TESTIMONY. How I tried to trap a scammer on the internet… before the situation escalated

0
51

A few days ago, while scrolling on Instagram, Elise, a 26-year-old law student, received a request to subscribe to an account to say the least… intriguing. The profile features a photo of an attractive middle-aged man whose short biography mentions his exceptional financial situation and level of confidence. “Immediately, I knew it was a pipe”, tells us the young woman. But I wanted to trap him, take him at his own game, because I find that these practices are really disgusting, so I accepted his request.

Elise probably came across a grazer: that is to say, a scammer operating on social networks by seducing their victim before extorting them, more or less finely.

His new contact wasted no time in casting his hook. “Within seconds, I received a message, in English, like his profile. He explained to me that he was looking for a young woman like me, to maintain”, continues Elise.

At first, the situation amuses the student. She decides to play the game. “He told me that as a sugar daddy, he could make me transfers of at least 5,000 euros per week. I told him I was okay,” she explains.

But Elise is not gullible. In a few clicks, she performs a photo search on Google with the avatar of her future “benefactor”, and discovers that it is a stolen snapshot. On several forums, there are mentions of many “fake profiles” using this photo in order to attract their prey.

“Very soon he told me I could trust him, and he even sent me screenshots and videos supposedly from his other ‘beneficiaries’ who were happy to have received large sums”. Elise sends him her email address, and requests a transfer within the hour to be sure that he is very trustworthy. This is where the scammer begins to place his pawns, discreetly. But the law student knows these techniques well.

Elise pretends not to understand: she makes him repeat the same sentences a dozen times. “He never let go, it was hilarious,” laughs the young woman.

In the end, she decides to make him understand that she was never fooled. She sends him a link to an article mentioning the fraudulent use of his profile photo, promising to report his account.

This is where the exchange takes an unexpected turn.

“He became very aggressive. He said to me, ‘May God hurt your parents. You are cursed now. Your blood will start to die,” says the student.

The formula wouldn’t have worried Elise so much if it hadn’t been accompanied by a grim photo. “He sent me a photo of a creepy African statuette, explaining to me that he had in turn reported me to his idol and that I was now marabouted,” she says.

Elise blocked her profile… However, two days later, a new surprise awaited her in her private messages.

Elise also does not understand why her account is still active: she had nevertheless reported it to the Instagram platform in the process, for fraud and attempted extortion.