Beware of Scammers Preying on RA-Fans!

[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.

41 thoughts on “Beware of Scammers Preying on RA-Fans!

  1. Aww man. That sucks. You always think it cannot possibly be worth it for them to invest that much time into a con, but apparently it is.

    As you say, the only recourse is to block and report the he’ll out of those people.

    Gentle hugs to the fellow fan.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It really has. We are due some good news now, I think. But it looks as if we have to brace ourselves a little longer. I am now so much looking forward to spring again…

      Like

  2. Scammers are dangerous, they know how to manipulate people and have no scruples in doing that. Fan X, thank you for telling us your story, saving somebody else from falling to it. Don’t feel bad, you are a victim, the scammer is to blame.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s it, Ilaria – manipulation of the finest. I have to say, that scammer really was very clever, playing very very long and patiently. Apparently he/they have just made contact again, trying to worm their way back. It’s despicable.

      Like

  3. Thank you for sharing this Guylty and how awful that this happened to Fan X! She shouldn’t feel bad, being open and trusting should be a strength and should not be exploited so. I’m so sorry she got hurt.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Now, that would be great – but I get the impression the scammer is really careful about communication channels. As far as I understood it, he communicates on social media platforms, not on his phone. So it might be difficult to actually pin down a name or number to the social media account… But yeah, I wish something could be done to unmask the scammer.

      Like

  4. Oh, I feel so bad for her. Big hugs to Fan X. I had someone try to scam me on Instagram in a similar type shing. I follow singer CeeLo Green on Instagram. I had just gotten on Insta and didn’t understand that I could block people from DM’ing me (Yes, I’m a Gran, so don’t be too tough on me folks).. This guy pretended to be CeeLo Green, but he started asking for personal info really fast so I cut him off. I gather this is the latest thing in scamming, going after fans of singers and actors. I hate con men and women and such grifters. Of course we have one of those con men in the White House right now. Can’t wait till he’s gone! Make sure you never let him into Ireland. He destroys everything he touches. Stay safe!

    Like

    • Well, gran or not, you were clever to stop communicating when you felt something was off.
      I wonder whether there is a particular strategy in this scam – I mean, let’s be honest here, RA is not exactly super big A list. So it might appear more likely that he would approach fans. Since he is quite vague about his life, that also plays into the hands of scammers…
      And oh yes, I can’t wait until “your” WH con man is gone. He’s got a property here in Ireland (a golf hotel afaik). I hope he’s gonna go broke and have to sell everything and just vanish forever.

      Like

  5. I´m so sorry you´re feeling down, I understand it perfectly, I´m somewhere between worried and scared as well but you´re right, we´ll get through this, we have to! I´m sending big hugs to you and also to Fan X, I´m so sorry for here, it´s definitely not her fault at all, these scammers have means and ways, it´s awful! I´m still in contact with someone who also fell for one of them, she lost money and her marriage almost broke up so she deleted all social media accounts to get away… I wish there was a way to get hold of these scammers and hold them accountable!! But it´s true, what hurts most is that trust has been broken and the ability to trust is severely damaged, it makes me so angry!!! I hope she gets better soon!

    Like

    • Oh yes, Germany is in a bad way at the moment, too… Sending good vibes back to you!
      And oh, I had no idea that there have been previous victims. So sorry to hear that one of your contacts was also targeted – and suffered consequences. It sounds really bad. You are right, these people need to be stopped and held accountable.

      Like

      • That´s it, I just wish there was a way… It often seems that if you block and report one that then gets removed he´s back in no time… Thanks for the good vibes, there are far too many who just don´t want to listen and spread negativity… Fühl Dich gedrückt!

        Like

        • Danke dir! And yes, those fraudulent profiles return again and again. It’s just amazing that it is worth while for them to invest so much time in their scams.

          Like

  6. What an awful story! So cruel and shameless!
    Hugs to the fan X. 🤗 I do hope that won’t avert her from Richard. There are so many nice people here, not to mention the man himself.
    Stay safe 🙏🏻❤️

    Like

    • Indeed. But with an experience like that, I wouldn’t be surprised if victims (or even others) took a step back… I just really hope that Fan X stops blaming herself. There is no point in doing that. The fault lies with the evil scammer.

      Like

  7. That’s so bad in so many ways! 😖😖😖 There is no limit to the depths scammers will go. I was just sent warning of a scam whereby you get a text message that you are eligible for a covid vaccine but need to confirm your identity online, and the link asks for your credit card details “to confirm your address with your bank”. 🤬

    Like

    • That is absolutely despicable. In *this* situation, playing on people’s fears. I mean, I don’t even have the words to express my disgust at such scammers. May they rot in hell.

      Like

  8. Terrible. Scammers will try anything and keep at it until they succeed. There may even be some machinery behind it and it might be targeting many people with the hope that some of it gets through. They are persistent and creative. Too bad they don’t use those characteristics for good purposes. Thanks for highlighting this. And to the fan, thanks for telling your story and hopefully saving someone else.

    Like

    • Indeed. It’s just so mean that this is happening to kind people who are being exploited for being nice and trusting. It really breaks my heart because Fan X has been so devastated by it. And I am hoping she is reading here and sees that there is a lot of support and understanding for her.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Thank you and Fan x for telling his story as a warning. It is courageous because I can imagine how difficult it is to say ‘ that happend to me’. Hugs to the fan x
    And to you too

    Like

    • Courageous indeed. I thought so, too, and I was glad that she opened up to me. It’s even worse when you have to deal with such fraud all by yourself, with no one to give you (a virtual) hug.

      Like

  10. I send a big hug to Fan X!, stuff like this is why I don’t wanna put my real full name anywere on the net, and use pseudonims to join fangroups and social media in general.
    You never really know who is on the other side of the screen. I had a fake Sir Ian contact me on twitter once, then I realized it wasn’t the real one and reported and bloked it.
    And also be super careful with fellow ”fans” that you contact via social media in every fandom you join. That is also a preying technique scamers use.

    Like

    • I totally understand the reluctance to use clear names on SM. There is a lot of phishing going on all the time, and the internet can actually be a really horrible place. You are right that we all have to be careful in that respect, and always consider who we open up to. It’s just unfortunate that that takes away some of the spontaneity and carefree exchange, especially in a fandom.

      Like

  11. Thanks for the warning
    My husband has had his profile stolen on FB
    He has reported it to FB many times but they do nothing
    Social media can be lovely but a nightmare too

    Like

    • Nightmare is apt. It’s the sort of thing that can give you a trauma – and make you turn away from fandom, from the internet, even from interaction with others.
      Sorry to hear that your husband has been victim of fraud, too. It’s just unacceptable that the big platforms (such as FB) have no (or are unwilling to create) effective ways of battling it.

      Like

  12. Thanks for the warning Guyty and to Fan X for speaking out – many of us could have been/be in her shoes. A big hug to you both from the bosom of my bosoms. As for the scammer, they are despicable. I often think, when I am listening to scammers on the phone etc, “Is this what you really wanted to do when you grew up?” It only would RA intervene and say that he would never contact fans in this way (if he doesn’t).

    Like

    • I agree – I was so glad that Fan X agreed to let me pass on her story. As a warning to others. It can’t have been easy for her to first admit to herself that she had been scammed, and then share that with someone else. It is really nice to read all the comments here, though, and see that people are nice and supportive.
      Yep, it would be good if RA would send a message on SM saying that he categorically does not contact fans and never asks for money. (I have seen some of his colleagues such as Graham McTavish and Jed Brophy do so, for instance.) But I suspect he does not know that such scams are happening, and I haven’t notified him, either, because I don’t know how to effectively get in touch with him to pass on a message…

      Liked by 1 person

  13. I am so sorry Fan X went through this.

    10+years ago when I was in a bad place with work issues I was almost conned by someone who was very clever and make me think I was getting messages from RA.
    It was during the Spooks period and I would get messages before the show aired about the storyline, stuff I hadn’t seen anywhere else (like TV guides etc). After the shows I would get messages asking what I thought about the episode and even giving hints about what would happen next.

    I’m not proud of being deceived but this person really made me feel better and that work shouldn’t affect me the way it was.
    Luckily I woke up and realised I was being conned just as this person invited me into a private chat room.
    I then learnt from someone else that I wasn’t the first and others had engaged in virtual sex in the chat room.

    Like

    • Hi Nic – and thank you for sharing your experience here. It is good (albeit sad) to hear that Fan X is not the only one who has been the unfortunate victim of a scam. It goes without saying that I mean that *no one* should be victimised in such a way. But at least it may make her feel less bad about herself to know that others may have stepped into a carefully laid trap, too.
      I’m glad to know that you eventually realised what was going on and could disengage yourself from the scammer.

      Like

  14. January , after xmas, when all the lights are down and it”s bleak and cold outside is never a great time of year and it’s definitely exacerbated by whats going on in the world with the pandemic and the USA and stupid bloody Brexit.
    Thank you and Fan X for telling her story, scammers are the absolute lowest of the low-preying on people trust and kindness. They are certainly not alone and i’m glad they’ve told their story to help others from having the same happen to them.

    Like

    • It’s the time of year for SAD… (I’ve been thinking of investing in an SAD light, actually, just to get a bit more Vitamin D and that way battle the depression.)
      If we can prevent the scammer from victimising even just *one* more person, I will already feel justified in publicising the story. These things should not be kept secret for shame, but shared so that it doesn’t happen again. So glad that Fan X reached out.

      Liked by 1 person

Let me know what you think!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.