Lola Rolls
Advice on Life from a Former Sideshow Fat Lady

When Your Boyfriend Doesn’t Exist

Posted By on Wednesday, May 6th, 2020

Dear Lola,

I met this great guy online, and things are really serious between us. We haven’t met IRL because he lives overseas. Given the current craziness in the world, who knows when that will happen now? In the meantime, I’ve been doing my best to be happy with texts and telephone calls.

Things were going okay until yesterday when I got this email from his address saying I had to transfer five thousand dollars into a bank account or else certain comprising pictures of me would be released to all of my Facebook friends.

I’m not sure what to do or where to turn. My friends never supported this relationship, so they would be zero help. In the past, they made a very big deal out of the fact that I’ve never done FaceTime or any other kind of video chat with my boyfriend. I’ve explained that it’s simply because the camera on his phone is broken, but they insist on creating drama and say that the person I think I’m dating doesn’t even exist.

I’m afraid my boyfriend’s accounts have been hacked or even that something bad may have happened to him because he hasn’t answered my calls or texts and I don’t know how else to get in contact with him.

I’m also terrified that whoever sent that email really could and would release naked photos of me. If that happened, I would possibly die of embarrassment. My weight problem is bad enough that I’m half tempted to just pay the money.

What should I do? Am I being scammed?

Don’t Want Everyone To See Me Naked

 

Dear Don’t Want Everyone To See Me Naked,

There were a lot of scammers on the carnival circuit, so I feel fully confident saying that you are indeed being conned. Your boyfriend doesn’t really exist.

My hunch is that it will be hard for you to believe what I’m telling you, just as you dismissed warnings from your friends. That’s understandable. People want to love and to feel loved, singled out in a special way. They also don’t want to lose those feelings and often go to far lengths to maintain them. That unwillingness to let go is what makes love scams so effective and enduring.

If you still want to believe in and love your boyfriend, don’t let that stop you from taking certain steps to protect yourself. First off, under no circumstances whatsoever, should you give money to anyone to prevent the release of naked pictures. If you do that, these blackmailers will only come back for more.

Next you need to warn all your contacts that you’ve been hacked and that they should not open any messages or attachments they might receive. People are leery enough of computer viruses that you don’t need to provide an explanation about naked pictures and your virtual boyfriend. Then you should delete all your social media and email accounts. You could also consider contacting a cyber security expert to help secure your accounts.

Blackmail is, in fact, a crime, and you do have rights here. Don’t let your embarrassment about the photos or your victimhood prevent you from seeking legal recourse. I’m no expert in this area, and, though my gut feeling is that it would be hard to find, prosecute, and convict the person or persons responsible, I still think it’s worthwhile to try.

If you can’t do it right now, I do hope that at some point in the not-too-distant future you’ll let go of this idea of the boyfriend, so you can find real love and companionship. Keep us posted and good luck!

–Lola

   
Barbara Boehm Miller
Fiction Writer and Creator of the Character, Lola Rolls

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