Say Cheese! The Dating App Scam

Dating apps. They’re pretty normal by today’s standards, but go back 15 years and it’s essentially walking down the halls of your high school, shoving each person you pass to the left or to the right, loudly stating whether you find them attractive or not.

For those of you not familiar with how dating apps work, here’s a quick rundown:

First you download your app of choice and create a profile, specifying what you’re looking for (gender, age range, and proximity are some of the basics).  Second, upload several photos that make you look cuter, younger, stronger, thinner or more adventurous than you really are. Third, add a short bio, maybe stating a few hobbies, likes/dislikes, etc. Then the game begins and your phone is flooded with people who meet your criteria.

Most apps follow the same module; swipe one direction (oftentimes right) if you’re interested, and the opposite direction if you’re not. If you “swipe right” on someone and they swipe right on you, you’re both alerted that you’ve liked each other and a private chat is created. Without this mutual “right-swipe” there’s oftentimes no way to contact those you see on the app.

The dating app Hinge, where I met Neveah Hollowman, my most recent scammer, is a little different. In this app, if you like someone (aka swipe right), that person is immediately notified and shown your profile. They can then decide if they’d like to start a private chat with you, or ignore you and send you back out on the hunt with your tail between your legs.

I knew Neveah’s profile was a fake the second I started reading her poorly worded bio, and assumed her name was an attempt at spelling “Heaven” backwards, which I have seen before, but was spelled wrong.

Let’s dive right in. Go ahead and take a minute to pop some popcorn, grab a box of tissues and get ready for a tale of two lovebirds like you’ve never read before.

FIRST: THE HINGE PROFILE

Profile

As soon as I read “boon nc” with no caps or punctuation my scam senses started tingling. The fact that Neveah was looking for travel tips to a small town of 18,000 people in rural North Carolina instead of the stereotypical “European road trip” tips you usually see on dating apps didn’t help her cause. I started licking my lips when I read her job was a “Dollar Tree Cashier at At A Store” and was in full-blown ALL HANDS ON DECK, WE’VE GOT A SCAMMER mode when I read “I had a daughter,you want me,you bettet want my daughter too.”

I quickly liked Neveah’s profile picture in hopes she’d accept my request and start a chat with me. It took all but two minutes for her to accept and start a chat…

#1

I figured if Neveah knew anything about Utah she’d call me out on my lie saying I was soaking up some sun on the beaches of the Great Salt Lake, but she skipped right over that to tell me she was indoors watching TV.

She wasted no time wanting to exchange phone numbers, so I gave her the digits to the Google Voice account I set up solely to troll scammers and quickly changed my voicemail greeting to match the backstory I was already creating in my head…

Picking a mask (my photo identity) for this scam was going to be tricky seeing how Neveah had already seen several of my real pictures on the app. I unmatched with her the second we exchanged phone numbers so she couldn’t go back to my profile, but I still needed to pick someone who somewhat resembled me.

I’ve had a few friends over the years tell me I look like comedian/ actor Brett Gelman, so decided he’d be the perfect mask…

Side-By-Side

And now to the text messages…

1

It was a good thing I’d already picked a mask because Neveah wasted no time asking me for more photos. Here’s the picture I sent her…

(NOTE: I will add all the pictures Neveah and I exchanged full-sized in between the text messages so you get the full effect).

IMG_7678.JPG

2

Neveah clearly wasn’t prepared for me to ask for three photos. I’m assuming her saying she’d send “pic i some min times” was a stalling tactic, giving her a few minutes to load up on more pictures from the account she’d stolen the rest from…

3

“You’re not TOO ugly…” I’m all about the backhanded compliments. Here’s the picture I responded to Neveah with…

IMG_7682

4

The key is to make myself sound dumb and gullible early on, to get Neveah fired up to scam me, thinking I’m going to be an easy target…

5

IMG_7683

Show me someone who says Brett Gelman doesn’t have sex appeal and I’ll show you a liar. (I have to constantly tell myself that because I look like him…)

6

Again, with a backhanded compliment…

7

I had never heard of Schnucks before so quickly Googled it and learned it’s a small supermarket chain with 100 locations in 5 states in the midwest.

8

IMG_7684

Simple solution, right? Almost like it was meant to be. Problem solved.

Neveah didn’t respond for quite some time, presumably because she was investigating the Schnucks Membership Perks Program, so I text her again…

9

Suggesting a McDonalds 1st date to my Hinge matches hasn’t ever worked out for me, but maybe it would bring fake-me better luck?

10

I was literally falling asleep when Neveah asked for my 3rd picture and I couldn’t be bothered to take the time to crop the photo so it wasn’t so blatantly obvious it was a screenshot, but something told me she wouldn’t notice…

IMG_7686

I quickly sent Neveah the picture, sent one more text message, and went to bed…

11

Several straight-up backhands, rather than backhanded compliments this time.

I text Neveah the following morning with some very good news…

12

Here’s the picture I text Neveah of the said cheeses…

Cheese

She quickly replied…

13

Neveah was insistent on me sending her an Amazon gift card, but I knew this game: I’d scratch the strip on the back of the card revealing the numbers, send her a picture of the scratched card and the receipt, and she’d transfer the balance to another gift card and disappear forever. I had to keep that from happening. I’ve learned from my past scammer encounters that I can keep them on the line longer if I promise to send them even more money than they were originally asking for…

14

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This took a lot longer to Photoshop than it should have, because I kept laughing at the ridiculousness of the photo. Cheese me looks so happy to be doing what he loves.

15

It looks like my subtle backhanded compliments weren’t as subtle as I thought, but Neveah promised to show up on my doorstep like a stray dog nonetheless…

16

Neveah started laying the love talk on extra thick once I offered to get her a $200 Amazon gift card instead of one for $100. She’d taken the bait and was all-in on scamming me now…

17

Mark my words; I will use the pickup line “I really felt so lightened inside that I melted” on a girl before I die.

18

I quickly text Neveah a picture of Schnucks so she could see I was serious about sending her an Amazon gift card…

Schnucks Store

19

Neveah insisted that the Amazon card wasn’t a physical card, then text me another unsolicited picture she’d stolen, so I sent her this…

Screen Shot 2018-10-04 at 9.40.35 PM copy

20

I couldn’t be bothered to create a new email address to email Neveah from, seeing how most of this scam was happening though text messages, so I just used the account I created for my last scam, Don Breeze and the Mormon Missionaries.

21

Neveah seemed a little confused by the Amazon gift card application I’d asked her to fill out…

22

I checked my inbox and pulled the application answers Neveah had replied with…

23

I didn’t reply for a few hours so Neveah could sit and wonder what was going on…

23

Clearly the intricacies of cheese pasteurizing is a lot longer than a 6-hour conversation, Neveah.

25

Schnucks

Joe Ingles is one of my all-time favourite Jazzmen and kinda looks like he’d manage a Walgreen’s knockoff if he wasn’t a professional basketball player, so I knew he’d make the perfect Robert Schnuck. If you’re not familiar with Jinglin’ Joe, you can educate yourself HERE.

26

Dating 101: Relation can’t work out if you don’t trust.

27

Neveah quickly responded to the questionnaire I’d sent her in an attempt to get to know her better, and had some well-crafted responses…

28

Sending these questionnaires is my favorite part of my scam encounters and Neveah’s answers did not disappoint. I especially liked her copy + paste answer on her job description. It was the first coherent sentence she’d constructed since we began talking.

29

30

Neveah was getting a little longwinded with these trust texts so I thought we might be better off having this conversation in person…

31

“This is suppose to be in between us not a public interview” is literally how I feel on 90% of my Hinge dates…

32

I left Neveah hanging all day so she text me again…

33

I literally laughed out loud after Neveah poured out her heart, saying that she wanted to be in my arms forever and forever and never let go, only to get a two-word reply.

34

Fun Fact: the phrase “You don’t need to be in sorrow” has legitimately crossed my mind several times when I’ve been sad and it always cheers me up. Thanks, Neveah.

I ignored Neveah’s offer to cheer me up, so she text me first thing the next morning…

35

“Are you OK now Brandon? Good. So, about those Amazon gift cards…”

36

I text Neveah a picture once I arrived at the Schnucks store…

Schnucks2

37

Two $100 cards instead of one $100 card. Surely I couldn’t screw this up…

38

“Funny you dear…” 

39

Cheese_Cards

40

Back_of_Cheese_Card

Ahh yes, Amazon’s infamous Cheese Cards. I knew Neveah would be thrilled.

41

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Neveah had everything she needed to finish her con, but wasn’t quite sure how to redeem the gift card…

Some will say three hours is too long to create an Amazon Cheese Account but I say it’s not long enough. I want that system to know me better than I know myself and know EXACTLY what kind of cheese I want before I even know what kind of cheese I want.

It had been a few hours since I’d heard from Neveah, presumably because her head was spinning with this new Amazon Cheese Account information, so I text her again…

I love that of all the obscure Terms and Conditions on the back of the card, “this card is not exchangeable” was the one that stood out to Neveah…

She quickly replied with this screenshot of the error she received when trying to withdraw money from the completely made up Amazon Cheese Card system I’d implemented 20 minutes earlier…

Neveah decided that the 152 steps needed to steal my money was about 151 steps too many for her…

A day went by and I hadn’t heard back from her so I text again…

Neveah had just learned of an Amazon-run portal dedicated entirely to cheese, and her main hang-up was my receipt not having the date and time of purchase…

Side note: This might be my favorite picture I’ve ever sent a scammer. I rock that sweater quite well, if I do say so myself.

It looked like things were falling into place for Neveah and I to finally be together!

Neveah quickly text me a pictures of the iTunes card she was asking me to buy so I wouldn’t screw things up like I did with the Amazon cards…

I knew Neveah was trying to do the same thing; have me buy an iTunes card, send her a picture of the scratched off security info and reciept, then she’d transfer the balance to another card and disappear. I wasn’t about to let that happen…

Wrapping all our gift cards like presents allows us to massively overcharge. It’s the Disney way.

Neveah’s emoji game was strong as she felt her scam was about to finally payout…

And the backs of the cards…

I made sure the Disney Toons receipt had the date and time listed. It wasn’t the correct date or time, but hey, it was there.

Neveah was taking her sweet time replying so I text her more details about the top-selling Disney Toons cards…

There I go taking decisions on my own again…

I don’t mess with my man feelings either, Neveah.

Amazon Gift Card — Nope.
iTunes Gift Card — Nope.
Maybe I’d have better luck with Western Union?

I couldn’t tell if Neveah’s “my genius baby” comment was sincere or passive aggressive…

I was at my real job (not my pretend Disney Store job) and couldn’t respond to Neveah, so a few hours later she text me again…

I didn’t text Neveah back that night (as I occasionally live a real life outside my made up scammer lives), and woke up to two texts first thing the next morning…

60

It was incredibly rude of Neveah’s uncle James Morrow to pull a no-show, with how desperate she seemed for my money. No wonder she wanted out of Arizona so bad.

61

A few hours later, I responded…

62

“Chat you up” is a HIGHLY underused phrase for how much chatting up is actually happening online these days.

63

Turns out I didn’t need to wait for Neveah’s uncle at the Money Gram, I just needed to “fill the sendinh money slip.”

64

I love that Neveah didn’t call me out on my Verizon lie when the screenshot clearly showed it was the service provider I used.

Later that night, I text Neveah back…

65

30 minutes later, I responded…

66a

Neveah quickly checked her email and found this in her inbox…

WU_Application

66b

Neveah quickly text me a screenshot of the form I was supposed to fill out…

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Clearly Neveah hadn’t used Western Union before or else she’d know an application asking for arrest records and the last time you were pulled over was standard procedure.

67

My patience for Neveah’s inability to grasp this simple money sending process was wearing thin…

68

I had a feeling this picture would make everything BETTER NOW, once Neveah realized this wasn’t all just a BIG LIE.

Posty_Counter

After texting Neveah the picture I’d taken at Western Union I sent her more detailed instructions…

69

I was a little surprised Neveah picked up on the matching counters. All my other scammers have been so focused on stealing my money that they didn’t notice those obvious giveaways right in front of their greedy little eyes.

70

It definitely was an old Post Malone pic I gat there…

71

I figured I could confuse Neveah and keep her on the line by quoting a bunch of random Post Malone lyrics, and I figured right…

72

I wasn’t really sure why Neveah thought another picture would prove I was/wasn’t who I claimed to be. It’s not like I couldn’t instantly steal one from the internet like we’d both already been doing all along. But just to appease her, I sent this…

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After sending Neveah my candid roommate dinner-date selfie I quickly text her…

73

I let Neveah sweat things out overnight and text her the next morning…

74

I got the feeling that Neveah was suspicious of me so figured I’d better send as many pictures as possible to put her mind to rest, so text her this…

Disney Store

75

Neveah didn’t reply right away in her typical desperate fashion so I figured something was up. A while later, she text me this…

Google_Search

She’d actually taken the time to do a Google image search for the Disney Store in Salt Lake City and track down the exact picture I’d stolen and claimed to have taken myself.

87

“You are not so good in lying…” Well, I’ve had about 40,000 people visit this site to read my lies, Neveah. So I might be a little better at it than you think…

77

I felt like Neveah was about to give up on me so thought I’d try some reverse psychology and really drive home accusations of her of lying to me, in hopes she’d keep going along with the scam just to try and prove to me she was real…

78

Neveah wasn’t quite ready to give up on *love just yet…

*my money

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Gift_Certificate

80

Walmart Document

Things were really looking up for a “Brandon and Neveah together forever” storybook ending…

81

A few hours went by and Neveah hadn’t responded (I like to imagine she was banging her head against a wall), so I text her again…

82

Walmart Counter

Still no reply from Neveah so I went into more unnecessary detail on the lowly Walmart employee, Gordon Haywood

83

Finally Neveah responded…

84

Neveah’s growing frustrations were taking her poor grammar and terrible punctuation to a new level…

85

Amazon Gift Card — Nope.
iTunes Gift Card — Nope.
Western Union –Nope.
Walmart Money Transfer — Nope.
Would RIA finally be the winner?

86

Humanity 101: Don’t go avusing people you’ve never met. Instead “you should some respect.”

87

Neveah wasn’t convinced I’d find a “normal way” to send money so instantly text me this…

Ria

88

I didn’t reply to Neveah again that night and text her the next morning…

89

RIA

A short while later (after some disturbing research on Neveah’s new uncle), I text her again…

90

I won’t go into detail on what I found on Neveah’s uncle but lets just say there were pages and pages of reasons why he couldn’t ever live next to a park or school…

Here’s the picture I sent Neveah of proof that I’d sent her the money and not her sicko uncle…

Ria Payment

91

iTunes_Card

Amazon Gift Card — Nope.
iTunes Gift Card — Nope.
Western Union –Nope.
Walmart Money Transfer — Nope.
RIA Money Transfer — Nope.
Now we were back to Amazon and iTunes Gift Cards…

92

Nevah’s head was spinning, trying to come up with a reason why she couldn’t collect the money I’d sent her (other than the obvious reason that she was as fake as an Amazon Cheese Account).

93

For someone so confident in their knowledge of the various money sending platforms, Neveah was struggling to understand that I’d sent the money to her and not her pedophile uncle.

94

Neveah clearly wasn’t getting this, so I figured it was the perfect time to throw Amazon Cheese Accounts back into the mix…

RIA_Tracking

All the payment tracking info was right there in front of Neveah, clear as mud. I knew she’d be happy I took control of the situation and sent the payment directly to her…

95

I guess I was wrong… Sometimes I hate when I make decisions on my own too, Neveah.

96

I really didn’t know if Neveah would reply again, so I quickly dangled this money carrot of endless gift cards in front of her eyes…

Gift Cards

Fun Game: Pause for one second and carefully study the picture above and see if you can guess which gift card Neveah was destined to receive. Winner gets a free Disney Toons card on me.

97

Neveah quickly sent three pictures of the iTunes card I was to buy her so I couldn’t screw things up…

iTunes_1

iTunes_2

iTunes_3

An hour later, I responded…

98

I just about died when I opened my phone and saw my local news station tweeting about cheese.

Cheese_Tweet

Neveah quickly replied…

99

Neveah’s heart was racing. I’d FINALLY bought three iTunes cards and was about to scratch the backs so she could steal my money and be done with my cheese-loving self.

100

I wanted to make absolutely sure I got things right this time, so text Neveah pictures of the three iTunes cards I’d purchased…

Posty_Cards3

Posty_Card

I thought she’d be thrilled. I thought wrong…

101

Neveah wasn’t thrilled with my photography skills and wasn’t convinced I’d bought the right cards so text me a picture of the back of an iTunes card again…

102

FINALLY. I was scratching the cards and Neveah’s long, stressful scam was about to pay off. Nothing could go wrong now…

103

iTunes

At least I was holding the cards though, right? No more boring countertop. She’d have to at least be happy about that…

104

A baby wouldn’t have scratched these cards any better, Neveah.

Cards1

105

Three_iTunes_Cards

Amazon Gift Card — Nope.
iTunes Gift Card — Nope.
Western Union –Nope.
Walmart Money Transfer — Nope.
RIA Money Transfer — Nope.
iTunes Gift Card Round 2 — Nope.

106

Neveah quickly joined every other girl I’ve crossed paths with from Hinge in deciding she “don’t want me no more” but I wasn’t going anywhere until she told me when I lied to her…

107

Neveah text me the most beautiful message I’d ever received from a scammer, so clearly I had to Google it and see where she’d stolen it from. I found this and sent it to her…

Love_Poem

Oh Neveah, you’re so busted. It looks like I’m not the only one “not so good in lying.” 

108

I could see the door quickly closing on this scam so thought I’d offer to send money one more time…

109

Neveah wanted picture proof that I was at a MoneyGram and picture proof is what she got…

MoneyGram_Counter

If Neveah decided she didn’t want my $300, I was committed to buying 256 copies of Cupid Love Poems, Volume 2 (as advertised at the MoneyGram) and distributing them amongst my friends, because those words of beauty needed to flood the earth.

110

Amazon Gift Card — Nope.
iTunes Gift Card — Nope.
Western Union –Nope.
Walmart Money Transfer — Nope.
RIA Money Transfer — Nope.
iTunes Gift Card Round 2 — Nope.
MoneyGram — Nope.

111

It’s not a true Hinge experience until I receive mixed signals…

112

Neveah quickly replied by sending me the picture I’d just sent her…

MoneyGram_Counter

113

It doesn’t feel good to be ridiculed for your incompetent money-sending abilities, now does it Neveah?

114

As customary with all my scammers, I sent Neveah one last farewell message, kindly asking her to never contact me again. Kind of like an “it’s not you, it’s me” breakup message, if you will…

115

Neveah respected my wishes and never contacted me again. A few weeks after we ended our rocky relationship, an Instagram profile for Neveah Holloman popup as one of the recommended people to follow (probably because the phone number associated with her Instagram account was still saved in my phone).

I was saddened to see that she was still in business, preying on the innocent, and that business was good enough that she’d created an Instagram profile to further aid her scams. I find it crazy that people still fall for scams like these, with complete strangers asking for money transfers, but I hear of it happening all the time.

I think a good rule of thumb is; if a stranger asks you to wire them money, there’s a 95% chance they’re a scammer and a 5% chance they’re a time traveler from the early 1900’s, in dire trouble and unfamiliar with any other method of sending money. In either case, that’s not someone you want to get involved with.

I’ve said this at the end of all my other scams, so to keep with tradition, I’m saying it again: IF YOU FIND SOMETHING ONLINE THAT SEEMS TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE, IT PROBABLY IS. That goes for the slightly below average looking people you cross paths with on dating apps too.

I’ll never know what happened to Neveah Holloman, but in the end, everything worked out for the best. If she wasn’t willing to complete 152 simple steps to set up an Amazon Cheese Account, then she obviously wouldn’t be willing to fight for our love.

Plus, I didn’t want to share my $900 worth of cheese with her anyways.

Black_Card