This Saturday, June 4, “Scams!” is back for a new issue broadcast on M6. This evening, the investigative magazine presented by Julien Courbet is particularly interested in the romance scam, a phenomenon that has taken on a very particular dimension since the advent of social networks. If it all starts with a friend request on Facebook, this budding “friendship” quickly turns into a scam placing money requests at the center of discussions. Often, it is Ivorian grazers who are on the job. The “Scams!” team met one of them and saw him at work on the phone, seducing a Frenchman. By pretending to be a woman, the grazer aroused the hilarity of Internet users.
A surreal sequence. In the new issue of “Arnaques!” broadcast this Saturday, June 4 on M6, Julien Courbet and the team of the investigative program are particularly interested in the scam of feelings. For several years, a scam has been wreaking havoc on the internet: the love scam, a phenomenon that has taken on worrying proportions since the growth of social networks. It all starts very nicely, often with a request for a friend or a contact on a social network, then, quickly, a relationship is forged. Feelings are shared very easily, sweet words and sexy photos too, until they develop virtually, sometimes, the beginning of a “love” relationship. The problem is that this new friend quickly asks for money: small sums, to help out, at first but later, you may be asked for several tens of thousands of euros. In the investigation released this evening, we discover the testimonies of several victims and families of victims. Stéphanie notably paid the price: she fell in love with the photo of a handsome fifty-something who seduced her and did not hesitate to send him several thousand euros to help him solve his alleged problems from a distance. Amandine, she fights to remove her disabled mother from the clutches of one of these scammers who extorted 24,000 euros from her. For Jérémy and Adèle, the story turned tragic: a few months ago, their father fell in love with a woman he met on the internet. When his family finds out, he commits suicide. Since then, the scammer has been blackmailing the children: he threatens to post photos of their naked father on social networks. These scammers who extort crazy sums are often located in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, and call themselves “grazers”, in reference to the sheep that graze grass effortlessly.
“It’s still very big…”
The “Scams!” team wanted to go up a network of grazers and met Miguel, one of these crooks with feelings. His method is simple: he goes to dating sites and stalks men or women, after storing photos and videos of models or personalities unearthed on the internet. In the report, we discover that Miguel has been on a new streak for a few days: “He’s a new white man. I’m learning to get to know him. He talks well and then he’s very nice. He’s looking for a woman, so me, I’m going to pass myself off as a woman” explains Miguel to the cameras of M6. To seduce his client, he therefore usurped the identity of a woman by stealing her photos on the internet and calling himself “Isabelle”. His client then calls him on the phone, for the first time. Miguel, to hide his male voice, does not disassemble: he changes his voice to a female voice. His client seems to have seen nothing but fire. For their part, the twittos do not seem (really) to have recognized a woman’s voice…
VIDEO – Gad Elmaleh victim of a scam: he tells his bad experience to Julien Courbet