Thursday, March 20, 2014

Never send money to strangers

It should go without saying that it's not advisable to send strangers money. Unless, of course, you can afford to lose it and are planning to consider it a donation.

It seems one New York man did not get the memo, and sent nearly $70,000 - $70,000! - to a scammer in a series of transactions.

Apparently, "OKCupid's reputation made him feel safe, and he trusted the profile of a man he met in February 2013." (New York Daily News)

He is suing OKCupid for $70,000, for not warning users that scams like this could happen.

Like I said to Baking Suit (thanks for sending the link) - I suppose I'm lucky that I am too poor to be a desirable target for these scams.

As adults, it should go without saying that sending money to strangers is a mistake. Sadly, though, these scammers are good. So good, they know how to find people who not only have the money, but are also lonely and trusting enough to believe that "talking on the phone one month in" is a whirlwind romance.

Let's be clear: It is not.

But OKCupid doesn't entirely agree with me, on the "it should go without saying" part, anyway. If you visit the full site (not the mobile site or app) and navigate to the legal page (menu at the bottom of the screen) they do warn users to be careful about sharing personal information (example: sure, I have $70k), and that the site has not conducted background checks. Which, incidentally you should realize, since your background was not checked.

They do not specifically warn against this particular type of scam. I suspect we'll see an update to the warning, and probably a message to all users with that warning soon enough.

File this under the heading "expensive lesson learned."

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