This is a long story, so buckle in. About 12 years ago I was working for a small adult video chat company in what was basically a one-stop call center. We were glorified billing/IT/customer service so getting calls from irate customers was pretty much a daily occurrence between men who didn’t read the fine print or wives who scrutinize their husbands credit card transactions. The service was basically a monthly charge and you were charged a price per minute in chat rooms that ranged from $1.99/min to $5.99/min which was decided by the chat host. Most of the issues we got were signing up once and never cancelling so they get the first month charge which we would refund with no issue. Well, not this day.
For dialogue I’ll just say “M” is for me, and “WG” for Weird Guy(you’ll see why in a minute) So on the day this guy called in we were actually having a slow morning, so when he called in and started immediately yelling into my headset. The gist of it was:
WG: You people have been stealing from me for months! I’ve been charged fraudulently and I demand my money back, NOW! Get me to a supervisor!
M: I apologize, sir, I’d be happy to assist you with any billing issues you may be having,
WG: I want the money back in my account, NOW! You people are crooks!
Policy was to at least get an account on screen before we transfer to a supervisor so they aren’t just coming in blind. I get the guys info and pass him off after a little more back and forth thinking he was a bit of a jerk but not something we hadn’t seen before. Went back to reading a book at my desk, and after about 20-30 minutes I get inter-office call from the supervisor(S) I had passed the customer off to.
S: Hey, do you still have that account on screen?
M: Yeah, I haven’t had any other calls yet.
S: I need you to take your phone off the queue for the rest of the day. You need to go through the billing history and the chat logs for the account because the customer is claiming fraud and the charges are in excess of $10,000.
Now, the $10k in charges was accrued over the course of a year, so it’s extremely sketchy that he would just now claim fraud so our normal course of action was to log any personal information recorded in chat and match that information with what was on file. We often used social media to verify/confirm information and often to good effect.
In the end it took me almost 2 full days to go through this man’s chat logs to research this fraud claim and the story I uncovered is equal parts sad, creepy, pathetic, and heartbreaking. We know it was definitely him making the charges because he frequently gave a consistent description of himself which we could verify with his MySpace photos, so we knew he couldn’t actually be serious about fraud. I found out why he was actually mad.
In 2005, Creepy Guy went to San Diego Comic Con as a vendor with his work. He worked for a small statue and toy company that did high detail items. While there he met a “booth babe” who I’m sure flirted with him and ended up handing him a card with her email address. After emailing back and forth a couple of times, she convinced him to start entering her paid chat rooms to communicate further. Obviously adult stuff happens but he’s also actively telling her how beautiful she is, how much he feels a connection, etc. Now, it’s important to note that these chat rooms often fulfill a fantasy, so it’s not uncommon for the girls to indulge these fantasies to keep repeat customers, trusting that they understand the difference between fantasy and reality. Creepy Guy continues to speak to the girl almost every day, almost always in paid chat rooms. About a month in his account gets locked, his credit card declined. He calls in, is able to make a payment and gets back on the site. He tells the girl he sold one of his limited edition statues he got through work to pay his past due bill. He does this EIGHT times through the course of the year. The chat host gives creepy guy her phone number about two months in and shortly after that Creepy Guy is telling his mother about chat host. Creepy Guy wants to visit chat house where she lives but she tells him she lives in Brazil and has a sick grandmother she takes care of who is very traditional. He offers to fly her to where he lived, she still declined citing the grandmother. She asks what kind of house he has, he says he lives in an apartment beneath his parents house(basement). 6 months in and Creepy Guy is actively telling chat host that his mother can’t wait to meet her one day. It’s around this time that Creepy Guy starts using his work computer to access our website on weekends. About 10 months in he’s becoming more indignant about wanting to see chat host, he brings up the money he’s spent and how she doesn’t seem to want to match his commitment. Chat host is trying to downplay the situation and subtly reinforce the fantasy aspects. Around this time he starts visiting other chat hosts besides the main one but not with any consistency. It becomes clear that he’s starting not to trust her anymore. So the day he finally calls us I found that he had taken the original email address the chat host had given him and searched it on google. He got a hit on one social media site that she’d already told him she didn’t have. The profile is for the chat hosts real life, with the pictures of her husband and kids. Creepy Guy fucking LOSES IT. Catches her when she’s online in her public chat and just ripping her for defrauding him and leading him on. He wanted us to refund the entire $10k because he had bought into the fantasy so deep that he actually believed it was true. By the end of it I was so conflicted between feeling creeped out, sad, amused, grossed out, it was just such an odd situation and having read all their conversations made it feel so much more real. The one part of the chat that I will never forget is when Creepy Guy told chat host:
“When I see you, it’s like butterflies are tickling my soul”
In the end we told him we’d have to speak with the IT director at his job to verify the IP the account was coming from and he backed off. My supervisor ended up giving him back $500 because she felt so bad for the guy.
TL/DR: guy spends ten grand on adult chat host thinking he and her were falling in love together only to find out she was married with kids and lying about it the whole time