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Chasing The American Dream

April 12, 2006


“There’s a sucker born every minute.”
P.T. Barnum

I think P.T. had me in mind when he made this famous quote. I don’t know what it is. Maybe I have a target on my back that I’m not aware of? I’m the guy who gets approached by bums on street corners seeking money. I’m the guy who gets cornered by one of those mall surveyors. I’m the guy who can’t say no to girl scouts selling cookies or boy scouts raising money for a convention. And most recently, I seem to be the guy that strange women from foreign lands want to marry and take my money. It’s the latter story that got me wondering why people see me and immediately recite P.T.’s quote.

Her picture was blonde and beautiful. And I noticed she lived in Miami of all places yet I hadn’t seen her online. So I wrote her a quick email saying hi and asking her to write back if she had an interest. I figured that would be the end of that. It usually is. But much to my surprise, she wrote me back. She was brief, but she said she was interested. She gave me her yahoo IM and email address,
Janetsara@yahoo.com, and from there, the adventure began on March 25th.

During our first IM chat, the first questions she asked me were what did I do for a living, was I single, where did I live, did I live alone, and what kind of car did I drive. In her broken English, she then asked me what I wanted to know about her because she really had an interest in me. I told her I’d seen her picture and noticed we lived close, and I told her I’d like to meet her some day. She asked why, “So we can make love?”

Yeah, I know. A million red flags. And I hadn’t even asked her any questions yet. I didn’t ask her much. I asked her what she did for a living and where was she from. She said she was a model from Florida but that she was presently working in Africa. I asked her when was she coming back and she wasn’t sure. Her English was bad. I thought perhaps she was Latin and tried speaking Spanish. She didn’t understand. She told me she lost her mom and dad so she was looking for a nice man to stay with and make love with. Uh huh.

I tried to fish around some more and solve the mystery of her broken English. I asked her where her folks were from originally. She said U.S. I asked her what she was looking for in a man, companionship or a relationship. Her answer? “Kool.” She told me she has interest in me (again) and that I was the first man of her life. She loved me and that we were one now. Awwww. I tried more questions. Where was she born? Who did she model for? What was her last name? She said Miami, MTV, and Janet Sara. I pressed her on the name and she finally came up with Smith. I pressed on. I asked why her English wasn’t so good, as if she was not from the U.S. I told her she needed to be honest with me. She said, “I swear to god, I can’t lie u. So my live have u get a fine room for me?” Clearly suspicious now, I told her I had many friends at MTV and that they will know her. Her story changed. Not working for MTV. I asked her if she was from Africa, she said no. She said she loved me with all her heart and to write soon. And thus ended our first conversation. She sent me some more pictures. More of the same. Pretty blonde posing like it was right out of a magazine shoot.

Ironically, three days later, I got a canned email from match.com telling all the lovelies in my neighborhood. There staring me in the face was the very same picture she sent me with the username Tammyhonest. I read the profile. It appears that Janet Sara was born in Spain and moved to Africa. Hmmm. I decided to call her bluff during our next chat.

I asked her what her real name was, Janet or Sara or Tammy or none. She told me someone in Africa stole her pics and impersonated her and that they were in jail now. Five minutes later, the profile disappeared off match.com. She said she couldn’t lie to me and that was the truth. Uh huh. She reiterated she grew up in Miami not Spain. I asked her what High School she attended. She told me, “Yeshiva Gedolah Rabbinical College Inc Miami.” She later changed her answer to Miami Springs Senior High. I asked her for her real name and she repeated, Janet Sara Smith. I told her that her story was suspicious so she decided to turn the tables on me. Why did I get an email from match? Am I dating others? Am I sure I’m single? I told her we needed to meet to resolve all these issues. She asked for “a kissing” and not to think bad of her because she was honest with me.

Her story grew more interesting. I figured I’d play along and wait until she eventually got around to asking me for money. I continued to ask her questions about her modeling work and, and she continued with her charade. After a week of this nonsense, I’d finally had enough. Here is some of the ‘best of chat’ for your amusement.

zzinger205 (3/29/2006 11:57:13 PM): what do you do all day, Janet???
janet sara (3/29/2006 11:57:36 PM): working
zzinger205 (3/29/2006 11:58:37 PM): what do you do when you work???
janet sara (3/29/2006 11:59:13 PM): am just talking with my boss
zzinger205 (3/29/2006 11:59:26 PM): tell me what you do for work , janet
janet sara (3/30/2006 12:00:11 AM): am just talking my love
zzinger205 (3/30/2006 12:00:25 AM): are you modeling there?
janet sara (3/30/2006 12:00:49 AM): yea my love
zzinger205 (3/30/2006 12:01:10 AM): what did you model today???
janet sara (3/30/2006 12:01:30 AM): i dnt mode; today my love
zzinger205 (3/30/2006 12:01:47 AM): so what have you been doing?
janet sara (3/30/2006 12:02:02 AM): am just wait my boss
zzinger205 (3/30/2006 12:03:19 AM): what does your boss tell you to do??
janet sara (3/30/2006 12:04:14 AM): we are just talking about u
zzinger205 (3/30/2006 12:05:06 AM): oh? what are you guys saying?
janet sara (3/30/2006 12:05:30 AM): told him i just meat a man
zzinger205 (3/30/2006 12:06:13 AM): what is his name?
janet sara (3/30/2006 12:06:25 AM): richard
zzinger205 (3/30/2006 12:14:06 AM): does he treat you well?
janet sara (3/30/2006 12:15:04 AM): AS HOW
zzinger205 (3/30/2006 12:15:16 AM): is he nice and does he respect you?
janet sara (3/30/2006 12:15:26 AM): not really
zzinger205 (3/30/2006 12:15:59 AM): well why put up with it then?
janet sara (3/30/2006 12:16:24 AM): when there is no work for me
janet sara (3/30/2006 12:21:56 AM): did i told u about my dad money
zzinger205 (3/30/2006 12:22:05 AM): no
janet sara (3/30/2006 12:22:18 AM): govement want to give my dad like 100000$
zzinger205 (3/30/2006 12:22:29 AM): why? which government?
janet sara (3/30/2006 12:22:40 AM): u know he work with govement
janet sara (3/30/2006 12:22:50 AM): usa govement
janet sara (3/30/2006 12:23:38 AM): they say i should come with my boyfriend to come and collect it
zzinger205 (3/30/2006 12:23:54 AM): where?
janet sara (3/30/2006 12:24:16 AM): at the state
zzinger205 (3/30/2006 12:24:22 AM): florida?
janet sara (3/30/2006 12:24:37 AM): yea my love
zzinger205 (3/30/2006 12:24:41 AM): miami
janet sara (3/30/2006 12:24:54 AM): so my love what do u think we can use the money to do when we collect it
zzinger205 (3/30/2006 12:25:07 AM): it's not mine, it's yours
janet sara (3/30/2006 12:25:17 AM): bcos is me and u that we are going to collect the money
janet sara (3/30/2006 12:25:24 AM): is for me
zzinger205 (3/30/2006 12:25:29 AM): why do you need me to collect with you?
janet sara (3/30/2006 12:25:34 AM): am the nextofking
janet sara (3/30/2006 12:26:15 AM): when they told me i should come with my boyfriend
janet sara (3/30/2006 12:27:22 AM): what do u think we can use the money to do when we collect the money
zzinger205 (3/30/2006 12:27:59 AM): well you need to decide where you want to live
janet sara (3/30/2006 12:28:14 AM): am living with u that is for sure
zzinger205 (3/30/2006 12:28:23 AM): you don't know that yet
zzinger205 (3/30/2006 12:28:29 AM): we haven't even met?
janet sara (3/30/2006 12:28:32 AM): do u think am playing game with u
zzinger205 (3/30/2006 12:28:54 AM): i don't know janet. we need to meet first
zzinger205 (3/30/2006 12:29:00 AM): you may not even like me
zzinger205 (3/30/2006 12:29:39 AM): do you know where the governmemt office is located?
janet sara (3/30/2006 12:29:40 AM): i really love u
janet sara (3/30/2006 12:31:22 AM): so we are going to washington dc
janet sara (3/30/2006 12:31:32 AM): to collect the money when am with u
zzinger205 (3/30/2006 12:31:45 AM): you have to go to washington dc to get the money?
janet sara (3/30/2006 12:31:47 AM): what do u think we can use the money to do
janet sara (3/30/2006 12:31:58 AM): yea my love
zzinger205 (3/30/2006 12:32:12 AM): i cannot go to washington
janet sara (3/30/2006 12:32:51 AM): so now who we follow me there as my boyfriend
zzinger205 (3/30/2006 12:33:05 AM): why do you need a boyfriend? you don't
janet sara (3/30/2006 12:33:14 AM): that is what they told me
janet sara (3/30/2006 12:33:31 AM): do u have up to 100000$ in your account
zzinger205 (3/30/2006 12:33:37 AM): no
janet sara (3/30/2006 12:33:55 AM): like how much u have in your account
zzinger205 (3/30/2006 12:34:08 AM): why is that important?
janet sara (3/30/2006 12:34:23 AM): i dnt know
zzinger205 (3/30/2006 12:34:57 AM): you ask some strange questions janet
zzinger205 (3/30/2006 12:35:09 AM): i don't have a lot of money if that is what you want
janet sara (3/30/2006 12:35:12 AM): ok my love
janet sara (3/30/2006 12:35:19 AM): ok
zzinger205 (3/30/2006 12:35:20 AM): you are better off finding a rich man
janet sara (3/30/2006 12:35:27 AM): no
janet sara (3/30/2006 12:35:29 AM): am not
janet sara (3/30/2006 12:35:35 AM): i really want u
janet sara (3/30/2006 12:35:53 AM): i cant wait to fuck u
zzinger205 (3/30/2006 12:36:43 AM): why would you want to fuck me without having met me?
janet sara (3/30/2006 12:37:05 AM): that is what am telling u that when am with u
janet sara (3/30/2006 12:37:29 AM): i have to go now
zzinger205 (3/30/2006 12:38:32 AM): ok
janet sara (3/30/2006 12:38:43 AM): give me a kissing
zzinger205 (3/30/2006 12:38:43 AM): when are you coming to florida?
janet sara (3/30/2006 12:39:02 AM): i told u like 2 weeks now
janet sara (3/30/2006 12:39:21 AM): am going now

janet sara (4/1/2006 12:30:26 PM): my love let us talk about the money i want to collect from the govement
zzinger205 (4/1/2006 12:30:31 PM): ok
janet sara (4/1/2006 12:30:56 PM): so my love what do u think we can use the money to do when we collect the money
zzinger205 (4/1/2006 12:31:22 PM): this is your money Janet. It's your decision
janet sara (4/1/2006 12:31:34 PM): no
zzinger205 (4/1/2006 12:31:40 PM): yes
janet sara (4/1/2006 12:31:43 PM): is our money
zzinger205 (4/1/2006 12:31:47 PM): no: your money
janet sara (4/1/2006 12:31:58 PM): are u not my lover
zzinger205 (4/1/2006 12:31:59 PM): i don't want it..it's yours
zzinger205 (4/1/2006 12:32:27 PM): i am different janet. i am not about money
janet sara (4/1/2006 12:32:41 PM): i know my love
zzinger205 (4/1/2006 12:33:17 PM): you need to figure out what you want to do with your life and where you want to live
zzinger205 (4/1/2006 12:33:31 PM): that's how you decide what to do with your money
janet sara (4/1/2006 12:33:55 PM): my love dnt talk like that again
janet sara (4/1/2006 12:35:28 PM): so where is your car
zzinger205 (4/1/2006 12:35:35 PM): outside
janet sara (4/1/2006 12:35:51 PM): how many do u have '
zzinger205 (4/1/2006 12:35:54 PM): 1
janet sara (4/1/2006 12:36:18 PM): ok my master
janet sara (4/1/2006 12:36:23 PM): are u the owne of the house
zzinger205 (4/1/2006 12:36:26 PM): no
janet sara (4/1/2006 12:36:28 PM): is it your house ?
zzinger205 (4/1/2006 12:36:30 PM): no
zzinger205 (4/1/2006 12:36:36 PM): i rent
janet sara (4/1/2006 12:36:57 PM): so where is yours
zzinger205 (4/1/2006 12:36:58 PM): i really think you need a man with a lot of money to take good care of you...
zzinger205 (4/1/2006 12:37:14 PM): it seems this is what you seek
janet sara (4/1/2006 12:37:21 PM): no my love
zzinger205 (4/1/2006 12:37:40 PM): you ask many questions about my car, house and bank account..this is not customary
zzinger205 (4/1/2006 12:38:28 PM): i wish i knew your true story janet
zzinger205 (4/1/2006 12:38:39 PM): i wish you could be totally honest with me
janet sara (4/1/2006 12:39:34 PM): am honest
janet sara (4/1/2006 12:39:40 PM): i told to sorry
janet sara (4/1/2006 12:40:00 PM): i will no ask u any qesution again
zzinger205 (4/1/2006 12:40:46 PM): there are so many men here in miami with lots of cars and houses and money..why don't you try to hook up with them?
janet sara (4/1/2006 12:41:38 PM): no i dnt like that
zzinger205 (4/1/2006 1:58:42 PM): what do you like to eat, Janet?
zzinger205 (4/1/2006 1:58:53 PM): what are some of your favorites?
janet sara (4/1/2006 1:59:01 PM): wow
janet sara (4/1/2006 1:59:03 PM): and u
zzinger205 (4/1/2006 1:59:55 PM): you don't seem to understand some of my questions..how come?
janet sara (4/1/2006 2:00:15 PM): i understand
janet sara (4/1/2006 2:00:27 PM): see rice and beans
janet sara (4/1/2006 2:00:36 PM): that is for best food

zzinger205 (4/4/2006 10:33:24 PM): tell me about your day. what did you do?
janet sara (4/4/2006 10:33:40 PM): am just sleeping
janet sara (4/4/2006 10:33:55 PM): my love i dnt want to tell u what happen to me
zzinger205 (4/4/2006 10:34:22 PM): you can tell me anything
janet sara (4/4/2006 10:34:38 PM): i cant find my boss again
janet sara (4/4/2006 10:35:01 PM): he has run away with all my money that the company give us
zzinger205 (4/4/2006 10:35:41 PM): what do yo mean run away?
janet sara (4/4/2006 10:36:11 PM): i cant see him again
zzinger205 (4/4/2006 10:36:17 PM): why?
janet sara (4/4/2006 10:36:33 PM): i dnt know
zzinger205 (4/4/2006 10:36:42 PM): what is the name of your company. i'll call them for you
janet sara (4/4/2006 10:36:44 PM): he has pack all is load
janet sara (4/4/2006 10:36:58 PM): can u call them now
zzinger205 (4/4/2006 10:37:10 PM): where are they located?
janet sara (4/4/2006 10:37:34 PM): +\2348056918832
janet sara (4/4/2006 10:37:42 PM): 2348056918832
zzinger205 (4/4/2006 10:37:55 PM): what is your company name?
janet sara (4/4/2006 10:38:28 PM): FTOM
zzinger205 (4/4/2006 10:39:08 PM): can you spell it out for me?
janet sara (4/4/2006 10:39:13 PM): call them now
janet sara (4/4/2006 10:39:32 PM): F T OM
janet sara (4/4/2006 10:39:52 PM): call them now
zzinger205 (4/4/2006 10:40:26 PM): what do you want me to say?
janet sara (4/4/2006 10:40:58 PM): just tell them about my boss that u are my hushand
zzinger205 (4/4/2006 10:41:22 PM): what country is that?
janet sara (4/4/2006 10:41:43 PM): nigeria
zzinger205 (4/4/2006 10:42:05 PM): i thought you worked for a miami company?
janet sara (4/4/2006 10:42:24 PM): no
zzinger205 (4/4/2006 10:43:45 PM): why don't you call the police?
janet sara (4/4/2006 10:44:12 PM): they cant find him
zzinger205 (4/4/2006 10:44:35 PM): i am sure they will. he can't hide forever
janet sara (4/4/2006 10:44:48 PM): i know that
janet sara (4/4/2006 10:45:02 PM): they told me he in south africa
zzinger205 (4/4/2006 10:46:13 PM): who told you?
janet sara (4/4/2006 10:46:23 PM): the police men
zzinger205 (4/4/2006 10:46:37 PM): why don't you have the police call your office?: or better yet, go there
janet sara (4/4/2006 10:47:06 PM): i told is only me and him that work only in the office in FL
zzinger205 (4/4/2006 10:48:09 PM): what is his name?
janet sara (4/4/2006 10:49:06 PM): robert
zzinger205 (4/4/2006 10:49:24 PM): what is his last name?
janet sara (4/4/2006 10:50:46 PM): cooper
zzinger205 (4/4/2006 10:51:25 PM): there is no phone where?
janet sara (4/4/2006 10:51:41 PM): at the office in FL
janet sara (4/4/2006 10:51:51 PM): he has lock it up
zzinger205 (4/4/2006 10:52:04 PM): you told me before his name was richard
janet sara (4/4/2006 10:52:26 PM): richard cooper
zzinger205 (4/4/2006 10:52:41 PM): you just told me his name was robert
janet sara (4/4/2006 10:53:45 PM): they dnt have office here
janet sara (4/4/2006 10:53:53 PM): we juat come a modelling
janet sara (4/4/2006 10:57:38 PM): i want to go and sleep now
zzinger205 (4/4/2006 10:58:21 PM): sweet dreams
janet sara (4/4/2006 10:58:22 PM): am just think about how i will get back to state

janet sara (4/5/2006 2:29:05 PM): i have not eating abything seen
janet sara (4/5/2006 2:29:26 PM): anything
zzinger205 (4/5/2006 2:29:43 PM): why
janet sara (4/5/2006 2:29:54 PM): i have no money to eat
zzinger205 (4/5/2006 2:30:11 PM): maybe u can find work
janet sara (4/5/2006 2:30:41 PM): here?
zzinger205 (4/5/2006 2:30:45 PM): yes
janet sara (4/5/2006 2:31:06 PM): there is no work
zzinger205 (4/5/2006 2:33:41 PM): janet, people must work in nigeria. there must be jobs there
janet sara (4/5/2006 2:34:17 PM): my love can u help me with just 120$ to eat
zzinger205 (4/5/2006 2:34:43 PM): you're gonna need to find another man to send you money
janet sara (4/5/2006 2:34:55 PM): no
zzinger205 (4/5/2006 2:35:01 PM): someone not as smart as me
janet sara (4/5/2006 2:35:08 PM): no
zzinger205 (4/5/2006 2:35:12 PM): am sorry
janet sara (4/5/2006 2:35:14 PM): there si no problem
zzinger205 (4/5/2006 2:35:41 PM): i've known all along that you would eventually ask me for money
zzinger205 (4/5/2006 2:36:09 PM): if the government owes you $100,000, wny don't you go get it?
janet sara (4/5/2006 2:36:26 PM): i cant get it here
zzinger205 (4/5/2006 2:36:52 PM): have them send you a ticket and they can take the money out of what they owe you
zzinger205 (4/5/2006 2:37:37 PM): i am sorry i don't believe all of your stories
janet sara (4/5/2006 2:37:37 PM): not worry
zzinger205 (4/5/2006 2:37:45 PM): you need to find a new man that will believe you
janet sara (4/5/2006 2:37:46 PM): ?
janet sara (4/5/2006 2:38:00 PM): ok bye
zzinger205 (4/5/2006 2:38:16 PM): good luck janet sara tammy

Now I suppose I’m not alone and there must be all sorts of scamming going on out there in the world of internet. This isn’t the first time either this sort of thing has happened to me. Aaah, P.T. What a smart man you were to come up with that quote so many years ago. I qualify. But I just wonder how the heck they can see that lollipop stick coming out from the top of my head because, mirror mirror, I can’t see it.


  • I would have stopped talking after she initially said "to make love?" after you proposed meeting. Done. Period. Move on.

    By Blogger Amy, at 9:14 AM, April 13, 2006  

  • As a virgin blogger, I suppose I have a responsibility to myself and my future reputation to write something super witty and entertaining here. But, truth be told, Plantman, all I can think of is that if you were standing in front of me, I'd pull a Cher on your ass - "Snap out of it!"
    (Love, your favorite tw*t)

    By Blogger Eatapeach, at 9:22 AM, April 13, 2006  

  • I get emails like that at least once a day. "Dear Sir/Madame. My husband died and I need your help in collecting $1.5 billion"

    This was quite an entertaining post! Thanks! :-)

    By Blogger Elle, at 11:56 AM, April 13, 2006  

  • I know Amy but then I'd have nothing to write about. Elle, sometimes it takes them a while to get to the point. Cuz, welcome and thanks for the comment. I thought you didn't make movie quotes?

    By Blogger Plantation, at 11:51 PM, April 13, 2006  

  • Oh my, and I thought P.T. had written that quote just for me! I'd laugh out loud...but I'm afraid my own stories are just as foolish!

    The scary thing? People continue to try this stuff implying that there are people who keep falling for it.

    By Blogger Elizabeth, at 12:45 AM, April 14, 2006  

  • WOW. I am beside myself on this PT. I do not see how you keep your cool with people like this. I would have LOST it.

    There are people out there with major mental health problems and it is frightening.

    I met someone on match dot com once and it was the worst thing I ever did. Nearly married a scammer. Nearly ruined my life.
    So of course, my advice is steer clear of that damn site.

    Get you a nice church girl. :) And NEVER Send a girl money!

    By Blogger Amanda, at 5:39 AM, April 14, 2006  

  • Hahahaha, ho ho HAHAHA....

    Wait, wait.....it is ok to laugh, right? I mean, y'know I am not laughing at you, right?
    The whole thing just cracked me up. Thanks for the giggle.

    By Blogger catsteevens, at 2:22 PM, April 17, 2006  

  • ((Sigh))

    While the popsickle stick may be invisible, I'm afraid that kindness is readily apparent, even on line. I can tell it about you already, after having only read a few posts, so I imagine a scam artist can pick up on it rather quickly as well. Too bad this is a quality that is so often mistaken for weakness...

    Don't lose it, though! Just pair t with some old fashioned street smarts and you should be able to avoid these situations in the future.

    And hey - it makes from some great blog material, right??

    Thanks for stopping by my page, BTW - any friend of Island Girl is welcome any time!

    By Anonymous Hill, at 6:51 AM, April 18, 2006  

  • They say nice guys finish last. If that truly is the case, our poor Plantman is doomed. For those of you who haven't had the pleasure of meeting him in the flesh, I can personally attest to the fact that he is just about the nicest, most considerate, funny, witty, charming, loving, honest, accomodating, generous, and genuine people I have ever come across.

    By Blogger Eatapeach, at 9:51 AM, April 18, 2006  

  • Damnit, I was just going to swing by and say thanks for checking me out and that the Italian government owes me 19,000,000 Euro but I need a bank account to deposit it into. But you're already one up. Meanwhile (apologies for the delay, never a moment to breathe here), I'm in Italy getting the whole Expat thing out of my system. Again. Fortunately, it worked this time and I'm on my way back to the States. To be a starving student. Such is life...

    By Blogger olivia, at 10:48 AM, April 18, 2006  

  • Olivia, are you sure you're not coming back because you miss your Yankees? Thanks Hill for your kind words and welcome. Cuz, you musta caught me on a really good day. You're too kind, thanks.

    By Blogger Plantation, at 8:56 PM, April 18, 2006  

  • Bwhahahaha.

    I'm sorry, I haven't commented in ages.

    But I had to.

    I couldn't help it.

    And now I can't stop typing.

    Me no speaka de englishe.

    So sorry.

    By Anonymous Emily, at 10:17 PM, May 09, 2006  

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