Self

How I Was Relentlessly Harassed By Cyber Criminals Pretending To Be Johnny Depp

picture of author next to a picture of Johnny Depp

I will never forget my first time — my first Jonny Depp cybercriminal that is.

I was on Facebook right after Johnny Depp won his defamation trial in the US.

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This handsome man, claiming to be Johnny Depp, approached me by sending me an amorous DM:

"Do not let anyone or anybody bring you down, your happiness lies in your hands, hold it and make use of it, make hay while the sun shines and you will see that life is beautiful... “

He then asked to chat on Telegram and I agreed. This was before any scammer alerts had been put out by Johnny Depp’s management team. If I had known then what I know now, I would have never agreed to chat on Telegram with a man claiming to be Johnny Depp.  

Once this criminal got me on Telegram his real work began via love bombing. Love bombing is a manipulation tactic used to play on a women’s vulnerabilities, and find their triggers to get them hooked. He began professing his undying love, telling me, “he was craving to date and marry a woman like me.” 

My new cyber love was very sophisticated in his methods. I questioned his validity, asking for proof that he was really Johnny Depp. 

He made it a point to send me the first "scammer memo alert" before it was put out by Johnny Depp's people. 

He also sent me photos of Johnny Depp, on tour in Europe, before they appeared online. Google reverse image search confirmed he was telling the truth. 

I was so in love. My primal instinct to be completely desired as a woman had been ignited. I had found my soul mate, or so I thought until he asked me for an iTunes gift card

I told him there was no way I was going to send him a gift card because he was nothing but a low-life scammer. He then threatened, "You will regret it!"

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I was drowning in disbelief as I read the words in front of me. My chest tightened around my heart and my blood began to boil.

Heartbreak puts the body and brain through so much psychological and physical trauma. 

The love I thought I received turned out to be poison. As a result, my mind still cycles through a landscape of emotions, leaving me fragile, dazed, and confused. I wake up each morning with a pit in my stomach and paralyzed by fear. I struggle with the most basic, daily activities over love lost that never existed. 

Confusion does not even begin to describe how this cybercriminal tore my heart in two.

I wish I could say it ended there but it didn’t.

After that incident, I went viral in the world of cyber criminals pretending to be Johnny Depp. I was relentlessly harassed daily. Perhaps my first cybercriminal was making good on his threat, or maybe it was someone connected to Johnny Depp's ex. My head swarmed with endless possibilities.

To this day, I have no idea who was responsible for the cyber abuse I experienced. The endless void of cyberspace overwhelmed me, leaving me restless and on edge. 

Every time I looked at my phone, I was bombarded with obscene messages and threats. Some of these predators were so relentless they tracked down my email address, asking for nude photos or money. 

One individual called me, "another Devil in disguise," comparing me to Johnny Depp's ex-wife, Amber Heard. 

In my desperation, I messaged Johnny Depp's verified, social accounts for help. I realize these celebrity accounts are handled by their management and most DMs go straight into spam folders. 

With no reply, I was left alone to fend off the swarm of Johnny Depp imposters that surrounded me. 

I was left feeling lost in the dark, unheard and unseen. This lack of acknowledgment sent me further down the rabbit hole, as the madness and mayhem continued.

 Yet, it was in the shadows of this lunacy, I found an amazing trauma therapist, who helped me see the light. My work with her has given me the strength to carry on and realize it's not my fault. 

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Eventually, with some persistence, I was also able to get a hold of someone at Johnny Depp’s management and she could not have been more helpful. She shared that they were aware of the problem and doing their best to combat it. Acknowledgment and recognition go a long way when you are being harassed daily. 

To my surprise, the very next day a “revised scammer alert” was posted on Johnny Depp’s verified Instagram account as part of his featured story. 

For example, Johnny Depp does not go on Telegram, WhatsApp, or other third-party sites. 

“Some of these attempts appear to be quite convincing, for example by digitally mimicking his voice and using other forms of communication that appear to be authentic.” - Team JD

My goal is to enlighten women that just because abuse takes place online does not make it any less of a crime. I am determined to raise public awareness regarding this modern-day abuse, which is unfortunately the wave of the future. 

This type of cyber criminal abuse goes largely unnoticed for it only takes place online. Plus, local law enforcement is ill-equipped to deal with cyber crimes. 

However, cyber criminal activity is abuse and must be recognized as such. It is just as damaging as any other form of abuse. It leaves its victims feeling the same self-blame, anxiety, fear, and depression. 

I hope to provide a safe, judgment-free zone, where women can share without feeling blamed or shamed. Knowledge is power and there is strength in numbers. Support is key in the recovery process. Please know you are not alone. 

What I gained from this experience was the resilience and strength to go on, but what I lost by being relentlessly harassed by cyber criminals pretending to be Johnny Depp is priceless.

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Julie Randazzo is a spiritual advisor specializing in tarot, manifestation rituals, and astrology. She runs owns her own online, Tarot business, Julie J. Tarot.

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