I've been reading some of your posts concerning the dreamweaver mess, and I just couldn't let it go. I usually just read about stuff like this and shake my head—keep my distance even though I have nothing but sympathy for the folks caught up. Today, I feel like I have to drop my two cents here.
So, some of you are so upset for being taken in, and you shouldn't feel bad about yourselves, not at all.
We tend to be caring people here. We want to help others, we want to comfort if we see someone suffering. It's the way we're wired. But folks come along who want that, you know, the attention. They need to be noticed, so they'll play on that nature. I know this because I've been there. I was taken in. You tend to surf along on this wave of mass concern, it draws you in and before you know it, you're comforting this person, sending PM and snail mail and just being so fucking worried…until you notice how their problems seem to mount. They just keep on growing, getting worse and worse...
Sure, there's a little voice in the back of your head saying, "hunh?" But so many folks vouch for them, worry so hard, and you think, "Eh, I must be off, these people who are pretty wise seem to think it's legit."
Concerning the incident that took me in, basically I'm cynical as all hell so I backed off of the whole increasingly-tangled mess a bit—but nice people don't tend to do that. So see? The only thing you're guilty of is being nice.
Is there a way you can tell if someone is a lying douche bag? Not really. You just have to wait until their little house of cards collapses under the weight of their growing bullshit. You can pull away and eyeball everyone with a 'sure you're right', or just pay a LOT of attention to what a person claims. No one wants to put anyone on the spot by grilling them, but before you put yourself out there hard, like personal info or dough, ask mean questions. It's hard, but harder still to be caught up in someone's web.
Again, *please* don't feel bad!! Every fandom has these people. Ask us old Smallville folks—there was like a cycle in which these folks popped up and mined the fandom for sympathy. There's nothing you can do except be on the look out and protect your heart. And come to folks who get it—they'll have shoulder for you.