Bait & switch
Nov 17, 2022
Season 7 | Episode 6

Bait & switch

Toying with criminals is a dangerous game. This week, we'll meet a chain-smoking internet detective who plays to win.

About a decade ago, Kari jumped into the world of online dating, where she met John, a single dad serving with the U.S. military in Iraq. He was a handsome guy, shared her interests and treated her with refreshing kindness.

Soon, Kari’s relationship with John became serious, and she developed a fondness for his son, Felix, who was living in Ghana during his dad’s tour of duty. Kari and Felix bonded over email, and she thought, “I can have a life where my life partner has a son of his own, and I can consider him my son as well, without any problems.” Kari was happy to buy him gifts and help cover medical bills when Felix got sick.

But then, the requests for money kept coming. And that’s when everything about her relationship came into question. Kari began to wonder if she’d walked into a scam. 

Searching online, Kari stumbled upon a community of people who pretend to fall for scams to expose scammers and their tactics. It’s actually a hobby for some folks. Kari asked herself, “Could I do this too?” And she set off on a quest to fight for victims from all over the world — with her keyboard and monitor.

We’ve had a few stories about victims of online scams on this show. But this week, producer Peter Balonon-Rosen shares the story of a woman who decided to fight back.

Kari said helping scam victims gave her “the feeling that helping them helps me understand what I am dealing with.”

But sometimes fighting for justice takes an unexpected personal toll.

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The team

Zoë Saunders Senior Producer
Marque Greene Producer
Alice Wilder Producer
Kunal Patel Intern
Hannah Harris Green Producer

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