Keanu Reeves Is Not In Love With You

By Becky Holmes

My Encounters With Online Romance Scammers

Autobiography | Crime
113% funded
347 supporters
Writing in progress

Publication date: TBC

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The book

I know what you’re thinking: “for goodness sake Holmes, you’ve been banging on about writing a book for ages - get on with it”. I can’t argue with that and I promise you I’m trying! If you pledge to buy a first-edition paperback copy of the book, the ebook and your name in the back of the book among the list of patrons, I’ll be just that little bit closer!

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Ebook

Some people are really modern and trendy, and read books on those little flat computers that they carry around. If you aren’t utterly terrified of technology (I am) and you are down with the kids (I’m not) then this would be a good pledge level for you. All my words will magically appear on your screen and no one will see what you’re reading - I’d suggest you tell them it’s something by Dostoevsky because that will make you look really clever.
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Signed scammer bingo board and signed book

Come on, admit it, you love a game of bingo. It’s OK. Don’t be ashamed. We all do! With this bingo game you don’t even have to leave the house - sit in your pyjamas, One Foot in the Grave on the telly, Cinzano in one hand, dabber in the other, and play Scammer Bingo. If you get a line, celebrate by eating a whole box of chocolates to yourself without Gladys from the local Gala Bingo hall there to judge you.

You’ll get a signed, laminated scammer bingo board with dabber, plus a signed, first-edition paperback copy of the book, the ebook and your name in the back of the book among the list of patrons.

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5 pledges

"Official documents" and signed book

Get hold of a Becky Holmes original! You know how some people buy a piece of art and then it turns out to be worth a fortune when the artist makes a name for themself? Well, this is nothing like that because my stuff is crap. But you should definitely pledge for this anyway. After a half-hour phone consultation, I will hand-draw you an “official document" of your choice, just like I do for the scammers. Perhaps you want a marriage certificate between you and a Hollywood heart-throb, alternatively you might need a bank transfer receipt or maybe you could simply do with a £10 iTunes voucher. Don’t worry - I’ve got you covered.

As well as a Tate Modern-worthy piece of original art, you’ll also get a signed, first-edition paperback copy of the book, the ebook and your name in the back of the book among the list of patrons.

Only 20 available.

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2 pledges

Limited-edition bundle with signed book

This pledge level is for very busy people who don’t want to have to spend time making choices. Just like Queen, they want it all and they want it now! I imagine they are making their pledge whilst on a commuter train, buying and selling shares on one tablet, bidding on an antique table with another and mentally weighing up the best guacamole recipe for Saturday night’s dinner party.

These go-getters will receive the “Keanu Reeves Doesn’t Love Me” mug; an original fake document drawn by me after a chat on the phone plus a signed, first-edition copy of the book, with their name in the back among the list of patrons.

Only 10 available.

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1 pledge

Skype call and signed book

Have you ever wondered what the inside of my flat looks like? Do I have celebrities stuffed into cupboards and army Generals sellotaped to the ceiling? Well here’s your chance to find out because this pledge is for a Skype call with me, and the only place I can do that from is my sofa.

I am saying now that this Skype call will be about how the book was put together, why I decided to write it and the world of online romance scammers in general, but I have quite a short attention span so it could end up being about what I’m having for dinner. What a thrilling chat that would be for you. Don’t worry though, you’ll also get a signed, first-edition paperback copy of the book, the ebook and your name in the back of the book among the list of patrons.

Only 10 available.

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1 pledge

Book club

What could possibly be better than a book? Well, 10 signed, first-edition copies to read with your book club or friends of course! Not only that but we can all chat about it for an hour on video call. You can ask me whatever you like about the book and/or romance fraud. Actually sod it, you can ask me whatever you like about anything. I can even give you the well thought-out reasons behind my phobia of bananas if you like - and I’m telling you now, you’ll not look at a banana the same way again.

As well as the paperbacks you’ll also get 10 ebooks and up to 10 names in the back of the book.

Only 2 available.

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Patron (silver level)

Who out there has £500 in their bank that they simply despise and want rid of? Don’t you go worrying any more - I will go out of my way to help relieve you of that money. I am astonishingly good like that and I don’t even expect any thanks in return. It’s enough that I’ll have helped you.

Joking aside, this is a big pile of money so alongside my eternal thanks, you’ll receive the “Keanu Reeves Doesn’t Love Me” mug and tote bag (yes, you read that right - a tote bag you lucky sod); the signed scammer bingo board; an original fake certificate by me, plus a signed, first-edition paperback copy of the book, with a special thanks at the front of the book.

Only 3 available.

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1 pledge

Patron (gold level)

Calling all you secretly rich people (or you people who are willing to go out and hold-up your local post office to raise a grand). Don’t spend your cash on Cartier watches, holidays to Mauritius or a new kitchen. Those are simply awful ways of parting with your cash. Didn’t you know that all the really cool people are putting their money towards getting books published? No? You hadn’t heard that? Ah well it’s lucky that I’m here to tell you then.

On a serious note, a massive chunk of money like that would go a long way towards funding the publication of the book. I’m quite an emotional person so it would make me cry, so if you’ve always wanted to make me cry then this is perfect for you. Pledging at this level means you will receive a special, personalised, gushing thank you from me at the front of the book. Plus you’ll receive the “Keanu Reeves Doesn’t Love Me” mug and tote bag; the signed scammer bingo board; an original fake document drawn in my own fair hand, a Skype chat with me to discuss the making of the book (although let’s face it, for a thousand pounds we can talk about whatever you damn well please), and 10 signed, first-edition copies of the book.

Only 3 available.

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Corporate

I’m going to go a bit serious for this pledge level because it’s for businessy people who, unlike me, know how to use Excel and whose footwear isn’t exclusively trainers, wellies or flip flops.

Romance fraud is a HUGE problem world-wide and has been on the increase for years, with a sharp rise during and since the pandemic. People’s lives are being ruined every day by these scams - not just financially but also psychologically. Despite this, very little is being done. Grrrrrrr!

If you run an organisation where you feel people would be interested in the subject, I can do something tailor-made for you. It could be a bulk deal on books, a presentation to your team either in person or online or maybe your organisation being a sponsor if relevant.

I’m happy to chat (alongside someone from Unbound who knows far more about things than I do) and see if there is a way that we can work together. Email cassie@unbound.co.uk for more.

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I have the best hobby EVER. You know those irritating buggers who slide into your DMs on social media? Come on, you know the ones - they fall in love with you immediately but just need a little financial help before you can be together forever. Yes, those ones. Well I make friends with them, create a variety of ridiculous scenarios and deliberately waste as much of their time as possible. 

I developed this hobby during lockdown when I joined Twitter in sheer desperation as a way to stave off boredom and loneliness. Within eight hours of signing up I had three direct messages from impossibly handsome men that all started with ‘hello dear’. Little did I know how many times I would read those two words over the following few months. I started having a lot of fun.

From those pretending to be US peacekeeping soldiers serving in the Middle East to those working on oil rigs to those pretending to be celebrities (you wouldn’t believe the number of Keanu Reeves’s in love with me), I respond to them all, keep the conversations going for as long as possible, and document the lot on Twitter. I’m not sure you’ll ever come across anyone who had more online romances than me - Prince William’s attitude to my suggestion of disposing of Kate Middleton was a surprise if I’m honest, and it turns out that Brad Pitt can offer advice on hiding a body.

Of course these people are all romance scammers. You’ve probably heard stories of these scumbags - over the past few months the news has included a smattering of articles on people who have lost extortionate sums to them, and of course the recent Netflix documentary The Tinder Swindler has thrown light on the subject for a lot of people. Unfortunately though, even though most people know it happens, the extent of it is barely talked about, and because victims are shamed into saying nothing, hardly anyone is doing anything about it. 

 

However I quickly became aware that online romance fraud is a trouser-droppingly HUGE  problem and just how much money people lose to these horrible toss bandits. I also started to notice patterns in their behaviour, similarities in the words they used, the emotive subjects that they brought up, and how nasty they can become if they realise they aren’t going to get what they want. I was drawn deeper and deeper into this shady corner of the internet, and I became determined to understand how and why this is happening.

The more I tweeted my interactions, the more my following grew and the more people messaged me saying that they had been real victims of these scams and telling me their stories. One woman told me that “despite everything I’ve been through, going to the police wouldn’t make a scrap of difference”. This makes me really, really mad! I have spoken to dozens of truly lovely people who have undergone the most horrific ordeals at the hands of these utter shitbags – many have lost everything they once had, some are even now struggling in debt as a result of handing their money over, and every single one of these people has something in common: they have been left feeling ashamed and embarrassed, afraid to tell anyone in ‘real life’ about what they’ve been through. Because of this, the true extent of the impact of romance fraud will never be accurately recorded.

This book uses my own often ridiculous exchanges to shed light on what is a serious and very dangerous phenomenon. It includes the conversations I’ve had with people who have been conned - and believe me there isn’t a ‘type’ of person when it comes to being duped. Men and women of all ages, all levels of education and all professions have been taken in. One woman I interviewed as a victim of romance fraud is a police detective, which surely goes to show that even the most savvy of us can be conned.  

I’ve been fortunate enough to get my grubby little mitts on a copy of the script that some of these scammers work from. My favourite bit is the really explicit section where the scammer is describing a sexy dream he has had about the person he is talking to. I’ve had great fun occasionally messaging my best friend with excerpts from that. I was going to include a couple of sentences here but you’ll have to buy the book instead. 

I’ve interviewed victims, police, psychologists and people who now devote their life to supporting those who have been affected. Every single person has said the same thing – more needs to be done to shed light on the subject, and more needs to be done to stop it. With technology and social media channels on a constant trajectory of growth, it certainly seems this problem isn't going away any time soon. 

I think that all sounds rather interesting and worth pledging for, doesn’t it? Still not sure? Hmm you’re a tricky customer. OK, here are the top three reasons why you should pledge for this book:

  1. It will help to raise awareness of this growing phenomenon that ruins people’s lives
  2. It will mean that I haven’t spent hundreds of hours talking to strangers about fitting grapes inside sparrows or staging photographs of my homicidal tendencies for no reason whatsoever
  3. It will provide me with another way in which I can try to get Greg Davies’s attention seeing as he has been ignoring my attempts at wooing him online for nearly two years.

So that’s it, really. That’s my pitch as to why you should pledge to help me make this happen. 

But finally, as Keanu Reeves has unwittingly lent his name to this book, I feel it’s only fair that I finish with an inspirational quote from the man himself: “Life is good when you have a good sandwich.”

Amen to that Keanu.

 

Proposed book specification: B-format paperback, 224pp.

Pledge levels will be fulfilled on the book's release, and are subject to the book funding.

Image credits: Design by Mecob. Book designs, cover and other images are for illustrative purposes and may differ from final design.

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