May 28, 2017Romance Scams: Will The Real Gary Allman, Gary Brooks, Rick Brooks, Fabienne Duval, et al. Please Stand Up?

Clone photograph of Gary Allman. September 2007.
Many Hands Make Light Work – I should have guessed that watching ‘Multiplicity’ was a Mistake. Copyright © 2007 Gary Allman, all rights reserved.

I am a victim of romance scams. My photographs are being used to populate social media, games and dating accounts online. I have no way of preventing this, except never posting pictures online. Read on to find out more about my experiences.

“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 online social media, games, and dating 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 make their accounts look ‘real’. 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.

Read another article I wrote about my experiences.

Romance Scam Victims

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“.

Check their Pictures, you can do that by using Google’s reverse image search feature. If the pictures come up in multiple places with different names, you can be sure they are are a romance scammer.

My Experience With Closing Down Romance Scammers

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.

Double trouble (365: 13) – 1/19/2007. Copyright © 2007 Gary Allman, all rights reserved.

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 Romance Scam Account Examples

Romance Scam Accounts on Facebook – All removed

Romance Scam Accounts on Instagram – All removed

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
 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:

  • Gray Allman
  • Mac Garry Allman
  • Perry Allman
  • Gavin Andy
  • Robert Barkley
  • Gary Brooks
  • Rick Brooks
  • Fabienne Duval
  • William Giovanni
  • James Harris
  • James Lance
  • Trevor Lawrence
  • James Townsend
  • David Rhoads
  • Garry Young

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

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

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/catfish-stories/
FBI Cyber Crime Page: https://www.fbi.gov/investigate/cyber
Facebook ‘Scam Haters’ page: www.facebook.com/thefightbackstartshere/

About Romance Scams

An article I wrote about my experiences: Unknowing Victims.
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.
Federal Trade Commission (several different types of scam covered here) : Impostor Scams.
BBC article: Scam baiter: Why I risk death threats to expose online cons.
Washington Post Romance Scam Article (May 2018): When a stranger takes your face: Facebook’s failed crackdown on fake accounts.
Washington Post Romance Scam Article (Feb. 2019): Romance scams cost Americans $143 million last year, FTC says.
Federal Trade Commission (Feb. 2019): Romance scams rank number one on total reported losses.
FBI (February 2018): FBI Cautions Public to be Wary of Online Romance Scams.

 

Reporting a Scammer

FBI Internet Crime Complaint Center: https://www.ic3.gov/default.aspx
Federal Trade Commission: https://www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov/Information#crnt&panel1-3

Picture of Gary Allman showing his Missouri Driving License (details obscured).
Gary Allman and his new Missouri Driving License. Copyright © 2011 Gary Allman, all rights reserved.


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

Copyright © 2017 Gary Allman, all rights reserved.

Last updated: April 2019.

8 thoughts on “Romance Scams: Will The Real Gary Allman, Gary Brooks, Rick Brooks, Fabienne Duval, et al. Please Stand Up?”

    1. It’s not a matter of my pissing someone off. This is organized crime, and I am one of the victims. Only from me they are stealing images and besmirching my name. From the vulnerable people they prey on they are extorting their hard earned wages and savings. This is a serious issue. Follow up some of the links I provided, it is an eye opener.

      Oh, and share the post. The more people that know about this the harder it becomes for the scammers.

        1. I am sorry to hear that you were subject to the scammers. Beware of follow up scams where people contact you saying they are trying to catch the scammer. I highly recommend this site, which offers lots of advice, as well as another place where you can report the scammers to warn other potential victims. https://www.romancescam.com/forum/index.php

  1. Garry Young is another name being used with your photo on Words with Friends. I realised this was a scammer straight away & played along & have now reported.

  2. Sherry Blackwell

    There is someone on instagram pretending to be you by the name of Allman Gray. He tried to catfish me about 2 weeks ago. Have you ever thought about going on the Catfish TV show? There are a lot of accounts using your identity and these frauds need to be exposed. I’m sorry all of this has happened to you. You didn’t deserve to have your identity hacked just like I didn’t deserve to be catfished.

Comments

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.