Your Safest Bet: Just Assume Everything on the Internet Is a Lie

Illustration for article titled Your Safest Bet: Just Assume Everything on the Internet Is a Lie

This afternoon, the staff of Jezebel dot com received a curious tip indicating that an impish Redditor tricked readers of this very website into believing that he was three different women, all of whom needed money. He further asserted that the trusting community here sent him that money, which he then used to take his (real human) girlfriend on a luxurious vacation to Belize. Take that, feminists!


The entire plan is spelled out on Reddit's Confessions board. The confession, tagged "No Regrets," described the adventures of a person who claimed to be a man posing as three separate women on Groupthink, this blog's off-mainpage forum for commenters. During his stint as three different "whinging feminists," he complained about fake money problems was able to dupe the terrible feminists into giving him money.

I'm A Man Posing As Three Women On Jezebel. I Accepted Donations And Used Them To Go On Holiday.

It started a few years ago out of curiousity- to see if a bunch of angry feminists could suss out a dude posing as a woman. I learned pretty quickly that they can't. I added a second persona and started posting in their Sadness/Insecurity/Rage corner- Groupthink. Both personas were de-greyed in the Great Kinja Transformation and both posted regularily in Groupthink.

I tore my acl and started posting a lot while I was riding the pine; mostly longwinded complaints about men, my family and my job. You know- situations I have no control over and need support for, just like the rest of the group. I made a third persona who has ALL of the problems and she's the most popular. It was suggested I apply for money from the Groupthink Emergency Fund so I did. They mailed me a cheque within a couple weeks.

After that I slowly started peppering my other two personas posts with tales of woe and hardship; over the last year have received more money from that same fund for my troubles.

I don't even need the money, I put it towards a trip to Belize with my girlfriend. She knows about the whole thing and gave me a lot of ideas about what I should be posting. In the beginning she was sure there was no way I could pull it off, but I did and then it became a habit. At least they started handing out money to whoever could write the saddest stories, so its not a complete waste of time for me.

I felt bad for a bit. But anyone I've told either thinks internet feminists are The Worst or they think everyone on the internet is lying and anyone handing out money to strangers is stupid. "If you don't take the money, some other liar will."

TL;DR- I'm 3 angry, poor, single, whinging feminists who accepted handouts. Except when I'm actually a man.

A brilliant plan — sort of. A believable story? Meh.

There are two steps in this guy's scheme that are fairly easy to swallow — that it's easy to get people to believe you in close-knit communities the internet and that it's really fucking easy to lie to people once they have decided that they believe you, sight unseen, on the internet. But beyond that, things get more bullshit-flavored.

The whole thing really begins to fall apart when we get the part that Mystery Grifter begins talking about how he got money from Groupthink's "emergency fund" — a pool of money set up by commenters who wanted to help each other out when things got rough (again: internet feminists are terrible!). In order to get money from the fund, a person needs a substantial history in the community and needs to submit proof of what they're using the money for.

In the post, the Grifter explains that after sticking out the required time to establish enough of a presence to warrant a payout from the fund, his first check was received via the mail and that he was able to cash it with no problems because he runs a check-cashing scam. The other two payments for his other two personae, he explains, he was able to have delivered by "alternative means." But that doesn't bear out. As the administrator of the fund explains, "I've only sent out 3 checks, never to the same place or to the same name, and they are women's names and I have their home addresses." There have been no PayPal payments, no wire transfers.


Even if Grifter had been at the receiving end of all three of the checks that were sent out, there's also the matter of how much money has actually been paid out. According to someone with intimate knowledge of the fund's workings, the most this guy could have gotten over the course of 3 payments is $850, which, unless you're literally flying to Belize from your imagination, is not enough to upgrade two flights to first class and stay in luxury accommodations for a romantic vacation for two people.

TL;DR: A pathological liar continues to pathologically lie in the form of a cute (but far from airtight) piece of internet MRA fanfic or this guy's long con (and budget travel negotiating) game is superhumanly strong. We're leaning toward the former.


Either way, our Mystery Grifter has definitely had sex before. With a human woman. Whom he flies first class to Belize for under $425.



Full disclosure: I'm only pretending to be a man. I'm actually a footstool.