I never cease to be amazed at the chutzpah of people looking to prey on the rest of us. They really do take it for granted that they will win and we will lose. I suppose the odds are in their favor since most of us don't go around with a permanently suspicious attitude about strangers. In mid-May I came across such a person, who uses the email address firstname.lastname@example.org and can be found on Yahoo Messenger as Ben_Ben.
This person (I don't know that it is a guy) spun quite a tale as a 50ish Italian immigrant who became a naturalized citizen and changed his name so everyone would know he's an American now. His Italian name, Tamaro Vani (no I don't believe it), just wasn't good enough. Back in the old country his mother Adona and (grown) son Santo still live la dolce vita along with a brother and sister. Ben_Ben claimed he moved to Houston 6 years ago to get over the tragic death of his wife. Cue the violins maestro. In some alternate Houston a road construction and paving company, by the name of Kennedy and Associates Company Limited, is out building and patching the highways and byways. He owns that company in case you haven't figured it out. His own house has a pool and he has a male English bulldog about 4 years old. Now on its face he sounds like he could be a real standup citizen. Heck, he even sent me roses (to my mailing address not the home address). Wasn't that nice? They are very pretty and they even smell like roses should smell.
But I was suspicious throughout. The fact that Yahoo Messenger provided a trail to a Houston area woman called Foxy Lady raised the first flag. His story completely unraveled when he provided me with his claimed address. I had told him who I worked for, but I don't believe the implications fully registered. I went to work (on my own) with this information, and while there is a man with that name at the address, that is the only thing that checks out.
I have taken steps to notify all the sites where I encountered this person. I am not going to enable him (or her) by keeping silent. It's unfortunate that we have to work so hard to protect ourselves, but that is the price we must pay. I am posting this so that my readers can learn from my mistake.
ETA @10:30 AM - Chutzpah, you can never have too much. So I received an email response to my cutting this person off, in which he declares he loves me and not to believe what other people say. He totally does not get that he sunk his own ship.