I am sharing this blog with you because I am in some ways an admirer of the brilliant journalist who posts on social media under the title of: ‘I see you, I f****** see you’. His or her choice of words and expressions are priceless and within moments of posting, thousands of people respond. Some of the phrases have been accepted into other journalist modules. They are sometimes, just brilliant. And the subject (person) of their words gets publicly ‘slaughtered’ on the socials. Usually sleezy politicians.
So, inspired by their work, here is some of mine to tell you about something that happened to me yesterday. I received a message from a friend via private Instagram messaging, that they had received a ‘friend request’ from someone who was posing as me, using my photos, including one of my two-year old granddaughter and obscene sexual texts and images. First reaction is shock and then ‘what the hell is all this about?’
Within minutes messages started to pour in because this fake or scammer as I will call them for a while and at the end, I will reveal their identity, had sent this request to every single one of my contacts. Now lucky for me that I do not have hundreds of followers on Instagram, and each one of them is someone I know personally. And they are loyal. I just want to pause here and say a huge thank you to each one of them, because they were alert and not only reported by blocking this creep. A deep bow of gratitude to you all.
Anyway, to continue I also received a tip from someone who works in the Dutch Marechaussee. This is a separate elite group who help the Police in protecting our airports etc. They told me that I should report this request to Europol. At first, I wondered why? But because there was a ‘minor’ in one of the images and the nature of the texts, I should, and they sent me the link. A few moments of form filling and explaining what it was all about and within minutes of sending, I got an email confirmation that my form had been received and they would investigate. This proved a very famous saying to me, that sometimes in life ‘it is not what you know, but who you know’. During the course of the day several emails back as well and believe me they have the resources to trace these creeps within seconds!
I also communicated with a well-known group ‘ScamHaters United’ because I know in the past from other peoples’ experiences that this group are highly respected and appreciated for all the things they do to shine a light on these low-lives, to warn people to be extra vigilant on the socials and yes, we have all read the horror stories of people who are taken in by it all. Very sad stories where people lose not only their hearts but also money. In a very good private chat message, I explained what had happened and they replied immediately. We talked on during the course of the day as more information came to the surface and well, you would never believe how many Instagram accounts this person is operating and using other names too. They were able to take down a lot of the accounts, but they told me that if this happens to you the most important thing before you report and block and delete is the USERNAME. If you have that write it down or keep it somewhere and this helps them and others to trace these people.
And you maybe asking yourself what about Instagram and Facebook, who are all one as we know and their endless claims about how they protect our privacy, well to be honest, they don’t. They really don’t care. The contact at ScamHaters said literally about Instagram: ‘it’s all fraudsters and perverts’. It does help in a way to report and block but remember this one thing. These creeps operate a multitude of accounts and use a lot of names and like rats they emerge all over the place when the ship is sinking and then run for their lives. That is why it is almost impossible to pin them down and report them in such a way that action is really taken by Instagram or Facebook.
We all love the socials, I know, and I use it too. We love this medium to keep in touch and share our day-to-day experiences. We like to comment and like photos, quotes, views, sunsets and so on, and generally to share our lives with people. The problem begins when the rot creeps in and attempts to destroy said lives. These people are the absolute pits and total low lives (as one of my friends called them).
So, what action have I taken personally? Well, I spent an entire morning changing passwords and such like. I went through all my contacts on Instagram and Facebook and decluttered. Not many as I said earlier: I don’t have thousands of followers, just the people I know. So, it wasn’t a major task. I archived all of my posts and put out two warning posts, speaking openly about what had happened and come on, those of you who know me well, not only are aware of the present situation in my family unit, but also know that I would never write such rubbish and definitely not use a photo of my own granddaughter. I have always been careful, out of total respect for her and her parents not to share pictures of her, outside private circles. Yes, I know I am a writer and have published several books, which are romantic fiction and of course have written words about sex, but I am not competing to write the next ’50 Shades of Grey’. Sex is a natural thing between people and nothing to be ashamed of until used in a devious or evil way. By this I mean for another person’s gain. Yes, it happens, it is part of life and people are not only totally deranged but also very stupid too.
I can only ask you if you are still reading, take the time to be extra careful in your own social media circles. If you do not have a ‘verified account’ and they are not easy to get on Instagram, go through your ‘followers’ and maybe delete or unfollow some. Within the ever-increasing social media circles, we are often followed by people we don’t actually know but who are contacts of others. You can put your account to ‘Private’, like I have done with mine, meaning that people must send you a request to follow and then I would say, make it a golden rule, only to accept if you know them. Even if they look nice, handsome, pretty or whatever, just take care because there is so much of this going on behind the scenes and I could mention at least 10 names of people I have heard of or know personally who have had their photos stolen too. And also remember 99% of all the photos are then adapted with a special app to make them even more appealing. Just think about that for a moment.
Change your passwords regularly, we all have things like Internet Banking or even ApplePay on our smartphones, so it is better to be forewarned than to have regrets. Only recently a friend of mine told a story about how she had received a request for money from her mother. On checking it was a fake but how many people are taken in by all this shit? A lot is the answer.
If in doubt, check and double check.
Personally, I found yesterday a bit of a harrowing experience, mainly from my own family members who reacted with anger and shock, which is natural of course. I have nothing to hide. I do not chatter on to people I don’t know. I don’t have the time to be honest or even the inclination.
At the end of the day and with a splitting headache, I decided to put the whole matter behind me. The past is the past, you cannot change it and only learn by it. I wanted to write this blog though to tell you all openly and honestly, that this can happen to all of us. No one is 100 percent safe and we probably all have had a similar experience or will have one.
It is unfortunately a sign of the time and our ever-increasing desire to be socially available and sharing our experiences. Vigilant is the word to remember here.
And now I will expose the person who did this to me. This is one of the accounts, ScamHaters Utd. or I came across. Looks innocent, doesn’t it? The story this man is telling is: He is a doctor, working in ER for NATO in The Sudan. His wife left him for a richer person (no surprise there) and then he put his two children into boarding school care and buggered off to work abroad, to escape from the shame. He talks to lots of people in the hope that he can persuade them, once they feel sorry for him, because he apparently tells awful stories about the traumas there too, to help him get out. To request leave for him, so that he can come and marry you (er…. No thank you very much!). It is all lies and complete and utter rubbish. Ah, he misses his children and come on if you are a parent, ask yourself this question would you have done that? Would you have left your children and put them into care? No of course not!
Enough said, only this: I fucking see you, ‘James Holden’. We all fucking see you! You are a complete an utter low life and DESPICABLE. And I think only fair to say this too, that maybe these photos have been stolen from someone else who has nothing to do with this Instagram account. And it is not the person on the photos. Just be careful, cannot say anymore than that!
PS. Since publishing it has actually been confirmed that these are indeed stolen photos from a real doctor and are used on an enormous number of sites used by scammers. Take care everyone !