So what would you think of someone who was scamming in a "victimless" way?
I say this because I was reading the story of "Valerie" on the ehelldame's blog. It touched a nerve for me because I know someone who has an obsession scamming people on the internet. She doesn't accept donations, she keeps her stories sane and is pretty much never caught.
Scammer is extremely intelligent and graduated summa cum laude from an Ivy League institution before getting her PhD at another top 10 university. She has some social phobias and does contract work from home but spends maybe 1-4 hours a day working and the rest is spent on fake blogs (sometimes multiple) and message boards. She creates stories that are heart wrenching, but not over-the-top. She has always fantasized about being popular but her social phobias make it impossible. So she finds caring communities online and uses her way with words and written charm to become the center of attention. But she knows when to stop (unlike some trolls I have known.)
I caught her at this about 12 years ago. She had taken a traumatic experience that had happened to a family member and blogged about it like it had happened to her. I stumbled across it when a friend shared an "inspiring post." I read the rest of the blog and recognized the writing style of Scammer plus some pictures she used. I confronted her about it. Scammer said that I didn't understand her deep needs and that she wasn't hurting anyone (in fact she was providing support to others.) I informed the real victim of this blog and Real Victim chewed her out in the comments. Scammer closed that blog and told her followers that a "blast from her past" who had never, never, believed her was bothering her and calling her a liar. (Note: Scammer called Real Victim a liar initially when the trauma happened.) Of course that brought on more support for Scammer. Scammer did a clean job of overnight deleting and told her parents that Victim was making things up to be mean. Currently Victim will not speak to Scammer and Scammer is acting like Victim is causing trouble for doing so.
For awhile it was a stupid fascination of mine. Scammer has a distinctive writing style and uses some key phrases original to herself. I would google those and was always uncovering a treasure trove of fake stories she was telling online. She is a master at sucking people in. She retold Victim's story but this time she was Victim's savior who got her therapy and medical attention while her whole family scoffed at her. She told a story about how she was divorced after her husband beat her. (No husband.) She joined a marathon training group where she was bouncing back after a bout with pneumonia (She never exercises and gets out of breath from walking a mile.) She claimed to be a social worker who was the hero to countless families (she recycled a few of MY stories for this one which really made me mad.) She pretended to be an ex-model who was taking on the fashion industry. She also started blogging about the sexism in my family which is real, but most of the incidents recounted were absolutely wrong. There are lots and lots of stories in which the males in my family have been discouraging to women who want an education and/or career. BUT she didn't tell a single real story. It was all about how her father had fully funded her brothers' education (not true) while telling her to get married instead (When she was engaged to some pond scum he was talking her out of it and telling her to finish school.)
After a couple of years of trying to follow her, I quit because it's not like anyone would have listened to me about this and it was just making me bitter. But from some comments on Facebook, it occurred to me that she is friends with some breast cancer survivors who seem to think she had it too. WHAT?
She's not doing anything to them, right? I'm not sure what it would do to call her out. Calling her out IRL didn't change a thing. But there is this little thing in the back of my head that worries that she MIGHT take it too far and start hurting vulnerable people. Also, her income is not steady and she gets into fights with her employers so what if she decides to go pro?
I guess I shouldn't worry about it since I can't do a thing but part of me feels guilty that I'm just sitting back and letting it happen.