Yep, you read that right – “Sea Captain Romance Scam.”
I couldn’t make things like this up if I wanted to – and it all started with, of all places, Facebook.
I’ve been testing out different dating apps – partly for my own path towards romance but also anything insightful or interesting I could share with everyone. That’s when I saw “Sebastian.”
He was good-looking, with a beautiful smile and piercing blue eyes. I’m the kind of person to take chances, so I was happy to start chatting. It started off normal – exchanging base information and what we’re looking for etc. On the surface, he seemed charming, responsible, and ready for commitment.
Then we switched to WhatsApp.
NOTE: This is normal because the Facebook dating app chat tool is kinda crap.
That’s when he said his name was…
Mackenzie Lewis – a 36-year-old captain of a shipping barge that used to be owned by his father.
FIRST RED FLAG ALERT!
The age on the app said 55, but I was curious, so I asked a few more questions – I’m usually willing to give a small benefit of the doubt in the first few exchanges. (His claim was that someone made the profile for him.)
This is when his “story” unfolded.
Also, keep in mind, I’m just saying “his/he” when it could have been a “she/her” or even a “them.”
His single-child, passed-away-parents backstory was filled with pain and betrayal. He had “deleted” all his social media after his girlfriend cheated on him with his best friend. The only thing I could find was a bare-bones Facebook page.
THE FLAGS KEPT PILING
You know when you heard that if something sounds too good to be true, it often is?
Well, it only took a couple of hours of on-and-off chatting to notice something smelled really rotten.
Normally, I would block this shit and move on.
But I was so morbidly curious and feeling a bit cheeky and mischievous that I kept going. The word SCAM was already racing around in my head, and I was thinking back on YouTubers who had taken a few moments out of their day to stall whoever was on the other end so they didn’t have as much time to target someone who hadn’t clued in.
And that I was it.
I totally wanted to fuck this person around.
I traded back some of my own “backstory” that was also filled with drama and pain (a lot fake, but some real and trying to match on the level of his heartache). Keep in mind that I stretched this out for like 4-ish days so there is a lot I’m skimming over).
So, what were the other glaring problems during our conversation?
- For someone who was so international and accomplished, his English language skills were really poor.
- He tried to “subtly” show that he was rich.
- There was no new information for him to give outside of the “story” he was so desperate to share with me.
- Made it very clear he was looking to settle down and take care of someone.
- Bombarded me with photos right off the bat and then suddenly no more images.
- The only video (which actually had the guy on the profile) had no speaking.
- His communication was very much on a fixed schedule.
But it was the next few points that really broken-down the scam.
- He “fell in love” with me quickly.
- He had no objections to our clear differences that would usually make most people hesitate – like religion and views on LGBT.
- His one audio message made it clear the accent wasn’t Italian, but somewhere from Asia.
- All of a sudden he had annoying “network” problems and “engine” problems he had to deal with and look for personally (instead of which, you know, a licensed/specialized MECHANIC should be dealing with).
- Extreme repetition with certain messages and responses – not robotic, but certainly not a normal human language exchange. The only naturally flowing texts were the ones right in the morning which are loaded with words of love and devotion.
I sent my own “loooove” back – making my thoughts seem hesitant but “reeeeeally wanting to dive into a relationship”. I loaded it to the brim – things like finally wanting kids, him always being on my mind, blah blah blah.
Pepper it with a few photos of me and bake at 350 degrees.
TBH, I briefly felt sorry that the person on the other end because they had no idea they were dealing with a creative writer and someone who’s actually gone through the shit.
I knew the money bomb would come soon, and oh my god it was hilarious.
Mr. “I’m amazing” Mackenzie Lewis AKA. Lude Marcelino/Alan Baker suddenly dropped off the radar for a day, and when he came back, he was having “huge issues” with his ship and they were stuck in the middle of the ocean with a broken-down engine part.
It was time and I was giddy.
- Him: Our engines have broken down.
- [In my head: Yeah where’s the mechanic in all this? Where are your spare parts and whatnot?]
- Me: Oh no. Is everyone okay?
- Him: There’s something interfering with our network signal, baby.
- [In my head: And yet you’re able to contact me right now – not to mention on a very predictable schedule the entire time.]
- Me: I’m sure you’ll fix it.
- Him: I need you to contact this company so we can get a replacement. We’re in trouble and I don’t know what to do. There are pirates in the area. It’s very dangerous.
- [In my head: Pirates?! AHAHAHAHHHAHAHAH. Oh, and yet you can message me. And yet you’ve been sailing for years. But you mysteriously can’t get through to your company and lil’ old me is the one to save all of you. Mmmok.]
- Me: Oh my god, baby. That’s horrible!
- Him: Can you send this message to this email?
- [In my head: Here it comes!]
- Me: Sure. Anything to help. But why can’t you send it?
- Him: They’re not answering me. Please, love. Hurry!
- [Oh man, I sent that email so fast. I was salivating to see what price tag was attached to the answer. And yeah, a multimillion dollar company would just let a boat sit there with valuable merchandise over something as simple as a hunk of steel. Yeah, and where was the radio SoS and satellite communications that should have been part of the fancy-dancy set up I had seen in the background of the photos.]
- Me: Sent.
The end result didn’t disappoint.
The new engine part could be there in an hour but only if the $3500 payment went through, and surprise surprise, Mr. Rich Dream Boat couldn’t get it to go through.
That was it.
I was bursting at the seams with laughter.
I know some people could have gone on further, but I was so ready for the finale.
The response back was simple…
“You can’t get the payment to go through because you’re a scam. I’ve been wasting your time for days so you couldn’t do it to someone else. Loser”
I uploaded reverse searches results I had got from his pictures from the moment he sent them and I smelled something was iffy. The word scam was written all over one of the photos. It was epic.
Now, if I was the person on the other end, I would just ditch the conversation and move on to the next target. But wow … were they butt hurt! I mean REALLY angry.
“You’re so stupid. I wasted YOUR time.”
[In my head: Awww pudding. *pat pat pat]
Well, I had a couple of sad thoughts during all of this.
While I was very aware that someone was trying to take me for a ride, and I had days of entertainment, I couldn’t help but feel a little down about the whole thing.
It was a numbers game and whoever was doing this was playing with very common emotions that many people feel when it comes to relationships. I was fully aware, but there had probably been someone (or several people) out there who were so emotionally fragile or lost that the idea of a handsome prince charming would cloud their better judgment … and they would have handed over the money in an instant.
While the language problems were a clear giveaway, the emotional pokes and prods had been well thought out to target a certain group out of their savings.
The second sad (well, more annoying thought) was that Facebook wouldn’t do anything. We had moved our conversation off their platform and anything suspect was someone else’s problem. So, his profile is still up there.
WON’T THIS HELP THEM?
Well, I guess laying out all their foibles might make them try to refine their process. But pulling the conversation even a little off the normal script is enough to poke huge holes in their story. No matter what, there will be red flags…
- Repetition of certain phrases
- Eagerness to fall in love with abandon
- Short answers to comments that should have long ones
- Promises to show the person with gifts and adventure
- Promising that not all men/women are the same (to counter any bad experienced the target has had in their past)
- Excessive compliments
SIDE NOTE: The person on the other end was getting really aggressive in their anger, so I blocked them before I could get screenshots of our conversation.
There are several scams out there, but they will all share a similar feeling of unease about them. My suggestion? If something feels off, ditch it fast. There are literally millions of people out there.
But I do have one final message for Mr. Cap Mack-Daddy Lewis…
Don’t you still love me? ROFL
Anything else you want to add? Share in the comments!