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The Chinese Dating Scammer Who Wasn’t: An Apology of Sorts to Paul1967 by John Abbot
We’ve recently had a Scammer related event happen that frankly I never expected to occur! Not in a million years! Chinese dating scams are pretty common, and our Scammer Prison attests to the fact that we’ve had our share of Scammers and that we’re trying to do something about it. But in spite of all those Scammers the events in this case were totally unique. Let me try to explain.

We recently had a member named Paul1967 cancel his membership, and on the same day start a new one. This isn’t in itself anything unusual. It doesn’t happen every day, but it isn’t unheard of either. On our Asian and Chinese dating sites no one can have two memberships, so every couple of weeks or so someone will have had a recent promising relationship go bad, or they just want to rebuild their profile from the ground up, or for some other reason they want a fresh start, so they cancel a current membership and start anew. Often they simply want a different username. Usually we simply approve the new membership and the member moves on with his or her website activities.

But this time was different.  The old membership had been started a couple of years earlier, and that was back before it was possible for us to check photos through Google Image Search to see if they were posted anywhere else on the internet, and in particular, if they were being used by Scammers.  Now we routinely check new member’s photos when they register.

Scammers have posted this photo acros the internet, but the guy in the photo was a real member on CLM, not a Scammer at all.In this case, the member had uploaded on his new membership 2 photos that were already showing on his old membership that he had just cancelled. Just the same, as is our routine, we ran them through Google. To our surprise, these photos were plastered all over the web, including on two of the major sites devoted to listing known internet Scammers. RomanceScams.com and ScammerWarners.com both featured these photos in numerous locations as Scammers who had been reported to them. Between Facebook, MySpace and a number of other social networks and dating sites there were several pages on Google images showing dozens of memberships under dozens of different names.  There were 6 Facebook memberships alone under 6 different names.

That alone would have been sufficient for us to conclude he couldn’t be trusted and must be a Scammer, and it would have been enough for us to place him in Scammer Prison and send out notices to the Chinese women members he’d been in contact with that he could not be trusted. However, in addition to that, there were a few things we’d found on his CLM membership that also made us doubt him. As usual we will not reveal what those things were, so as not to alert real Scammers what information we use to catch them, but they were things that by themselves would not have resulted in a “conviction” but in combination looked very bad, and all of which very much backed up the conclusion based on his photos being spread across the web as many different people.

Generally though, where there is no initiating complaint of actual scamming filed by a member, and no evidence of actual attempts to con someone out of money, we will message the convicted Scammer and offer him or her the chance for a video chat and interview to see if we should relent.  We did that in this case and received a fairly quick response.  As it turns out, besides our own letter, a member had also alerted Paul1967 that we had placed him in Scammer Prison.

He wrote to us and was somewhat incensed that we had wronged him this way, but that’s nothing new either. At least 50% of all the Scammers we’ve put in Scammer Prison have written to angrily complain, to claim they’re innocent and to threaten us with punitive action if we don’t retract our conviction and publicly apologize. And our automatic response has always shut them up and caused them to disappear. We responded the same way here – we offered to have a video chat and if he proved to be the person in his photos and could answer some questions to explain the problems we were having. That’s usually the last we hear from them, but in this case Paul1967 was quick to take us up on our offer, and he provided a Skype name for me to contact. Even then, I assumed that when the time came he’d be a no show, and that I’d be wasting my time.

I wrote and advised we had a few more items to look at in our investigation and asked if he could offer anyone we could talk to that could verify he wasn’t scamming on our site. Again he surprised me by advising he’d just been to China and had met with some members of CLM while he was here. He provided several CLM Chinese women’s phone numbers for us to call. By now I was beginning to think that he was genuinely the guy behind the photos AND was not scamming on CLM. But how could that be? How could the photos being used by Scammers across the internet turn out to be the real guy on our site? How could the photos that are 6 different fake guys on giant Facebook be the real guy on little CLM?

That just doesn’t happen. Does it?

Our Chinese Manager contacted the member’s he provided as referrals and they all agreed he had not tried in any way to get any money out of them. A couple were not anxious “to be involved” and weren’t hugely forthcoming, but one of them was very adamant that he was absolutely not a Scammer, was a very normal, down to earth guy who had offered to pay for anything they did and was not interested in money from her in any way.

Then I Skyped him and we had a chat, and while I was chatting with him I happened to glance out my office window and, sure enough, I noticed that hell was indeed freezing over, that pigs were flying all about and that the sun was slowly setting in the east. Paul1967 was not a Scammer. In fact Paul1967 was a very nice, easy to talk to guy who was clearly not the type who would try to cheat innocent Chinese women he’d met on a Chinese dating site out of their hard earned money. He had reasonable and acceptable explanations for the things that were concerning us. Paul1967 was the type of member we look forward to having join CLM and are pleased to try to provide a good atmosphere for finding a great Chinese lifemate or wife.

Hell freezes, pigs fly, the sun sets in the east, and this guy is not a Scammer on CLM. It can happen.Just the same, whoever was using his photos around the internet WAS a Scammer, and Paul1967 discussed with me some of the problems this was causing, and that he’d actually located one Nigerian Scammer who was using his photos and had confronted him about the issue with some results but that generally he’d come to believe he was helpless to do anything about it. I don’t think that’s entirely true, and I do think there were some things he could have done to at least lessen the damages (or mitigate them as we lawyers like to say), but overall the people whose photos are stolen and used by Scammers are the biggest victims of all, and Paul1968 was one of them. He has suffered a lot due to his photos being stolen and he is not at fault for that at all. We here at CLM, and I personally, wish to apologize to Paul1967 for any added suffering he’s incurred by our actions. We wish he had not suffered any additional embarrassment here on CLM, but he has.

In the title I mentioned this would be an apology of sorts. Here’s why I don’t think we can make an unconditional apology. When we were confronted by the fact that these photos represented a Scammer or Scammers who was clearly spreading the same images across the internet with plans to screw as many people as possible out of as much money as possible, what choice did we have but to act fast, notify our members of the danger and then reach out to see if a retraction might be in order. I know we could have investigated first, but while we were doing that chances were pretty good that someone on CLM might have lost thousands of dollars. The fact is that if this should happen again and events unfold exactly as they did here, we will unhesitatingly act exactly as we did this time. We will protect our members first, and look out for the interests of the accused Scammer second.

What everyone should learn from this, and Paul1967 was quick to point this out himself, is that when you are victimized by some Scammer and your photos are being used across the internet for criminal purposes, don’t leave them being publicly displayed on the memberships and profiles that really are yours. REMOVE THEM from all places that really represent you and have your name attached. In hindsight, Paul1967 could have avoided this problem by taking the damaging photos down from CLM and uploading new photos to his old and his new profiles that have never been seen anywhere before.

So we are sincerely sorry for what we had to do, but we believe we had no choice but to do it. Just the same, we welcome Paul1967 to remain a member of CLM and ALM under his new membership (with different photos) and we wish him the very best in the future. He seemed to be a great guy who took the whole thing as well as anyone could. We very much appreciate the way he conducted himself once he found himself in our Scammer Prison. We have removed him now and we are in the process of notifying all the Chinese ladies who received the first notice that it was in error.

Unfortunately that doesn’t mean that the photos of Paul1967 that you see above can be trusted. In fact those photos can’t be trusted and if you spot them somewhere you should be very cautious in dealing with the person displaying them. What it does mean is, in our opinion, you can trust the man who is in those photos if you’re ever dealing with him face to face.  And for you Chinese women, this guy would also be a great catch.

That is the story of the Chinese dating Scammer who wasn’t.



From: Original         Author: John Abbot         Time: 6/2/2012 9:10:06 PM

 
Comments
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#2012-06-04 01:08:00 by Robert2001 @Robert2001
Reply I sincerely commend you and your site for the actions you took in the matter of Paul1967. Your actions were right on the mark when you thought that he was a scammer and equally responsible and brave when you discovered the real truth.
Again I commend you for your actions.
#2012-06-04 01:41:00 by danruble @danruble
Reply Wow! a very well executed detective job..Thanks for the heads up.. And that free publicity for paul has got to be worth a shittonne! Now, John. just how do you go about searching to see if one's own pics are being used by scammers?
#2012-06-04 02:27:00 by danruble @danruble
Reply Never mind, john.. I got it figured out. I googled myself.. Guess I am not sexy enough to tempt scammers to snag my pic.
#2012-06-11 09:00:00 by downunder @downunder
Reply Yeah, a good catch, a good outcome.
Googling yourself isn't all that easy when you share a slightly obscure name with a famous rugby player from the other side of the world. Can't say I think much of his wife, though after viewing 50 pages of photos it appears the tabloids and women's mags don't share my views. His muscles though... nah, he can keep them too.
No pics of me either =)
#2012-09-25 21:14:00 by gabby100 @gabby100
Reply I would like contact this man -Paul1967, if it is possible and if he still are member here.
Some month ago some person contact me and pretend it is this person.
Maybe I could help him with some information. Something like this shouldn't happend for anybody.
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