I'm not entirely sure how this scam is supposed to work. Someone sends you a totally random message, apologizes for sending it to the wrong number, and then befriends you? Then some time in the distant future, after years of digital penpal-ship, they ask you for your banking info?
I suppose it's a long-con targeting lonely people. Or maybe they're just trying to fish security answers from unsuspecting dimwits. TIP: She's probably not into you if the first three questions she asks are:
What city were you born in?
What is the name of your first kiss?
What's you mom's maiden name?
It's probably wise to not engage, but who said I was wise? I hate scammers, but I kind of love fucking with them. So every time I get one of these test messages out of the blue, I go full psychopath mode and try to befriend them. Here are some examples...
The Worst Contract Negotiation Ever
My first crack at playing along was short lived. They hit me with some questions about a contract, and I took it right in stride. Looking back, I should have asked more specific questions, but this scammer gave up way too early. I guess the deal never went through.
Nick, The Sailor Who Killed His Wife
My second attempt at role playing was much more fruitful. This scammer started simply with "Hi Nick". Instead of ignoring it, or saying "wrong number", I assumed the personality of Nick, a recently widowed sail boat enthusiast with a dark secret.
I imagined Anna as an old fling of mine -- a lover of times past who was checking on me out of concern. But it's too late Anna, I must sail off into the sunset for one last time...
Anna was another low effort scammer. She only hit me with question marks once I began my slide into schizophrenic prose. I waited a few days after asking if she could keep a secret, and finally admitted to her that it was I, Nick the sailor, who killed my sweet wife Beatrice.
Anna only responded with another "?" which was disappointing. If only I could see these peoples' reactions in real life.
Sophia, Who Knows Every Girl Named Emily in California
The most amusing response to these scam attempts is to pretend like I'm actually the person they are trying to reach. I'll search the area code from the number and assume they're a long lost acquaintance of mine from that region.
In their minds, they must think it was an insanely unlucky chance. In my mind, it's hilarious to waste their time by acting like a crazy person.
Once they realize they must have texted someone actually named Sophia, who actually knows someone named Emily Scott, they quickly try to become a stranger again.
They are Emily Miller, not Emily Scott. Unfortunately for them, while I went to college with Emily Scott, I also went to high school with Emily Miller.
At this point in my tirade they've given up. How could this person I texted know everyone named Emily in California, and also have some elaborate story about their history together?
Apologies to Emily Miller, the girl we used to call WEST SIDE EMILY because of the fingers on her left hand. I've matured a lot since high school, and that was wrong of us.
Tina, Who Maxed Out Your Mom's Credit Card
As you can tell, I've followed this formula a couple times. Its max entertainment for me, but I think the scammers either become confused, or realize I'm messing with them. In the future, I will try a different approach to keep them on the hook longer.
Even though they don't answer, I find it hilarious that somewhere in some scammer call center a guy is getting random messages from a girl CONVINCED she's talking to her old college roommate about the most random garbage I can think of.
I had another great conversation with one of these scammers that actually went a bit deeper. They played along with me pretending to be the person they initially texted, and even asked me to send pictures of myself (which I did using made up AI portraits).
Unfortunately I somehow lost the conversation 😢 so I can't recover the text logs. However, I plan to continue this blog as a series should more scammers stumble into my messages.