Wednesday, August 13, 2008

The Funk

I was stupid. I acted without thinking. And I've been upset about the potential consequences ever since.

I was trying to be helpful, but that blew up in my face. I'm pretty sure I've learned a valuable lesson here, and perhaps you can too, so I'm sharing the story, even though it clearly illustrates my impetuous and silly stupid actions.

My older readers know that I moderate on a support site for parents of monoamniotic multiples. It has a relatively small membership base in comparison to other large twin support sites, because monoamniotic twins are so very rare. It's not a support site you'd just "happen upon" unless you are specifically searching for it.

When I was pregnant with my monoamniotic twins I didn't know anyone that had been through a pregnancy like mine. I was devastated that I might lose my babies, and I was dying inside knowing I would have to leave my family for an extended hospital stay should my babies survive to viability. I found this support site for parents like me and the information and support the members on the site provided were invaluable to me, especially while I was pregnant. I've always wanted to "give back" for that support, and thus, my role on the site now is different and more substantial than it was then.

Recently, a new member joined and just happened to be in the Portland area. She asked about doctors and hospitals and said she would appreciate it if I would call her as she was just. so. worried. I jumped at the chance to help someone locally and dialed her right up (she emailed me her number), even though as a rule, I do.not.use. the phone if I can help it. But that's a whole different post entirely.

I spoke with her, gave her my two cents and went on my way feeling a little uncomfortable like things just didn't add up with her. But that didn't stop me from passing her phone number along to another local monoamniotic mom who could help the woman more than I could. I left for vacation and kept thinking about the phone call. It was weird. Too many variables with red flags. When I returned things got weirder and I started to freak out a little. The woman had called my house repeatedly. Repeatedly. Like 4 times a day. She linked to my blog, she was too present in my business for my comfort. And, I had involved someone else.

I knew I had to tell my husband because at this point I knew without a doubt that she was lying about her monoamniotic pregnancy. She was hanging out at hospitals. She continued to call me and email me and post on the boards of the site I moderate. I felt like my hands were tied because I couldn't prove she was a faker (HIPPA), it was apparent she was contacting other members, and I was worried about the safety of my children, and others on the site. I didn't know if she was just a weirdo trying to get attention, or a potentially dangerous psychopath.

Have I mentioned yet that my husband was FURIOUS? Furious. I had to listen to him tell me all the things I already knew and that were eating me alive. And he was absolutely, positively right. With one thoughtless action I had potentially endangered my family. I did it with the best of intentions, but still I did it. I just wasn't thinking. I didn't know anything about this woman, and I called her without blocking my number.

This started in late June and finally came to a head last week. I had the proof that was needed to expose her lies (which again, is whole different post) and finally bit the bullet and without actually accusing her of fraud, accused her of fraud. I was nervous doing so because I didn't know what the backlash would be, but still I did it. I couldn't take it anymore.

I posted something like this:

"I am very surprised that you had time to edit the photos of your girls while you are still in the hospital recovering from an emergency C-Section.

Just so you know, you should adjust the color in your photos. The hospital where you delivered uses blue disposable surgical scrubs, not green cloth ones."

Within minutes she had deleted her posts AND her blog.

And no one has heard from her since.

I should have felt nothing but relief, but I've felt so much more. Sadness that something was carried so far. Sickness that someone would do something like that. Depression that I was so foolish. In a FUNK because I just don't want to believe people like this exist and I managed to expose myself to one of them.

Moral of the story? Don't do what I did. It was stupid. And naive.

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98 comments:

Casey's trio said...

How horrifying. I don't know what's wrong with people. Sadly, you are not the first person that I know this has happened too.

Melissa said...

Not stupid and naive, open and trusting. If the worst thing you ever do is give someone the benefit of the doubt you should be good.

I'm glad you were able to call this person out and finally get a resolution and a feeling of peace about the situation.

Cayle said...

its not entirely your fault.
helping someone is something you dont think other wise.
you dont automatically think that this could be bad or they could be lying [unless you been through it before]. You stepped up and helped them not everyone out there is bad, yet there are people. Now you have more of an understanding in which you wouldn't have had before. This and just this does not mean that everyone is lying so dont beat yourself up over it. You regret, it could have been worse[which is horrifying to think of i know]but thank god it wasn't, and learn. Which i have from reading this.
The thought of you standing up to them lets me know your strong so i know this will be something you look back on and have greater understanding about it.

Elizabeth said...

Thank you so much for sharing this situation with us all to remind us to be careful. What a great way to call her out. You do a great job and a great service on the momo site and have helped countless families. It's sad that there are people like her who will take advantage of others.

Jacki said...

Honestly, you shouldn't be so hard on yourself. You were just helping someone out who you thought needed support.

You can't assume that everyone you meet that way is going to turn out to be so crazy!

Perhaps she needs some mental health support?

mannequin said...

Angie,
Seems that you had no reason NOT to trust her at the beginning. Who would think??
I too have been told I was naive but at least you picked up on clues and when confronted with evidence, were able to call it.
You were like a real live SPY Angie! I'm impressed!
And as far as the phone... do tell us more, please. I'm just the same. Why do you think God made answering machines, duh?

Carrie said...

What an amazing yet painful story. Thanks for sharing it even though I'm sure it's difficult. I too often want to help others and I really don't consider the safety issues. Thank you for yor honesty and for reminding me of how I need to "think" before I "act." Glad for your safety and strength to do what is right!

Neil said...

Oh, Angie - I am so sorry this happened to you. You bring an incredible gift to the monoamniotic community and I hate that you've been taken advantage of. Anyone else would have probably done exactly what you did in that situation - offered help to someone who appeared to need it. Any of us that have been pregnant with momos have that same need to "give back" - it's not your fault one callous individual felt the need to tell such a horrific lie. I, too, am impressed and proud that you were able to expose her before it got even more out-of-hand.

My name is Tammie said...

Oh God Angie! I am so sorry. That is terrifying. I am sad that people are that sick. I am sad that people really dont get how invasive and scary all that is. And I am sad that you are so upset. I hope your funk fades. I know many that have fallen for fakers. I can link you if you like to Cathy. Her story even made Nightline and World News Tonight. Fakers are horrible and I doubt they even realize the turmoil they cause. I am so sorry it has happened to you.

Mekhismom said...

Angie,
Please don't beat yourself up over this. You made a decision based on an impulse to help another person that needed help and based on your past experience you wanted to be there for her.

It is so difficult in this day and age because information is out there. Even if you had not called this woman if she really wanted to she could have found you.

Please just look at this as a lesson learned and don't let this keep you from helping other women in the future.

Amy said...

I'm so sorry. I really don't understand why someone would do this. It's just crazy. I hope that it is truly over. Please be careful.

Threeundertwo said...

Wow, that is really scary but I'm so impressed with the brilliant way you handled it. I'm so naive, I can't really imagine what she thought she was doing.

I'm not a phone person either, for a lot of reasons. Maybe we could post on the same day.

the schirano triplets said...

wow, what a crazy story...i will just never understand the desire to lie like that.

Lala said...

Well I guess we are just two peas of that same Funk pod! ...sigh In the end the right thing was done.
You are a strong women and so caring, Don't let this hold you back, continue doing all the great things you do!

Shannon said...

Hearing this again, I just feel for you. But I know first hand how valuable your support is. I would never have made it without you and I know there are so many more of us who feel the same way. Your contribution is huge and you are saving lives. It is a sad fact of life that some people are ill-intentioned and just ill in general. Please don't let the sickness of one person deter you or undermine all that you do. You are a special angel, never forget that!

Laurie said...

I totally feel for you. I guess I am stupid and naieve as well. I will try to email you my story. Smaller scale than yours but brings the same feelings. I'm glad you were able to stop her, atleast in your circle. It is horrible that people like that are out there.

Karen said...

There are so many good honest people terrified over the momo diagnosis that comes to the site. It is so sad that we always have to be on guard.
I am glad you posted what actually transpired. I wondered just what happened. I vaguely remember her postings.
You are such a valuable resource.
I guess we can all chalk this up to a Lesson Learned.
I am very trusting of people as well and if someone posted in my city I would certainly have done the same thing.

The Jensens said...

Angie that is so scary. Your "mistake" is all too common. What I'm worried about is that no one has heard from this woman but she still has access to your blog, etc. Do you think you'll go private?

Melissa said...

If you've learned something important and no one was hurt, it was worth the mistake so you can never do it again and also have a testimony of it's importance.

mandy said...

this story is so sad and so scary. but i'm thankful for the reminder that we should proceed with caution when making connections with others online.

thank you

Helene said...

That is really sad that someone took advantage of your helpful, generous nature. And it's even sadder that wierdos like that exist in our world. I'm a moderator on a message board and every once in awhile we come across some fruit loop who fakes a pregnancy or fakes the death of their baby. It disgusts me everytime we run across someone like this. I used to be very trusting too but now unfortunately b/c of these experiences I tend to be more doubtful when newbies come along.

Thanks for sharing your story!

Amy said...

We all want to be trusting to other people, I guess it just comes naturally, but I am the same way. Things like this happen to others all the time, so don't feel so bad. We learn from our mistakes. :)

Debra said...

I would not beat yourself up too much about it where you will no longer help people. SO many people have been helped by you (including me!) that it would be sad if this stopped you. I am sorry you had to go through this though. That is amazing that you were able to call her out on it by the color of the gloves.

And you are not the only one this has happened to! Something like this happened to me about 9 yrs ago.

Jaime said...

Wow Angie. I knew something was going on with the boards but I didn't know the specifics. That's crazy. That's such a hard situation, especially when there are so many of us (unique as we are) that really need the help and support. Thanks for the reminder about being cautious on the web!

Jaysi said...

Oh yuck!! I am so sorry that happened. It is a sad reminder that there are yucky people in this world who prey on those that are simply trying to extend a helping hand. I know you have helped so many people. Don't let this incident overshadow all the moms whose lives you have made that much better. I am glad it all turned out okay.

Quirky said...

I think we all do things like that at times...
We have good hearts, and want to do good things, and therefore we believe (with naivety) that everyone around us must be just as good.
You had great intentions and that should not be punished. It would be sad if we all just up-and-quit doing good deeds. I think having a little bit more of a filter on the recipients is the answer :)

I'm glad you called her out... I would've loved to see her face when she knew she had been caught!

Melissa said...

That is always one of my biggest worries about the internet. I already feel like I have compromised too much info, but what can you do? To quote the spunky and wise Hannah Montana, "Everybody makes mistakes, everybody has bad days. Nobody's perfect.";)

Live.Love.Eat said...

Hi Angie. I had to read this twice. I'm sorry someone took advantage of your good nature, and who is to know what her intentions were. You learned from it, but like others said, don't beat yourself up. And thanks for sharing your story. I was even at a loss as to what the danger was of you calling her, until you spelled it out, so this was a helpful reminder to me.

girlytwins said...

Angie I am so sorry to hear about how that horrible person took advantage of your kindness. I know from experience you are a very valuable asset to the monoamniotic family. I can relate with what you did too. I also acted really abruptly once, thankfully it did not turn out like your situation however my hubby was not happy none the less. He was not happy I had involved myself & our girls in such a situation. I feel such a strong connection to the women who find themselves in our 'momo' family that I too want to reach out & help.

It is really sad how some people prey on the kindness of others. I'm really sorry you had to be in the receiving end of this.

Laurie M. said...

Scary, but so not your fault. You thought you were helping another mom who was experiencing a situation just like you had. Good job confronting her. Hope she is gone for good.

Munchkins and Music said...

Holy crap! Thanks for your story. I am informed now!

MoziEsmé said...

I am totally trusting and would have probably done the same thing . . . Thanks for sharing and reminding some of us to be more careful, too.

Tiffany said...

So scary, that lady needs some serious mental evaluations. You did the right thing. You have every right to protect your family, and its a moral obligation to protect other people. Sorry you had to have such a negative experience that now can affect how you react to helping other mono moms seeking advice, well at least be really cautious. Love you.

Molly said...

I think the only thing that is sad is that you tried to help someone out and your trust was broken. It is a shame that we live in a world where we can't help people anymore, and that there are some out there who would lie for attention or other sinister purposes. I'm glad you called her out on it and I don't think you should worry anymore, you did the right thing trying to help someone but next time you will be more cautious.

Laurie said...

This whole thing makes me sick! First that someone would lie about this type of pregnancy and secondly that people like this exist and want attention.
I am like you and would have been on the phone immediately also to help someone.
When I joined CLIMB they warn people in the newsletter that people fake having stillborns. That just blows me away. The pain and heartache is nothing anyone wants to experience. I am at a loss for words.

Laura said...

You know how sorry I am this happened . It has taught me a lesson too. I have called and met several MOMO moms in person. Thankfully they are great. I know you won't let this stop any of the help you give. But how we do it is a whole different matter. It was and still is very upsetting to me that she did all this. I won't let one bad apple ruin the bunch. Nearly every member I have helped desperately needed it and benefited as well. I know your service, time and kindness have saved babies lives. That trumps any of what happened here!

Crazymamaof6 said...

totally scary crazy lady! you couldn't have known! and who doesn't want to meet people that they feel like they know, and want to help?

I'm careful about who i meet from blogging, always in a public place, and with other people.
just another good reason to be careful about how much info you give out. i have to remind new bloggers all the time, it's not safe to post names of schools, or addresses or even whole names.
just in case some person is crazy and over the top.

i hope this doesn't mean you won't want to meet me (in public) if i come to Portland this fall/winter. but i understand totally, if meeting me would be weird. or over your limit now.

Tiff said...

Angie I am so sorry you had to deal with that. BUT you are NOT stupid. I do the same thing all of the time, we are just too trusting! That was not your fault. Someone found something close to your heart and hit you where it hurts. Don't beat yourself up over this, it's not worth it! Thankfully she knows what she did and went away. Hang in there and let me know if you need anything!

Heather said...

Angie,

You did everything absolutely right. I just kept thinking about how far she would go? Keeping up the with lies is so motivating when you don't want to get caught. People get desperate. I wonder what she's got up her sleeve next.....

Kim said...

That is so disturbing to think people actually go to such great lengths to fake a pregnancy. She seriously needs help. I am so sorry you had to go thru this.

Rachel said...

Seriously! What is up with that woman! Talk about needing attention, but to do it with a faux pregnancy. WEIRD! I'm just glad everything turned out alright.
And I agree with the girls don't be so hard on yourself you really didn't know at first. But you were good and listened to your instincs.

Have a great day!!!

Bridget said...

I think you are being too hard on yourself. I would have done the same thing and tried to help, especially if I thought she lived near me and I could really help her.
She is obviously a very disturbed individual and I'm so glad you called her out before it got too serious. On a pregnancy board I was on a few years ago one woman contacted me saying we had the same due date, we were the same age, etc... and sent me "her" ultrasound pictures and it was actually a litter of dogs. Some people just do really weird things for attention.

Connie said...

So you have to stop beating yourself up about this...you bring so much good to all of us, and the one person that wasn't good shouldn't be allowed to end that...or make you feel bad about it. I totally get that excitement that comes with finding another momo mommy in your area. It is hard to resist. And I missed all of this goings on while I was on vacation...but I thought Erin went and visited her???? I understand your funk though...I hate to feel disappointed in humanity. I remember that one mom that had me TOTALLY getting into her names for her babies. It is a strange thing. I realize I am completeley rambling. Thanks for sharing this story.

jaisham said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Yes, my name is Arizona said...

That's really scary. I'm glad its resolved and its a great reminder for all of us to be careful what we post.

Stephanie said...

Angie,

Everyone has said all I can say. This is indeed a sick individual. Your involvement on the momo boards and your blog are so inspiring and supportive - and it's so disgusting to know there are people like this out there.

Was she really hanging out at hospitals, or did I miss something? Sicko.

Tash said...

What did you do wrong?? Expose her? I guess you got her out of your world...in a not so direct way but you made it known you thought she was a fraud. And as it turned out she folded her cards. I guess you must feel awful but why are you stupid and naive. What else could you have done in that situation? Ignored her if she was normal but since she was a stalker...you were just being nice so about putting your fam in harms way/?? I don't see what else you could have done??

Crazy Daisy said...

WOW! I'm happy everything turned out okay!

Scary Mommy said...

Oh, god. That's horrible. I'm sorry you dealt with that.

We had an eye opening experience with a babysitter a few years back. I will never post about it on my site because I don't want my kids to ever read it, but it was horrifying. And eye opening. I will never be so blindly trusting of sitters again. But it's a shitty lesson to learn.

Emily said...

SO WEIRD! Glad things turned out okay in the end. Good for you for pointing it out!

Jocasta said...

I sort of see it another way - I think you protected the mono families on the site by exposing her and making us aware that these things happen.

If someone is that mentally ill that they need to make up a high risk pregnancy, hang out at hospitals, and then try and fake a birth then to me sounds like she was pretty determined.

And you did do things - a warning about fakers was posted probably at the beginning of this and then your post was truly inspired.

I admire you and the support you give to others. I know that this will change the way you do somethings but I hope that it doesn't impact to much.

Kally said...

How awful. I am so sorry someone would take advantage of your trust and willingness to help others.

Are You Serious! said...

♥ Oh my gosh! What a weird and completely strange woman! It's so HARD to figure out what to do with this stuff!!! Especially when you're just trying to help someone out! I'm so sorry that you had to go through that. i would have been freaking out too! I'm so glad that things are looking better now!!!

Kristin said...

Have you thought about involving the police, like getting a stalking order on record? I don't know if you have enough info on her to do that, but it might scare her away from your family. And did you change your phone number? Sorry you have to go through this. Don't let it occupy your thoughts too much though, I truly believe that you can bring bad luck upon yourself just by thinking negatively all the time. That said, I'm sending you my positive energy!

And then there was 4... said...

Angie,
sorry that happened.

Rhea said...

We all make mistakes at some point or another, don't beat yourself up about it. You had good intentions, VERY good intentions. I'm sorry it didn't turn out well. Scary woman. :o(

Octamom said...

I am so sorry you have been through this...wow. I started blogging for a similar reason as yours, to be a support and help to people who have discovered that their child is hearing impaired. While I hate that you have been through this, I know your experience will not be wasted for those of us who may be tempted to open our hearts and info too much, all in a desire to help others.

Again, so sorry for this tough experience. Don't beat yourself up--you were just operating out of compassion and openness. We will all benefit from your experience and advice.

Blessings!

Kimmers said...

Wow - scary the lengths some people will go to for a little attention! I'm sorry you had to go through that... I think a lot of us could easily have done the same. It gets hard to keep your guard up, especially when you're trying to help someone.

Sherri - KaysvilleMomma said...

We have a family friend who's son has liver cancer -- some lady copied his care page like word for word and collected money for "her child" you know the one that doesn't exist!!

Migraine Mom said...

Oh Angie! I am so sorry that this happened to you...you are most definitely not naive but kind and caring. It just stinks that people are crazy sometimes..hugs!

Kendra said...

Oh my Angie ~ I don't think you should be so hard on yourself ~ You were just trying to help. I'm sorry this happened to you.
**Hugs**

Tiffany said...

Scary thing, the internet. Frauds seem to be everywhere. I am glad she just went away and didn't fight you on it.. which was my experience.

Very sad and very scary. You did the right thing "outing" her.

Carrie and Troy Keiser said...

That is so not cool! What do they think? It is a sickness, those types of people are not right in the head. You were only trying to help.... she sucked you in. But how scary that must have been. Good for you to call her out and catch her in her game.

Jessica said...

Why is the world would someone do that? That is so scary. I know the bad has a tendancy to stick, but I am sure your kind words, support, and personal story has helped countless people. It's a good reminder to not let your guard down (for all of us)..sad though that we need to be on guard. Sorry that happened to you, very upsetting.

Rhonda said...

I'm a little stumped as to WHY she would do something like that? What would faking this get her exactly?

Regardless, you had very good intentions, and how were you to know?

Hard lesson learned, though. I'm glad it's over.

Taya said...

Angie, thanks for sharing. That is a total eye opener. The whole thing is just too weird. I am glad one one got hurt.

This is exactly the type of thing my hubby has been pointing out to me all these months, trying to put the pressure on, so I will go private. It is hard to know how much info to put out there.

I hope it all blows over and you NEVER hear from this woman again.

Vicki said...

Wow, that's just freaky and weird and sorry you had to go through it. In those situations, when I do something like that I immediately know what I did was wrong and am feeling so mad at myself--it's those situations when I wish my husband would just hug me instead of getting on to me. I'm already down on myself enough and have already learned the lesson. Hopefully he wasn't too upset for too long.

And good for you for calling her out. Hopefully that's the end of it.

Amy Mosby said...

Angie,
I am glad to have read this. I am on the monoamniotic site and wasnt sure exactly what happened to that girl. It is sad that there are people out there like that . I can't even imagine how on earth people could make up stories like that. It is truley sick really!

The Georgia Peaches said...

She was obviously mentally unbalanced. I'm always amazed at what weird and unhealthy things people do. It is scary when you are a reciepent(sp) of someone like this. I'm so glad you were able to catch her in a lie. Hopefully, she will stay away for good!

Jeremiah R. Jones said...

I had trouble getting through the post because there were too. many. periods.

;)

You have the crazy worst luck of anyone. A quasi-stalking experience? Whooooa!

I wish I were a real jerk sometimes, because it would be fun to call you up and say, "What's the matter Sidney... I mean, Angie, you look like you've seen a ghost."

I've got a friend who just changed permissions on her blog because too much information got into the wrong hands. It can be scary if you think about what someone can find out about you from a blog...

Motherhood for Dummies said...

oh my gosh. Im so sorry for you. Are you feeling better now and is your husband? She was probably just a sad woman looking for attention.. a little crazy if she was hanging around hospital. Sorry you had to go through that. I hope this doesn't affect how sweet and willing you are to help people. It is good that you are so nice and so willing to help another person. GOod for you but sorry that happened. Don't feel stupid you weren't naive, you figured out what was going on! I don't think I would have done that.

Amy said...

I have something for you over at my blog! :D

Cristin said...

That's pretty creepy. I was on a forum for parents of kids with disabilities and we had a woman who was intentionally hurting her child... she ended up in jail. It was such a horrible feeling knowing I'd poured out so much sympathy to this woman who almost killed her own daughter...

I agree you shouldn't be so hard on yourself...your actions came from a good place when you contacted her... she's the bad person.. not you.

VE said...

Sadly there are just a lot of awful people out there. I'm lucky in that my blog is entirely nonsensical and so I don't attract any real creeps because there's nothing serious for me to be impacted by. Still, I keep an alias for these very things...

And then there was 4... said...

angie,
could you do a post about trying not to use the phone. I'm very interested in doing that my self.
thanks-sandy

Heather said...

Man...it took me two years just to scroll to the bottom of all these comments.

Yeah, I hate to use the phone too.

I used to moderate on a twin chatboard myself and am not surprised at all that she was a faker. We had sooooo many. Isn't that strange???

Kacey Randolph said...

Angie, don't be so hard on yourself. I hate to hear that you are in a funk but you should (and we all should) be grateful that you were acting in a loving caring way. Your intentions were to help and it is extremly unfortunate that someone took advantage of your trusting way. Even more so, that she took up your valuable time when you could have been truly helping someone in need. I'll think good thoughts for you both. Good thoughts that you will not let this take up any more of your valuable time and you continue to help so many - by your moderating and of course this fab blog. And good thoughts for Crazy Lady that she gets some help.

Heather said...

What a terrible person she is. Hopefully she will be gone. There are so many sick people out there trying to scam the innocent, it's sickening! We were selling puppies and someone tried to rip us off, claiming to be death and using a relay system so we wouldn't know their voice. Crazy people out there. Sounds like she realized what she did was wrong by deleting her blog.

Gunnisac Sandersons said...

That really is too sad. I am sorry to hear that happened to you. I will take your advise!

Gunnisac Sandersons said...

That really is too sad. I am sorry to hear that happened to you. I will take your advise!

Gunnisac Sandersons said...

That really is too sad. I am sorry to hear that happened to you. I will take your advise!

tinabean1988 said...

I'm sorry that happened to you.
You try to do a good thing & help someone out & she turns out to we a wack job.
Well at least you know you were doing a good thing I hope she's done & never does it again.

Zen Ventures said...

That is just plain psychotic! Makes you wonder what she's trying to pull. Maybe a scam to get everyone to give her money? wow, the things people do now is just plain sick not to say very scary like the scary movie! I hope she did vanish forever....

Sydney said...

Okay that is scary. But that's the weird part about the internet that we sometimes forget.

I'm a little jaded still, having working in TV news for a decade... so I tend to think the worst and hope for the best.

I don't know what I would have done in that situation... but better that her blog of lies was deleted than yours!

noble pig said...

What a nut. I cannot believe it, well actually I can. My hubby is an OB/GYN and I've heard so many crazy stories like this but geez! What a story.

GoteeMan said...

You indicated here something very very important... you had red flags... don't let this jade you from connecting with others who genuinely seek assistance, but listen to your spirit - that voice in you knows when there are issues to be avoided.

This was a very good post... so often we feel connected with those we blog with, but the truth is - we really don't know each other if we have not met ITRW, and the risk and danger can be real - any traceable information should not be shared without first really knowing who you are talking with. For example, a friend you know ITRW has a friend they know ITRW, that would seem a safe bet... but a virtual friend is a different matter entirely... and with listed phone numbers, I can instantly get addresses and real names, etc. online in seconds. In fact, I can even tell from the phone number who the neighbors are who live on the same street... it's a bit scary...

Thanks so much for posting this - as an IT technical guy, I know this stuff well, but many do not...

Blessings,
J/

Genny said...

Oh, wow. I'm sorry this happened to you. It is sad that people actually do these kinds of things. Thanks for the word of caution.

jen said...

I am sorry that this happened to you. I feel so grateful that you were willing to share this with the rest of us though so we don't have to go through it to. Thanks for your 'openess'. :)

My name is Tammie said...

OMG Can I just tell you that I just fell hook line and sinker for a faker as well! WTH?!!!

Robin said...

Trolls and fakers suck so badly. What kind of pathetic life must they have to be so malicious.

I'm so sorry she took advantage of your sweet trusting nature and good intentions.

Josh and Betsie said...

That is just sad that someone would do that!why would you want to fake anything like that? I guess people just need attention. I am glad that you caught her and it is over. Still watch out and make sure she doesn't come around. Good luck! Sorry I haven't commented lately. Been busy...but I do try to check every once and a while.

Mama's Losin' It said...

Oh. My. Gosh.

I often think about what could happen online that might make me close my blog...that would come pretty close. Did you consider going into hiding?? FREAKY!!

Seriously, why would someone do that...and to such an extent!?!

Scary that these people are among us!

I want the rest of the details!!

Kimba said...

What a sad, sad story.

Honestly, I would have done the exact same thing. I always want to believe the best about people and I wouldn't have been able to say no to the request for a phone call.

Don't beat yourself up.

Triplet Mama said...

Thanks for sharing. I am really starting to feel freaked out about blogging any more. I was following the "Friends of Pepe" blog, not sure if you know about it and it just was exposed as a huge hoax/fake/fraud. Horrible!!!

Clark Captions said...

Don't beat yourself up too bad Angie! We are all suckers when it comes to trying to help people out. It is in our genetic makeup as women. It is sickening out there all of the people who take advantage of the ones who are sincerely trying to do good. Be helpful. I'm sorry you had to go through that! Good luck with the recovery of the traumatic experience. Love, Stacey

Triplet Mama said...

Hi Angie!
Thanks for stopping by my blog too. Wow I am so impressed by the number of comments you have on your posts. Awesome!
Here's a link to the phony website I mentioned, well this is a new blog "explaining" what happened. I have no idea really what's true and not, the internet is scary!

http://exposetrolls.blogspot.com/2008/08/pepe-was-fake.html

WheresMyAngels said...

I would of down the same thing and not thought anything of it. In my early years on the net, I ran across some winners.

but none were in my home town. yikes

TONYA said...

Angie. Something similar happened on our private twins group too. I am the owner of the group and we were told that one of our members (we had all been together through our pregnancies, births etc together) was stealing photographs off the internet and portraying not only the babies but the entire family as her own. It was very sad. I had to write to the mother of the babies and let her know that her photographs were being used by somebody. We had to contact other sites that we used to host photographs etc and have her blocked and all access to our photos removed. It is very very sad when somebody goes to such lengths.