Someone I just met is a 419 victim-in-being: what would you do?

I think I’ve mentioned before that I recently moved to a place with a pub (bar) in it.

Today I met someone, around sixty I’d say [not certain exactly cause as I said I’ve met him today first], who is being contacted by a thirty year old from ghana with gorgeous pictures. They met on a dating website.

Frankly I don’t even need to spell out to anyone with a brain what’s going on. They’ve never spoken over webcam, nor on phone. I did sorta subtley hint that this was indistinguishable from scams, and he did sorta agree. But his plan is to not send them any money until they come here. In a twist, he actually has no money basically, due to being on the local equivilant of what you call disability.

So he may get away with it with nothing but hurt feelings. But there’s equally a big chance of them nicking a massive proportion, relatively speaking, of his “wealth”.

I just dunno what to do. Like I said today is the first time I’ve met the guy and I can’t exactly lecture him on stuff.

Any experience of this kind of thing?

Yikes, not good. I don’t know if this is practical given your encounter with him was in a pub, but might it help to show him stories of how other people were scammed using the same tactics? There some quite good resources here:

Could you print off the story that matches his most closely and show it to him, in hopes that he recognizes what’s happening? It’s also important to emphasize that people can be scammed in many ways, not just financially. Playing with someone’s trust like that is on par with ripping off their life savings, imo.

Have a big steamy mug of MYOB. Seriously. It’s a guy you met in a bar. His problems are not yours.

I would go ahead and give him the lecture, along with examples like mengvs suggested. He might not have anybody else who knows or cares. The scammer might not get any cash out of him but if he has a house, or car, those could possibly be ripped off. And nobody needs unnecessary heartache.

It sounds like he’s just having fun. The only harm I can see is that if he’s really looking for a relationship, he’s wasting his time. But maybe that’s what he wants – a fantasy.

It doesn’t sound like he’s in danger of losing anything but his time.

I like that he’s probably playing as much as he’s being played.

No shit. +1

Ask not for whom the bell tolls…

Seriously, I don’t get this attitude. Yes, one should not interfere and try to force him not to do things. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try to help out by ensuring he knows what he’s likely to be getting in to.

Or to put it another way, more information is not a bad thing!

Could try if I see him in the pub again, which I am pretty likely to. Not that i’m going to be carrying a print out around with me for ever, so, er, um…

He had two grown up daughters, one of whom apparently is telling him not to touch with a bargepole, the other of whom is being supportive or perhaps ambivilant. In fact on thinking about that it may be it more their responsibility to do something, but i’m not sure.

I suppose I am more sympathetic than I would be to a normal stranger as I saw in him a place I could end up in thirty years time. He had an addiction to opiates, occasional depression, and was gainfully employed until roughly my age after which he hasn’t had a job and has been in a loony bin a couple of times. In fact we even shared our first name!

If you can find it, and if the guy likes to read, get him that article from The New Yorker that goes into excruciating detail about the minister who fell for a 419 scam. The worst part is, the minister ultimately began to try to “help” the scammers with their cheque cashing “problems” and wound up party to bank fraud. I’m not gonna look for the article…

Oh alright, here it is:

Fascinating read.

Eh, who cares thems small potatoes. Now if you two shared your favorite colors then you are duty bound to him to help out as much as you can.

My God, that guy was an idiot.

Do I need to point out the physical danger of pissing off people that may travel a long way for a scam that doesn’t pay off in the end?

419 Scammers who lose a mark in mid-scam aren’t likely to travel over land and sea to exact revenge; they’ll just move on to scamming the next idiot in line.

I kinda hate how internet dating has gotten a bad rap, but you have outlined the real problem.

No webcam contact or VOIP/phone contact, real internet dating never involves being afraid of contact other than text. Seriously it is the tell of the century.

Well choking off funding to the 419 scammers is everyone’s business. There’s a crime in progress. Good citizens take steps (within reason).

Secondly, if the bloke doesn’t want offhand comments from strangers, he shouldn’t share details of his romantic life, such as it is. It’s not like the OP overheard a conversation. That would be different.