The new age of technology and social networking has taken some getting used to, but I think I have adapted well for someone always behind the curve on the cutting edge of trends. We often hear about scam artists who prey on unsuspecting people over the phone and Internet with identity theft fraud, but the scam I saw last Friday stemming from Twitter was a new one for me.
I tweet often about thoughts on games as a way to set up what I’m going to write about during the week and have a few hundred followers with a few new followers each day. On Friday I noticed one of the new followers I had was FezzikFootball, who I then believed to be Las Vegas bettor Steve Fennic, also known as Steve Fezzik.
I reciprocated the follow and clicked onto the link his account had set up, which led me to his website, a nicely done page complete with his bio and impressive resume of accomplishments as a Las Vegas bettor. The large photo on the page had a picture of Hilton Sports Book Director Jay Kornegay handing Fezzik a jumbo check of $196,800 for being last year’s Super Contest winner, the first person to ever win the contest back-to-back years. Yep, that’s him all right, this must be legit.
At the top of the website it had a link to follow FezzikFootball on Twitter and stated that he had just joined Twitter recently and would offer three free plays a week to his followers. The website and his Twitter account had been set up on Oct. 4 and all the bio information looked correct as far as I could tell.
I haven’t followed Fezzik too closely over the years, but I do know first hand how well he’s done for the last decade with his parlay cards and contests and respect his insights a great deal. The website also had a place where you could purchase his picks; $100 for the week of plays or $1,000 for the entire season of plays. I suppose it’s not too egregious for the type of return on investment that can be made with his personal strategies and plays, so I’m still thinking this is legit.
After looking at all this, I had just assumed that it was him and tweeted his Twitter account to all my followers saying that this person is pretty sharp in football with great angles and worth a follow. About an hour later I got a Twitter direct message from DavePeter8 who said, “Micah, I don’t think that this is the Fezzik we know from LV. Someone has stolen his name to scam people.”
I later verified through a contact of Fezzik’s that the site is definitely not authorized by him and that this isn’t the first time that scammers have tried to utilize his name through bogus ventures. However, marketing through Twitter to get traffic to the site is a first.
Now, I have never bought picks, nor will I ever. I do make bets, but I enjoy hearing other people’s takes on the games and Fezzik’s tweets would have been interesting to me just as Dave Cokin’s or ESPN’s Chris Mortensen’s are. However, I felt somewhat violated after it all. I was duped into believing this was Fezzik in the same way the lonely guy thinks he’s chatting online to beautiful women in chat rooms, except I actually found out the truth.
Someone went through a devious, well executed plan of setting up accounts and a web page with all the pertinent information regarding Fezzik to steal money from people. Maybe this site actually would send out picks, maybe they wouldn’t, but whatever the case may be, it definitely wouldn’t be the real Fezzik’s picks.
I went back to the website and found the “contact us” portion which did have a phone number and a public relations e-mail. I thought about calling the number, but it was a funny looking “803” number and I could just imagine getting my phone bill back next month for $500, so I sent an e-mail instead. The e-mail was a request to do an article on Fezzik’s site and talk about him finally getting on Twitter. I wrote for him to call me so we could get it going this week. Fezzik doesn’t have my phone number, but this fake Fezzik doesn’t know it. I was just hoping to get some kind of reply, which I never got.
Identity theft happens to thousands every day and while I have seen the e-mail scams regarding the millions of dollars I can get from banks in Nigeria, this is the first one I’ve seen on Twitter where someone’s fame, celebrity or knowledge in the sports betting world was fraudulently set up to steal money from unsuspecting people who do pay for picks. Be careful out there!
By the way, you can follow me on Twitter at MicahRoberts7 and I promise to be more selective in whom I recommend as a follow.