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If ‘Keanu Reeves’ slides into your DMs, beware of a scam


Spoiler notify: If Keanu Reeves reaches out to you on social media and declares his romantic intentions, it’s likely not truly him.

Nonetheless, females around the planet have claimed getting conned out of cash and particular information and facts by scammers purporting to be the “John Wick” actor.

A Google look for for “Keanu Reeves scam” exhibits that women of all ages in Canada, Taiwan and across America have documented becoming duped into imagining Reeves has the hots for them — and that the multimillionaire movie star could use some funds.

This is just a person of many rackets that have grown more widespread all through the pandemic. In accordance to the Federal Trade Fee, U.S. individuals have claimed dropping more than $545 million to fraud given that January 2020.

So-referred to as imposter cons had been the most regularly described ruses very last 12 months, the FTC suggests. The selection of imposter fraud reviews hit practically 557,000 in the 1st fifty percent of this 12 months, up 18% from the identical interval a 12 months in the past.

The Keanu Reeves scam is specially intriguing for the reason that to many, if not most, people, it would seem to be definitely bogus.

But attempt telling that to Molli Hermiston’s aunt.

Hermiston, 35, told me her aunt experienced been led on for nearly a 12 months by somebody claiming to be Reeves, “and she has been so brainwashed, she will not hear to our loved ones.”

Enable me pause to say I’m going on the assumption that the real Reeves has practically nothing to do with any of this.

I arrived at out to his publicist, requesting that she request Reeves whether he spends his totally free time wooing women he’s never satisfied on Instagram and Fb.

The publicist did not answer. Even so, I’m prepared to give Reeves the profit of the doubt.

“My aunt is not stupid,” Hermiston mentioned. “This is purely emotional.”

The Culver City resident stated her aunt, who is in her 70s, was so considerably down the Keanu Reeves rabbit hole that she was now hoping to market her dwelling in Minimal Rock, Ark.

“She wishes to go to Los Angeles,” Hermiston reported. “She would like to be nearer to Keanu.”

I asked if I could discuss with her aunt. Hermiston stated it would be fruitless to attempt.

“She does not want to converse about it,” Hermiston mentioned. “She’s instructed the loved ones to respect her privateness.”

As very best as Hermiston can explain to, someone approached her aunt on social media previous 12 months and convinced her to chat by means of Google Hangouts.

The moment there, the scammer started an on line courtship that finally discovered him as Reeves (or a facsimile thereof). The electronic romance blossomed in excess of a range of months.

“He even despatched my aunt a necklace and earrings,” Hermiston mentioned. “She wears them just about every day.”

What did Pretend Keanu want in return?

“We know he questioned for $10,000 at just one point,” Hermiston replied. “We really do not know if my aunt gave him everything.”

She thought about it a instant.

“If he’s been speaking to her for a year, she have to have given him some thing.”

Curious about how this works, Hermiston claimed she set up an Instagram account in the guise of an aged, very well-to-do girl and adopted a bunch of Keanu Reeves enthusiast internet pages.

“Very rapidly,” she informed me, “five unique men and women declaring they are Keanu Reeves approached me on the net.”

Hermiston enable me see her Google Hangout exchanges with 1 of them.

“Due to my occupation and career,” Phony Keanu explained, “I want this to be a mystery involving you and I.”

“What do you like to be called?” Hermiston requested.

“Keanu will be good.”

What followed had been a sequence of probing questions on Phony Keanu’s portion — the form of questions that reveal a person’s wealth and standing, or that may occur up as component of a bank’s stability queries to confirm a customer’s identification.

Hermiston place a large amount of time into this. Her exchanges with Pretend Keanu go on and on around numerous times, clearly demonstrating a dedication on the scammer’s portion to go after his mark around the extensive haul.

Finally, Pretend Keanu implies he and Hermiston fulfill at a celeb party.

He says it will only expense her $2,000 to show up at. He desires the payment in bitcoin.

By now, you’re definitely asking: How could everyone tumble for this?

“I’ve thought a lot about that,” Hermiston explained. “We’re conversing about older women, it’s possible lonely gals who never get out much, specially now. Girls who may well not know a whole lot about social media.”

I have penned formerly about how some con artists use the exact same strategies as qualified hypnotists — repeating matters all over again and all over again, constructing rely on, solidifying that trust with progressively challenging requests.

“Hypnosis is a purely natural, natural and organic course of action,” Kevin Stone, a accredited hypnotherapist who costs himself as the “Hollywood Hypnotist,” instructed me. “The power of suggestion can be employed to manipulate or sway persons.”

Or possibly the achievement of imposter ripoffs only relies upon on a motivation on the victim’s portion for it to be correct. Who would not want to earn a lottery, inherit a ton of cash … or interact with a motion picture star?

Particularly if that movie star is one particular of the greatest in the world — and he’s in the mood for enjoy.

“Millions of men and women flip to on the web dating applications or social networking web-sites to meet somebody,” the FTC suggests. “But rather of obtaining romance, numerous discover a scammer hoping to trick them into sending money.”

Losses from romance cons hit a record $304 million last calendar year, up about 50% from the year ahead of, the agency claims.

Never let anyone speak you into performing a little something that would seem questionable, the FTC advises. Never ever ship dollars to these kinds of people today.

Hermiston stated she’d been delegated by her spouse and children to intervene with her aunt and try to discuss some sense into her. So significantly, she mentioned, it’s been complicated.

“She just does not want to talk about it.”

I proposed that she clearly show her aunt this column. Maybe observing it all laid out like this will open up her eyes to what’s truly taking place.

And Keanu — true Keanu — if you’re looking at this, possibly one of your people could get in contact with me, and I could move together how to get in touch with Hermiston’s aunt. A temporary take note might assistance to explain that she’s been misled.

Normally, you could before long have a septuagenarian Arkansas lady sporting a matching necklace and earrings knocking at your door.


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