three stories / 9.16.2019





What Howe mastered, beyond the Ponzi scheme, is what experts call an “affinity fraud” — going after a group of people who have something in common, and most often who the scammer has something in common with too. As an “unprotected” woman herself, Howe understood what might appeal to her clientele.

Rose Eveleth, "The No. 1 Ladies Defrauding Agency.Longreads, July 2019: "What a 19th-century scammer can teach us about women, lying, and economic boom-and-bust cycles."

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“The demographic we’re selling to is 13- to 17-year-old girls, frankly,” said Weist ... “And these girls are seeking something that they don’t have in their lives through social media, whether that’s comfort or affirmation or validation. And we’re capitalizing on it. Whether you choose to think that’s good or bad, we’re providing love and comfort to these girls.”

Michael Weist, a social media talent manager featured in Jawline, a documentary about "boy broadcasting" influencers.

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The aspiration that Caroline Calloway embodies is the ability to express feelings boldly and the freedom to be a mess. This is in many ways more alluring than a nice blue Adriatic.

Choire Sicha and Jonah Engel Bromwich, "Who is Caroline Calloway? An Explainer."  NYT, 9/11/2019.


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