[The first post of the new year… is coming a bit late :-). Quite frankly, I have been a little bit down. Ireland is back in a proper, full lockdown, and the numbers are currently looking really bleak. I don’t want to go into it too deeply; suffice to say that this happy Henrietta finds it worrying… I had hoped that the news of the vaccines being deployed everywhere would give us all a boost – even if we are not yet eligible for the boost as such. But there is another wave of infections to deal with before things will get better. Well, *sigh*, all we can do, is look forward with hope. We *will* get through this.]
The reason I am blogging today, is not a happy one, either. I am writing to you all with a big warning. It is very important that this story gets told, although it is not going to be an uplifting one. But please read – and please read to the end.
A few days ago a lovely fellow fan got in touch with me with a few questions regarding RA – which turned into a longer back-and-forth during which she told me her story. Her identity does not matter, and I am protecting it fiercely here, because the story that she imparted is upsetting and unsettling, but she agreed with me that it should be told – as a warning to others. In short: All RA fans, please beware that there are very nasty and serious scammers out there who are preying on Richard’s fans! This is what happened:
Many months ago Fan X was contacted via social media by a man who purported to be RA. Even though Fan X was doubtful from the beginning that it was the real RA, the individual kept corresponding with her, trying everything he could to convince her he was the actor whom we are all admiring. Fan X continued to chat with him on various platforms, and over time, the individual successfully convinced her that he was indeed RA. He did so by preempting what RA was going to do (such as travel from the US back to the UK), by sharing poetry he had supposedly written, by passing on tidbits from his life that matched with the few insights that the real RA had allowed to filter through over the last few months. The exchange between Fan X and the man culminated in the decision to finally meet-up. Before the meeting, however, he made a believable case about parting with some money (possibly to fund a non-disclosure agreement that had to be drawn up professionally by lawyers). Fan X happily coughed up.
It never came to a meeting. Because he suddenly claimed that his management had found out about his growing relationship with a fan and told him to cease any contact. Fan X was not able to reach him anymore, none of the previously used channels of communication worked. And so Fan X came to the painful conclusion that she had become the victim of a scam. Her attempts at contacting him or his supposed management were unsuccessful. In the last communication the scammer continued to pretend he was RA, attempting to make Fan X feel bad by calling her behaviour into question. And that was it.
Fan X is understandably upset. It’s not even about the money, or about the fact that the individual was not the real RA. It’s more about realising that trust has been broken. And that the scammer put a lot of work into making her develop some sort of attachment to him – only to exploit that for the basest of reasons. She is blaming herself for it all, has been beating herself up. I am not going to repeat the words that she used to describe herself. On the contrary, I want to do what I can to stop her blaming herself. She has been the victim of nasty scam, and that toe rag played an extra long game on her. He set it up really well, and he obviously is familiar with RA’s social media presence because that’s where he drew a lot of information from. Who knows, the scammer could easily have been looking through our blogs, too, collecting information, choosing victims.
So the appeal at the end is: Do not believe anyone who is turning up in your private or direct messages, claiming to be RA. Block and report such people immediately, or ignore and do not engage. There are people out there preying on fans, and they do not stop at investing a lot of time and effort to eventually pounce and make the kill. The cost of it all – apart from money – is a general loss of trust and belief in people. So I’d also like to appeal to you here, not to launch into any “should’ve known” or “own fault” comments in the comment section. Fan X is berating herself already. She needs sympathy rather than condescension. Her trust has been gravely exploited and she has been hurt in more ways than just her purse. Let’s give her some love.