Colonel Richard Kemp Romance Scams

 

I once had a romance scam – pulled on me. But I didn’t fall for it. And I wrote about these – on this blog:

Well, recently I started corresponding with a female friend – on Facebook. I’ll change the name and location, to protect her identity. Let’s call her Mary Kate Danaher from Ireland. And you might have guessed it. This is really a fiticious woman, in the John Wayne movie – The Quiet Man.

Anyway, Mary fell for this man, on a popular, social media platform. And It was a fake Colonel Richard Kemp. His real website is Richard Kemp.  And in case you think it’s the first time, type in the keywords “Colonel richard Kemp scam”. And you find some forums, talking about this particular romance scam. Anyway, this scammer asked for money – for a sick child. And money for someone kidnapped by ISIS. And Mary fell, for a fake person.

What is the difference between Mary and me? I was a peace corps volunteer, in Liberia, West Africa. And I lived among all kinds of rascals. And they tried to scam me – all the time. So I learned a lot. That’s not to say I can’t get scammed. It’s just much harder to do.

What should Mary have done? Well, the main thing is insist on a video chat first, via some media like Skype, WhatsApp or Google Hangouts. A fake Richard Kemp can’t really look, like the real McCoy. Unless they have good costume artists and voice technology. And I doubt that they, will go through all the trouble.

Here’s one example Mary wrote me about:

 Please try to bring out the money part and the promise to repay it I have with me the letter signed by the guy and the fake receipt of the Ghana hospital where 36000 dollars were spent on the child.

What would I have done? Call the Ghana hospital myself.  See if this person was even a patient there.  A receipt is easy to forge.

There were other scammers – posing under the famous assumed name. Actually, Mary encountered 3 or 4  – each claiming to be, the “real” Colonel Richard Kemp.  And this is very important.  Each is asking for money, for some story you might read, in a comic book.  And they are probably still out there – scamming people.

The red flag is when someone you don’t know – requests money.  Unless you know the person personally…and have met them and interacted with them over time…don’t do it.

It’s like a discussion I got into – via a forum. Part of which centers around fake news.

Fake news is like scams. Suppose i get a call, from the IRS. They say I owe some back taxes. They will take me away in handcuffs, if I don’t pay via debit card.

Well, I never heard of this. And the IRS normally sends several letters – by mail first.

Now I can’t find this IRS procedure, on either social media or a Google search. So it’s fake news. And costly too – if I send the phony IRS agent some money.

Now I read a supermarket tabloid story. It says Trump took a ride – in a UFO. Well, I don’t buy into it. But if ALL supermarket tabloids, were running variations of the same story. Guess what? I might say, it’s in the realm of possibility.

Same goes for a story, in the New York times, CNN, etc. If one station or newspaper runs it – it’s probably fake news. But if everybody runs it (including the international news sources – like the BBC). Guess what? It’s within the realm of possibility.

What I look at – is this. The number of news sources (both nationally and internationally), are reporting variations of the same story. Meaning they are approaching, a bell shaped curve. Which means that both liberal and conservative news bodies, should be fact checking it.

It’s now a part of my framework. Or my existential, phenomenological perspective.

If later some fact or aspect, renders the story incoherent – guess what? I alter my framework or my existential, phenomenological perspective – ever so slightly.

And for learning what goes on, via the Dark Web.  I follow Dark Web News.

Let’s end on a lighter note.  With  a recent sharing, from the Sunil Bali blog.

$95 million dollars has been found in a flat in Nigeria.

The poor guy spent the last 10 years trying to share it, but no one responded to his emails.

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Lessons Learned from Door Installation

You would think that Buying an entry door is an easy process. But it takes some work. Here are some of my recent experiences.

Home Centers

There’s a couple interesting articles at Home Depot and Lowe’s Installations Services…A Good Deal?? and Home Improvement Sales Gimmicks.

If you go to Menards, they don’t have an installation service. Instead they have recommended contractors, from their bulletin board of independent contractors.

Home Depot and Lowes have their own installation services. But they try to charge you thirty five dollars for measurements. The problem is that Menards independent contractors and door and windows companies will do measurements and proposals for free. Luckily, I had a special for free measurement services from Home Depot. They charge around 300 for basic installation. But they had a proposal of around six hundred for installation. There were costs for hauling away the old door, supplies needed to put in the door, etc. It would be the same story at Lowes.

Pelle Doors and Windows.

This is an interesting proposal. They had a construction company they work with, give me a bid. For the door, it was around $3100. Now the problem is that Pelle has two door lines and both are sold at Lowes. They sell for $900 and $1000 for the same door measurements and features I’ve asked for. And all the home centers say that installation takes two to four hours. So are they carrying doors that Lowes doesn’t sell? And what could possible take around 2000 is costs for a simple two to four hour door installation?

Felco

They actually have a cost proposal similar to Pelle. But I can’t really obtain the line of doors they sell, via the home centers. So I can’t compare prices. And they do have a current rating of F from the Better Business Bureau. But the salesman did explain it was from past advertising using the word free. He did give a reasonable explanation. And their doors and windows are made by Amish craftsmen. But I really don’t need anything that fancy.

Most fiberglass entry doors from the home centers would sell from six hundred to one thousand. These are really good doors and even if you paid three to five hundred for installation, it’s a big savings over Felco and Pelle.

Local door and window company

They actually had the best proposal on a factor painted installed door for about $1375. It’s really not that much different from the home centers.

The secret for the consumer? Menards doesn’t have an installation service but will just provide recommended contractors, from their bulletin board. Pick 3 and get quotes – check them out. Try to do the project when contractors are not busy with construction periods. Then pick one to do the install project and get the door, windows, etc., from Lowes, Home Depot or Menards. Let the contractor pick them up at the store. Don’t use the Home Depot or Lowes installation services.

Fake Social Media Profiles and Doing Your Homework

In the past, I have written about a romance scam, someone from Nigeria tried to pull on me. The details can be found in the following blog posts:

Take the money and run

Romance scams revisited

Then a copywriter – whose email list I subscribe to – sent me an interesting story. It’s entitled Meet “Ojuola Infotech” – the despicable man who stole my book by Chris Marlow. Apparently, some person from Nigeria stole one of her ebooks, put his name to it and tried to market it on Amazon and other sources.

Here’s where the story gets interesting. When Chris did a search on Ojuola Infotech, she came up with two identical profiles – but different photos. One was a Nigerian black man and the other was a white USA guy. It reminds me of my romance scam – which, by the way, I did not fall for. If I went to this person’s Facebook page, I saw two photos

  • One was the pretty woman who tried to start a long distance romance with me. But a Google image search of her picture found it was identical to a popular porn star.
  • The other was a black lady, dressed in a nurse’s uniform. My guess this was not a friend of hers, but the “really” photo and persona.

One mistake Chris made was not to copyright her ebook. This would be something easy to do, in the US. You can ask your local public library for help and it’s submitting an application to the US Copyright office. She did this after the fact. But it was through another company called The Trademark Company. She was then able to prove she was the author and remove it from different book dealers like Amazon Kindle.

You need to be careful about everything. For instance. I follow a blog by Douglas Ernst, mainly for his stories on superheros, Marvel and DC comics, etc. But he did a story entitled ‘Money: Master the Game’: Tony Robbins gives readers a sound blueprint for financial freedom by Tony Robbins. After reading his blog post, I checked out the book through my local public library. They have gotten the book via the inter-library load system.

I started reading the book, which is very well written and entertaining. But then I decided to Google ”Money Master the game summary”. One can find a couple interesting articles:

Both give some interesting insights and perspectives into the book.

My recommendation? Read the book but do look at the analysis and rebuttals of others.

And speaking of romance scams and fake profiles. Someone tried to pull the same trick this week. They presented they were a pretty woman from France. But a quick search of the image found it belonged to a popular porn star. And they didn’t bother to put together a profile one can find on multiple social media outlets. It’s an obvious fake.

Romance Scams Revisited

A while back, I wrote a blog post entitled Take the Money and Run. It was about a woman, who tried to trap me in a romance scam. I thought it might be fun to share some portions of exchanged emails and make some brief commentary. We will call that woman by the name of Gertrude, which is Hamlet’s mother and Queen of Denmark.

Here’s the first email I received in July of 2014.

“My name is Gertrude, a friend of yours from Linkedln, and i got your address from your contact info. I like your looks, you are cute and you remind me of someone i used to know. i would love to be friends with you meanwhile Thanks a lot”

The person goes on to say they are a nurse in Nigeria and work for UNICEF. Here are the clues something is wrong:

Notice the works “with you meanwhile Thanks a lot”? If someone is really a nurse, they should have had some basic courses in English composition. That means knowing when to punctuate a sentence and begin a new one.

They are really NOT friends with me on LinkedIn. They don’t have many connections (i.e. only one or two) and nobody recommending them or endorsing them.

Well, this does sound interesting, so I decided to correspond. Granted, we only exchanged or two emails daily. But two days into the correspondence, she wrote about her mom dying and a past bad relationship. The problem is that if I want out with someone and went on two dates three or four hours long, neither of us would bring up family members passing or bad past relationships. At least, that has been my experience. But this person brought it up in casual email conversations.

Five days later, this was part of the email I’ve received from her:

“ It sounds so good to talk about ones feelings and never hold back and just being truthful and sincere, what we have now is the mirror of the kind of relationship I would love to go into, a real genuine relationship based on honesty. Well, as you know its the joy of every woman to have a family and its my dream here too, i want to have my own kids and a loving man in my life, to love and take care of them.”

“I am really interested in wanting to know about what makes you the special person you are today, i can date anyone as long as there is love between us. I want to know more about your family, your background, your life experiences, your goals and dreams, your interests, and anything else you want to tell me…”

Moving a bit fast, don’t you think?

Then came the con and here’s part of an email, where she shared she was sick:

“The doctor advised me to get my own food stuffs since that’s what i have always done, he also prescribed some stronger meds and anti-biotics for me to get. he said i needed them urgently or i risk getting worse cause the ones i am on right now aren’t strong enough. i am so scared here my dear, I asked the camp commandant if she will be able to help me get the food and meds from outside the camp cause i am very weak and i wont be able to go the distance needed to get them myself. she agreed to help me. But the problem i have right now is that i don’t have any money on me now. As a worker i do get paid some amount of money when I’m back home and we get little allowances for personal upkeep here,…”

What can we learn here? If you read the original post, I was asked for money. I took a day or two before responding and did some background investigation. I found out it was a scam and didn’t respond. The moral? People don’t show up with offers of much money, lottery prizes, etc., unless you are related to rich people or entered the lottery by buying a ticket. A beautiful woman doesn’t fall for you in a few days via email. In fact, it might take a few real dates, before any chemistry is happening between you. And if folks want you to buy something, give money, etc., without you taking time to check things out – walk away.

Balancing Creativity and Group Sensitivities

This situation came up in LinkedIn, in my group for writers and copywriters. I’ve thought it would be nice to get input. Somebody posted a piece by a well know ad writer , who used profanity in an article. They quoted a part from the article, that used profanity, Should it be allowed?

Well, first and foremost, we operate under the LinkedIn company umbrella. If I were to take a guess, I would think they would not allow it.

I suggested to delete the article and remove any profanity from the linked to piece Instead, edit it to use simulated profanity (i.e. I don’t give a %$#&, like you see in newspaper comics or comic books).. And don’t use any profanity in the commentary regarding the article, unless it is simulated..,Then resubmit the article and commentary. Sound like a plan?

I know that books like Catcher in the Rye are full of cuss words. But you have to balance group sensitivities with using cuss words. Not that I’m a moralist in good writing, mind you. People who quote form Catcher in the Rye also use simulated cuss words in quoted book parts. People can do a Google or Bing search for the unedited piece.

Kind of like displaying the rated video of the song blurred lines by Robin Thicke. People who want the “unrated” version with nude dancing women can search for it and find it. Would you be offended if I published the video link with the nude dancing women in a LinkedIn group on music you belong to? Especially since the song video is full of sexual suggestions/ I would post the link to the rated version (i.e. fully clothed women), I would inform people there is an unrated version and might even give the keywords to conduct the search

My personal view is this. A few years ago, artists were doing crazy things. They might take a toilet or a board full of condoms and exhibit them at an art show – with their name on it, of course. Then folks would scratch their heads and ask: “is this art?” It really only shocked people the first time they saw it. But is it really art?

If a good ad writer (or good writer) needs to use profanity, then what is the point? The Catcher in the Rye by JD Salinger had a purpose for using profanity. It’s to capture the actual speech of youth, during the time he dated the work. But I fail to see the purpose an ad writer would achieve, unless it was to have “shock art.”

Let’s take the music video Blurred Lines by Robin Thicke. I saw both the rated and unrated videos, after seeing him perform on Stephen Colbert. I personally like both video versions, but I won’t allow the unrated one to be directly linked to.

My take. If a clear majority wanted profanity and LinkedIn allowed it – so be it. In the meantime, simulated profanity (i.e. &4*#@), like you see in comic books and newspaper comic scripts, will be what I would go with. Reply it with symbols. Look at Correct usage of replacing cuss words with symbols at cuss word rules. Use the same notation they use in the comic books (i.e. point 3)

I would like input on balancing group sensitivities with creativity? Comments, suggestions or input?

Making Good Business Ethical Decisions

How do you know you are making a good, moral decision? This question was asked on a forum and I’ll share my answers.  This answer would also apply to business ethics.

Actually, you won’t.  You have only good guidance from Christian theology and the philosophy branch of ethics. So how would you know you would make the right choice in this video (i.e. which I’ve including in our discussion on war):

Let me give you an answer in Interesting  Zeno‘s Paradoses, and underline the important part:

The dichotomy paradox leads to the following mathematical joke. A mathematician, a physicist and an engineer were asked to answer the following question. A group of boys are lined up on one wall of a dance hall, and an equal number of girls are lined up on the opposite wall. Both groups are then instructed to advance toward each other by one-quarter the distance separating them every ten seconds (i.e., if they are distance d apart at time 0, they are d/2 at t=10, d/4 at t=20, d/8 at t=30, and so on.) When do they meet at the center of the dance hall? The mathematician said they would never actually meet because the series is infinite. The physicist said they would meet when time equals infinity. The engineer said that within one minute [u]they would be close enough for all practical purposes[/u].

So while you should study ethics in philosophy and Christian theology, you  would be close enough for all practical purposes – in making ethical decisions in most situations.  And if you fall short, Christianity does offer forgiveness of sins.

Before I bring up the medical case with my mom, look at this short video

Here’s what happened with my mom:

  • To insure I was making the right scientific and bioethics decision, I made sure the  Bio Ethics right laboratory tests were preformed
  • To insure I was making the right theological  decision, I consulted with clergy from the Protestant, Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox traditions.
  • I then held a meeting with the chief doctor, a nurse, a hospital chaplain and my cousin and her husband (i.e. who lived close by).  I asked questions of the doctor from a scientific and bioethics perspective.  I asked the same questions of the hospital chaplain, which I asked of the Christian clergy.  Then I asked for any advice from family members.

Then I had them remove life support.  Now I might have made the wrong decision.  But I got the best advice for making that decision.

I’m sure in my mom’s case, I made the right decision.  And all the scientific experts (i.e. physicians) and theologians (i.e. Protestant, Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox) also felt the same way.  Luckily, I did attend Grief Share  meetings (which is a Christian video series), held at local churches.  The best part was discussing the grief and death with others, under the guidance of a trained facilitator.  The second year is much easier for me, as my mom passed on Oct. 4, 2013.

Take the Money and Run

Take the money and run is a song by the Steve Miller Band.  But it can be a song about getting caught in a social media romance scam from Nigeria.

It started when an attractive woman on a popular social media network, sent me an email and some photos. For the record, the photos were fully clothed and very respectable. This person was very cute, with red hair and white skin. Let‘s give her a fictitious of Gertrude  (that’s an oxymoron – a fictitious of a fictitious name) , who claims to work for a well-known international charity named UNICEF.  According to this person, she was doing volunteer work in Nigeria. And she is of claimed legal age, claiming to be in her late twenties.

Anyway, we corresponded by email for a few days. But she was coming on too strong, for my tastes. I kept telling her to slow down. I thought the psychological aspect of transference was happening. I even told her about this. Anyway, we corresponded like this for about a week.


Then came the big bang.

She claimed to be sick from food poisoning and typhoid fever. She needed money for food and medical care. I used to be a Peace Corps volunteer in Liberia, West Africa. I was familiar with scams and especially those coming from Nigeria. This story has too many loose ends.

For example:

  • Why would a respected international charity not have excellent medical care options in place? I found out later that the organization had excellent medical insurance coverage for volunteers. They also have excellent medical facilities they set up in remote countries. When I asked about this, it was implied they mismanaged things locally.
  • What is the name of the medicine the doctor wanted to prescribe? If this person is working with medical professionals, they should know that stuff.
  • Do you have an ID number from the charity, if I need to reach them? She wouldn’t give me one. But she wants to ask a complete stranger for money.

I asked for how much money was needed and how would I send it? I needed some more info. I was given a city and state in Nigeria and told to send it by Western Union. My respond is that I would reflect on this, for a day or so. In the meanwhile, I would say prayers for healing.


Anyway, the next day I did two things:

  • I went to visit a friend, who had ESP abilities. Now my lifelong Protestant mom – now deceased – was supposedly born with a veil over her eyes. This means she had the gift of prophesy. And the people I know with this gift, don’t go out and charge money and make a fortune on it. They just share it with family and friends. When I relayed this story, he said it was a scam.
  • I have some LinkedIn connections in Nigeria. I asked them to check on this person. To their credit, they are professional people living in Nigeria, who hate scams themselves.

Here’s what was shared by the professionals from Nigeria:

  • Well, one person lived near that area and knew the charity. She couldn’t find that person connected with that charity.
  • Another told me that charity doesn’t work in that area.
  • Another mentioned that there were other inquiries about that person being investigated.
  • Another told me that charity has excellent medical facilities.

I told this person that I couldn’t honor the money request, based upon feedback from ESP and some Nigerian professional contacts. But I would be happy to connect on Facebook and video chat with them. They stopped emailing me.

And here’s what UNICEF says on its website at UNICEF on Nigeria

  • UNICEF provides support to all its staff members and consultants at all times, no matter the situation.
  • Never send money or personal information (including your resume) to anyone you don’t really know.
  • Remember that UNICEF websites and email addresses all use the UNICEF dot org domain.
  • If in doubt, check with UNICEF Nigeria’s communication officer:

Yes, Gertrude, your story was fully of holes.      You used a public email address and not the UNICEF dot org domain, which wasn’t part of your email.  If you claim to work for a charity or any worldwide organization, they give the email for your use.  You didn’t ask for the money to be sent to an official UNICEF site.  You, as a “claimed” nurse, had no clue what medicine the doctor wanted to prescribe.  You also forgot that big international firms also provide medical care and/or health insurance to employees.

Oh, yes. Here is the best part.


You know the cute fully dressed and respectable photos she sent me? I did a search on Google images and they did find a match. They belong to a very popular porn star. I don’t think this person will be contacting me on Facebook video. After all, I don’t think they look like this porn star. Nor can they pay the porn start enough to help them scam me.

Lessons learned

Check everything out, with a fine tooth comb – especially if you never met in person.  This should be true on both sides.  I did this and I saved a couple hundred initial dollars.  Probably more, as this would just be the start of the scam.

You need help?

Obviously, you might not have lived in an African country and grew up with scams  And you might not have access to folks with real ESP ability nor professionals on the ground, to check things out.  Here are a couple of websites that can help:

There’s a good Wiki article on romance scams at Wiki on romance scams.

Here’s an AARP scam quiz you can take at AARP scam quiz

YouTube videos on Scams

Let me leave you with a couple good YouTube videos on scams.  Remember.

  • You never have to pay an up-front, processing fee, for a lottery prize.
  • IRS agents will always contact you by regular, US mail.  And you can verify the status, by getting the real IRS number from your local, public library reference librarian.
  • And if someone gives you a check to deposit, don’t send any money back until the check clears the bank
  •  Don’t open any attachments  or click any links, from people you don’t  know.
  • Nobody gives large sums of money to total strangers.

Apply a little common sense and you will avoid many headaches. ABC News recently shared a scam, where they call folks up at midnight in US motels or hotels.  They ask for a card number or they have to leave the motel or hotel.  What to do?  Just tell them you need time to find the card and will call the front desk back in 5-10 minutes?  IRS or law enforcement?  Call back to an official government number and check out the story.