- Radio Times
- Review by:
- Eddie Mair
The internet has brought us many wondrous things. We can see photos of our own home taken by someone else from the street or from the air. We can watch TV programmes we forgot to record. And we can get emails from people in Nigeria who apparently have a lot of money for us. Another handy how-did-we-live-without-them aspect of online life is the forums where people with similar interests can share experiences. When people fall ill, such forums can be terribly helpful.
Take the case of a woman who shared her cancer experience online. People rallied round, even sending gifts, as she charted her struggle. There were photos showing her with her oxygen tank and feeding tubes. She struggled to breathe or eat. But, like those Nigerian emailers, this woman was a fraudster. She wasn’t ill at all.
Jolyon Jenkins’s arresting half-hour opens with her story, and the response of another woman who was completely taken in. This particular deceit is jaw-dropping but the programme unearths many more examples, including a woman who took someone else’s baby scan pictures and passed them off as her own.
Charities are taken in, and Jolyon asks whether some sites do enough to check people’s authenticity. Getting scammers and victims to talk is as hard as you can imagine, but the programme hears from both. The personal accounts are the highlights and you’ll be staring at your radio in disbelief, but it’s all too true.
About this programme
Jolyon Jenkins investigates how users of online medical forums have been affected by people with Munchausen's syndrome, a mental disorder that causes them to feign severe illness. He speaks to some of those who have fallen victim to deception, as well as to others who have perpetrated it, and learns about the elaborate false identities often created.
Cast and crew
- Jolyon Jenkins
- Jolyon Jenkins