While scrolling through Tinder looking for my next scammer, I noticed a profile picture that kept popping up, under a couple of different names. I finally decided to scroll right on one. His name for this profile was OscarChao. We messaged once or twice on Tinder and then he unmatched us after a few exchanges.
Next time I saw the profile again, I swiped right, but this time it was just Oscar. Now, I’ll be honest: I’m not sure I would consider this an actual scam for money, but when multiple profiles have the same person in the picture, it raises alarm bells for me.
He was one of the bothersome scammers once we moved on to WeChat. He would always want to check in and if I didn’t respond within minutes, he asked what was wrong or why I was so quiet. It didn’t matter if I was sleeping or if there was a time difference or if I was traveling. Oscar was annoying.
He was from Manchester (this will be a smidge important in a little bit) and was an architect of some kind. Have you noticed that a lot of these losers and scammers are some sort of architect or engineer? What is up with that? A little about Oscar in his own words:
He started off with the “dear” fairly quickly, which just irks the hell out of me. Seriously, my name is Heather. Call me Heather.
Once he learned I was going to America for holiday, he requested—no, told—that I get him an iTunes gift card. Of course he would pay me back. All I had to do was take a picture of the back of the card and send it to him so he could use it to purchase games for his phone. Now, I did tell him I would look into it. But when he asked me everyday for a recap of my day, he also demanded that I go back out and get the stupid iTunes card. I was able to hold him off for a few days. Finally, I asked why he couldn’t just go out and get his own iTunes card. I was informed that some countries don’t have the cards available. To which, I responded: “Why not just link your credit card with your iTunes account?” Silly me because this set him off. Apparently I was trying to change him. Who knew valid questions were actually an attempt to change a person. So, I thought why shouldn’t I just poke the bear at this point. I asked him how I was trying to change him—I just couldn’t see how he got from the iTunes gift card to me asking him to change. I did tell him finally that one of my hobbies was to write about scammers and asked if he had anything to say. He just got defensive. In the meantime, I looked up possible scams involving iTunes card. And wouldn’t you know that in Manchester a couple of years ago, there was a scam! People pretending to be billing companies would contact people, telling them to go purchase the cards in certain increments and send a picture (or the code information) of the back. People did this. Here are quite a few screenshots of our conversations. As you can tell, I was starting to get a bit annoyed near the end.
Did you notice how many times he says, “I need it.” It could have been a drinking game.
Now, whether or not Oscar was an actual scammer, I will leave that decision up to you. But before you decide, let me share Elton’s story.
Below are two pictures: One of Elton and one of Oscar. Can you tell a difference?
Anyway, during the time I was speaking with Oscar, a random person messaged me on WhatsApp. Said his name was Elton and that we had met on Tinder a while ago. I didn’t remember him and shared as much. His profile picture was blurry so that didn’t help too much.
Elton owned his company, which was supposedly something to do with oil. He was from California, but was on assignment in Kuwait. He, of course, would come visit me the moment his contract was done in just a few months. After a week or so, Elton updated his blurry photo with a clear one. Imagine my surprise when the picture showed Oscar!!! The best part? In Elton’s new profile picture, he was sitting on a couch with a cat in his lap. Now, you may ask why I would care about this cat. When I was still talking to Oscar—before I tried to change him—he sent me a picture of his cat, Milk, when we were talking about pets; I even shared I had a cat in America named Oliver. It was the exact same cat as in Elton’s picture. I asked him about the cat. He told me it was his friend’s cat. I told him it looked just like my friend’s cat. He said that was funny. I asked for the cat’s name? Oliver. I didn’t comment on that. But I did send a picture of “Milk” to him. He said that was crazy and the cats could be twins. Ridiculous.
Anyway, I told Elton that I wanted to come visit him in Kuwait. He said he was on a oil rig and they didn’t get visitors. He could not leave the rig either. I told him I could find a way. I looked up flights to Kuwait and told him the flight times. Now, I honestly was not planning on coming to Kuwait, but he didn’t know that. As far as he was concerned, I was a love-sick, lonely white girl looking for a man and would do anything for her man. Little did he know.
He told me he would get permission for me to come, but as a co-owner of his company. Elton also said he would arrange the transportation from the airport to the rig via helicopter. He gave me a name of a company, but when I asked who I should contact when I arrived at the airport, he said just go to the airport and someone from the company would find me. But since he had not been paid yet, he had to use his personal funds for the deposit. Then he told me that I would receive an email from the company’s agent from America. Which of course I questioned. Why would the agent, who is helping me with things in Kuwait, be based in the US? He ignored that question.
Well, I never got an email. When I pretended I was on my layover while on the way to Kuwait, I messaged him again. I told him I didn’t want to fly all the way to Kuwait without any information. Never heard from him. And since then, for the past few weeks, I’ve tried reaching out to him, but nada. I’ve saved our conversation from WhatsApp just in case Elton comes up with a financial emergency at some point. And of course, if he does, you will be the first to know.
And again, neither one of these gentlemen—Elton or Oscar—have asked me directly for money. But I do find it interesting and suspicious that both men have the same picture, same cat, and different stories.
Next time…Update on Chao!!