Surfing Con-Man Strikes Again

Unlike this bomb at Maverick’s, Derek Dunfee wasn’t falling for it.

As most of you know, for the past 18 months or so, an unknown scam artist has been contacting people within the surf industry and hitting them with a sob story: "Hey this is [insert pro surfer's name here], I'm stuck at LAX/ my car just got towed/ I'm stranded in a foreign country. Could you wire me $450/ buy me an airline ticket?" A few people have fallen for the scam and handed over their coin, but hopefully the latest bungled attempt will be the last.

Last Sunday, the wannabe Frank Abagnale tried his confidence scam on La Jolla pro Derek Dunfee. First he called Dunfee's mom, claiming he was Nathan Fletcher and had just had his car towed and a death in the family and could she MoneyGram him $450 or get him in touch with Derek. Mrs. Dunfee almost coughed up the cash then and there, but luckily the only thing she handed over to the trickster was Derek's cell number, which proceeded to light up multiple times while he was out surfing, with "Nathan" even foolishly leaving a voicemail message.

Luckily Dunfee was wise to the trickster and attempted to stall him while contacting SURFING's Evan Slater who liaised with MoneyGram and the San Diego Police Department to try and hatch a plan to catch the thieving bastard red-handed. A thousand heist movies will tell you that setting up a stakeout/sting operation isn't that hard; you just need plenty of coffee and doughnuts, right? Apparently MoneyGram and the SDPD haven't seen those flicks; MoneyGram insisted they have "no system in place" to catch scammers, while a SDPD officer claimed “If we don’t know where he is, there’s nothing we can do about it. We’re not going to spend hours waiting for a guy who might show up when it’s a ${{{300}}} crime. The best thing to do is educate the public so no one falls for it again.” So with no help forthcoming, all Dunfee could do was give the punk a verbal dressing down and tell him (ironically) the cops are onto him and his scams.

Over the course of his career, the "surf industry scammer" (a.k.a the "carving con artist") has committed a number of '$300' crimes, taking his bounty well into the thousands of dollars. With the best course of action educating the public, here's some things to look out for if a long lost pro-bro rings you up asking for a MoneyGram transfer:

-He frequently adopts the following personas or drops these names: Nathan, Christian and Greyson Fletcher, Brad Gerlach, Dino and Kolohe Andino, Chris Malloy, Adam Wickwire and John-John Florence. Don't be surprised if he latches onto another well known father/son combo in Matt and {{{Ford}}} Archbold.

-Names he's given include: Shawn Hontin and Kenneth Gaul. He's also tried to have money transferred to a company called "Going Places Travel". They're probably fake names but still worth keeping in mind.

-He plays on his victim's compassion, often creating fake situations that make you feel sorry for him: Car got towed, death in the family, stranded in another country, wrongly imprisoned, etc, etc.

-If he thinks he's sucked you in, he'll get more aggressive. Dunfee had over ten missed calls from the guy while he was trying to stall.

There's one thing we know for sure about this guy: odds are that he's a fellow surfer. Unless he's a super magazine and web geek, it would be pretty hard to have the inside knowledge of the surf industry the surfing scammer seems to have. Although this is his strength at the moment, it could potentially be his downfall. The surfing community is pretty tight-knit, so chances are good that someone that reads this article will know the con man, even if they are unaware of his deceptive double life. Ideally we can get some sort of tribal retribution happening, similar to Kelly's lost boards caper a few years ago. Until then there's nothing we can do about this dirtbag besides wait... and plot his downfall.