fine-tune her search for a Sugar Daddy to achieve more success with her next target.
I thought of the saying, “There’s no fool like an old fool”. I’d never thought of myself as a fool, but there you go, all of us are foolish sometimes and I’m no exception.
Ultimately, we need friends and although I’m not as desperate as some people no doubt are, I would like to find a real person to chat with who wants nothing more than someone to share ideas with. Even a local friend with whom I could share a coffee and a chat would be nice.
Should I keep scanning the Instagram list of beautiful photographs seeking to chat with me, or spend my time more gainfully occupied?
There’s a precautionary tale in this article that I’m sure others have discovered already given the huge amount of money being scammed daily from our fellow Australians. Have you had such an experience? What do you think?