THE MAN (OR WOMAN) IN THE MIRROR

Today is the 5th May, so we have a triple 5 (5th day, 5th month in a 5 year – 2+0+2+1=5), and it seems a good day to write this blog.

The meaning of 555 is: ‘to stay positive and confident and aware of everything that happens in your inner being. No matter what life throws at you, the most important is your State of Being. The truth behind this is that your state of being creates your circumstances and not the other way around’.

OK then. That is pretty confronting! Last week I wrote a piece about being scammed by fake accounts on social media. This blog has been read by thousands and I so hope that everyone who did took note how vulnerable we all make ourselves on social media. This event lead also to quite an intensive contact with ScamHaters United (who were amazing and so helpful) and of course this got me thinking about something and I must share.

Seriously, we all know how many of these evil scumbags there are in the world, stealing images (photos) from people and then talking on the usual media channels, Hangouts, Telegram and WhatsApp to lure people into a false situation. We also know that every single person in this world is craving love (even the stupid scammers). But the one thing no one ever seems to talk about is the man or woman in the mirror. The person who is being just as victimized as the victims themselves, the ones who have their photos stolen in the first place.

They may have been in the front line at the gene pool for the good looks, perfect teeth, sparkling eyes etc. etc., but it is important to also realize that these people do not in any way ask for this to happen. The majority are good people, with responsible jobs, wives, husbands and family and again and again they are attacked by the scammers. Why? Well sorry I don’t know the answer to that one, just that often they live in places far away from where people live who are victimized and then there is not an easy recognition of the photos. Here before I go further a tip from ScamHaters that if you get approached by someone, check the photo! There are good apps or sites to do this like: TinEye. This is a reverse image search and surely the very least commonsense is to do this, takes literally seconds and could spare you a lot of wasted time and even worse a lot of heartache.

And not to mention out of respect for the person whose images have been stolen in the first place. COMMONSENSE!

One of these people who is frequently used in scams is Thomas Lindegaard Madsen, who just happens to be an acquaintance of mine as well. A high-ranking captain in a well-known company who spends his already busy days, ensuring that cargo is delivered to many ports around the world. Do you seriously think that he has the time to be contacting women anywhere and even more ridiculous asking them for money? COMMONSENSE!

He is not for sure and has been outspoken himself on the ScamHaters site, telling people that he is gay and happily married. He is away a lot but when at home, wants to be left alone to enjoy his free time with his family and friends. Think about that. I have reported so many accounts on Instagram of people impersonating him, just like he does too, and still the rot continues. Day in day out, more and more scammers stealing his photos. Yes, true he is posting a lot but usually scenes from the bridge of the ship of sunsets, ports, bridges and such like and people actually enjoy following his journeys around the world and why not? Yes, why not indeed because as I wrote in my previous blog, people enjoy sharing their lives with others. Enjoyment does not mean a free pass for someone to steal his photos. COMMONSENSE!

Let me just mention here that no matter how many accounts we all report, Instagram (and Facebook because they are all one big greedy family) will do absolutely nothing to help you if you are victimized. Don’t believe it, ask anyone who has gone through this. They will say sweet things like: ‘thank you for reporting this account’ and such drivel that they want to protect our privacy. They don’t and face facts. All they are interested in is making money by attracting your attention and completely overwhelming you with advertisements. And you know this is true.

So, let’s just stop and have a little think about the man or woman in the mirror. They never get mentioned and they are just as much a victim as the people who fall for these scams. We all agree, scammers are the absolute pits and low life, they are specially trained to find out as much as they can about you and use it for their own gain. Either in asking for money or asking for details of your bank account (to use you as a money mule on their behalf) or to create false documents. The list is endless and being constantly updated as we all wise up (I hope) to their tactics.  

When you discover you have been scammed, you are of course furious, and your first thought is maybe to lash out at the person who’s photo you have had. Don’t! Remember they are just as much the victim as you and thoroughly sick to death of it all.

Now another line of thought is that there are so many people (like you and me) posting out far too much information. If you regularly post stories about your children or photos you are literally almost handing the scammers the information on a golden plate. Take care, make sure any such images are only shared with people you know personally or family and friends. And just stop sharing so much. As cute as it is, it is just fodder for scammers! And who is to blame – you! I know it’s a hard comment, but it is true.

Go through your contacts and remove those who are just what I call ‘hanger’s on’. People within the ever-increasing circles who you don’t really know but are contacts of others. COMMONSENSE!

I can think of some people I know myself who obviously have so much free time that they can post out what they are having for breakfast, lunch and dinner and every single ‘event’ of their life, all day, and every day. You may be a fitness person but believe me constantly posting half naked photos of your amazing well-toned body is again fodder for the scammers. Posting videos where you are wearing very little, often the angle of the camera can reveal much more than you think. This is what scammers love and use to contact people and con them, big time.

Just this week, after my own experience another friend of mine was inundated by fake accounts too. My advice, report to ScamHaters please, because they will do something about it and put the information out on their site and warnings if necessary and they bring down these false accounts very efficiently. If you want to check what I am saying, go to their page, spend 15 minutes reading the posts, stories and interviews (live) with the people who are ‘fed up to the back teeth’ being scammed and by this I mean the ones who’s information has been stolen in the first place. COMMONSENSE!

Switch your social media accounts to Private. Mine was a business one linked into my own website and my books. I didn’t actually know how to, but my son helped me and this means that people just cannot follow you they have to make a request and then please, the golden rule, if you don’t know them, then DELETE. No matter what. The social media accounts of Instagram, Facebook, Telegram and WhatsApp are NOT DATING SITES. If that is your thing, go to the recognized real sites.

Anyway, enough on this subject, I think I have exhausted it now, and please remember this, it is up to you to take care, be vigilant and use your COMMONSENSE.

To finish I will just use a phrase that ScamHaters post regularly. HANGOUTS = 

HANGOUTS ALL NIGERIA AND GHANA and OTHERS USE TO SCAM. 

TRUE!

It is still their favorite. And just adding something into this blog which ScamHaters told me and it is SHOCKING. There is a list called the ‘Sucker List’. If you have ever been approached by scammers, whether you reacted or not, you have been added to this list and they keep on coming at you. Irrespective of who you are or what you are posting and these said lists are sold commercially! I was shocked by this but at the same time realized that is why I get these requests. Don’t beat yourself up about it, eventually they will get bored and go away. But in the meantime just make sure you are not taken in, no matter what. Just use your ….

COMMONSENSE !

WHEN YOU CANNOT CONTROL WHAT IS HAPPENING, CHALLENGE YOURSELF TO CONTROL THE WAY YOU RESPOND TO WHAT IS HAPPENING, THAT IS WHERE THE POWER IS !

Special thanks to Thomas Lindegaard Madsen and to ScamHaters United.

Images from Google.

Perfect look. Just be sympathetic please to the man or woman in the mirror!

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Jill Kramer

Hi! I'm Jill and I'm a passionate author of books, short stories, columns and blogs.

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