Thursday, November 3, 2016

Inside Knowledge

This is long, but without a doubt the most inexplicable, creepy thing that's ever happened to me.
June last year a man from Pakistan began messaging me on Facebook, assuming it was a scam account I ignored his attempts at conversation and thought little of it. 6 months later the random messages started to pop up again, several times a day, with personal information about me he couldn't possibly know.

Every day for almost 4 months this stranger wrote to me knowing details about my life that I'm certain aren't on my Facebook profile. He knew where I'd worked, where I live, my phone number, the brand of smokes I buy, how I'd become unemployed, my parents separating and my daily routine.
I'm not easily spooked but he was trying to get under my skin and it was working. I told a few close friends who were skeptical at first, figuring he'd gotten my information off Facebook, until they read the message thread for themselves and could see how serious it was.

Of course I considered the possibility an acquaintance of mine was behind the account posing as this man. Unfortunately the timeline dated back to 2012, had hundreds of photos, check ins with family and friends on the other side of the world and appeared legitimate.

He intimidated me for months dropping facts about my life every now and then to scare the shit out of me. Finally he explained he wanted to come to Australia and if I helped him he would pay me. At first I was amused that he thought I could be of help, making a joke of his idea. He obviously didn't appreciate my response because he started mentioning my dad and sister.

I was more angry than scared by that point and decided to contact the National Security Hotline. I figured if this individual was willing to pay a stranger on Facebook to worm his way into Australia they'd want to find out why. They also didn't think I was bat-shit crazy, so that was a huge relief after all the looks others had given me.

A few days passed after the call, the messages continued but I had peace of mind knowing I'd reported it. Maybe I had overreacted? Maybe I was bat-shit crazy? Or perhaps one of my friends was behind it all!

Obviously the authorities weren't taking the situation as lightly as I'd thought, because detectives turned up at home to get the story from myself first hand. As bizarre as the situation was, it was comforting knowing that they listened and had my best interest after being made to feel like an idiot for months.

The messages stopped the same day I spoke to the detectives at my house, giving me reason to believe action was taken when they left. I'll probably never know the details, but it's probably best that way anyway.

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