Some news stories are just too stupid to believe, but I assure you this one is very real and very stupid. A 65 year old man by the name of Michael Picciano began an online relationship with a man with the Oh So Ironic username, ‘genuineguy62’ (or Bruce Thompson) on the popular dating website OkCupid.
As their relationship progressed to email and phone contact and Picciano’s trust was wrapped around Thompson’s little finger, they agreed to close each other’s OkCupid profiles as a testament to their new found love.
After still only having long distance contact, Thompson requested money from Picciano “for unexpected fees he incurred in his dealings setting up a new computer-parts business” which came to a total sum of $24,000. Yep, any rational thinking person would have seen this as a major red flag, knowing how many online scams are out there these days. But since Picciano was already smitten by this shady Thompson character, he wired the money with no questions asked. Smart! He should have started asking why the guy wanted the money sent to a ‘Dennis E. Racer’ in Addison, Texas, and an ‘Edmond Thebeau’ in Canada. Love is blind I guess.
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Now $24k out of pocket and still naive to Thompson’s ruse, Picciano wired through ANOTHER payment, this time of $46,420 to ‘Macbenson and Associates’ in the UK.
The poor, and obviously lonely, Picciano finally caught on to the fraud all too late and subsequently went to the cops. He later discovered the con-man was behind multiple other fraud operations via OkCupid, under the name ‘bigheartedbt.’
This ‘relationship’ ended up costing Picciano $70,000 and instead of suing the man who swindled him, he’s suing the dating site for not having appropriate security measures in place. In the Manhattan lawsuit, he states the website failed to conduct “even minimal screening of its subscribers and therefore deceptively creating the impression that their dating service was safe…when in fact…[it] was a trap for the unwary.”
Remembers peeps, wiring $70k to someone you met online carries significant risks. A bit of common sense goes a long, long way.
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