For nearly ten years, a man posing as a transgender woman solicited revealing photos and personal information from real transgender people, under the guise of being a supportive member of the community. The names he used include:
- “Lori MacNeil”
- “Lori A. MacNeil”
- “Lori Allison MacNeil”
Do not under any circumstances share confidential information or photos with this man posing as “Lori.”
1. Who is Lori Allison MacNeil?
“Lori Allison MacNeil” is a fake transgender woman created around 2004 by an online predator. There is no actual person named Lori Allison MacNeil, and all the photos used by the man posing as “Lori” were stolen from unsuspecting young women and presented as pictures of “Lori.”
2. How can I help stop this predator?
If you are friends on social media with the “Lori” account, simply unfriend it immediately. You can also tell everyone you know to unfriend the account, to help spread the word. If you want to report and block it, even better.
FAQ for defenders of the man posing as “Lori”
3. Why would someone create a fake transgender person?
The wannabes who make these fakes often have an unachievable erotic fantasy about either dating or (more often) being a young, attractive trans woman. In the case of the man posing as “Lori,” he has a breast augmentation and surgery fetish and an erotic interest in weddings, brides, and honeymoons. He is living out his erotic fantasy by pretending to be “Lori” online.
His primary purpose in posing as “Lori” is to trick unsuspecting real trans women into paying attention to him. He also tricks them into sharing personal information and revealing photos, which fuels his erotic interests and plays into his fantasies about transition. He often then steals parts of his victims’ personal transition experiences in the same way he steals photos, in order to make his fake persona “Lori” more believable-sounding.
The man posing as “Lori” has made up a number of conflicting lies about his fake online persona over the years. At first he claimed “Lori” had SRS in Thailand, going as far as to create a forum called SRS in Thailand. He then lured real trans women to share their experiences, surgical photos, and personal contact information. In some cases, he even contacted them by phone while they were away from their homes recovering in the hospital, as part of his fantasy fulfillment. He later claimed “Lori” had SRS in the United States.
Though several real trans women have made plans to meet “Lori” in person, he always came up with a last-minute excuse why “Lori” couldn’t meet them. My favorite one was that “Lori” had contracted eye cancer.
4. Then who is the woman in the photos?
The actual woman in most of the photos is named Amanda. She was born in 1985 and she grew up in New Jersey. She is not transgender. Some of the images are of Amanda’s sister. Because she and her family are already victims in this case, I am not going to reveal any more about her, but I can say with absolute certainty that Amanda is the person whose images were stolen. In October 2013, Katherine Mackenzie Bradford made the connection between Amanda and the photos stolen by the predator posing as “Lori.” I had independently come across Amanda’s surname in my own research, and once we shared our findings, we were able to confirm the facts of the case with complete certainty.
5. How did the man posing as “Lori” start stealing Amanda’s photos?
On September 13, 2004, Amanda opened a Webshots account and began sharing photos of her life with friends. As social media sites like Webshots became more popular, Amanda published thousands of photos online. Because she was an attractive young college student enjoying a rich social life, she became the target of dozens of creepy men like the man posing as “Lori.” They began stealing her photos to make fake online profiles, prompting her to say in 2007:
“NO MORE PICS =) Thanks to those 35-40 people who STALKED me and kept stealing them and making false myspace pages. Seriously, nice life. Looks like you can’t pretend to be me (and my boyfriend/friends) anymore.. hahaa”
By then, there were enough photos in circulation that dozens of creepy guys were using them to pretend to be women. Amanda also said about her stolen images:
“I’m the real person to these photos, as people kept stealing them from my Webshots homepage, and it’s getting to be annoying now. And then there’s Myspace. I have found at least 4 pages with my pictures on, and then there’s pages with my friends pictures on, too. Please stop.”
6. How do you know Amanda is the real one?
Amanda continues to post new photos of life events on her private Facebook profile, including recent family weddings and photos of newborn nieces and nephews. These images are also tagged and posted on the personal pages of her father, sisters, and friends, whose identities can all be independently confirmed as well. Her family owns a retail business in New Jersey that was founded by her grandfather, and I have personally contacted both Amanda and her father.
Everything Amanda has posted and all details of her life can be independently confirmed – her high school, her university, her hometown, her friends and family. Nothing claimed by the man posing as “Lori” can be independently confirmed.
Amanda posts original images on a regular basis, while every image posted by the man posing as “Lori” has already been published previously by Amanda.
7. But “Lori” claims to be the originator of the photos, and the victim!
Over the years, the man posing has “Lori” has been called out as a fake and kicked off forums by numerous prominent trans women, including Kara Flynn, Chloe Prince, and many others.
The man posing as “Lori” has never posted a photo that has not already appeared elsewhere. If “Lori” were real, it would be very easy for her to post a customized photo showing her face. Anyone who takes and shares thousands of photos like that will have no problem taking a customized photo upon request.
8. Why does the man posing as “Lori” continue his fraud after being called out?
Guys like the predator posing as “Lori” do it to get attention and to get a new supply of material for masturbation. It also takes a lot of time and energy to create a scam that continues this long, so he is probably not going to stop until he is named, sued or arrested. That’s been the case with every other investigation I have done since 1995.
Ultimately, arrogance is what typically trips up these scumbags. These predators usually think they are smarter than their victims. Many of these men also get an erotic thrill at the possibility of getting caught and humiliated, and that is ultimately their downfall.
9. Then who is the predator behind the fake “Lori” profile?
We are currently exploring civil and criminal options with the information we have collected on the man posing as “Lori,” so we can’t get into too many details.
What this man has done is not only extremely creepy, it’s illegal. It involves fraud, invasion of privacy, cyberstalking, identity theft, and several other serious crimes. These investigations often take several years before they are fully resolved.
If you are a victim and would like to contribute evidence to the ongoing investigation, please contact me.
10. If “Lori” is fake, wouldn’t the accounts be kicked off social media?
There are dozens of fake Myspace and Facebook accounts currently using Amanda’s images. Social media services like Facebook have made it clear that they do not care about fake accounts. Facebook alone has over 83 million fake accounts (about 1 in 11 is fake in a recent survey), and as long as they can make money from these fake accounts, they will continue to do very little to address the problem.
11. I don’t believe you! You don’t provide enough proof “Lori” is fake!
There is no evidence whatsoever that “Lori” is legitimate. No one has ever met “Lori” in person. No one by that name went to the school claimed as an alma mater. No one has ever videoconferenced with “Lori.” There are no videos of “Lori” and there never will be.
The burden of proof is on the person seeking something from you, whether it’s attention, or friendship, or personal information, or revealing photos. You should not trust someone online just because the photo they are using is attractive to you. Anyone could be behind those photos, and you are putting yourself at risk by not taking basic steps to confirm someone’s identity.
If everyone had requested even the most basic proof from the man posing as “Lori,” this fraud would have ended about ten years ago.
12. This sounds like it’s all harmless fun to me! Why do you care so much? Are you just jealous of “Lori” and/or our friendship?
It is not harmless to steal someone else’s photos and identity and use it to draw other people into your confidence. Our community is especially vulnerable to scam artists and creepy stalkers like the man posing as “Lori.” Many trans women, especially older, less attractive women, are especially vulnerable, as they very much want to have a young attractive transwoman friend, or any friend. Many of them are attracted to the images of Amanda that were stolen by the man posing as “Lori.”
This case is the most disturbing I have seen in nearly 20 years of activism, and I plan to make an example out of this predator and anyone who defends him.
I also see it as a teaching moment on being safe online with personal information, to prevent trans women from being victims in the future.
Some people made important personal and medical decisions and spent thousands of dollars based on fabricated information presented by the man posing as “Lori”. All of his “first-hand” reports and advice were lies. This is a dangerous thing to do that could lead to serious problems.
13. “Lori” and I have been close friends throughout my transition, and even if the account is fake, we are going to stay friends!
A few people are very invested in the idea that “Lori” is real. Many of the staunch defenders of the man posing as “Lori” also have an unachievable fantasy about being a young, attractive trans woman. The idea that a young, passable trans woman is willing to be a friend and confidant fulfills a very deep need for them. “Lori” represents the same wish fulfillment to them that that “Lori” does to the creepy dude who cobbled together “Lori” from stolen images and stolen personal stories.
If it seems too good to be true, it probably is. It’s sad, but it is unusual for young, attractive trans women to befriend older unattractive trans women. If someone you find attractive wants to be your friend, you need to take additional steps to confirm their identity.
If, despite no evidence that “Lori” is a legitimate account, you continue to defend and interact with this guy, you are part of the problem, and I will profile you on a permanent page devoted to this scam.
14. Why are you profiling people who interact with the man posing as “Lori”?
The only way to stop these fakes is to stop the people paying attention to the predator. No friends and no interaction will end scams faster than anything else.
15. How dare you say I am a fake! I am real!
This is a defensive response some people have when they learn the facts in this case. I am not saying the people who believed in “Lori” or continue to interact with this predator are fake. I am saying they are the reason scams like this continue. I am identifying the people whose interactions make these scams harder to kill. This helps others in our community know who they can trust with personal information. Anyone who continues to interact with the predator posing as “Lori Allison MacNeil” at this point should not be trusted with your personal information.
Anyone who continues to interact with the man posing as “Lori” is part of the problem at this point, and I plan to name all current friends of “Lori” on a permanent page.
16. You can’t tell me what to do!
That’s right, but I can let others know that you continue to interact with a known fraud.
17. I do not give you permission to mention me in your witch hunt! I will sue you!
I do not need permission. If you have published your interactions with the man posing as “Lori,” I am free to document and comment on your activity as a matter of public interest.
Questions on future safety
18. I shared personal information and photos with the man posing as “Lori.” What should I do?
You are not alone. Creepy men like this are very good at luring you into their confidence. This process is called “grooming” by experts on sexual predators.
Your best bet is to quietly unfriend and block this person from contacting you.
However, if you want to speak out, there are many women who have come forward with stories of how this guy tricked them. If it weren’t for them, this might have continued much longer. Scams like this continue because victims rarely want to come forward or admit their error.
19. How do I know if people online are who they say they are?
I am preparing a quiz to help you estimate the likelihood that a trans woman online is real or fake. The best test is to request a short video where they say their name while showing their face. A less acceptable option is a “salute photo” showing their face and doing something you requested, like holding up two fingers, touching their left ear with their pinky, writing your name and the date on their hand and holding it next to their face. Videos are harder to fake, so request a video. If they refuse one or both, do not give them any personal information or photos and report them to the service through which they contacted you.
20. How can I avoid being a victim of identity theft?
I’ve published tips on online safety. Trans women must be more careful than other people, especially if you want to keep the option of privacy in the future.
Toward the peak of the hoax, much of his activity was on Facebook, but he has also been active on MySpace and various trans forums since at least 2004 under this fake name/identity.
He has assumed the identities of unsuspecting young women by stealing their photos and claiming they are images of his made-up persona “Lori.”
Over the years, many notable trans women have pointed out that “Lori” is a man in his 50s with a breast fetish and an interest in surgical procedures. His story has changed many times, particularly the medical history he concocted for “Lori.”
I hope to use this egregious case as a teaching moment on how to avoid sharing personal information with someone you don’t know. This can help you avoid identity theft, getting outed or stalked, or having private information and photos published without your consent.
How has this fraud gone on so long? Because many trans women want to believe “Lori” is real. They fantasize about having a young, attractive trans friend who passes much better than they do. They find the photos this guy uses to be attractive, and they both want and want to be “Lori” themselves. This leads to a feedback cycle of mutual fantasy fulfillment among older crossdressers and not-very-passable late transitioners. The kinds of men who ctreate scams like “Lori” get a thrill out of the possibility of being caught and humiliated, so this guy is going to get his wish.
The stolen images used by “Lori” have been used on social media by many other creepy scumbags over the years.
To gather all this data in one place as I sort out the truth, I am compiling a list of the many names associated with these images over the years:
“Courtney Linell” / Court Linell
“Banquin Bitch” /”Banquin Bella”
- see also “Chelsea Ridde”: https://myspace.com/chelseaisherre
“Kelsey” / “R”
“Lori Allison MacNeil”
- https://www.facebook.com/lori.macneil (removed)
Example of stolen photo source:
Pretty much any image stolen by the man posing as “Lori” can be traced back to the stolen source. As an example, here’s one he stole for use on Facebook:
The image was stolen from a bridal website and is of an unsuspecting woman named Tyler Williams: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=297249770304035&set=pb.297238400305172.-2207520000.1378695403.&type=3&theater
Below are some emails and IP addresses the guy posing as “Lori” has used when he is scamming trans women:
- mtnflower1975@ yahoo.com
188.8.131.52 hughes.com Germantown, MD
184.108.40.206 bway.net – Brooklyn, NY
220.127.116.11 optimum.net – Bronx, NY
18.104.22.168 hughes.com Cabo Rojo, Puerto Rico
If you have had any contact with this guy by email or phone, or if you have received any images, texts, IMs, or other communication, please send them to me for inclusion here.