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Here is Trixie’s story:
Yes, I was almost scammed by the most handsome face I have ever seen on Facebook messenger, but everything was not what it seemed, sadly.
This hunk of a caucasian man started his introductory conversation by telling me how beautiful I am and that he'd like to spend the rest of his life with me.
He had the cutest name, Benji, with a fitting face and all.
At the time, I'd never heard of scamming, and because I was so smitten, I fell hook, line, and sinker for my sweet poetic beau.
He said he was from Switzerland, so I did excuse his weak grammar and spelling errors. As weeks passed, his conversations became more comfortable, light-hearted, numerous and his poems would put Shakespeare under the table!
He was extreme at times, as he shared the sad story of his wife who died of cancer, and that he has a beautiful little five-year-old daughter who he knows will love me because I look like a loving lady. He also told me that he wants to marry me and have a baby with me.
I started thinking, "Wow, I'm a coloured South African woman, surely there must be so many beauties out in Switzerland, and here he's talking about marriage with me!"
When he phoned me from a 21 digit phone number, how could I query that he was not from abroad? And with so many calls daily, I figured that he must not only be an engineer who builds airports but that he's earnest about meeting me too?
I was smitten by his warm, loving, beautiful voice with this cute broken English.
He had said he is an engineer and would be building an airport in Zimbabwe. Now, I'm not too clued up on Zim and didn't know if there's an airport or not, but the confusing process of discussing the building plans with him had me sit up straight.
I told my son about this guy and his work. My son warned me that he is a scammer. I was angry and reprimanded my son, saying that he should not underestimate people.
Benji also planned to visit me in Cape Town during the building process so that we could buy the rings and furniture for our house as a family.
But suddenly, there was a silence of a week, and I figured that he had met someone else.Then he phoned, and this time, with a strange voice, and an unknown number with new prefix digits to "explain" the new region he was in after the "long flight" from Switzerland to Zimbabwe.
"He is coming closer to me," I figured. I felt terrible for having doubts when he had gone silent and apologised to him for this. He forgave me.
I, however, sensed a very strong South Africa accent as he was speaking English. This was when I realised I was being catfished.
I was furious and needed to get back at him in a big way for hurting me, for messing me around, I was now scorned!
Less than an hour later, Benji phoned me, telling me that he was just robbed of his luggage and his wallet at the airport. Crying bitterly (and it sounded genuine), he asked if I could please deposit R1 000 for him, as he prefers to come to me using that money, instead of going to the project (building the airport), which by this time, I knew was a massive lie.
Being a businesswoman and project manager, I know you cannot do what he was trying with that building, but I wanted to see how far he wanted to go with this game.
I asked him to give me his full name, surname, and address so I could keep him informed of the "transaction process".
When he phoned, I told him that the bank area where I was in was dangerous and that he must be my protector like a guard so that when thieves appear, I'd be like I'm speaking to the police on the phone to scare the thieves away. He swallowed that and wasted hundreds of rands on airtime as I kept him on hold.
I'd keep him hanging while making my lunch, not speaking at all as I was "in the bank doing the transaction for him".
I also started recording our phone conversations. Meanwhile, I contacted the Commercial Crimes Department in Belville. Still, they weren't very supportive because no crime had been committed.
I was despondent but continued the game, enjoying playing private investigator. He did not want to give me his banking details or his ID number and address but asked that I deposit the money into Western Union. At the time, I didn't know what that was.
He cried more when I said the banks are full, and the calls became more frequent as the days passed, and me promising every day that I'm in the bank "now".
Eventually, when I'd had enough of this hooliganism, I insulted him and blocked him. Of course, he didn't get a blue cent from me!
I told him that he was jealous of that cute guy he posted and being embarrassed to post this own photo because he'd know no one would fall for a horrible thief like him.
I wished that he'd report me so I could come face to face with a cruel scammer.
If only Benji were real, with the genuine passion I started to feel for him, we'd be married today.
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*Name withheld to protect Trixie's privacy.