One of the more creative attempted-scammers I’ve encounter was one by the name of Erick Zhang. I give him credit for picking up on my weaknesses so he knew how to hit my wallet. Sadly for him, my wallet stayed closed.
Here’s our story…
I met Erick on Tinder. His photos showed a handsome Chinese guy hanging out on a dirt road. Very idyllic setting. We didn’t stay on Tinder for long, moving over to another way of communicating. His profile came up because he was recently visiting the city I lived in, but was now back in London where he mostly worked and lived.
He shared with me that his father owned property in Shenzhen and he was in a disagreement with his relatives about what do to with it. I asked where he had stayed and he told me the name of some 5 star hotel. Of course, I was impressed.
He was a guy that enjoyed playing golf and swimming. He even sent me a video of him doing breaststrokes in a very tropical pool…which I questioned because there were palm trees surrounding the pool and I don’t really associate palm trees with London. He assured me he was in London. Anyway, he would also send me pictures with positive messages and/or messages about finding your soul mate. You know, cheesy stuff women fall for.
After a few weeks, he told me he had a meeting in Kuala Lumpur. He was trying to get some contract work. After he was done in KL, he would fly to visit me in Shenzhen. Then, he asked me about some things I like because he was going to buy me some gifts. I told him no, but he said he wanted to and it was his money. So, I offered some suggestions.
Well, you know flying with gifts is difficult so he said he wanted to ship them to me before hand. I gave him an address. A few days later, I received an email from a “courier service” with a Gmail address. This is when I started to suspect something wasn’t quite right. Seriously? What reputable shipping company has a Gmail email address?
The email included a reference number and a detailed description of what was packed in my parcel. I will admit, I almost let the Louis Vuitton purse sway me to pay…just in case. But I held strong.
I emailed the courier service about how I could track this parcel and never heard back. I soon got another email from them saying the parcel was held up at the Hong Kong border and I needed to pay 6500HKD in order to receive the parcel from Customs. At this point, I tried to find the courier service online to no avail. I responded with the question of how to pay the fees (I wasn’t going to) and where I should go to do so. I was told I didn’t need to go to the place, that I could just transfer the funds to an account in Hong Kong.
I made an excuse up about my bank requiring certain information. Again, they were certainly quick to reply when it came to the money.
Now, you may be asking what was going on with Erick at this point. Well, he was in KL and got a contract with PETRONAS. He even sent a picture of the contract (wish I had a screen shot of it, but I wasn’t “collecting” evidence at the time). I told him about the issues with the fees. He shared that he was having issues with his credit cards at the moment and asked if I would take care of it. I told him I would try.
So, back to the courier service. When pushed, they offered another bank account to transfer the funds to; this was the head-quarter’s main account. Ha.
Meanwhile, I was getting messages from Erick. He was very concerned and upset that I wasn’t able to take care of this parcel delivery. There were a lot of high-end products and gifts in the parcel, he said, and that he would feel much better once it was in my possession.
Now, allow me to pause Erick’s story to introduce someone you will hear mentioned in a few other scam stories from me. But he isn’t a scammer, just a friend who is an asshole that I completely hero worship because of his assholeness (shhh, don’t tell him this)—in fact, that’s what we’ll call him: Mr. Hero. He was one of the couple of guys I met on OkCupid that I mentioned in my first post. I knew then he wasn’t my type. We scheduled one date that didn’t work out because he overbooked himself when he was in HK. Between September and November, we talked every few weeks. However, now we talk on the phone almost daily and I have a crush on him even though he’s totally not my type. Not the point. Anyway, I guess I messaged him about this guy to see if he could tell whether or not the contract was real or fake. He told me everything that was going on seemed like a complete scam. He then gave me some suggestions to mess with the guy. I couldn’t resist, so I did.
As Mr. Hero instructed, I told the shipping company I instructed my bank to transfer the funds. They said they’d deliver the parcel then. Next, I messaged Erick and told him I paid the fee.
The next day, Erick messaged me in a tizzy: the courier service said they hadn’t received the funds. So, I told him they were wrong. Later that day, I messaged him to tell him I couldn’t help myself and opened the parcel since it was delivered that afternoon.
His reply? “What? Really?”
I told him yes and that I loved everything in it! I went on about each thing on the “packing list”. He told me he didn’t know what was going on because the courier service assured him that I hadn’t sent the money and so they still had the parcel. I simply asked him, “Why would I lie to you?”
And that was the end of Erick.
PS: I never did get that Louis.