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

Spoiler warn: If Keanu Reeves reaches out to you on social media and declares his intimate intentions, it’s most likely not seriously him.

However, females all-around the environment have claimed staying conned out of money and individual details by scammers purporting to be the “John Wick” actor.

A Google research for “Keanu Reeves scam” demonstrates that women of all ages in Canada, Taiwan and across The us have described getting duped into wondering Reeves has the hots for them — and that the multimillionaire movie star could use some funds.

This is just one particular of numerous rackets that have developed far more commonplace during the pandemic. According to the Federal Trade Fee, U.S. people have described dropping far more than $545 million to fraud due to the fact January 2020.

So-known as imposter ripoffs had been the most usually reported ruses final calendar year, the FTC says. The variety of imposter fraud stories hit approximately 557,000 in the 1st half of this calendar year, up 18% from the same period a 12 months back.

The Keanu Reeves scam is particularly intriguing mainly because to quite a few, if not most, people, it would seem to be to be clearly bogus.

But consider telling that to Molli Hermiston’s aunt.

Hermiston, 35, told me her aunt experienced been led on for nearly a calendar year by somebody saying to be Reeves, “and she has been so brainwashed, she won’t listen to our relatives.”

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

I attained out to his publicist, requesting that she inquire Reeves no matter if he spends his totally free time wooing females he’s under no circumstances satisfied on Instagram and Fb.

The publicist did not answer. Even so, I’m geared up to give Reeves the advantage of the doubt.

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

The Culver Metropolis resident stated her aunt, who is in her 70s, was so much down the Keanu Reeves rabbit gap that she was now attempting to offer her residence in Minor Rock, Ark.

“She wishes to shift to Los Angeles,” Hermiston said. “She would like to be nearer to Keanu.”

I requested if I could communicate with her aunt. Hermiston said it would be fruitless to try out.

“She doesn’t want to discuss about it,” Hermiston said. “She’s told the family members to regard her privacy.”

As greatest as Hermiston can inform, anyone approached her aunt on social media previous year and confident her to chat through Google Hangouts.

The moment there, the scammer began an on-line courtship that finally recognized him as Reeves (or a facsimile thereof). The electronic romance blossomed more than a number of months.

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

What did Fake Keanu want in return?

“We know he asked for $10,000 at just one issue,” Hermiston replied. “We really don’t know if my aunt gave him just about anything.”

She imagined about it a minute.

“If he’s been conversing to her for a calendar year, she need to have offered him one thing.”

Curious about how this operates, Hermiston explained she established up an Instagram account in the guise of an aged, perfectly-to-do female and followed a bunch of Keanu Reeves admirer pages.

“Very speedily,” she explained to me, “five distinct men and women expressing they are Keanu Reeves approached me online.”

Hermiston allow me see her Google Hangout exchanges with one particular of them.

“Due to my profession and job,” Pretend Keanu mentioned, “I want this to be a secret concerning you and I.”

“What do you like to be identified as?” Hermiston asked.

“Keanu will be wonderful.”

What followed ended up a series of probing questions on Faux Keanu’s part — the type of thoughts that reveal a person’s prosperity and status, or that could arrive up as aspect of a bank’s protection queries to verify a customer’s identification.

Hermiston put a good deal of time into this. Her exchanges with Phony Keanu go on and on over many days, clearly demonstrating a determination on the scammer’s portion to go after his mark more than the extensive haul.

Inevitably, Pretend Keanu suggests he and Hermiston meet up with at a celebrity function.

He says it will only expense her $2,000 to go to. He wants the payment in bitcoin.

By now, you’re undoubtedly asking: How could anybody fall for this?

“I’ve believed a great deal about that,” Hermiston reported. “We’re talking about more mature gals, probably lonely women who never get out a lot, specially now. Females who may well not know a large amount about social media.”

I’ve published earlier about how some con artists use the exact techniques as specialist hypnotists — repeating issues once more and once more, building have faith in, solidifying that have confidence in with increasingly difficult requests.

“Hypnosis is a pure, organic process,” Kevin Stone, a licensed hypnotherapist who bills himself as the “Hollywood Hypnotist,” advised me. “The energy of recommendation can be used to manipulate or sway persons.”

Or maybe the achievements of imposter cons only relies upon on a drive on the victim’s section for it to be real. Who would not want to get a lottery, inherit a ton of income … or interact with a motion picture star?

Primarily if that movie star is a single of the major in the globe — and he’s in the mood for like.

“Millions of people convert to on the web dating applications or social networking web sites to fulfill anyone,” the FTC claims. “But rather of finding romance, a lot of find a scammer making an attempt to trick them into sending cash.”

Losses from romance ripoffs strike a record $304 million previous calendar year, up about 50% from the 12 months right before, the agency suggests.

Under no circumstances let an individual talk you into undertaking anything that looks questionable, the FTC advises. In no way mail revenue to these types of folks.

Hermiston claimed she’d been delegated by her family members to intervene with her aunt and test to discuss some perception into her. So significantly, she explained, it’s been complicated.

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

I suggested that she display her aunt this column. Maybe looking at it all laid out like this will open her eyes to what is actually occurring.

And Keanu — true Keanu — if you are studying this, maybe a person of your people could get in contact with me, and I could go alongside how to get in touch with Hermiston’s aunt. A short notice might help to clarify that she’s been misled.

Otherwise, you could shortly have a septuagenarian Arkansas girl putting on a matching necklace and earrings knocking at your doorway.

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