By Larry Johnson
I admit it. I’m a Words with Friends addict.
I usually have 40 games — the maximum allowed — going all the time.
That’s not been all bad during the pandemic, although I find myself a little bored recently with the popular Facebook word game. That’s not all bad, either.
If you’re unfamiliar with the game, it’s much like Scrabble with a chat function. That’s a function I seldom use, except to wish my ex-wife a Happy Birthday or to reconnect with an old friend. My ex-wife usually murders me unless she has a fever. The friends, not so much. It’s all good.
Anyway, generally, I don’t chat.
Lately, though, a lot of people want to talk. I’m from Iowa, originally, and that’s a state where many people say hello on the street. The smaller the Iowa town, the more nods and greetings. So I’m used to it, and it doesn’t bother me to say hi.
But then I noticed something. All the people who have wanted to talk to me lately were pictured in extremely high-resolution photos. None of them had played or won many games, and their average game score was extremely low. The women, as much as you could tell from a thumbnail-sized picture, were all quite attractive. The men exuded success. All of them were smiling. I would say hi back, then usually ignore them after a couple of brief exchanges.
They would either play three or four rounds and resign. But in every case, they didn’t resign before they had tried to get me to go to Google Hangouts or What’s App, even after I said I am married and not at all interested in a private chat. Their congeniality ended when I declined three or four times.
I can’t prove it definitively, and I realize this isn’t big news, but I’m pretty sure these “people” are scammers. The photos all have the same look, their scores are uniformly terrible, and their “conversations” are uniform.
So if you play Words with Friends, you’ve been warned. Not all the scammers are working Internet dating sites, the stock market, or the executive branch of government. Some of them seem to lurk in venues as generally dull as Words with Friends.