A woman has been praised for her hilarious response to a romantic scammer who was trying to con her out of $3,400.
Becky Holmes regularly gets messages from “impossibly handsome men falling desperately in love with me,” as potential love interests slide into her DMs.
The Metropolitan Police, in England, warned: “Dating and romance scammers lower their target’s defences by building an online relationship, then asking for larger and larger sums of money. Well-meaning men and women have both fallen victim to this.”
It advised people to be wary of giving out personal information online and shared some red flags to look out for, including people revealing few details about themselves alongside a glamorous photo, and sob stories such as ill relatives or being stranded abroad.
It warned people never to give, or receive, money from unknown people online.
One exchange, with someone called Zeltinis, went viral after Holmes, 43, shared their conversation to her Twitter, @deathtospinach, last week. The tweet racked up 80,000 likes, as she pulled an impressive role reversal.
Holmes captioned it: “My beloved, Zeltinis, told me I would have to pay £3k for him to be able to leave his oil rig to come and visit me
“I therefore decided to visit him instead, but he has been very resistant to it. He’s presumably just worried for my safety, which makes me love him even more.”
Speaking to Newsweek, Holmes, from England, summarized his wooing attempts, saying he wrote: “Where have you been my darling, I’ve missed you, this kind of thing. Now his story is that he works on an oil rig and it’s a really common romance scam cover story.”
Madly in love with Holmes, an author, the only thing stopping him visiting her was the fee the oil rig needed.
“Apparently it costs three grand to sort out the paperwork and the transportation and that kind of thing and and that’s when I said don’t worry about that I’ll come to you and that’s how that one started,” she said.
In a hilarious twist, Holmes informed Zeltinis she was hiring a boat and chartering a helicopter to come and see him. To which he assured her: “Please calm your head and let’s look for a way to get the fee. Once I’m home I will get it to pay it back.”
Holmes kept up the ruse, and used photos from a recent trip to Iceland to illustrate her arduous trip to the oil rig. “I am at sea Zeltinis. As I said, I am coming for you,” she jokingly said.
The scammer continued to try and convince Holmes to turn back—and send over the cash—but Holmes continued to string him along.
“Stop all this Becky,” he told her, saying: “Go back home please and stop.” But Holmes took things up a notch, claiming her helicopter had crashed in the snow, and she was forced to eat the imaginary pilot to survive.
A follow-up tweet revealed the scammer was almost as persistent as she was, replying to her farcical tweets about finding a penguin colony, as she sent a snap of the namesake chocolate bar.
And in an epic twist, she asked him for money so she could “get a bus” home, with her follow-up post amassing 10,000 views.
Numerous people found her commitment hilarious, as @MiniOCD wrote: “Laughed so hard I’ve just coughed up a lung!”
Eileen replied: “Never knew you could have so much fun with these, previously I’ve just been ignoring them. You’ve given me a new hobby. I’m 76 btw, I can see my twilight years filled with adoring men.”
Maryandedbee advised: “Tell him you have traced his whereabouts with the app on your phone, that’ll give him something to think about!!”
Despite Holmes’ efforts, it seems Zeltinis persevered, asking when she was “going home from the hospital” in a fresh post on Tuesday, after she claimed to have been attacked by a “beast”.
While the tweets are humorous, Holmes told Newsweek about the scores of women who have fallen victim to scams.
Holmes, who confirmed she’d never sent any money to scammers, shared tips on what to look out for, saying con artists operate on every platform.
Holemes said: “No matter what social media you’re on, whether you’re on Twitter, Instagram, dating sites, they’re even on LinkedIn.
“The main scams are they will pretend to be on an oil rig and they’ll pretend to be in the military but deployed, usually in the Middle East, and they’ll say that they’re a doctor or a surgeon working in a war zone.”
And she said: “You don’t have to pay for somebody to have leave if you’re on an oil rig.
“They don’t charge if you lose your tools, in the army you don’t need to pay for medical bills, the military gives you insurance, they will not find a big box of gold bars or cash.”
Holmes advised paying attention to the words they use, saying: “Look carefully into whether you believe that English is their first language if that’s what they tell you.”
And usually requests for money start off small, as they “want to see how far they can push you.”
She warned scammers will quickly try and move you off social media, which was echoed by the police, who said: “They’ll normally steer you away from chatting on a legitimate dating site that staff could monitor. They want you to talk on email, text and phone, rather than through the dating site or chatroom where you met.”
Now Holmes is writing a book featuring her hilarious exchanges, entitled ‘Keanu Reeves Is Not In Love With You’. She explained The Matrix actor is just one of the celebrities whom con artists have impersonated.
Holmes, who is single, said that after joining Twitter in 2020 her inbox was full of scams. Normally she would delete them, but one day she replied.
She shared that exchange online, and spurred on by the interaction she was having with her followers, she continued.