61 episodes

Pretend Radio is a documentary-style podcast about real people pretending to be someone else. I interview con artists, snake oil salesmen, undercover FBI agents—pretty much anyone living a lie.

Pretend - a true crime documentary podcast Creative Babble

    • True Crime
    • 4.8, 875 Ratings

Pretend Radio is a documentary-style podcast about real people pretending to be someone else. I interview con artists, snake oil salesmen, undercover FBI agents—pretty much anyone living a lie.

    S6 E1: How to disappear part 1

    S6 E1: How to disappear part 1

    Did Olivia Newton-John’s Former Boyfriend Fake His Own Death?Faking your own death is almost always a bad idea. Hear the story of Patrick McDermott, Olivia Newton John’s boyfriend, who many believe staged his own death. 
    The wrong way to disappear
    People have been playing dead since the beginning of time. There’s really no way of knowing for how long this has been going on. But I can imagine that the illusion of dying is closely correlated with the concept of debt. If you owe someone lots of money, you have two options: either pay it or run away. 
    Patrick McDermott, Olivia Newton-John’s missing boyfriend, had every reason to run away. His film work had dried up and he owed his ex-wife thousands of dollars in back child support.
    It took 10 days for anyone to realize he was missing. Olivia Newton-John wasn’t looking for him because they had just recently broken up. It wasn’t until he didn’t show up to pick up his son that his ex-wife noticed something was wrong. But people can’t just run away without leaving behind clues.  
    Patrick McDermott was last seen after going on an overnight fishing trip. Was McDermott lost at sea or was he just on the run? The truth is, no one wanted to find out. His ex-wife filed a claim on his life insurance. And Olivia Newton John wanted the whole thing put behind her.
    When the manager of the marina was asked about McDermott’s whereabouts, he said that Patrick McDermott’s name was indeed on the ship’s manifesto. And there was something else. He left behind his tackle box. Inside, they found his wallet, driver’s license, and car keys. 
    Why would anyone want to fake their own death?
    I haven’t seen any real study on this topic but I can imagine that there are many reasons why someone would want to leave their own life behind and start fresh. It could be forbidden love like in Romeo and Juliet. Or it can be greed—like someone trying to cash in on their own life insurance policy. When it comes to dying, people have many different motivations. 
    How to disappear with Michael Bazzell
    This series is a collaboration with Michael Bazzell, a privacy consultant and host of The PRIVACY, SECURITY, & OSINT Show. We’re going to show you the wrong way and the right way to disappear. 
    Buy the book: Extreme Privacy: What it takes to disappear by Michael Bazzell:
    A special thanks to Philip Klein. If you want to read more about Patrick McDermott’s disappearance, check out the book “Lost at Sea: The hunt for Patrick McDermott.”
    Buy the book: Lost at Sea

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    • 40 min
    COVID-19 Scams: The Rattlesnake King

    COVID-19 Scams: The Rattlesnake King

    The COVID-19 pandemic is a conman’s Super Bowl. In times like these, when there's so much uncertainty, snake oil salesmen are ready to promise you a cure.

    In this episode, you'll hear from a woman who takes one of these miracle drugs. I ask her why she takes it.

    Special thanks to:
    Joe Terrell with Instrument of Mercy https://instrumentofmercy.com/
    A Concerned Citizen and host of Swindled

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    • 41 min
    COVID-19 Scams: How to Steal a Stimulus Check

    COVID-19 Scams: How to Steal a Stimulus Check

    COVID-19 Scams
    I wasn’t expecting to be back with a new PRETEND episode so soon. In fact, I’m still wrapping up the final episodes for my new show called CRIMINAL CONDUCT. But the world around us has changed. And scammers are on the prowl. 
    If you live in the US, chances are you probably received your stimulus payment. It went either straight into your bank account through direct deposit. Or some of you may have cashed the check that you received in the mail. 
    We’re talking about much-needed money for tens of millions of Americans out of work due to the Coronavirus. $1,200 for individuals and $3,400 for a family of four. 
    The IRS has sent out 150 million payments so far since the time of this recording… but more payments are still expected to still arrive through the end of June. 
    And if you haven’t received your check, you’re probably wondering what’s the hold-up? Unfortunately for some, your money is probably gone and in the hands of thieves. 
    Today, I’m going to show you exactly how easy it is for scammers to steal your money. In fact, I’ve challenged a privacy expert to try and hack into my private information. I was really shocked at what he was able to find.

    Password managers
    1Password.com (User-friendly and secure)
    Bitwarden (More secure cloud-based password manager)
    KeePassXC (More secure computer-based password manager) 

    Search to see if you’re password is exposed in a breached database

    Credit freezes
    Credit Freeze Tutorial (Full Workbook) 
    Annual Credit Report (Free credit report to detect fraud)
    Enable 2-factor authentication on all platforms that support it https://twofactorauth.org/

    Online removal workbook

    Additional resources
    Michael Bazzell’s website Intel Techniques
    Eva Velasquez Identity Theft Resource Center
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    • 35 min
    Inside Criminal Conduct

    Inside Criminal Conduct

    //Criminal Conduct debuts on March 23rd.//

    Get an inside look into the making of the new podcast. Thank you to Jerri Williams from FBI Retired Case File Review for helping us with this bonus episode.

    You can listen to the episode one now on Patreon.

    Subscribe to Criminal Conduct now so you won't miss an episode.

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    • 19 min
    BIG ANNOUNCEMENT: Criminal Conduct

    BIG ANNOUNCEMENT: Criminal Conduct

    On September 2nd, 2010, 24 year-old Michelle O’Connell broke up with her boyfriend, St. Johns County Sheriff’s Deputy, Jeremy Banks. Minutes later, she was dead.
    The St. Johns Sheriff’s Office quickly ruled the case a suicide, without examining crucial forensic evidence or interviewing any key witnesses. A medical examiner ruled her death a homicide, yet other investigations failed to gain traction.
    Her boyfriend, Deputy Jeremy Banks was never charged and is still working as a St. Johns County Sheriff’s Deputy.
    Years later, an amateur sleuth named Eli Washtock winds up murdered after investigating Michelle O’Connell’s death. What did he find out?
    ‘Criminal Conduct’ is an investigative true crime podcast series hosted by John Taylor and Javier Leiva. The hosts retrace the footsteps of Eli Washtock, the slain sleuth; picking up the investigation where he left off.
    ‘Criminal Conduct’ will be released in the spring of 2020. Subscribe now on all podcast platforms.

    Apple Podcast
    Google Play
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    • 2 min
    S510: The Joe Schmo Show

    S510: The Joe Schmo Show

    The Joe Schmo Show is a real-life Truman Show—where everyone is an actor except one unsuspecting guy. It’s a reality show within a reality show. 
    The series everyone watched on SPIKE TV was called The Joe Schmo show. But the show Matt Kennedy Gould thought he was participating in was called The Lap of Luxury—a Big Brother style television show. He had no idea that the people he was living with were all actors. 

    The series was created by Paul Wernick and Rhett Reese (Deadpool). It was hosted by Ralph Garman and written and produced by J. Holland Moore. Season one starred a young Kristen Wiig who played a quack psychiatrist. I must warn you. This show did not age well. It would not survive in today’s #metoo movement. Despite what it lacks in sensitivity, it makes up for in its ingenuity and heart. 

    In this episode, Melissa with Moms and Murder and I talk with Chase Rogan, season three’s Joe Schmo, to find out what it’s like to be the star of television’s biggest hoax.

    Today’s episode was written and produced by me and Melissa. 
    Original music was provided by thechicken.net
    Additional music by Blue dot sessions
    All clips in this podcast were used in compliance with the US copyright act for fair use exemption, for criticism and commentary 
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    • 1 hr

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5
875 Ratings

875 Ratings

Hoodedfantasia ,

Covid scam

The episode that dropped on may 29th (covid scams and how to steal a stimulus check) was incredible. Thank you for educating the public. Also thank you for putting all that info in the episode notes! It makes it super easy to have your info taken off the MANY MANY sites. Also to put a credit freeze in place. I LOVE this podcast. It was a pleasure to meet Javier at the true crime podcast last year. What a genuine person he is. Keep up the amazing work!

lilbuzzi ,

Terrible. More liberal opinions shoved down your throat

Just report the story and don’t make side remarks with your own liberal agenda.

Jay Trotter2 ,

Great Show

Documentary style podcasts are my favorite and this one is no exception. Every episode features a solid story well told with interviews and clips spliced in. True crime is really not my favorite genre but this show makes the grade for me. It's a stand out.

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