There’s a sucker born every minute. - P.T. Barnum
I understand the desire to believe in fantasies; I really do. I’m 44 years old and I still occasionally daydream about finding a djinni in a bottle; I enjoy science fiction and fantasy stories and movies and even comic books, for goodness’ sake. But if someone offered to sell me a djinni, a future-predicting device or a power ring, I’d make damned sure it worked (under test conditions of my own choosing) before I even considered talking about the possibility of negotiating the transfer of one red cent. Most people, alas, are far less skeptical, and some are so hopelessly credulous that con games, work-from-home offers, pyramid schemes, emails from African bankers and many other scams find enough pigeons to make them worthwhile. Because prostitution is illegal in this country and on the fringes of legality in many others, it has its share of scams; extortionists and practitioners of cash and dash (described in my column of one year ago today) are con artists posing as prostitutes, and whores themselves are often the targets of advertising scams (such as the one discussed in my column of last October 3rd) or attempts to set them up for robbery, rape or abduction. For example, a particularly vile con artist in Florida has been preying on escorts for at least a year now with emails like this one:
Hello, my name is Paul Geary. I’m a partner in A G P (Azoff Geary Paul) we are a management firm that represents various musical artists. One of the bands we rep is Godsmack. The drummer of that band is Shanon Larkin. Shannon has a break coming up from the current tour that the band is on. He will have about two weeks off and is going to S. Florida, to deal w/ a house and a few cars that he recently purchased there. He has been extremely busy and going very hard for the last few months and is looking to take some time to decompress. He actually had wanted me to try and contact you when he was in Houston recently, however there just wasn’t time for that to happen while he was there. Apparently he had saved your info and now has asked me again, to try and contact you to see if you are available, to travel immediately to Florida to spend a few days w/ him there. I cant at this time really tell you exactly how long you would be w/him there, however I can and will guarantee to you, a minimum of two days, w/a very strong possibility of it extending for a longer period of time. That of course will depend on how well the two of you get along. I have to be honest w/ you, and tell you that I do think its a little ridiculous for him to want to fly anyone, (nothing specifically aimed at you personally) across the country for something such as this. As you can imagine there are a bounty of beautiful women in S Florida that I could, (and much more easily for everyone i might add) have make his acquaintance. However he has made it clear that he in fact doesn’t wish to do it this way. He wants to see you, so, since that is his wish, that is what I’ll attempt to do. That is the reason for this very long E mail. I simply wanted to try and give you as much Info on me and my firm so you can do your due diligence and check that this is a real and legitimate offer. So you know we do have a full in house travel dept. that will take care of all your travel arrangements by booking you ROUND TRIP flight, your hotel, as well as your rental car. This will all be booked pre -paid and you will have E Mail confirmations sent to you to. You will then be able check in on line, as well as print out all your itineraries before leaving to go see him. If you are interested and available to see Shannon A.S,A,P, please give me a call @ 561-866-9420 or simply E mail me at this Addy. and let me know. Thanks Paul
The scam attempts to prey on both the girl’s greed and any tendency toward celebrity worship she may have; girls who accept the offer (and I’ve heard of a few) are robbed of money and credit cards and stranded in Florida. Due to criminalization, whores in the United States who fall for such tricks have no recourse, but in Spain prostitution is legal so the victims of this one (as reported in the Telegraph on August 12th) were able to go to the police:
The gang of six based in Fuengirola on Spain’s Costa del Sol made at least €50,000…after persuading some 180 men to pay a joining fee to register as gigolos. The elaborate scam lured men in with advertisements in the national media promising vast returns for wining and dining lonely women. Men…were then asked to pay joining fees of between €200 and €1,000… to be put on the books of “reputable agencies”. But the online agencies were hoaxes and the clients never materialised. Police said the masterminds behind the scam were a husband and wife and her older brother. Three others were arrested for opening bank accounts used to transfer money from the victims for five per cent of the profits. None of those arrested nor those that fell for the scam have been named. Police said they uncovered the network after receiving complaints from different men who said they had never received any work as a result of signing up with the agencies.
As regular readers know there simply aren’t enough women willing to pay for sex with men to keep such an agency in business, but the myth persists (encouraged by Hollywood fantasies like Hung and Gigolos) and when I had my agency I regularly received calls from men who honestly believed there was a market for male prostitutes catering solely to women. And as with every unrealistic fantasy, it was only a matter of time before some sleazy person found a way to take advantage of it.