I received this email on Sunday.
My name is Miss Happiness, I read your profile today in (facebook) and it was very good for
me. i feel you are the only one, I am interested to be a friend
first.please contact me
Now that note, of course, spurred several bawdy jokes with friends about Miss Happiness and one of my more erudite friends took serious issue with the peculiar brand of “Happiness” grammar. I suppose I should have been relieved that Happiness wants to take it slow.
After the shenanigans I became pretty melancholy as I thought about the many men who will answer a shameful con like that one. I started to feel bad for the men who are so lonely and so desperate they would look past all the red flags and make contact with Happiness, an act that would inevitably lead to Miss Sadness, if you will.
There is another painful fact about this scam, and I am not reluctant to label it what it is, a pure unadulterated scam. You see I actually believe Miss Happiness or a sophisticated algorithm did, in fact, read my Facebook page. And, I would bet the ranch and all the cattle, I know what part of my profile triggered that email.
About four months ago when I was in the depth of my grief over the death of my wife, Jean, I changed my relationship status to widower. I remember well I was particularly sad that day and I was trying to come to grips with the hard reality that now I was alone. I changed the status on a bit of a whim, almost as an experiment in grief to see what it felt like to say and write the word widower.
Since I made that change I get four or five “bimbo” friend requests or emails a month. I am convinced the computer bad guys are trolling Facebook profiles to search for lonely widowers who might bite on any scam that includes a pretty, sexy woman. Thankfully I am savvy enough to know that those alluring pictures were probably sent by some clown named Bruce with several ugly tattoos. But what about those men who don’t know that.
There may be no limit to how much they get victimized by “Happiness” and her merry brand of internet scammers. And, that really ticks me off.
Facebook and Twitter are great. I love social media, but vulnerable people need to be vigilant and realize that not everybody is going to be sympathetic to your grief. Some jerks want to exploit it.
Tim J McGuire is the author of “Some People Even Take Them Home” A Disabled Dad, A Down Syndrome Son and Our Journey To Acceptance