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Other than leaving feedback there's not much you can do. WS however could send out a special newsletter with identifying photos and/or have an alert popup on login similar to their popups asking for donations - why they continue to refuse to raise a finger to alert members is beyond me.
Interestingly the facebook post identifying him has been taken down and yet 24 hrs after being reported his profile still remains.
Edit: Now it's gone. Again, WS has to be called out publicly to get a response? Wasn't the report I sent yesterday to admin sufficient?
Warm showers has dropped the ball on this over and over again. He always hits up the new members, because he figures the older ones will know of him by now. How hard would it be for them to mention to new members that they should, you know, watch out for this con man that is working the community over and over?
Currently WS has no way of flagging people like this and will always be putting bandaids on problems like this, even if someone truly harmful comes along. I would have a suggestion and would like to hear feedback. Along with the feedback (positive, neutral, negative) there should be a choice to report directly to WS admins someone who a host or guest feels should be looked into more thoroughly and possibly flagged and removed. This report would not be publicly seen and if several reports come in about the same offender there should be some kind of link on the home page with a listing of such for those of us who want to check out problems so we can be informed if someone shows up at our door that others have had problems with like our so-called Steve Ray. There should be some way to upload pictures along with this report to help flag someone so they can't just use alias pictures and keep reinventing themselves with new fake profiles.. I know from here on out I am going to get photos of my guests so if there are problems I have something to go on when reporting. Now, someone refine this idea so it is workable.
"I know from here on out I am going to get photos of my guests"
Please mention on your profile if you insist on getting photos of your guests, so that travelers can make an informed choice of whether to stay with you or not. As someone who deleted his Facebook profile a few years ago, I generally dislike getting photos with WS hosts because they are likely to be posted on FB. If the host is reasonable, asks for my permission first, and then we talk about not posting those photos on social networks, I might be open to a photo, but I know at least one prominent internet hospex activist who does not want any photos of him taken under any circumstances whatsoever.
In any event, I don't think that some of the strategies proposed here so far are very helpful. Every time that the community has become conscious that Matthew/Steve is back with a new profile, it is too late, he has already stayed with a series of hosts. Solutions would have to be proactive, not reactive.
This is his personal email firstname.lastname@example.org
Was going to post his facebook profile but he's deleted that I guess.
I actually felt sorry for him but I can see he's just a bloody scoundrel, coming into people's homes under false pretenses and stealing from them is pretty low.
There has been much said about Matthew Ray and how WS has handled the situation. He is just one member in an organization of almost 100,000 members across the globe. This organization is also lead by a small group of volunteers. Trying to find him and his aliases is like looking for a needle in a hay stack. Sending out a special newsletter will only reach a small few (similar to the forums) as not everyone wants extra WS email or reads it when it arrives.
My suggestions to the community:
1. Always leave feedback
2. Never host or be hosted if you have a doubt about the other person (credibility or security)
3. Volunteer with WS; work as part of a team with the ED and the Board. Be part of the solution.
4. Notify the Help Desk IMMEDIATELY of any concerns you may have.
5. Get to know other hosts in your area. I can not say enough how regional networking can only strengthen your community, and over all safety.
So make a pop up alert on log-in.
Steven Ray is yours, Americans’ problem. He travels from one state to another, probably has his favorite ones, where he can be experienced more often. I would like to suggest a relatively simple way to catch him, if not the one immediately successful, so at least the one closer to success than no one at all.
I take it for granted that SR uses only his bicycle for his travels. I guess that he in average covers a distance of +/- 40 miles a day .
I am using Charles Knott´s complaint #51 as an example.
Charles lives in Malvern, Ohio . Let’s say Charles finds out he´d been robbed by SR later the same day, after his leave. Riding his bicycle SR would be looking for a new host giving him a shelter for the next night in a radius of 40 miles from Malvern.
Let’s have a look at WS location map – glancing over it, it seems there are ca 200 WS-members in the area created by this 40 miles radius. If you drop off all these ones who are not active , you would be left with 50 members or less.
If I were Charles, I would immediately send a message to those 50 potential hosts warning them against SR`s possible visit, tell them he is a thieve and suggest having him for a night and, at the same time, contacting me to give me a chance to make a police report. You need ½h to have those 50 messages sent out.
And if you had a right motivation, you might take a longer radius, corresponding to his 2 or 3 days´ traveling distance.
Do you like this idea? Find then some way to make it spread widely across the US, for your comfort’s sake… :-))
Problem is it highly likely he is hitching rides with truckers. He's covering too much ground in too short a time frame to be going strickly by bike. He recently left Canton, OH and was supposedly in Cincinnati, OH the next morning. Can't be done, and if you had ever met the guy you'd know why I say this.
But any idea is better than none.
Indeed, this doesn't look like a guy who exercises much. It is hard to believe he cycles any appreciable distance. If I got a WS request from someone who indicated he was a long-haul tourer, and a guy like that showed up at the meeting place I set, my alarm bells would go off.
Looks can be decieving. I certainly do not look like someone who rides 30-60 miles a day on tour. Or for that matter like someone who would even be able to do a tour. ;) Of course, I do go really slow up hills.
By the way, this was taken at Harper's Ferry this spring when my wife and I rode the C&O towpath. About the same time that Steve/Matt/whatever claims to have done so. We never saw anyone that matches the photos.
"Problem is it highly likely he is hitching rides with truckers"
But… he appears on your doorstep having a bike with him, isn’t that so. So he has to look for a chance to load his bike on a truck.
He catches buses, the fat liar. I was the first person to post about him, after losing $300 lent to him after cycling with him for a few weeks, I'm quite familiar with his patterns. It's quite comical really as when I first met him he said he covers 100 miles per day minimum, he struggled to pull out 20 a day much of the time, with a different thing being wrong with his body every single day. The buses he takes allow bicycles to come on board, this was in Oregon at least, not sure about the other states.
This is true, however there is little or nothing anyone can unless he has an outstanding warrant for his arrest, he's carrying something he ripped off from a host who reported it to the police, or you have video of him stealing from you.
He's a weasel, but he's not a stupid weasel. There's not much chance anybody's going to catch him with stolen goods unless it's within 15 minutes of his departure. In my case it was maybe 3 months before I knew he had stolen something from us. So by the time I filed a police report he could have been anywhere in the country and, most assuredly, either threw away what he had stolen from me or sold it for what he could get it out of it.
I guess there ways to find out if he still has an active arrest warrant, however law enforcment won't divulge that type of personal information about an individual, at least not in my area. And I'm not willing to spend money to an online service to find out if he does, he has already gotten enough from me.
As part of the Warm Showers community I hope a couple of members in areas where he has been spotted would contact members within a 30 mile radius, especially newer members, and inform them this this guy is not who he claims to be and ask them to take a few minutes to do the same. If we worked together in this fashion we could almost create an ever widening and impenetrable web and possibly catch the guy or at least put an end to his antics.
The strangest things happen when you least expect them!
After a series of posts over the weekend and Monday morning. Including at least one from myself, the infamous, Ray phoned me, nearly a year after ripping me off. He claimed to be the 'real' David Willange and in fear for his life because Ray had stolen his identity and he had been receiving death threats from members of Warm Showers who thought he was Ray.
Little of his story added up. Upon checking his story with people and agencies he supposedly contacted in the Cincinnati area no one or agency had a record of ever speaking with him or even seeing him.
I told him it was quite easy to prove his real identity to me, simply snap a selfie of himself as we are speaking and send it to me. I told him if I'm wrong about him I'd be happy to post an apology immediately. He did his usual dance around the subject and the phone call ended shortly thereafter, without the picture of course.
He appears to be using Google phone numbers so he can always have a phone number with an area code that matches his story, in this case Florida, Marathon Key to be exact.
In in speaking with other Warm Showers members who have hosted this guy, I've come to the conclusion that he reads the forum and changes his modus operandi according to what hosts find suspicious about him and his actions.
Hopefully the next host he contacts will invite him to stay and have the cops there waiting for him, that is if there is still an outstanding felony fugitive warrant for him. One thing he's correct about is those of us he ripped off can do little or nothing because by the time he's found there will be no evidence, unless of course you videotaped him in the act of stealing from you. He's usually long gone by the time his victims discover their loss.
When you host pay close attention to the story you're being told and then pay close attention to the details of the appearance of the cyclist, and his/her quipment, telling the story. Those details can help you spot trouble.
Claims to have just ridden the C&O/GAP. https://www.facebook.com/alaskabiker
He commented on someone else's thread on Endurance Rides and Bikepacking, but the thread is no longer up.
I read this whole thread and found it disturbing. So much so that I'm thinking of removing my offer to host. I've hosted twice and enjoyed my visitors both times, but I'm reconsidered things.
A slightly related issue is posting hosts' photos. A single female cyclist would like to know who she is contacting for hospitality so the host's photo is useful. On the other hand, a single female host would not necessarily want to post her photo or reveal her gender in her hosting profile. This thread shows why. Any thoughts about this?
Your profile is very ambigious. With no picture, little said about you, and no feedback for you on your page, I would neither host you or request to stay.
I think the more a member puts out there, including a clear profile picture, the stronger this community becomes.
Got it. It's a dilemma, isn't it? Ultimately people who feel comfortable posting ample personal information, location, and photo are most likely to be male or couples, aren't they? I received quite a few requests to host based on my profile. I only asked for camping space once and provided ample information about myself and a photo to the hosts up front.
Don't worry so much. 99.9 percent of the warmshowers guests are good human beings. Matthew Ray is the ultimate exception of the asshole taking advantage, but everyone is onto Matt now. Good luck on your hosting
Got a report from another member that he just was in Miami using this profile - https://www.warmshowers.org/user/168879 (already taken down)
He was blocked once again and the police were notified.
Wow, just registered as a host and came across this thread. Glad I did. Doesn't seem he comes our way, though, but we'll be on the lookout. I won't let this one guy deter us from hopefully meeting some great and dedicated individuals.
Joseph, the VAST majority of the WS population is incredible! Reading profiles, message responsiveness, leaving feedback and networking with others in your area helps to improve your experience and weed out the Matthew Rays.
What would really help new members avoid Matthew Rays is if WS directed new members (140 per day is the figure?) to the thread about him. That this is not done is crazy, since he's got no trouble slipping new profiles past WS management any time he wants. WS pretty much expects new members to just find this info in the boards, and it's only because this thread has so much discussion that it bubbles up. In the past, not only did these threads disappear into obscurity, WS disappeared some of them itself in order to avoid, what, unpleasantness in dealing with someone who was already reportedly a serial scammer?
Had this simple step been taken, several of us wouldn't have taken this con-man into our homes, because we'd have seen a photo of him and we'd have been alerted to his con. Feedback is imperfect because con-men are good at getting it, and they've got no problems starting a fresh profile.
Hey Joseph, Don't let some bad apples scare you off. We have met a lot of GREAT people from all walks of life doing this. Most of them we consider friends and know that we would have a place to stay if we are ever in their country. If you have a bad one do not be afraid to but it on their profile, because we allways look at the profile if we are asked to host.
Maybe I just missed it..... what does this guy steal? Or does he just take advantage of peoples hospitality under false pretenses? DEFINITELY not defending his actions. Seems like a real weird dude to go to all the trouble.
As of February 28, 2018, Matthew Ray is AGAIN on Warmshowers disguised as someone else. We ask that you be aware of the people you take in because if may be a scam of Matthew Ray. Review the many correspndence to gather information on Matthew. Beware and be alert. He is a thief and a liar.
Can you link to the profile? I assume its been reported to WS.
I only know that Matt is back on Warmshowers because in a rude exchange of regular emails he mentioned information that he could have only gleened by reading my profile and the only way he could actively read my profile was IF he had a new profile under a phony name which gave him access to other profiles. I do NOT know what the profile is. Wish I did!!
I only know that Matt is back on Warmshowers because in a rude exchange of regular emails he mentioned information that he could have only gleened by reading my profile and the only way he could actively read my profile was IF he had a new profile under a phony name which gave him access to other profiles. I do NOT know what the profile is. Wish I did!! I can only think that he is active in the Warmshowers community again and under a phony name.
Got a back-handed email from the little weasel. He is currently using a phony profile to take advantage of the warmshower's community of good will. If you see this little bastard, report him and expose his profile. He is a liar and a thief, and a little creep.
The man cannot get it through his head that he is a thief and a liar. All goes back to February 2016 when he ripped me off for $175 by walking away from a bill he owed Outdoor Adventures Bike Shop here in Las Cruces. I just got another unintended email from this man that was threatening in nature. He refuses to see that he did wrong and refuses to make good on a debt that is of his making. He is asking for real trouble now. He is still a little weasel and utilizes a fraudulent warmshowers profile to have access to the bicycling community. He is now a real life-and-death threat by the nature of his emails. If you come across this man, alert warmshowers and beware of him. He is now to the degree that he is a dangerous man when confronted with his deeds. Be careful on whom you host.
his location at last suspected contact?
Perry, I just got an email from him and a threatening phone call recently. I have no idea where he is. Unfortunately, I view him as a real threat now. Sorry I can't help.
In September 2017, my husband and I hosted this "WS" cyclist at our farm and B&B. From the first meeting I was uneasy. As B&B owners, we are accustomed to interacting with guests from throughout the world, but there has never been a guest whom instilled as much uncertainity as Steven did with me that afternoon. Neither my husband nor myself are cyclists, rather as WS hosts we greatly enjoy providing complimentary accomdations for the WS community. But even as non-cyclists, we questioned inconsistancies with his stories - which for us detailed:
But aside from the inconsistancies, what was most distrubing the tone of the conversations were vastly different when my husband was in the room as compared to when I was the only one in the room/area. In fact, the evening of his stay (and yes, we only permitted 1 night stay), I relayed my concerns to my husband. Never have I had a guest in our B&B whom I was truely afraid to be in the same room alone. I personally believed then and even to this day, if not for my husband's deligence and my canine companion, serious concerns may have happened with the overnight stay of this person.
To WS administators, please post warnings to new and seasoned hosts of predators on the site. It was not until this evening, I stumbled upon these threads including the notices, that Steven is on the prowl again for lodging and hosts.
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