This is an English version of my Swedish blog from the 14th January 2020.
Internet fraud is a well known phenomenon. Most people know that it exists. Still, the majority of the people believe that only other people are affected, never themselves. Therefore, I am going to tell you something I have experienced during the last few weeks and which really can be described as a bearish attempt of internet fraud – against myself!
If I had not been such a critical and suspicious person and journalist, I would probably have been a subject to this kind of fraud, even if I really don´t believe it.
Everything started in May 2019. At that time I opened an account on an internet site for pictures and photography named ”Flickr.com”. It is an international site where people (most often professional photographers) can upload beautiful pictures of their own, pictures they really want to show to others and hopefully get feed back for. On the Flickr. site you can find the most fantastic pictures of everything, from rare and beautiful birds to magic landscapes and absurd everyday situations. Look at the screenshot below!
The visitors on this site can also chat with each other but I take it for granted that the chats only deal with pictures and photographing.
At that time, my confidence in ”Flickr.com” was immense because the Swedish Socialdemocratic Party normally posts all their press images on this site. Non-commercial journalists and bloggers like me can download the images and use them for free. Therefore, I have all the time been convinced that ”Flickr.com” is an image site to rely upon. But at the end I have understood that this was not the case.
Said was done. I created an account on Flickr.com and posted some of my very best shots on the site. Among other pictures I posted this beautiful one, showing a meadow studded with sunflowers. This was one of the best pictures I created during 2019. The picture was taken a few kilometers from my house.
Never in my life I could imagine this image being discovered among the thousands of images exposed on this internet site. But suddenly I got a message from the Flickr.com telling me that several persons hade appointed my sunflower picture as their favorite picture! One of these persons was this man:
He called himself Smith Brown. On his page på Flickr.com you could see a mature man sitting at a table in a black chair holding his right hand to his cheek. The man was pretty handsome but the picture ifself was unsharp. I clicked inside his page and read the presentation Mr Smith Brown made of himself. I hereby quote the text exactly as it was with all the errors and weird abbrevations:
”i am a surgeon Doctor,presently with the United Nation (U.N) for peace keeping mission here in Syria, to secure the health of the U.S.A Army here”
What it was about was a person maintaining that he worked as a surgeon in Syria on behalf of the United Nations. He stated that he had been working for the UN during three years time. Before he was moved to Syria he had served as a doctor in Ghana, West Africa, for about half a year. Of course, all this made me quite curious – in the beginning. I thought it might be interesting to talk to this doctor.
After having praised my sunflower image Dr Smith Brown sent me one message after the other. In one of his first e-mails he described himself in the following way:
”Subject: Re: hello, Date: January 4th 2020
i´m a widower with a son Michael who will be 15 years of age by next two months”
So sad to hear that he was a widower with a fifteen years old son! Dr Smith Brown told me that he was an American coming from Topeka, Kansas. His wife Hannah and his daughter Sarah hade been killed in a car accident on a bridge in New York City at 11.22 o´clock on the 22th June 2015. So terrible! What a tragedy, I thought. Poor man. I was not surprised if he looked around for contacts in the outside world, especially because he lived a very trapped and heavily backed life as a UN surgeon in Syria!
At the same time I found it strange that he had been working for the UN for more than three years instead of staying home in the US to take care of his motherless child. It was the first real suspicion I got that something was not really true as far as Dr Smith Brown was concerned.
However, Dr Smith continued to write e-mails to me every day, sometimes several times a day. He seemed to have oceans of time. He wrote that I was a very beautiful woman and that he had fallen splash after having looked at my profile picture on the Flickr.com. He really wanted to learn to know me a little bit more, he explained.
He asked me if I was married and if I had children. I answered that I was married since 1996 and that I had no kids. During the next few days we was more and more insistent in his courtship towards me. He explained that he was looking for a beautiful and honest wife who also might be the new mother to his son.
Once again I maintained that I was married and that I furthermore was too old for him. He answered: ”No, not at all. The age doesn´t matter when you love each other!”
Love each other??? Who has been talking about love? Not me in any case.
What was this really about? The worst kind of Internet picking, of course. My suspicions grew stronger and stronger. Something was really wrong here.
The 7th January I got a new e-mail from Dr Smith, an e-mail that definitely revealed that he was more or less alliterate. The e-mail looked like this:
This was the most strange e-mail I have ever got, not because of its contents but because of how the e-mail was written. The letter consisted of a concoction of texts which emanated from different unknown internet sources and written with different fonts. He had cut out the texts and glued them together in the e-mail. Furthermore, the English language was under all critisism. This man didn´t know how to write English. The texts, and all other texts from him, were full of bearish language errors. They consisted of long tirades without context. For example, he never used dots (.) between the sentences. Everything was nothing but an endless contextless sentence.
One thing was now completely clear: The man behind these e-mails was not a well educated American doctor. Definitely not. My suspicion towards Dr Smith grew day by day. There was something with Dr Smith that wasn´t true at all. But who was this man? And still more important: Who was the man on his profile picture?
I decided to reveal him. I had found several sites on the Internet where I read that the UN does not have any doctors or surgeons seconded in Syria. The persons who maintain that they work as doctors for the UN in Syria are nothing but scammers. On the site below I also got to know how the scamming was proceeded.
From the text it was totally clear that there were no UN doctors working in Syria. There are no UN operations in this area whatsoever. Instead, it is a question of organized fraud activities with its origin in West Africa, above all in countries like Ghana and Nigeria, where men are trying to find women on the Internet in the utmost purpuse to trick them for money,
These Romance scammers construct weepy stories about themselves, i.e. that their wives are dead (exactly as Dr Smith) and that they have been left alone with one or several kids. Sometimes, they pretend that they are doctors, military officers, soldiers in a war zone or something else. They explain their deep love for the woman they have caught on the Internet. Pretty soon they start to ask her to send money to him because he is broke.
Dr Smith behaved himself In exactly this way in his relation to me. However, he didn´t get time to ask me for money. Our contact was broken before that. I broke the contact.
When I went through other Swedish and American Internet sites dealing with the phenomenon called ”The Romance Scam” I found more and more similarities with Dr Smith Brown and his behavior. Everything tuned in. The different Internet sites told me that the Internet scammers spoke and wrote very bad English. In the same way as with Dr Smith they glue texts together from other internet sources in their e-mails, texts which they were not able to write themselves.
Many of the Romance scammers from West Africa are more or less illiterates. Thus, the person hiding himself behind the name of Dr Smith Brown was apparently no exception.
This kind of internet fraud, where persons, most often men, try to fool women to pay money to them in exchange of promises of eternal love are very common. In fact, I did never believe that I was supposed to jab Dr Smith Brown on an Internet site dealing with photo art!
How did I then succeed to reveal Dr Smith Brown? Yes, I found several editions of the image he uses as his profile picture on the Flickr. site. Pictures of the same mature man were found on different internet sites dealing with Romance Scamming.
The picture above does not show Dr Smith Brown, even if you find it as Smith Browns profile picture at the Flicr. site. I found this picture on quite another internet site. There his name was Hendrik Robin.
Then I found other false identities of this man. On a Youtube site I found a picture of the same man! But now his name was Richard Terry.
And on another Internet site the same man had still another name: Jos Henry. But all the time exacly the same man.
Of course, the picture of this man was stolen by a scammer (or several scammers) and figure more and more often on the scamming sites. He has different names, different identities and different e-mailadresses. But still he is the same person, whose real identity seems to be unknown.
During my research I found several more pictures of the same man. The pictures were various but still showing the same man. Look here:
Nowhere except on the Flickr site this man has the name and identity of Dr Scott Brown. Instead he has a lot of different identities. The images show all the time the same mature man, with short greyish hair, dressed either in a darkcoloured suit, or in a striped shirt or anything else, sitting in front of a map. The same man but in different contexts and with different identities.
Who this mature man is I don´t know. He is unknown but probably totally innocent.
My conclusion is that Dr Smith Brown does not exist at all. He is fake. Who is hiding himself behind this picture is unknown. The only thing I know today is that he has the following e-mail address:
At the same time there are many other women on the Flickr internet site who have been wooed by Dr Smith. Today he is following not less than 109 women on the same site. On the other hand, there are only 12 persons following him. Who is the figure behind Dr Smith Brown we don´t know. I have not the slightest idea, only that he is a Romance scammer, trying to rob women of money.
Dr Smith Brown has not only one identity. He has many identities, perhaps several hundreds. I never informed Dr Smith Brown that I had understood that he was only one of a long row of identities. He stopped contacting me because I severely asked him to send me pictures showing him in his profession as a surgeon in order to make it possible for me to verify his identity.
He was furious because I did not believe in him. Still he promised to send me a photo of himself as soon as he had been in contact with his son in Kansas. He had no pictures of himself in Syria because he had too much to do with his responsible and hard job as a surgeon than to take selfies of himself.
On the other hand, he seemed to have oceans of time for scam dating and frauding blue-eyed, naive and unsuspecting women.
To the women who happen to read this article of mine I want to say: Look out for that man who calls himself Dr Smith Brown if you incidently – or accidently – meet him on the Internet. He is a scammer only struggling to seize your money.