SCAMS

Man Sues OkCupid After Being Catfished Out of $70k

And he didn't even get to go on TV.
Bummer. (Photo: Zazzle)

Bummer. (Photo: Zazzle)

Some poor man from Queens is suing OkCupid because somebody named “genuineguy62″ fleeced him out of more than $70,000.

Michael Z. Picciano, 65, first received a message from the grifter on Feb. 11, 2013, the New York Post reports. After a month of phone and online communication, he wired his new paramour $24,000 for alleged business expenses, sending the money to “Dennis E. Racer” in Addison, Texas, and an “Edmond Thebeau” in Canada.

The multiple names apparently didn’t faze Mr. Picciano, who later sent another $46,420 to “MacBenson and Associates” in the UK.

From the Post:

“The Little Neck man says he ‘felt safe’ and ‘trusted’ his online match, purportedly a man named Bruce Thompson, simply because he had a profile on OkCupid, which bills itself as ‘the best free dating site.’”

Bulletproof logic. Shortly after he wired the second round of cash, Mr. Picciano finally grew suspcious and nailed the fraudster, identified as Bruce Thompson, on MaleScammers.com. He’d used the same phone number and email address to defraud others.

Mr. Picciano is now suing OkCupid’s parent company, IAC, to recoup the cash he lost, the Post says. He’s also suing his bank, Capital One, for allegedly failing to comply with proper wire transfer procedures.

We feel for the guy, but the lawsuit sounds misguided. Such scams are not uncommon. There has to be a way to stop people like “Mr. Thompson,” if that’s even his real name, from repeatedly targeting online dating novices like Mr. Picciano, but it’s unclear whether OkCupid is legally responsible for that.

Either way, always remember: never wire money to someone you met online, no matter how much of a “genuineguy” he appears to be.

Follow Molly Mulshine on Twitter or via RSS. mmulshine@observer.com