A WOMAN called in to BBC Radio Manchester this week to reveal how she’d sent “hundreds of thousands of pounds” to the Hollywood actor Jason Statham.
Except, of course, it wasn’t the Transporter star. It was a scammer.
Getty – Contributor A fraudster posed as Hollywood hunk Jason Statham to trick a woman into handing over hundreds of thousands of pounds
The conman first made contact with her via a Facebook fan page dedicated to Derbyshire-born Jason who moved to LA about 15 years ago.
“I thought, ‘Oh, that’s nice of him, talking to his fans’. I might have been star-struck then, I don’t know,” says the anonymous victim. Once she was hooked in, the messages rapidly escalated to “Jason” telling her he loved her and that, surprise surprise, he was having some financial difficulties and needed help because a film payment had been delayed.
He added, and I write this verbatim: “I really need you to do this for me honey I can’t trust anyone but you with my money honey.”
At this point, did alarm bells ring that she was, in fact, conversing with the Hunny Monster? Nope, seems not.
So, over a period of time, she sent “a substantial amount which would have made a difference to my life and my family”.
I’m torn between sympathy and utter disbelief that someone could be so naive.
The danger signs
IF he blames his absences on his work as an “airline pilot” don’t believe it until you actually see him wearing uniform in a cockpit 30,000ft above ground.
Ditto, if he attributes his slipperiness to “working for MI5”. Spies don’t usually tell you what they do and it’s more likely he worked for MFI.
If you never meet their family or friends, ask yourself why. Chances are there’s a wife and kids you don’t know about.
Ditto, if you’ve never seen where he lives because he’s “between places” and always wants to meet at yours, there’s either a whole other life (and wife) he’s hiding from you, or he’s homeless through debt.
If he says all his money is trapped “in Bhutan” (or any other far-flung spot) and could you loan him your life savings until it’s released, take it with a very large pinch of Himalayan salt.
And finally, if you only ever communicate with him via written message and he says he’s a hugely successful film star with money worries, he just isn’t, OK?
Tonight’s homework: Watch Dirty John on Netflix.
Online fraud is now an epidemic and plenty have lost money in scams so sophisticated that even the most tech-savvy would struggle to spot them.
It’s a world away from the early-day scams of someone in Nigeria claiming to have a fortune locked away in an account they can only access if you can just send £48squillion right now.
But what of “Jason Statham” and his like or, worse, the ones who frequent dating sites in the hope of carrying out their sting in person?
Barely a week goes by when we don’t read a story of someone who thought they had met the partner of their dreams . . . only to discover, several thousand pounds and a whole lot of heartbreak later, that they weren’t who they claimed to be.
It goes without saying that loss or loneliness can sometimes make us throw caution to the wind in our search for love.
But common sense must always be preserved.
Missing pointe on kids
FORMER principal ballet dancer Dame Gillian Lynne has left £13.7million in her will.
Hulton Archive – Getty Dame Gillian got into dancing after her mother took her to see a child behavioural specialist
A robust fortune garnered from her role as choreographer for smash-hit musicals such as Cats and Phantom Of The Opera.
Gillian’s path to success is a salutary lesson for anyone currently despairing that their child is struggling at school.
When Gillian was young, her mother was concerned about her lack of concentration, and therefore progress, in lessons.
So she took her daughter to see a child behavioural specialist who, after a few routine questions, switched on the radio and told Gillian that he and her mother were going to step outside for a while.
Once in the corridor, they peeped through the window and watched as Gillian started moving to the music.
“There’s nothing wrong with your daughter,” he concluded. “She’s a dancer. Take her to dance school.”
Sadly, around 80 years on, the State still fails to understand that creativity is as important as literacy in giving kids the best chance of a happy, successful adulthood.
When you have a spare 20 minutes, watch Sir Ken Robinson’s TED talk asking: “Do schools kill creativity?”
They can, and plenty do. And until the Government changes the education system, thousands of bored, disenfranchised kids will fail in it.Ed pandas to fan
WHILE sightseeing in Japan, Ed Sheeran bizarrely chose a full panda outfit in a bid to go incognito.
Twitter Ed wore a panda costume while sightseeing in Japan
Alamy Live News But he made it back to the UK in time to run the London Marathon… or did he?
But when he briefly removed it in a store, a fan clocked him and asked for a selfie (“to commemorate what . . . that we met five seconds ago?” as John Cleese would say).
Still, nice to see that Ed recovered from the ordeal in time to run the London Marathon.
What a showbiz trouper he is.
There’s nothing like a caravan holASTENDERS star Danny Dyer has been spotted with his five-year-old son shopping for a caravan by the sea.Quite right too.Adults may extol the virtues of a 5H hotel in a luxury hotspot, but for kids the excitement of going crabbing, playing hide and seek in the dunes, then playing board games while the rain pounds on the roof and Mum or Dad “cooks” baked beans on toast remains one of life’s greatest joys.
No monster’s ball
BRITISH-born Michael Adebowale is the evil brute who killed and tried to decapitate soldier Lee Rigby in broad daylight.
EPA How refreshing to hear of a ruthless killer experiencing jail time that actually feels like a punishment for his heinous crime.
He is currently residing at Her Majesty’s pleasure in HMP Wakefield – aka “Monster Mansion” – where other lags see him as a top target, and he’s feeling an ickle bit scared, poor lamb.
Consequently, he has asked for advice on how to move to a cushier jail in his parents’ home country of Nigeria.
The answer, of course, should be a firm no.
In the meantime, how refreshing to hear of a ruthless killer experiencing jail time that actually feels like a punishment for his heinous crime.Insta’s facing reality
WHEN it launched in 2010, Instagram rapidly became the go-to place for those who wanted to “filter the s**t” (technical term) out of their everyday lives.
BackGrid Everyone on Instagram seems to resemble Elle Macpherson in a bikini
Suddenly, no one had any blemishes, they all resembled Elle Macpherson in a bikini and even their coiffed and slightly startled dog looked like it had just stepped off the winner’s podium at Crufts.
It became known as “Instasham” and, along with other social media sites, took a hefty share of blame for the worrying increase in poor self-esteem among young girls who felt they couldn’t match up to the images of perfection being posted by their idols.
Now, riding the waves of a welcome sea change in attitude, media-savvy social media “influencers” are falling over themselves to show how imperfect they are.
CommentROSS CLARK It’s time to listen and get tougher on yobs… or more lives will be lost CommentTHE SUN SAYS PM’s mission besides Brexit was improving social mobility — that failed too CommentALLY ROSS Line Of Duty’s got me by the dongles — it’s one of TV’s greatest ever creations CommentTHE SUN SAYS The Tories’ contemptible lack of spine will be what really torpedoes them CommentMATTHEW GOODWIN PM faces local election disaster as voters unleash their Brexit frustration
“Just woken up” selfies with no make-up are a favourite, along with close-ups of spots, stretch marks, cellulite, and tummy rolls . . . all with earnest captions reminding us that we’re not all perfect.
Undoubtedly, it is a well-meaning step towards helping their young fans realise that whatever face or body you’re born with, it’s better to work at loving who you are and not what you look like.
But surely, true progress is when a visible blemish/tummy roll/stretch mark is deemed so normal that it doesn’t even warrant comment?
Fraud victim shown how his bank details were being given away for free as ‘taster’ on Telegram app