It has been an interesting few days. I have enjoyed a couple of dates – both were successful in as much as both expressed an interest in seeing me again (a confidence boost I can tell you). I also got drawn back in to all things fake when approached by someone concerned about her friend who had updated her #Facebook status to say that she was “in a relationship” with a profile that we both know to be fake. This because, the profile is using #CaptainThomas ‘s images.
After a lengthy discussion, I agreed to send a message to the lady in question with links to my website, blog and Facebook page. I did not get a response, however, a quick check showed a status change, back from “in a relationship …..” to “widowed”. I do hope that this lady is able to reach out to her friends to support her, as I am sure she is feeling rather lost and bewildered.
What is love and what does it mean to YOU?
After some harsh words (on my part) I asked the man in question what he wanted. He replied with this – no words, no bullshit. They say a picture can paint a thousands words… well this “sticker” image cut right through to the core of what we are both looking for.
After a few days of not being in contact, I was sent this image this morning. This from a man who simply wants to be part of my life. Again, no words, but a very simple message.
Who knows what the future holds for any of us – all I know is that sometimes you have to take a leap of faith and just jump off that safe bridge, and trust that whatever you find at the bottom – you can handle it; good, bad or indifferent.
Not everyone in the world is a stand up person
On checking my email, this morning, I was reminded that the cheats, fakes and scammers aren’t just in the dating world.
This is what I received:
It is a while since I have received emails like this – but I guess that is because the spam filter on my business email is not as well defined as my gmail accounts. It is a salutary reminder that fakery is all around us – and we can’t take it personally. We haven’t been targeted or singled out. Many of these attempts are random – in the hopes that they will hook in one or two that will take the bait.
2018 – a year of new beginnings
Many of us start off a new year full of hope: that things will go our way, we will get slimmer, drink less, be more assertive, get richer, find a better job …..find love!
Let me share with you, dear reader, something I wholeheartedly believe. That the exquisiteness that is life is in the journey. The destination is never guaranteed – just enjoy the journey along the way! If you do that – the destination becomes somewhat irrelevant.
This momma has turned into a cougar, albeit a budget one, as I ain’t wealthy by any means! At least – I was for an hour or so. Let me explain …
Oh wait … before I do – I just have to share this with you.
A woman reached out to me on Instagram and was sharing her experiences of an attempt to dupe her using Captain Lindegaard’s images. (There’s a lot of it about!). So we are chatting away, and then a thought suddenly occurs to me. Here is the exchange that followed:
Erm ok, so maybe using Captain Lindegaard’s image as my profile pic on Instagram has backfired!
I am no longer a would-be-cougar … I am now a gay man!! The mind boggles. Hmmm.. let’s leave that one there shall we?
Ok, so back to my original blog topic. Am I a cougar-in-the-making? Well, dear diary – not really. My newly acquired cougar status lasted all of a couple of hours. Here’s what happened.
I had been contacted by a few young guys, ranging in age – the oldest being 31, the youngest 26. Now, the 31 year old was quite cute – in fact, probably a little bit too cute and definitely of the pretty boy persuasion (as I have stated before, I am a visually-orientated-kinda-gal).
Having knocked back a fair few of them, the youngest (at least, the youngest that I actually engaged with) made a few rather mature comments. Take a look:
Then this happened!
This was the parting shot!
Brutal? Maybe. In my defence, the guy got me onto WhatsApp under false pretences. He came across as mature and not having any expectations other than getting to know me – and, as I said, he seemed so mature. WRONG!
Not only that, when I went back to take a peek at his bio, I discovered that he lived at home with his parents! Maybe that was the attraction of an older woman – more likely to have their own place to hang out in!!!
So, ok, I admit – I was tempted to meet up with him. Afer all, age is but a number, right? Ok – well maybe it is more complicated than that. The reason the initial chat with this guy made me decide that I would take a chance on him was that he did not seem to have a “thing” for older women as most younger guys that approach me do. Instead, he expressed that he just didn’t really think it was an issue. There are plenty of examples of age-gap couples out there – and I wondered whether I was missing a trick by being so narrow in my view about this.
After all, finding a long term love is only part of the equation – the other part is about spending time in the company of an interesting man, and having someone to have dates with other than my girlfriends. Believe me, a night out with the girls is very different to a night out with a date.
All is not lost
Or so I thought. I got to wondering why it was (apart from the age bias that I suspect happens with Match.com) that I was receiving next to no messages from guys on the site. I mean, I scrub up ok when I make the effort, and I put my most recent decent pictures up – all from late September 2017 onwards.
So where was I going wrong? Ok, so my habit of clicking yay or nay based on the picture alone wasn’t really getting me anywhere – so if I thought the guy was my age or a little younger, I checked out what age range he was looking for. If I was only a year or so out I would still give an indicator that I had checked out and was interested in his profile.
I decided to investigate this a little further and I discovered, that for all the zillions of profiles on Match, only a small percentage of profiles are paid members. This means, dear diary, that I most probably was winking or messaging men that could not reply. This might also explain why a cute guy that winked at me did not respond to my message.
Now some sites do let you know who are paid members, but alas, not the sites I am signed up to. There was only one thing for it. I hesitated for a moment pondering on whether I really wanted to initiate a conversation with a guy who was too miserly to stump up the cash, then I thought – in for a penny in for a pound. So I paid for an extra – so that men could message me for free. Ok, at the very least, this would be a good experiment in determining whether it was me/my profile or lack of membership that was keeping me dateless.
So the experiment begins
Well, so far, I can’t say that my message traffic has gone up that much, but I did enjoy a couple of hours banter with a rather cute guy that I thought was just up the road. Turns out that I had misread the location, and he was in fact a couple of hours away, not the 30 minutes I had thought. This guy was pretty cute, and I was hopeful that my luck had changed.
Alas ….not so. On requesting that I send him some “pictures”, my refusal elicited this response!
Definitely not a hero then!
Is it time to give up with online?
So, today, it is quiet again in Match, safe for a few views from guys that I am not interested in, a wink from a guy who lives hours away, and oh – a message from not a bad looking guy who – ok, lived miles away – but for the right guy, that wouldn’t matter, right? WRONG.
The first alarm bell was that the guy winked at me before looking at my profile. Ok, so maybe he saw me in the “discover” shuffle that lets you swipe left or right for potential matches. It is quite feasible that a guy might wink without looking at my profile as there is a smattering of detail shared on the “cards” that are presented.
The second alarm bell was that there was only one picture – although Google reverse image did not throw up any issues.
The third alarm bell was that his requirements for a match were very broad, almost as though he did not care.
The final straw that broke the match was that on sharing with him that I had recently been the subject of a dupe, he stopped messaging me. Hmmm … a genuine guy would most certainly have responded, if only to have a go for thinking they were a dupe.
I hesitated for all of half an hour before reporting my concern about the profile. I did not want to jeopardise a potential match – but then, I am pretty certain I would have heard back from him within 5 minutes if he had been genuine. Of course, he may have been called away to attend to something – or, more likely, he was simply yet another fake.
Ok, so that is all I have time for just now, dear diary. It is my birthday tomorrow and Dillon’s best pal Spotty has invited me over for dinner tonight – or at least his hoomans have.
As ever, stay safe online, dear reader – and if you would like to share your experiences of online dating, comment, like or share this blog to spread the word.
Today I have mostly been nursing a slight hangover! Went out with a girlfriend last night with the intention of staying out only an hour or so to check out a brand new bar, which had just opened that day.
I must say, I was very impressed. The venue is lovely…a complete transformation from the family owned Greek restaurant that had occupied the premises for more than 35 years! I was a little disappointed though that on subsequent trips to the bar I either had to wait for the staff to stop chatting to each other before they noticed me …or even worse …being unnoticed by four off then stood facing the bar counter. What am I? Invisible??
My pet peeve
This is a pet hate if mine, as is being served out of turn. In my early 20s I took a second job in a bar to be able to earn enough to qualify for a second mortgage. For the years that I tended bar I ALWAYS made sure to notice and serve the next person in line.
I have been known to cause a fuss if this does not happen. Most recently a few weeks ago when I was out of town with ex-friend and another friend. We had arrived at a busy bar where a former work colleague of ex- friend was tending bar. He greeted ex-friend and served her immediately. He then, rather than serve myself and my other friend, proceeded to serve people that had just arrived at the bar!
Needless to say I had no hesitation in telling him exactly what I thought of him. If it had not been for the fact that ex-friend already had her drink – I would have walked out and taken my money and my custom elsewhere!
Don’t get me started on the extremely rude guy that incensed my friend so much with a very disrespectful comment that she tipped him off his stool!
Getting back to last night
My girlfriend and I had a lovely evening , and fuelled by multiple double gins and the best margarita in town (I swear they get stronger each time) we decided to head for an Indian. It has been some time since I have been to this particular restaurant, and we arrived just before closing time (my past typical MO). I honestly think we would have been better stopping off for cheesy chips at the rather not-so-dodgy-these-days burger van.
The meal was a huge disappointment to say the least. Firstly my girlfriend’s Dahl started was as thin and watery as a mealy gruel. Secondly, the naan was so undercooked the middle was raw and uncooked.
Needless to say the waiter was summoned and the offending issues with the food pointed out to him. It amazes me that restaurants would be so lazy and careless to serve up undercooked food! This from a well established restaurant. Either they were being slapdash as it was nearly home time or they simply thought we would be too inebriated to to notice or care. Not so.
By the way …they did not so much as offer the naan free by way of apology – most decent restaurants would do this without hesitation if they had been caught short passing off undercooked food!
A quiet day with my pooch
So today has been pretty much a quiet day with my pooch …and having a few nice chats with some potential dates – I mean, a girl has gotta pass the time when ever so slightly incapacitated by the previous evening’s partying somehow, right?
A few of the guys I chatted to were decent enough …and one or two of the conversations were quite zany and amusing. One guy who messaged me though, had me laughing-out-loud. He was young, pretty-boy and had a body so gym honed and whipped into shape that it made me blush ever so slightly and hide my curvy frame under the duvet!
Now what do you want with me??
I like older women!
He retorted. I won’t say what else he said as although it didn’t quite make me blush …it would lower the tone of my blog …ahem …sniff!
I shared his images with my girlfriend and she proclaimed him too good to be true and therefore he must be a scammer (everyone’s an expert right? 😞😄🙄).
He did though, pass the Google Reverseimage test!
Oh …what was that you say? You want to see his picture? You do? Oh well…in the interests of research you understand…
Back to the Fighback campaign
It has not all been lazing around though. I have given some more thought to the brilliant plan (at least, I thought so) that I came up with under the shower last night. Don’t the best ideas always come in the shower? No? Oh, that’s just me then …ahem.
The idea that I conceived was to make some noise on Twitter, and try to make the #FakeProfile issue go viral. It would be much harder for Mr Facebook to ignore our pleadings if more than my few followers were talking about this.
As it happens, I came across this article on #LinkedIn today. Very apt, although I am less concerned about the political angle as I am the social one.
If you have a Twitter account please join us. Heck …if you don’t, it takes seconds to create one.
Please let me know if you would like to participate in the #FightbackFakeProfiles challenge.
The more people we can get involved the more chance we have of taking the issue viral. Mr Facebook will surely have to take notice of us then! You can comment below or email me.
Well, a little bit of insomnia tonight and so I have decided to enjoy a glass of red wine, in the hopes it will help me off to sleep.
Today has been a good day
Firstly, a random message on an IM platform turned out to be the Simon I have been looking out for the last few months. He has been trying to get me to agree to a date for the past three or four years, and each time I said no, because I was not looking to date at that time. Unfortunately a change of phones had meant his number wasn’t carried over. Serendipitously, he installed this app and my number popped up …I myself had only reinstalled this app a few days ago at the behest of a guy I found on Tinder. (Not a fake one this time) …and hopefully we are meeting up next week too, along with Simon and the long awaited date – I mean, you have to give the guy props for persistence.
As you know, dear diary, I am pretty jaded with online. Though, after today, I am hopeful my luck is changing. I spotted a wink on one of my paid for sites from a couple of days ago …and I was quite simply blown away not only by the attraction to the pictures …but also the candid and thoughtfully written bio.
How could I have missed this? So I quickly dashed off a message and I hope this guy gets back to me. I’ll keep you posted on that one!
It never rains but it pours
Then blow me … along comes another one …and the ensuing exchange was honest and intelligent. It seems men are like buses, there are none for ages and then they all come at once.
And then there is the captain
Yes, I know. He is not my crush …but seriousness aside (the fightback campaign), he has a great sense of humour and I am beginning to think that he loves the attention he gets from his Fake-Thomas-Dupee-Followers.
Why do I think this? This is what he posted on his #Instagram tonight ..and I really don’t think it was for his mariner-fans. To be honest, I don’t blame him for having a bit of fun with it!
I swear – the man gets better looking every day. Seriously …the pictures of him with fuller beard and tweaked tash …do not a heart-throb make.
Facebook no more
He shared with me tonight (via Twitter – we only interact on social media) that he may not return to #Facebook; and who could blame him? It seems that this is the second time Mr Facebook has deactivated him. Ludicrous given that out of the 20+ fake profiles I have reported I have only managed to get 2 or 3 closed down. Make sense of that one, dear diary!
So, it seems Captain McDreamy of the cute Dane persuasion is no more in the Facebook arena. But wait! I was contacted by him and he liked a picture that I had posted as a public rather than private setting. I was quick to change that, I can tell you, dear diary. The cheek of it …it was in fact one of the fakes returned. Joined Facebook November 2017 and lives in New York no less. Harrumph.
He contacted me because I had alerted him to who I am by posting Fake all over his profile. Maybe not such a smart move as one of the dupees in his friends list appeared to threaten me …I can’t be sure as I am not entirely convinced how accurately Google Translates Ukranian!
Getting back to Captain Lindegaard the 999th. This is the message exchange:
My response was that I knew that he was not and that I knew him to be a liar and a fake.
I am ok
To which I reiterated that he was indeed a fake and a liar. Funny …he stopped trying to convince me after that.
#Facebook failed to remove the profile though ..and he continues to purport to be Captain Lindegaard.
Do I regret or lament being duped?
Actually, and quite surprisingly, no. Don’t get me wrong, if I was ever face to face with Fake-Thomas I would have no hesitation to cause him grief. I have though, learned a lot about myself and what I want for my life. You can’t be all things to all people, and life is too short for toxic friendships.
Most of all though…I get to enjoy the playfulness that is Captain Thomas Lindegaard of the #Maersk Line and the very big ship.
When I saw what he posted I burst out laughing for real. No virtual LOL …but a real hearty laugh.
To be fair, I don’t really like to think of myself as some kind of groupie. I am careful not to post “ooh and ah” comments. I simply share that I enjoyed seeing them.
If it were not for the Fake-Thomases of the world, I would not have made the virtual-acquaintance of such an interesting man. For that I will be forever grateful.
Well, dear diary, it is now 01:50 and so I will bring this to a close, finish my wine, and try for sleep.
Goodnight, dear diary, you have been a blessing to me these last 11 days.
My heart is heavy. In fact, for a little while there I was bereft. My gorgeous Captain has disappeared off Facebook. Was it something I said? Did my campaign get too much with all the sharing and Tweeting and posting of his image and his name?
But wait – maybe putting my ego aside, the disappearance of his Facebook profile and page is nothing to do with me.
I was surprised though .. at how crestfallen I was. Perhaps, I pondered, he is simply sick of it all. Sick of Mr Facebook and sick of all the wailing women berating him for duping them. HE DIDN’T!! Wise up guys! (or gals for that matter).
Puzzled by his disappearance, and not quite ready to let any tenuous connection go yet, I Tweeted him. This is the response I got:
Deactivated, yes, as someone has reported me for identity theft and being fake!
Really? I mean – REALLY!!!
At first I thought that one of the fakers had tried to get him off Facebook because too many profiles are getting shut down. Then I slowly realised – it is most likely some dupee who believes it was him that suckered them.
How sad. How very, very sad. That there are hundreds of fake profiles on #Facebook that are so difficult to get shut down – and yet the REAL MCCOY, has felt it necessary to deactivate his own profile.
Over the course of this week, I have spent more than I ever have on promoting my posts on Facebook, so intent was I to spread the message as far as I could – within a reasonable budget. It seemed a small price to pay given that some women have been duped out of thousands. At least it was my choice – my own free will to spend this money. It was a rational decision and not one based on a falsely elicited emotion.
But no more. I will not spend a cent more (or a pound for that matter) with Mr Facebook and his fabulously rich cronies! I am done with them.
I will continue to use social media as I have connection to friends and family including some overseas. I will, however, be circumspect about what I share on there and I will definitely IGNORE all sponsored posts and adverts that appear in my feed.
Captain Lindegaard tried to fight back. Not only to protect his own identity and images, but to warn others of the dangers. How pitiful that he has been scapegoated in this way.
For the first time since this sorry saga began, I am more than a little exasperated with the dupees. My patience and compassion has lessened.
Grow up. Get over yourselves … and stop getting emotionally invested in someone you haven’t met! Yes – I admit, I was somewhat emotionally invested in Fake-Thomas. The difference being, I had a smattering of healthy scepticism, that allowed me to switch off that emotional investment as soon as I was over the initial shock.
That is all I have to say on the matter, dear diary. I am not yet sure whether I will continue with this campaign. Not for the sake of people who have reported Captain Lindegaard for being a fake! Ye gods! Wake up and smell the coffee!
Has social media made automatons of us all? Are we really supposed to blindly accept what Mr Facebook & co dish out to us? They hooked us in so that we can’t go more than an hour or so without checking our online status – and sharing every minutiae of our life with those in our world and beyond.
This was a very clever tactic by Mr Facebook. As he now knows exactly what we covet, and can target his paid for advertising clients accordingly. There can’t be any organisation that knows as much about us as does Mr Facebook and his motley crew. Heck, not even the tax man knows as much as Mr Facebook!
What we have now is decidedly Utopian-esk, big brother if you like. It is not such a leap of the imagination to consider that in the wrong hands, there is an awful lot of personal information out there on the web from which to exert control.
It has to be said that I am a prolific poster online. Both with Mr Facebook and with Master Twitter. That said, there are times when I go to ground for 3-6 months, and ne’re a peep, never mind a tweet, is heard from me.
The world is just a click away, at the behest of our fingertips
I do use online exposure in a number of ways:
pictures of my dog
stories of my dog taking over my bed
stories of my dog pooping in the park
little ditties of insights that I want to share with the world
the occasional rant at the social injustices in the world
I also use online to promote my business interests. Rather unsuccessfully I have to say. The lure of the “do it my way – I will charge you mega-bucks to learn how to grow your groups and earn …. peanuts!” has been something that I have had to learn to ignore.
It seems, you see, that you can’t just post about any old drivel. It has to be drivel that the masses want to hear about. Now, you and I may enjoy a little bit of high brow philosophising now and then – but for the popular masses, that is a huge turn off.
I will though, give Mr Facebook props for keeping me connected with peeps who have the same, or similar chronic long term health condition that I have. The support I have gotten from one group in particular has pulled me through some dark days.
Now, one would assume that the real people in my real world would be the ones to support me with this; not so much! Heck, most of my family couldn’t say a cursory “well done” when I achieved a First in my Psychology degree as a mature student!! But hey, let’s not go there – the bitterness has left me. Almost …ahem. Sniff.
Indeed, Facebook connectedness, has also allowed me to keep in touch with family scattered around the UK, and with friends that live the other side of the globe.
Out of control monster or useful tool?
Ok, I digress. Let me bring this back to the matter in hand. What was that again? Oh yes! Mr Facebook & co – and whether they have too much influence on our lives.
Certainly, the online has been a revelation. Indeed, I think my undergrad and post-grad studies were that much easier because I could research for pertinent articles online; not solely restricted to the dusty shelves of the university library. (The library was one of my favourite places as it happens!).
We are customers, patrons, whatever you will – not automatons to do your bidding, Mr Facebook. So when a patron has something to say, perhaps you might demonstrate some common courtesy and respond.
Has Mark Zuckerberg been replaced by a bot?
I am beginning to think that Mr Zuckerberg no longer exists. That he has been replaced by bots and they are holding him prisoner on a remote desert island in the pacific along with Mrs Zuckerberg and the rest of their family. Perhaps Captain Lindegaard can track him down in his very big ship, and ask him ever so politely to to something about the literally hundreds of profiles on #Facebook that are misappropriating his image and his identity. You will know of Captain Lindegaard, if you have been reading me from the beginning (is it really only a week ago that I started this quest??).
The cute Dane effect
For those of you who have only just stumbled across this blog today, I beseech you to read the back catalogue of posts. Captain Lindegaard, is, actually, the quite cute Dane who is the subject of amorous attentions of way too many women; who quite simply think that he has duped them.
I have seen posts on his page, lamenting about ‘why he would hurt them so bad when he was happily married’? The answer is, dear reader, it was not him. Even a good looking Dane with a ship’s company can’t be in 100s of places at once! And why would he? As stated – he is happily married, and not signed up to ANY dating sites. Nor does he have multiple profiles on Facebook with multiple variations on his name. (Personally, I think there should be a profile called Captain Dreamy ….. oh sorry, ahem … moving on ….
So, what is it about this man that has created such a swell of online swooning? Ok, so he is cute – at least, many of his pictures are. Not all … but perhaps that is one of the reasons that the fakes who use his images are so successful. The majority of them are notable for being – well, ordinary. (Sorry Captain Lindegaard .. blush).
Certainly, there is a lot of information about his life – at least, his work life, which makes it extremely easy to assume his persona and create a very plausible dupe. I did wonder myself what all the fuss was about – not because I don’t believe he is cute (because I do) but because he has a very small following on Facebook. Eventually, I checked him out on Instagram. On that platform, he has a very respectable following of 24.5k. I think that it is this following that has made him a mark for the scammers. With such a following, he clearly has kerb appeal.
So, a question that I ask you to consider: does Captain Lindegaard bare any responsibility for the duping and suckering in of innocent love-seekers? In my opinion the answer to that question is a resounding no.
Captain Lindegaard, or “Real-Thomas” as he is affectionately referred to in my earlier blogs, is simply abiding by the rules and expectations created by Mr Facebook and his motley crew of pirates .. I mean, marketeers. He is sharing information about his life and work that he is not only proud of, but that he believes (quite rightly it would seem), that other people would be interested to learn about. In a podcast that is listed both on his Facebook page, and I believe Instagram (I’m not sure as I have banned myself from trawling through his personal (yet public) profiles – his life’s mission, mariner-focused at any rate – is to bring sea and shore closer together.
Well, he has certainly done that when you consider how many land-locked women are pining after him! Just not in a way that he could have possibly conceived. (I do hope that the majority of the 24.5k following are not virtually-cuckolded women…).
Indeed, I believe most strongly that the responsibility lies with Mr Facebook, and the other social media giants that would have us believe that they serve us – and that we can’t live without them. Of course we can. There are more platforms than Facebook for us to share and enjoy.
So, to close, why am I so het up at the moment about Mr Facebook? Quite simply, because – they are a platform that will allow nudity, terrorism, sexualised images to be posted on Facebook and yet ban nursing mothers and breast-cancer survivors.
More than this, they have a responsibility to protect our data that they so avidly bid us to share on their platform. It is not for Captain Lindegaard, nor I, or anyone else for that matter – to have to spend hours trying to make Facebook a safer place for its patrons.
That Mr Facebook, is your job.
Later, dear reader, I hope you read with me again. If anything I have written here resonates with you, please, comment, like and share to spread the message far and wide.
As ever, images of Captain Thomas Lindegaard are used with his kind permission. Copyright remains with him and these should not be used for any reason without his explicit consent.
If you are approached on any site from a profile using images of this man (Captain Thomas Lindegaard), please be aware that there is a Tsunami of fake profiles out there using his images.
If you are approached by anyone using his images, please report this to Captain Lindegaard via Messenger on Facebook @CaptainThomasLindegaard. You can also check out his Fake Alert page on Facebook by clicking the link.
I feel sick to my stomach. This really happened? There is no escaping it.
I was beavering away last night until 3am. So determined was I that I had to share my story in every little detail.
The one thing I am proud of is my response to this. I could have curled up in a corner and not surface for a year but I didn’t. Instead, I took the lemons that life had just dished up to me and made lemonade.
My humiliation is complete. No time to lick my wounds. If I stop to dwell on what happened I will surely break in two. Time to undo the damage.