Clone photograph of Gary Allman. September 2007.
 There seems to be a lot of Gary’s around now (Original photograph September 5, 2007)

“Beware of Cheap Imitations”

“Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.” Charles Caleb Colton. I prefer Oscar Wilde’s extended take on the quote: “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery that mediocrity can pay to greatness.”

However, when imitation becomes impersonation or the exploitation of others via romance scams, things start to become tedious.

They claim to be divorced or widowed and are looking for friendship and love. What they are really looking for is a way to try to separate vulnerable people from their money. 

The Internet is a wonderful resource, but it is also frequented by criminals looking for any opportunity to take advantage of people. One example is stealing photographs online. They then use the pictures in fake social media and dating site accounts for the purpose of scamming people. Unfortunately, there’s not a lot you can do to stop the low-life from getting hold of your online pictures except never appearing on the Internet.

They use my (and others) photographs to populate phony social media accounts. They claim to be divorced or widowed and are looking for friendship and love. What they are really looking for is a way to try to separate vulnerable people from their money.

Have you been scammed? I’ve provided what I hope are some helpful links for victims of this scam here, including links to the FBI online form for reporting the crimes (yes, the FBI has an online form for this! I was surprised too). Don’t trust my links? Try Googling “Nigeria Oil Rig Scams“.

I have always been aware of the possibility of identity theft online, and one way to counter it is not to hide, but be right out there, so that there can be no mistaking who the real you is. Which is unfortunate for the criminals who are currently using my pictures on social media and online dating sites for their vile schemes. As soon as their targets get suspicious an Internet search brings up links to my websites where they quickly realize that they are being duped. Well, most of them do. Unfortunately, some victims persist in thinking that I’m the one who has been scamming them, and insist on hounding me. Oh well.

The irony of this situation isn’t lost on us, given that I met Ginger on the Internet, and that at one point her bank account was frozen by her bank because they thought I was a scammer. 

Ginger says my pictures are being used because I have a friendly face (who am I to argue?). Also, there are lots of pictures of me doing all sorts of fun things, very useful for the made-up scenarios they weave into their nefarious schemes. Me on planes, injuries, accidents, me with Lanie – scammers love those because then they can claim to have a dependant too. There are even some pictures of me that could be construed as mildly provocative! Ha! Well, I can’t see that last one, but I’ll roll with it.

The irony of this situation isn’t lost on us, given that I met Ginger on the Internet, and that at one point her bank account was frozen by her bank because they thought I was a scammer. You may ask why don’t I take all the pictures down and make everything private? Well, the pictures are out in the wild anyway, so there’s no point closing the stable door now the horse has bolted. Plus, I want to share the pictures I take with my family and friends around the world. I also want to have these pictures and words hang around for a while after I’m gone for my grandchildren to see, so they can find out a little bit more about who I am, and our family history. Why should I give in to these criminals and their psychological bullying? My friends, family, customers, and contacts have all been kept informed about this criminal activity, all the better to keep an eye out for new scammers so that I can deal with them.

So, here I stay.

Mirror clone picture of Gary Allman taken in 2007. The clone in the mirror is sticking his tongue out at Gary who has his back to the mirror
 Original Photograph “Double Trouble” 1/19/2007.

Why should I give in to these criminals and their psychological bullying? 

My advice to the victims is: report your experiences to the authorities. I am always happy to cooperate and report the profiles of people attempting to con you to the sites they are using. If you don’t report them you are making it easier for the criminals to carry on their illicit schemes – and continue stealing money from people. From the few victims who have contacted me, I know that some of them have been defrauded of quite significant sums.

Image of a Facebook post (redacted0 telling of the results of an online scam.
 From a family member

Whenever I find out about the online profiles impersonating me I contact the site owners and get the imposters removed. I cannot get them all, and the imposters now know that I am on to them, which means they are becoming more crafty and stealthy. To give you an idea of the scale of this, to date, I’ve closed down over seventy accounts on Facebook alone (and, unfortunately I’m still counting).

 

Some Examples

Some Scammer Facebook / Online Profiles – All removed

More Facebook Scam Accounts

Fabienne Duval – A Scammer’s Website using my pictures

And the scammers learn to use Photoshop (badly)

Picture of Gary Allman's Face Photoshopped into another image by romance scammers.
 Romance Scam Photoshop effort

The scammers are now resorting to poorly photoshopped pictures. I’d guess that the Instagram account I found is a fake too, but using the original image. It’s very popular on Russian websites. At least he has an ear, it’s not like mine don’t stick out enough.

And now, Romance Scams on Fitbit

Cell phone Screen Grab showing an online Romance Scammer
Cell phone Screen Grab showing an online Romance Scammer Yet another romance scammer

I’ve long known that the scammers are operating in the online gaming world – word games and such, but this is my first one on Fitbit.

Common Aliases Scammers use with Gary Allman’s pictures

Besides faux Gary Allmans, you may come across:

  • Robert Barkley
  • Perry Allman
  • Gary Brooks
  • Rick Brooks
  • William Giovanni
  • James Harris
  • Trevor Lawrence
  • James Townsend
  • Garry Young

Popular Pictures of Gary Allman, Perry Allman, Gary Brooks, Rick Brooks, James Harris and Trevor Lawrence, James Townsend, William Giovanni, Garry Young Used By Scammers

Hopefully these will help with reverse image searches and includes a popular picture of Gary Allman, Perry Allman, Gary Brooks, Rick Brooks, James Harris, Trevor Lawrence, Robert Barkley, William Giovanni, Garry Young (or whoever) with Hannah or Alondra – as the criminals have been calling Lanie in my pictures.

The real Gary Allman, dressed in a manner that the scammers wouldn't want their victims to see. He's backpacking, wearing a kilt and open carrying a handgun.
 I wonder why the scammers never use pictures of me like this one?

So, if you think I’m widowed, I’m not. I don’t live in Dallas, Texas, nor Geneva, Switzerland, or anyplace else other than Springfield, Missouri. Oh, and I don’t want your money – unless we’re out together and it’s your turn to pick up the tab.

If you think this post has been too light-hearted, you might want to consider that humor is one of the few options I have in preventing the scumbags getting to me.

I Think I’ve Been Scammed Resources

Romance Scam Forum: https://www.romancescam.com/forum/index.php (this one is particularly good)
Nigerian Dating Scams: http://www.watchforscams.com/nigerian-dating-scams.html
Social Catfish: Scams : https://socialcatfish.com/category/scams/
FBI Cyber Crime Page: https://www.fbi.gov/investigate/cyber
Facebook ‘Scam Haters’ page: www.facebook.com/thefightbackstartshere/

About Romance Scams

Some scams where my pictures have been used: Scammers with pictures of Gary Allman.
Gizmodo Article (this one has a bit about my experiences in it): Pray for the Souls of the People Sucked Into This Dating Site Hell.
BBC article: Scam baiter: Why I risk death threats to expose online cons.
Washington Post Article: When a stranger takes your face: Facebook’s failed crackdown on fake accounts.

Reporting a Scammer

FBI Internet Crime Complaint Center: https://www.ic3.gov/default.aspx

Picture of Gary Allman showing his Missouri Driving License (details obscured).


The above picture of me also appeared on the CBS St. Louis website.

Copyright © 2017 Gary Allman, all rights reserved.