“Fool Me Twice” is an exposition of the world of sweetheart scams and the ugly side of online dating, seen through the lens of the very real experience of Jules Hannaford, who was caught in a scammer’s web while searching for lasting love. Fool Me Twice follows the story of a woman who was swindled out of her money by the convincing lies of an online romance scammer. The story was turned into a podcast by her daughter, writer Zara Hannaford and it has now been shortlisted for a prestigious Webby Award.
It seemed that Jules had finally met a man who had his life together. Truman was a successful project manager at a construction firm, and seemed as excited as Jules was about the possibility of building a life with someone special. Jules travelled across the world to meet him, and as soon as she landed the fairy tale began to unravel. All was not as it seemed.
Jules’s daughter Zara Hannaford reports on the psychology, risk factors and ways to stay protected from dangerous situations that people can find themselves in online. Experts in the world of scams, mental health and cyber security offer their wisdom and we hear from other victims of scams, so that we might learn from their mistakes.
Zara wanted to understand how her mother became involved in such a dangerous situation, as well as what motivates scammers and their victims. Her podcast uncovers the psychology, risk factors and peculiar patterns seen time and time again in dating scams.
“(Webby) nominees like ‘Fool Me Twice’ are setting the standard for innovation and creativity on the Internet,” said Claire Graves, Executive Director of The Webby Awards. “It is an incredible achievement to be selected among the best from the 13,000 entries we received this year.”
Zara Hannaford says, “It has been really special to create something like this with my mother. It was incredibly humbling to dive into the stories of people who have been scammed. I had my assumptions challenged over and over again, especially when I learned that victims are often just normal people who are experiencing loneliness, and have hope for finding connection. And the real coup was getting to interview a real scammer.”
As a nominee, “Fool Me Twice” is also eligible to win a Webby People’s Voice Award, which is voted online by fans across the globe. From now until 8 May, ‘Fool Me Twice’ fans can cast their votes at http://wbby.co/pod07
Winners will be announced on Tuesday, May 19, 2020, and honored in an Internet Celebration on 19 May 2020. Winners will have an opportunity to deliver one of The Webby Awards’ famous 5-Word Speeches. Past 5-Word Speeches include: Steve Wilhite’s “It’s Pronounced “Jif” not ‘Gif’; NASA’s “Houston We Have A Webby”; and Solange’s “I Got Five On It.”
Jules grew up in rural South Australia before moving to Adelaide, the state capital, and beginning her career as a teacher. She now lives in Hong Kong, the setting of Fool Me Twice. Jules began writing her book in 2010 as she knew this was an important story to share with other women to prevent them from becoming caught in the same trap and help them make safer, smarter decisions when dating online. It took a long time for her to muster the courage to share her story after battling feelings of shame and regret for choices that landed her in a dangerous situation. She counts herself lucky to have survived.
Jules has always had a passion for people and their stories, so she started her podcast Hong Kong Confidential in 2017 to provide a platform for sharing the stories of interesting and unique people in Hong Kong. With the help of Zara, she decided to turn her memoir into a true crime podcast, as she feels that this story can make an important contribution to the safety of those navigating the complicated—and sometimes illusionary—internet dating world.
Zara is a writer and editor from Australia. She was educated in Hong Kong and the UK, and travelled extensively throughout Asia and North America before settling down in North Carolina, USA. She has particular interests in psychology, movement and dance, and how the intersection between movement, thought and feeling can bring a sense of connection between body and mind.
Growing up, she recalls witnessing her mother make questionable decisions regarding the men she chose. The particular series of events that led to her being scammed in a dangerous situation in Manchester made Zara interested in the psychology behind her mother’s choices. This podcast was created based on that curiosity – what could make a person ignore warning signs that to others would be so obvious? What makes a person seek love and connection over safety? Their collaboration illuminated the pathway towards healing for Jules.