Desperately seeking Bree
Last week, I caught the tail-end of "How to Marry a Millionaire", an early 1950's flick starring Lauren Bacall, Marilyn Monroe, and Betty Grable as single gals, our to snare a big old rich husband.
Naturally, they all end up falling head over heels for guys with nothing much in the bank, although the punch line is when Bacall finds out that her beau actually is a millionaire.
While being a millionaire in 1953 obviously meant something more than it does these days, single gals apparently still hold out hope for finding one. And now, thanks to the Internet, there are so many faster, quicker, better ways to connect with one than there were in 1953.
In this light, I was interested to read a recent post in the WSJ Wealth Blog on how one how-to-marry-(or at least find)-a-millionaire site has fallen prey to scam artists who pretend to be beautiful young women but are, alas, nothing but hucksters trying to take their millionaire faux beau for a few bucks.
“Where you bring together wealthy individuals and those who seek their companionship, you have a lot of potential for fraud,” Stephan Smith, a spokesman for SeekingMillionaire.com.
First, let me laud "Seeking Millionaire" on their straightforward approach. None of this 'I'd love you even if you were a poor man' nonsense.
Unfortunately, you can't be too careful if you're one of the sought after millionaires.
Seeking Millionaire has two categories of members: soi disant millionaires (largely male), and soi disant beautiful people (largely female, or soi disant female).
Trouble is, some low life can apparently sign up as a beautiful female and be no such thing.
On Seeking, a man pretended to be an actual person, Guess model Bree Condon. For a couple of years, he submitted photos of Bree, and had phone sex with unwitting men, swindling lots of money and gifts before the law finally caught up with him in a motel room in Texas.
Apparently, it never occurred to any of these millionaires seeking that a beautiful model probably doesn't have to resort to a dating site to find rich men who want to buy her gifts - and that, since she's something of a publicly known person, she probably wouldn't want to meet men that way.
Blackmail, extortion, and good old-fashioned, heavy breathing swindling are apparently happening "all to often" (the words are Seeking's Mr. Smith's) on his (and, presumably, other like sites).
Curious person that I am, I had to check out Seeking Millionaires.
Ah, what I'm missing out on by not being rich or gorgeous (although their standards are pretty lax on the "rich" part; you only need to have income over $100K or net worth over $1M to qualify as a millionaire - which must lead to some pretty darned disappointed gorgeous seeking millionaire types).
Seeking Millionaire is a "meeting place for the rich & gorgeous," "dating for wealthy or beautiful singles."
And they're serious about that Boolean little "or"...
SeekingMillionaire is a millionaire dating & elite matchmaking personals for rich, wealthy, classy, affluent, gorgeous, attractive & beautiful singles.100% Free for Sexy Girls.
Or men claiming to be sexy girls.
Here's their model:
Wealthy member pay for the privilege of being sought, but they can connect with either fellow 'rich folks' or with the attractive members.
Seeking Millionaire will help you meet more classy and gorgeous singles than any other sites.
Those gorgeous singles ride free.
You are classy, attractive, and tired of dating the ordinary. Seeking Millionaire will match you with high class singles. Find love & romance with someone who is rich, wealthy, or successful. What do you have to lose? It's 100% Free!
They are the "most elite dating website."
Our members include Executives, Doctors, Lawyers, Professionals, Millionaires, Entrepreneurs, CEOs, CFOs, Athletes, and beautiful Models, Actresses, Playmates, and the sexy Girls Next Door.
You may have worked hard to be where you are today - wealthy, successful and single. You are looking to meet someone who may not have wealth, but have a lot to offer - youth, beauty and personality. You may be young and beautiful, wanting a better life, and looking to date a millionaire
Wealthy members can contact any and all Attractive and Wealthy members. Attractives can only reach out to the Wealthy. Which seems like an unnecessary restriction. An Attractive looking for another Attractive would go to SeekingGorgeous, no?
If you're an Attractive on Seeking Millionaire, you're obviously seeking millionaire. Why settle for a dime a dozen attractive?
There are (stock photo?) pictures of matched couples, where the wealthy are suspiciously attractive. And then there are the endorsements.
This is the most classy website of its kind. We've tried many different dating website but eventually found each other here. SeekingMillionaire is easy to use and attracts a very unique group of singles - those who are wealthy, attractive and serious." - Happy Millionaire Couple
Who says money can't buy happiness, if you're the most classy kind of person?
And then there's:
"I am beautiful, and I knew I did not want to work 7 days a week just to make ends meet. Through SeekingMillionaire, I was able to meet a wonderful man who also happens to be a successful multi-millionaire. If you are beautiful, why settle for less when you can live rich?" - Beautiful Female Member
"Regular dating websites are for regular people. I'm a wealthy man who wanted to date a beautiful woman. On other dating sites, I had to compete with a multitude of ordinary singles. On SeekingMillionaire, I was the selected few and found the relationship I wanted painlessly." - Wealthy Male Member
There's also a link to their Sugar Daddy blog - a topic for another day.
Anyway, I'm not surprised that there are con artists and fraudsters drawn to these sorts of sites.
It all struck me as fairly pimpish - especially that 'beautiful female member' who 'did not want to work 7 days a week just to make ends meet.' And where there's pimps, there tends to be criminal activity, no?