One of the other winners I met via Tinder was a freelance architect (there’s a lot of those on Tinder I find…maybe it’s a believable career?) named Chao Harrison. In his profile picture, he looked like a model, sitting perched on the edge of a couch, complete with glasses.
He was finishing up a contract in HK before returning to London. Chao was a bit of a smooth talker in the beginning, like most men on these apps at first. We met online before he left for London, but unfortunately didn’t have time to meet in person before he left. Shame.
Once he arrived back in London, he messaged every few days. A month or so after we matched, he needed to go to Paris; I think this was the end of October. Sadly, one of the buildings he designed collapsed and there were deaths. The victims sued the company so he needed to go to Paris to figure something out.
In Paris, his phone wasn’t working quite right so we were at the mercy of his broken tablet. Of course. Again, all of these scammers have similar markets and at this point I sort of knew he was a fraud, but I wanted to see how far he took it. When we did message, he always hated Paris. He became so negative. Like, everyday it was something else negative.
Anyway, the company Chao designed for decided the employees would have to divvy up the settlement amount and pay the money themselves. Poor poor poor Chao would have to pay something like 20,000GBP. Luckily, his lawyer was able to help him out some. But the remaining amount ended up being around 9,000GBP. He couldn’t pay that amount himself because the HK job never paid him. He hoped I would be able to assist him since we had feelings for each other.
At the time, I occasionally messaged with Mr. Hero (just a friend I met online who offered me some good advice regarding a previous scammer…and yes, I might have a slight crush on him, but don’t tell him that), and decided to tell him about Chao.
I told Chao that I did not have that sort of money available at my fingertips; that I would need to speak with my financial advisor. Meanwhile, we started a three-way conversation: Mr. Hero, Chao, and myself.
Mr. Hero was so professional in the conversation, introducing himself and his profession, even asking how he could help. Chao started to panic, telling fibs about what happened. I rolled my eyes at all of it because they were total lies. Chao told Mr. Hero that I had the account information for his lawyer based in London (who just happened to have his home bank in HK). But Mr. Hero simply said he had business in London soon and would be able to hand deliver the requested funds. Chao reminded him that he was in Paris and NOT London. Mr. Hero said he would be happy to come over to Paris for a day or two, and asked what hotel he was staying at; Mr. Hero even attempted to call him via our messaging app.
Sadly, Chao never answered and took himself out of our conversation. Such a shame. But he did message me about Mr. Hero and how unhelpful he seemed. That’s when I finally decided to take a turn at lying to him and said that he was really my ex-husband who controlled all my money. That really set Chao off! Ha.
During this same time, I received a phone call from my brother that my father died and so I needed to leave quickly to return to the US. I even messaged Chao to tell him. His response? That he was still in Paris, and then he complained about the money and the city. I just sort of left the whole thing there. Why even bother at that point when there were more important things to address.
Some would think that would be the last of Chao, but no. In January, Chao messaged with me. I simply responded, “What?” And the jerk had the nerve to say it wasn’t a nice way to answer a message. I reminded him that he asked me for money and then proceeded to bitch about Paris when I was on the way to the US because my father died. He never defended himself; instead, a few days later he messaged again and informed me that he took care of what happened in Paris and even got paid by the HK firm. He was in Dubai and wanted to relocate once he was done. He told me he was interested in buying a home in Shenzhen to be near me, and then he said he would get back to me about it (after he asked about my controlling ex-husband). I said ok, thinking the whole thing was a new kind of scam.
Out of curiosity, I will admit, I messaged Chao in early March since I never heard back about this house.
He was upset with me because I never did what he asked…which he hadn’t asked me to do anything. I showed him a picture of the screen shot and that’s when he shared with me he was busy with his new job…in Dubai, which was just as great at London. I asked about his house. He asked me to find a realtor and get his mobile number so he could contact him. I looked some random realtor up; Chao said I was supposed to call him. And after sending him a picture of the screen again to show him he said HE would call, he told me that he couldn’t make calls in Dubai. Convenient and a shame. I asked what he was interested in: somewhere close to me, a large living room, and the cost about 80,000GBP. A few days later I told him I spoke with an agent. I asked Chao his thoughts, but he said he would get back to me. That was days ago…I’m still waiting. Really, as you can see from our conversation (shared with an informative intention and not maliciously).
But don’t fear, the “time” with Chao wasn’t a total waste since it gave me an even greater appreciation of Mr. Hero…who still asks about Chao Harrison when I talk to him. I fear it’s a question we’ll never know the answer to: How is Chao Harrison?