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Romance Scams -- Meet the Peer Counselors

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  • Peer Counselors
  • Barb
  • Bunny
  • Carol
  • Christine
  • Debbie
  • Denise
  • Diane
  • Jan
  • Jody
  • Laura
  • Libelula
  • Mary
  • Patrish
  • Teresa
  • Vel
The Peer Counselors have dedicated their lives to offering a safe haven for all, free of criticism and judgment.Our goal is to educate by spreading the word to as many people as possible.

Barb Romance Scams Owner/Peer Counselor since June 2005.

barbs@romancescams.org

From: Missouri

About Me:
I am a 49 year old single mother, with a 28 year old daughter. I work for Emidsouth, Inc., a computer based company that resells timeshares on the internet. I live with my little solid black Chihuahua, Paco and my calico cat, Lilly Littleshit. I am always on the computer working or working with the group. As far as hobbies, I can knit, crochet, do macramé, bead, sew, however at this point I have been so involved with work and the group that I hardly find time for anything else. Except for taxes…..lol. I am the local tax expert so all of my friends bring me their returns to do.

What you do at Romance Scams:
I pretty much do a little bit of everything. As owner of the group I stay involved with what the moderators have going on. I normally deal with the media in an effort to get these scams publicized so that less people will fall victim to them. I work one on one with some of the victims. I usually always have one or two big projects in the works at any given time.

Romance Scams Vision:
I have so many goals for this group and our team. I want to see the scams talked about more in the media so that there will be less victims. We are making strides in that, but we have a long way to go. I want some government officials to join our cause and assist us in talking about what is happening. I want to not only educate the public about these scams, but I also want to educate the government agencies that currently treat the victim as a criminals. I want to educate the mental health community so they will be able to effectively assist victims who have gone through these scams. I don’t think we will ever totally eradicate these scams, but with media exposure, a lot of education and hopefully the backing of the government at some point, I do believe we can seriously cut down on the number of victims.

Scam Story:
In January of 2005, I was working online when a man popped on my IM. I was not on a dating site, he said that he had seen my Yahoo IM profile and was drawn to it. Long story short, he started to romance me immediately, telling me by the third conversation that he was madly in love with me and I was the angel he had prayed for. With words he was building a wonderful dream of a life together. It sounded wonderful, yet there was something that bothered me about it and I just could not believe it totally. 3 weeks into this relationship he called me on the phone. As soon as he said hello I went silent, realizing that everything was a lie, because the man on the phone was Nigerian. He tried to convince me he had picked up the accent from working there for 3 months, but I was no longer buying his lies.

I went on a quest to find out why he had lied to me. I had no idea I was being set up for a scam. 3 Months later I read a story about a lady who went through the same sort of thing and lost $2,800. The bells and whistles went off and I realized what would have happened to me if I had believed his lies. I contacted Theresa and together we searched the net for information on these scams, but there was none. In an effort to warn people I sent a letter to several sites that dealt with scams and they posted my letter along with my email address. It was not long before a couple of ladies contacted me for help. Theresa and I would talk to them in a conference in an effort to help them with being scammed and to search for answers. We decided a Yahoo Group would be a good way to communicate and so on 6/6/05 I created this group. I never imagined that doing that would set me on a journey and quest that would forever change my life and end up helping so many.

Favorite Quote:
Are you Feeding a scammer"

Bunny Romance Scams Peer Counselor since December 2005.

Click here to see what I do for fun and profit.

bunnyc@romancescams.org

From: Arkansas

About Me:
I am a 71 year old widow fogey. I have 10 children from various and sundry places. They have provided me with 26 grand kids and 5 great grand kids. I live with 6 critters, Lucky, A Boston Terrier, Wendy, A Boston Terrier, Kiley, A Rat Terrier, Lucy, A Rat terrier, Butchy Boy, a golden tabby cat and Gizmo, a Black and White Kitty.

What you do at Romance Scams:
I counsel new scam victims to help them develop the tools to cut off contact with scammer safely and to lead in the right direction for healing. I talked them through the bad stuff and lead them to the places where they can learn what they need to move on. I also coordinate volunteers for upcoming media events to help spread the word about these scam.

Romance Scams Vision:
Eliminate scammers is a good goal!!!

Scam Story:
Not much of a story to tell. I was giving my scammer a hard time without realizing I was. He was working hard to find a way to help me and I wasn’t going to be helped. LOL I sent his picture to my girlfriend and she shot back to stay away from him, he was a scammer and she sent me to Romancescams to prove she was right.

Favorite Quote:
“Are you Feeding a scammer Today”

carol Romance Scams Peer Counselor since October 2005.

carolc@romancescams.org

From: Boston Ma. (Beantown)

About Me:
I work in an Aircraft Industry Business. I create, by computer, all the documentation necessary to ship our customer orders. I create all the documentation for shipping our product outside of the country. I interface with numerous trucking/airline businesses to enable our product to go out safely and on time.

I, when able, enjoy going to my local gun club. I have been an avid shooter for 15 years now. I proudly can say I have medals and trophy's won during competition matches. I enjoy reading, sewing, and doing graphic work with my PhotoShop programs. I take night courses in computer programs at my local college.

What you do at Romance Scams:
I collect and process the pictures scammers use in their scam. My time is spent helping new members, answering technical questions and chatting with those members who contact me for help. Conduct media interviews when opportunity arises.

Romance Scams Vision:
Eliminate scammers is a good goal!!!.

Scam Story:
It first started a few weeks after I had joined the Yahoo Personals website. I was getting e-mails and meeting people as every one else does, then one day I got an Instant Message from a man who sent along his photo. He was very impressive looking in his professional suit and all. He informed me that he was from England and now living in NY, divorced and self employed in the computer industry. He started off by really trying to woe me, asked if he could send flowers, he sent along poems, words to love songs and such. Then he said I was the woman he was going to married, he then told me he would be marrying me and take care of me.

His courtship went on for a few weeks. I was NOT falling for this but was enjoying the attempts he was making. Then the scamming started, he told me his company was going to Nigeria on business. I asked the name of the company (V-Mobile) I immediately jumped on Google and found it was a valid company. He told me he had a laptop and he would be in touch.....the following day I got his IM from Nigeria. Well we conversed for a bit, he sent long song lines and then asked me to do him a favor. That favor was to open up a bank account for him at Bank of America. I asked why he needed that, he was from NY and was in Nigeria one day he should have his own bank account. He didn't respond for quite awhile then said I, "made him cry". He said I would not do him a little favor. At the same time I had a friend who is a cop on the phone and described this situation. He immediately told me to dump the jerk it was a bank scam...well I let him keep asking me to set up the account (I copied all the IM's so I have the material). Then I blocked his access.

I have called Bank of American and spoke with a Lucy in the Security Fraud division and reported him...she wasn't too overly concerned. I reminded her that this man was going after older woman (I am 56) that are on the internet and that I may have lost $$$$$.

The catch, I had been IM'ing another gentleman from GlenFalls, NY who sent 3 pictures and said he was originally from England but all his family died and he moved to the US. He ironically owned his own computer business....we IM'd for about 4 weeks. I hadn't heard from him for a while and then he got back on saying that he was in Nigeria with a friend that needed a kidney transplant. He finally asked for money to pay his hotel bills while waiting for his friend to get out of the hospital. (I have saved all the correspondence since the Nigeria approach).

In between this, a 3rd man was IM'g me and this went on for about 2 day's when he typed in the exact poem/love song as the first man...I had immediately blocked him...wish I had waited to see what was up.

I am fearful that some woman is going to get taken for their property $$$$ and not be able to recover because these people are hiding behind the computer.

I will be getting in touch with Yahoo over the weekend and reporting this....another tidbit....when I ask them for a profile they never have one yet they are able to IM me though the Yahoo Personals......you can view the Yahoo profiles but must join to IM someone you are interested in.....so Yahoo must have a charge card number for them.....

I think this is news worthy story in light of all the women/men that are involved with trying to meet someone on the internet...myself included.

I don't want anyone to get hurt by these jerks. I wrote this for our local TV station and they did nothing about it. I have since had nasty IM's left on my site by the first stammer he disappeared for months and he IM'd me again....The second scammer has IM'd me again and we have talked ,he admitted that he was a scammer and has send me a picture of the real him. An attractive Nigerian age 33. He claims he has been telling me the truth now and says he is doing the scams for money in order to eat...But if you look at his picture he looks as though he comes from a family that does not need to do this sort of thing.

Favorite Quote:
“Life is so uncertain, eat your dessert first”
“You never lose the one you love, as long as you love the one you lost"

Christine Romance Scams Peer Counselor since June 2013.

christineg@romancescams.org

About Me: Was born in Germany and immigrated with my family to the US/CA as a young child. My siblings and I, and now my 18 year old daughter , are all bilingual..English/German. I am a physical therapist who specializes in the geriatric population, neurology patients, and especially the stroke population. I have both the CA PT license, and the German PT license, and I worked for 10 years throughout Germany as a PT. Got married and my daughter was born there too. When my daughter was a young child I repeated history and moved back home to the US/CA now with my family. unfortunately mental illness took its toll on my husband and I had to send him to be institutionalized. I was left suddenly as a single and full time working mother of a 10 year old. I had a huge amount of debt that my husband left me with to pay off, mortgage payments, and all living expenses. My priority was taking care of my daughter and to teach her in a safe environment to be the strong, and confident young lady that she now is...did the whole soccer coach thing, Girl Scout leader, chaperoning at school functions, president of the high school choirs booster/parent organization, and assisted raising funds for the choirs trip to Europe and NYC which was a fun adventure to explore with my daughter too. Which brings me to the scammer experience.

Hobbies: traveling, hiking, camping, road trips to explore near and far, photography, cross country skiing, sailing, reading, and writing stories.

I am involved with our hospitals stroke survivor/recovery group..and give frequent lectures on topics of interest to the neuro population, help out at a stroke golf tournament, and at a 4 day retreat/camp for the stroke population in our area....clinics on gait/spasticity reduction/ fall prevention etc I do while there.

My Mottos :" A clean house is a sigh of a wasted life"
" I work hard and play hard", " It is what it is, and nothing to be done But to move forward........"" It is best to travel the road less traveled as it is there where you experience the uniqueness of being you"

My scam experience: I had just recently set up wifi and splurged on a Notebook for me, and my daughter had set up my fb page. I was so happy to be back in contact with past and present work colleagues, high school friends, and family and friends from Germany. We had a german exchange student living with us at the time that the scammer entered my life. I was so shocked and in doubt from the beginning and so I asked the two teenagers living in my house if this was some kind of a joke and even asked my work colleagues and the overall consensus was that I should have a little fun with a flirt and what harm could it do especially since he lived in NYC and what would be the likelihood that he would come to CA to visit me..hahahahaha yeah, right!!!

So we began a correspondence via fb, email, phone, text, skype for 2 months..his daughter friended both my daughter and me on fb. After 2 months of corresponding on a daily basis, he had to go abroad (UK ) for business purposes..contract with an oil rig. He took his daughter with him...it was the forth week there that the disaster occurred with his daughter being involved with a pedestrian vs auto hit and run accident. She was taken to a private hospital and he needed funds since his last payment installm,ent was only coming in 2 weeks, and he had enough for food/lodgings. I checked with a Scottish RN with whom I work and she verified info that he was giving me..spoke with a supposed MD ..knew the medical lingo, and received X-ray report ..so my mother instinct kicked in and I paid via WU...then came almost 2eeks later another cry for help as he had a banking dilemma and wasn't able to access his account and could I become a beneficiary to his account and have his money sent my account..here I refused..and requests for my passport, drivers license etc..and I refused also..Then came the hammer..I was suddenly he proud owner of his account, now my supposed husband, ..in this relationship I went from girl friend, to fiance, and then wife?! Now we just needed $3,000 in activation fees...it was at this time that the scammer was more and more gone being the hysterical man that he was, and so the officials wanted to just deal with me since he was an emotional wreck and useless so I was being called at all hours by the bank officials, the foreign money exchange, and I felt like good cop/ vs bad cop by the way I was being treated. I did my own research and called, the So. African bank, the US embassy, Interpol and learned that it was a scam..still believing that my boyfriend/fiance/husband was innocent and also being scammed by these people.... he became angry and after 6 months things fizzeled and just like that they were gone...but the daughters profile remained on our fb pages.....then about a month later the daughter fb'd me that and said that her dad was driving her crazy and could I talk to him since I had been right that he had been also involved and a victim of the same scam and he felt terrible for dragging me in..so we started up a correspondence and I was suckered right back in..for another month where he again had problems with foreclosure on our house, but didn't have money since he hadn't made up enough from his losses to the bank scammers.....here is where I educated the scammer with my scam baiting and knowledge about foreclosure laws..even offered to get him a lawyer....he needed to go on another assignment to Malaysia and I was off yo Germany for a month. Came back and he started right up but was now in Alaska on oil rigs and here he primarily texted and called me..the writing was much better this time but the speech the same and syke the same man....he claimed to have missed our communications..and so did I , so was suckered back in..this went well for another 4+ months before the cry for help to start up with a real estate business..again I refused and then came the blackmail threats and he used our contacts on fb ..my daughter and my page to do the blackmail threat...here is where I got the police once again involved..same detective that I had at the onset scam..and then the FBI got involved because it was a vicious blackmail threat./..and through the FBI I learned of RS

My hope: to see that the scammer rings can be brought to justice via better collaboration between countries, better tasks forces here in our own country to pursue this avenue.

Debbie Debbie Basiaga, 4/26/1957 - 8/15/2010, Rest in Peace.

IN MEMORIAM:

Our RS Angel

The essence of you
Will always remain
You helped us fight
A vicious game
Time to rest on a
Heavenly cloud
You have made us
All so very proud

I know you are hiking
On glorious shores
With crystal sands
And birds that soar
Always know you are
In our hearts
Even though you
Did depart

When RS meets at
Heavens door
I know our Debbie
Will be there for sure
Wings of gold and
Halo glowing
Greeting all with
Her love bestowing

Aggie G. C2010

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

Debbie's Story:

Romance Scams Peer Counselor April 2009-August 2010

From:

About Me:
I am a 52 year old teacher currently working with young children. I enjoy many things such as gardening, Arts & Crafts, and lots of outdoor activities! My boyfriend & I enjoy getting out into the Mountains to go camping as we enjoy getting out and going hiking, camping and exploring!

Romance Scams Vision:
My vision for romance scams is that someday soon in the near future we can entirely eliminate scammers form the Social and Dating networking sites. My Hope is that as a Group collectively together we can help and develop guidelines in making that possible.

What you do at Romance Scams:
My time is spent helping any new members that I can and chatting with other members within the RS Group.

Scam Story:
In April of 2007, when I had just turned fifty I was tired of being alone and not having someone to spend my life with. I decided to join one of our rather well-known dating sites not being aware that Romance scammers existed. Within two weeks of joining I was “winked” at by a man who claimed to be from WY. I contacted him and said that “yes” I would be interested in getting to know him based on what he had in his profile. After a few weeks of communicating through the dating site, he asked that I start IMing with him. I had never done anything like this before but I agreed learning along the way. We conversed and sent messages daily for about two months while he was in Africa doing business as a Gem & Artifacts Dealer. In July, he sent an urgent request that his mother had been taken seriously ill, was in the hospital in the Netherlands, and didn’t have enough money to purchase a plane ticket to go and be with her. Not knowing what I know now, I did wire him the money he needed through Western Union. The same day that I wired the money to him, I myself ended up in the hospital. I had asked my brother to contact him so that he could pick up the money he needed. My brother is the one who made me aware of scammers on the Internet. He did contact who I thought was the man of my Dreams to let him know of my illness but never gave him the information he needed to pick up the money. I was luckier than most as I was able to get my money back, and get rid of this scammer who had broken my heart. I have come a long way in my knowledge and education as far as internet scammers are concerned! I have continued to stay with the RS Group to help other members and will continue to do so as I would not want another human being to experience what I and so many others have in their search for a mate.

Favorite Quote:
“The rung of a ladder was never meant to rest upon, but only to hold a man’s foot long enough to enable him to put the other somewhat higher.” –Thomas Henry Huxley

Denise Romance Scams Peer Counselor since July 2009.

 

denised@romancescams.org

From:

About me:
I am a non medical care giver for the elderly. I help with the daily care of them and give companionship to them. I take them to appointments, shopping or where ever they may need to go. The work that I do helps to keep the elderly in their homes as long as possible. I bring joy and happiness into many of their lives as many do not have any family. I love my job. This is my day job. I am also a Stein Hospice Volunteer. In the evenings I take care of a little girl that is now 2 years old and a 12 yr old boy. The girl I have had since she was 4 weeks old. They are a joy to be around.

I am 52 years old and am widowed. I have 5 grown children and 10 grand children. They keep me busy and make my life full. They are my world.

What you do at Romancescams:
I talk to the incoming members and help to lead them in the right direction to begin the healing process. I try to advise them to not say a word to the scammer and quietly just walk away to never converse with them again. This is what needs to be done in order to begin the healing process and move on with their life.

What is your Romancescam Vision:
I would like to see all scammers eliminated so that we as the public can feel free of fear on the internet from having our finances stolen and hearts broken. In order to do this we must educate the public on the scammers and the different scams that are preyed upon.

Scam Story:
I had joined yahoo personals after my son convinced me that I need to start moving on with my life. I am a widow and thought I would never feel love for another man. In Sept I started a profile and within a couple of days conversed with this very good looking man. He told me he was an interior designer and worked for a company called M&M design out of North Folk Virginia . He told me that he had been working very hard on this innovative concept and was hoping to win the contract to do some company.

He told me that he lived in Chesapeake Virginia and was a single man. He did have a woman in the past but found that she was cheating with his buddy. He lost his mom to breast cancer and his father left his mother when he was born. He was an only child.

I bet it was not but a week and he was confessing his love for me. I had brought him so much joy and he would send me all these beautiful quotes and poems for which he found the words pouring from his heart. I was his angel that god had sent to him to fulfill his life. He definitely knew what to say to pull at my heart strings. I found myself falling for his words and the way that he made me feel. I never thought that I would ever feel the way that he made me feel.

Well, he won the contract and was sent two checks. One was for his materials to do the innovative concept for the company and the other was his as his pay after the job was complete. He sent to me copies of the checks and also a bank statement from HSBC out of London . That is where his international account was.

A couple weeks past and he was already running low on his money for his design and this is when he began asking me for money. First he asked me for 1,700.00. I told him I do not have any money and he told me I need to borrow it then because I was the only one that could help him. He sent me a whole lot of sights for the cash in minutes for a payday loan. I told him he was nuts if he thought I was going to do that when I could not pay it back. Eventually I did send him $ 300.00. He had me western union it to a woman in Pa. She was the one holding the merchandise.

Meanwhile a few days later I picked up another scammer. He was from Kentucky . He started wooing me and wanted to send me something for Christmas. I did give him my neighbors address as I did not want him to know my address. The first scammer was to send back my money the following week. I did not receive it. Then I received 2 money orders. They were delivered by Fed Ex. I was suppose to cash them and keep what belonged to me and send the remainder to an address that he gave me and it was to be sent Western Union. I took them to my bank to cash them. The lady at the bank asked where I got them from and I told her the story. She told me they were fraudulent. She said that they had to keep them and they would be turned over to the Secret Service. I had her to make copies of the money orders and then I came on home.

When he found out that the bank kept them he was furious. He told me I was stupid to have taken them to the bank. That I should have went to a check cashing place. A couple weeks past and then He messaged me to tell me I had a Western union to pick up. I was to cash it, and send the money to 3 different people. His attorney which was in Lagos , and two women. I told him I was not sending anything to Nigeria . I did pick up the money but the Western union had to give it to me by check as they did not have enough cash. I deposited the checks into my bank and let it sit for 2 weeks. I told the scammer that the bank put a hold on the checks and again he was mad. This is when I really started thinking something was really wrong. I debated as to what to do with the money and decide I was going to keep my money out of it and send the rest on but only to him. I told him my plan and he told me he would make payments to me for the money he owed me, not to keep mine from that. Well, I did keep my money from that and sent the rest to a woman right here in Ohio that he gave me the address for to be Western Union .. When he asked the exact amount so he could let her know I told him that I kept my money plus the charges it cost me to send WU and 20.00 for the gas for running around. This is when he threatened me. He said he would do 350,000.00 dollars worth of damage to me and my family. That I had stole his money. I at that time quit talking with him.

The second scammer I received a two boxes of chocolates for Christmas. I contacted the company for which they came from to ask who sent them. They checked and said it looked like I had sent them to myself using an American Express credit card. I told them I did not have a credit card from there. I asked them if they wanted me to send the package back and they said that they could not accept returns. I kept the chocolates. February I received again a box of chocolates. I contacted FTD as that is who delivered them. I was again told that it looked like I sent them to myself using a Master card. I do not have a master card. I asked the guy if there were more things shipped using that same card. He said there were four times and the last one he had just flagged as fraudulent and stopped that shipment. I took down all the information that he could give me and then went to my local police station. I reported everything. I told them I believed that credit cards were being stolen and used and I did not want to get in any trouble. I made a report and came home. I then started searching the web and found this Romancescams group. I did what I was told and now here I am.

Favorite Quote:
"Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you are going to get."

diane Romance Scams Peer Counselor since July 2006.

Currently working behind the scenes maintaining our website and other projects.

I invite you to visit both my Etsy and CafePress shops.

From: Washington State

About Me:
I am retired from the state’s child support enforcement agency as a support enforcement officer. I am divorced, have one grown son who teaches high school science and math. I spend my time helping here when I can, with friends and family, working on my vintage mobile home and in the yard, reading, listening to music, sewing and crafting, being a computer nerd and teaching myself new skills much of the time, and watching movies. I am currently off work due to disability and am hoping to return to my job early 2010. In October 2009, I became a grandmother for the first time. I love being not only a mother, mother-in-law but a Nana too!

What you do at Romance Scams:
My time is spent working behind the scenes, updating our Yahoo group and web sites and generally meeting the requests of Barb and my other peer counselors to provide updates and easier access to us and the group by making needed changes, answering technical questions and writing to and chatting with those members who contact me for help. I am available for technical help as well regarding IPs and computer security.

Romance Scams Vision:
My vision for Romance Scams is that one day soon there will be no use for me and my fellow volunteers as well as this group. Until then, I will continue to help and support members who need us and to share what I know so that less and less will become victims of this terrible crime.

Scam Story:
I was fortunate – more than most. I had been Internet dating for a couple of years. I never had more than one profile posted at a time, met some really terrific men who became friends but no “love matches”. After taking a break, I figured I would try a “high end” dating service and joined PerfectMatch.com. Within the first month, a man who lived in Portland, Oregon contacted me. He was attractive but not handsome in the classic, model sense. He told me he was a contracts manager working for a commercial builder, had been widowed 5 years earlier, had two children (one boy and one girl, 11 and 16, respectively). His wife had been killed in a car – semi-truck accident on her way home from work one evening. He was born in Canada but his mother was an American citizen. Both of his parents were dead. He had two sisters, both living overseas.

To make a short story shorter, within two weeks he was professing his love for me and within another week, got into a jam paying his hotel bill and for Internet service and wanted money. At that point, I finally listened to my gut, got the Western Union information from him and started Googling.

I found this group, read a few messages and then went to the files and spent about 12 hours reading. As I read, my stomach kept feeling like it was hitting the ground and my head began to reel. I felt foolish and silly to have been almost sucked into this. I posted a message to the group and received support and encouragement. I blocked my scammer and continued to read and learn and most of all, heal.

Fast forward to today.... I am wiser and thankful for having learned the lessons I needed to learn from this. I have been dating and met some wonderful men -- none happen to be my Mr. Right, but living single is fun and I've learned to really enjoy my own company. My life is blessed as it is and I have adjusted to the idea of living alone the rest of my life and being satisfied. Meanwhile, when the time is right, I still believe “the one for me” is out there and will find me and I him. One day … until then, I will enjoy the blessings and good fortune I do have.

Favorite Quote:
My worth to God in public is who I am in private." — Oswald Chambers

Jan Romance Scams Peer Counselor since April 2009.

janh@romancescams.org

From: Texas

About Me:
Oh gosh! Where do I begin?….I am foremost a Child of God, then a mother, wife, daughter and nurse. Being a Geriatric Nurse for the past 20 years has been exciting and interesting and for all the headaches….it has been rewarding. I have a special place in my heart for the Senior population. I was in a “not so happy” marriage for 20 years but through it I was blessed with 3 awesome children. After being divorced for 7 years I met my dear husband and now with our combined families….we have 4 children and 4 ½ precious grandchildren, 6 dogs and one cat! My children are my life and bring so much joy and fulfillment to each day. My husband is stubborn, sweet and gentle …… and he puts up with me! I enjoy a good margarita, the forest and a swim on a hot day. Walking outdoors and hiking is one of our favorite things to do together.

What do I do at Romance Scams:
I try to use my experience to help others understand what is happening to them and why this happened to begin with. I focus mostly on the psychological aspects that scammers use to gain the trust of their victims providing education and support when possible to newly scammed members.

Romance Scams vision:
I would like to see the day when romancescams.org can focus full time on education of not only the general population but law enforcement, banking entities, government officials and psychiatric/medical personnel. I am looking forward to the day when the number of scam victims decrease due to our efforts.

Scam Story:
My scam story is pretty much like everyone else’s. I ventured out into the world of online dating and through it all I was contacted by a person who stated they were in Seattle. Because he was in Seattle and I was in Texas our relationship was very slow to develop. I had no idea that these kind of scams existed and had no idea that any other human being could be so deceptive. Anyway, the story is the same ole’ redundant story….had to go to work in the UK, had one emergency situation after another…etc. etc. etc. In the end about 10 months later…the realization was devastating and horrifying because I was now doubting my own ability to discern. With the help of my dear friends here at RS and the unrelenting support of my family I was able to get past the initial shock and look back to see how this happened. Once the initial fog lifted I realized that I, like every other scam victim had been brainwashed. I can now look back and see how this happened and why it happened. I also, realized that if I had been armed with the knowledge of romance scams prior to my unfortunate online dating experience that this probably would not have happened. It was that realization that instilled a passion in me to learn all that I could about scammers and the mind control tools they use to deceive their prey. It also gave me a desire to help others who have been scammed to know that this was not their fault and they don’t have to be a victim forever and can regain their life back.

Favorite Quote:
Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass, it is about learning to dance in the rain.

Jody Romance Scams Peer Counselor since September 2008.

jodyb@romancescams.org

From:

About Me:
My life seems to come in pairs. I currently live with 2 dogs, 2 cats, 2 birds, 2 guinea pigs, 2 kids, 2 step kids and 1 husband (although he’s my 2nd . lol ). I am an insurance professional and have been self employed for over 22 years. My life is full and I am blessed to be surrounded with love and laughter.

What I do at Romancescams:
I help new members make sense of what is a senseless crime. I give direction to all who find us to help them learn all they need to learn in order to protect themselves and recover from this crime. I have evolved into somewhat of an activist and gain immense personal satisfaction by searching out new avenues to educate and connect with law enforcement to help eradicate these crimes.

My romancescams vision: My vision is to see a time where the need for our website becomes nonexistent because knowledge of these scams has become commonplace. I envision a world where scams are both acknowledged by organized law enforcement agencies and accountability becomes the norm by the companies that are used as portals by these criminals.

My Scam Story:
I am a happy, successful career woman who had decided to “put myself out there” in order to find someone who shared my morals and dreams. I wanted to find someone to share my life with and decided to spend the money and time by going to a site known for its screening processes. I didn’t think this search would take me long as I really thought I knew what I was looking for, The very first “match” sent to me was an every day handsome, independently wealthy man, living on the east coast who had supposedly been raised internationally. He told me he had an 18 year old son and had raised him alone as his wife had passed away 10 years ago. He said he was in mining and often worked internationally. He told me for the right woman, relocation would not be a problem. We spoke daily by phone and through instant messaging for weeks before a work trip showed up in his travel plans. In retrospect, he groomed me well for a long time. However, once his “travel” started, so did his problems. He couldn’t get the right equipment and needed computers, phones, work boots, cameras and other equipment, all of which he promised on his honor and his love for me, that he would pay back to me as soon as he returned. He promised a month long visit at which time we could begin planning our future. I spoke to his “son” and spoke to him every single day. Little by little, through the course of our conversations, once he was supposedly in Ghana, he began to fall sick. When he let it “slip” that he had malaria, I began frantically researching doctors and clinics approved by the US Ghana Embassy. While on their website, I noticed a link to romancescams.org. Clicking on that link put ice in my veins and saved my life simultaneously. I found the romancescams site and my dream came crashing down with lightening speed. In a matter of a few short months, I lost thousands and thousands of dollars and my very sense of safety. I had no idea these predators existed. I was shocked, scared, angry, hurt, panicked and found my way back slowly with the help of everyone who had walked before me and I have been here every since.

My Favorite Quote:
I have two. “Shoot for the moon. If you miss, you’ll still end up among stars”. And, “Never, ever, ever, ever give up.”

Laura Romance Scams Peer Counselor since August 2011.

LauraL@romancescams.org

From: Albany, Oregon

About Me:
I am 53 years old and divorced (more than once). I have a grown daughter and five grandchildren. I also am “mom” to four dogs – Sparky (Chihuahua/Yorkshire terrier mix), Tucker, Molly and Katie (long coat Chihuahua’s) and a calico cat named Harley (for her extra loud purr). I am a bookkeeper for a small engineering firm. In my spare time I like to sew, especially things for the dogs (mostly collars and beds), read, garden, make my dogs their treats and of course fattening treats for me!

What you do at Romance Scams:
I am a new Peer Counselor/Moderator and very happy and proud to be able to serve in this capacity. This group helped me so much when I discovered my “love” was a scammer. Now I am dedicated to helping others through the pain, embarrassment, anger and grieving process. My job here is to listen, offer support and education so the healing process can begin.

Romance Scams Vision:
I would love for this group to no longer be needed. That scams like this were totally stopped. That romance scams in particular were a thing of the past. But since that is not likely to happen anytime soon, my vision is that as many people as possible get educated about scams of all kinds, but especially the Romance scams before they get hurt emotionally and financially. I want to help get the message out that these scams exist and how to recognize them before they happen. To get Western Union and dating sites to take this seriously and to do much more than they are to prevent innocent, caring people from getting taken advantage of and their hearts broken.

Scam Story:
I joined Match.com in June 2011 after my divorce. Just hoped to find someone that I could spend some time with and hopefully become good friends. I received a message from a handsome, tall man who said he lived in Corvallis, OR (the town where I work). He said he was an Engineer and worked as an independent contractor for Shell Oil on an oil rig off the coast of Louisiana. We corresponded via private email (he insisted on closing our Match.com profiles and that we should communicate via email instead because there was no reason to be on Match.com if we were going to "grow" our relationship – and yes, I gave him my login and password so he could get it completely deleted) We also communicated regularly (every evening after he got off "work") via Yahoo instant messaging. The first emails we exchanged were well written and he told me a lot about his life – widowed (lost his wife to breast cancer) no children and his parents were dead and he was an only child. Basically that he was alone in the world – most of his friends were his co-workers except for one that had met his wife on Match.com and it was that friend who had convinced him to join as well. Within a week or two he was in love and we were going to spend the rest of our lives together. He was getting ready to retire early and he wanted the same early retirement for me. I did notice that his spelling and grammar were not as good on the IM – justified that with he is not a typist and can’t type as fast as he is thinking. After about two weeks of the emails and IM’s he told me that he needed a loan. He was an independent importer of oil as well as his job at Shell and in order for him to clear a shipment through customs, he need to have $3000 sent to his customs clearing agent in Springfield, OR. My stomach fell to the floor and I felt sick when I read that message. I told him that every dating site warns about sending money. He convinced me that the warning did not apply to us. We were in love and he needed to get the customs people paid so that our future would be secure. I told him that I didn't have $3000 and he finally convinced me to send him $1000 via Western Union – plus a fee of $86.00 to send the money – this was all the savings I had. He had wanted me to just overdraw my account – that the bank would be OK with that as long as I was working. I explained that I had bills to pay, and he said that he would be paying me back and that would not be a problem. But I did manage to stand firm on that and didn’t send money that I needed to survive. Two days later he is still pleading for more money or the government will confiscate his shipment. That would put him out of business and that would negatively affect our future – our ability to retire early. I didn’t have any more cash, and asked if the customs agent was set up to take credit cards – BIG mistake. He jumped right on that and asked me to get a cash advance on my credit card, which I did and sent the same customs clearing agent the $2000 through Western Union with a reduced fee of $80.50 because I had trouble setting up an online account and couldn't send the money that way. But the weekend of the 4th of July, they (customs) had added more fees. I questioned whether or not his customs agent could be trusted and he assured me he'd worked with her for years and that the government was just trying to make it hard for an independent oil importer. Begged me to try and get the $3000 that he needed to finally get his shipment cleared. I finally gave in - another cash advance on my credit card and the last $500 I had in my account - sent Western Union and another fee of $191. Plus the bank fees of $86.00 and $108.00 for the cash advances on my credit card. A few days after that he needed another $300 to pay the truckers to get the shipment on the road so it could be sold and get my money back to me. I had no more resources and he seemed to finally accept that. All the while, he was professing his love, commitment and that he would be "home" soon and we would get busy living the dream life. He was in love with me very quickly and his conversations revolved around how much he missed me, loved me and couldn't wait to start our life together. He sent me a letter of his retirement from Shell Oil stating that they couldn't let him leave his post on the rig until July 8 as his replacement was not easy to find due to his professionalism that was hard to match. That date came and went and as they just couldn't find anyone qualified to replace him. On about July 12 I got an email from him and it was signed with a different name. When I questioned him about that, he said it was his way of surprising me by telling me his middle name. I had checked the local property tax records and found a property that was owned by a person with the name he'd given me. But that persons middle initial was S not J as he was claiming was his middle name. That's when I got suspicious and talked to a friend/coworker. She found the Romancescams.org site and I read everything on the site and was horrified to find out that I was a victim of a scam. I didn't get on Yahoo IM the evening of 13th and he was sending messages about how long he'd been waiting. There was also an email the morning of the 14th asking me where I was and didn’t I want to talk to him. I wrote back that I didn't think he was who he said he was. Of course he was so hurt, how could I say that. So I asked him to send me anything - phone number, address, that I could verify (and I was SO hoping that he would be able to do that). That was the last message I ever received from him. An IP address search showed that he was actually located in Nigeria. There was also another scammer working on me at the same time! This man was in the UK and was also an engineer and was currently working in Alabama on a Construction project. He had his own construction company and traveled all over the world including South Africa. He was also a widower and had a 15 year old daughter. He sent pictures of her – she was so cute! We also talked on IM and by phone. I was very confused by his accent – it was not British by any stretch of the imagination. When I asked about it, he said he mother was Russian and his Father Irish and that working all over the world, he had acquired an accent other than British. He really wanted to come visit – his daughter wanted badly to move to the USA and anything his daughter wanted, he gave her. I had talked to him about the other man and he told me repeatedly to not send money to him. It was like a game of good cop/bad cop! He did want some “private” pictures of me which I did take and send to him. He was so in love and so lonely. He was just awarded a contract in South Africa and as soon as that job was finished, he was coming to visit. By now I was aware that I had been scammed by the other man and was very skeptical about his motives and what he wanted from me. He offered to send me the money that I had sent to the first scammer. But after being on Romance Scams, I knew that wasn’t something I wanted to get involved with. I also confronted him about not being who he said he was. He was angry and hurt and said that was the “other” man, not him. Although he did threaten to send those “private” pictures to everyone I knew – which of course he was very sorry he’d ever said. He was the one who tried to protect me and keep me from sending money. He just wanted to be with the love of his life. I finally succeeded in getting him blocked and ignored his calls. He still calls about once or twice a week but I do not answer the phone. I thank God that I had already found Romance Scams because now I think he was probably a Green Card scammer.

Favorite Quote:
Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole. Roger Caras

Libelula Romance Scams Peer Counselor since August 2011.

LibelulaR@romancescams.org (Spanish interpreter)

From: N. Centro, California

About Me:
I am 61 y/o widowed female, living the single grand-motherhood era. I have 2 adult sons, 6 grandchildren 3girls/3boys. I’m a genuine “CA Girl” born in the tiny town of French Camp, CA. and raised in Stockton, CA. I am a grad from Edison Sr. Hi class of 1968. I enjoyed the 50’s era of rock-n-roll, 60’s low-rider, cruising, flower-child and riding shotgun on a Harley. I left Stockton to work my way through a nursing program in E. Lansing, MI., then returned home after receiving my nursing pin. I am an independent contractor providing health care services; also a Para-Professional Teacher/Trainer (basic living skills) to a deaf/blind client. On my own time I enjoy working out in my home gym, hula-hooping/dancercising to salsa music, walking, fishing, and flying kites. I am a Superbowl fan and my fav “holiday” is Halloween. My grand’s & I love carving and shaving faces on pumpkins; new faces every yr. I am linguistic (Sp./Eng.) providing simultaneous interpretation services at conferences/meetings. I also provide text conversion - for non-profit org. I advocate at county & state hearings in support for programs that support & empower disabled & senior citizens as well as create employment opportunities.

What you do at Romance Scams:
I avail my free time and service to welcome and receive newcomers visiting the romancescams website. I reach out by sharing my stories/experiences with the newcomers; allowing acknowledgement to the victim they/you are not alone, it opens the door to trust and communication. I will listen to your story/experience, being ever so careful & respectful to your sensitivity. I do not judge your experiences. I allow each victim to heal at their own pace and understanding as they learn the process of inner healing. I am supportive and caring; offering loving suggestions, guiding the victim to the material romance scams website has to offer us for reading, research, education, healing and empowerment. I will also suggest how to apply the tools and knowledge regarding safety while interacting on public/social/dating websites. How to spot a cyber-predator that may approach you on the internet before you become their potential victim. Through this healing process we develop great friendship and the confidence of knowing there is someone who really understands your experience as a victim of a romance scam.

Romance Scams Vision:
Public awareness: The key focus is to present awareness of material, education, the purpose and vision that romancescams.org offers to the public. Obtain support from Public Trusted Servants who are willing to introduce proposals and floor action for discussion and Vote into law a system of protection against all scamming activities. And prohibit funneling of USD via Western Union/MoneyGram and such entities, to countries that pose a threat of war and terrorism through acts of scamming activities. This means of support and action will certainly lower the activity against scamming practices across the nation. Big dream but DOABLE!

Scam Story:
I must begin by being honest with you. I did not know a thing about romance scams before I began to interact on public/dating/social websites. I was ignorant to green card scams, absentee love for money, cyber love relationships/affairs. I never thought I would fall emotionally in love with a photograph of a person I never physically met. The first romance scam was back many years ago. Anyone remember when IBM home computers were first sold to the public? Well that was my first home pc. I did not know much about surfing the net, meeting people, etc. So a couple of acquaintances I emailed with set me up with their friend from Mexico. A friendship developed and later we married. I had no idea what was in store for me. The only love and interest this man wanted was his green card. After acquiring a legal US citizen to anchor him in the system and was assigned a status to enter legally into the USA things changed very quickly. He is a sociopath, vicious person. If he could kill, I would have been dead a long time ago, but he needed me for “the papers” the green card. My son and I spent time confined in a room of the house we lived in [my home]. I was not allowed to communicate with my family. It was terror we lived with. Fast forward through a very long history, I was able to get help from an agency to escape the forced confinement. It was so fast I can’t remember how it all happened. When you’re isolated from being in contact with humans your mentality begins to fail. My son and I were sheltered from the scammer because our lives were threatened. I lost my home, car, and money, everything I had including my dignity as a woman from the brutality of the scam. It took me 9 + yrs. to rid of the scammer following due judicial process. Even though I was granted a restriction order every 2 yrs., this scammer was very difficult to keep away from me. He was stalking me up to almost the end of the 9+yrs I was trying to end the marriage and rid my financial responsibility of being the main source of support for the green card scammer. I have not recovered the money lost but I am free of that scammer. Enter the new millennium. I thought, I am still single after the death of my late husband our union lasted 5 yrs. then he was gone. My sons are all grownup and I am single. I subscribed to 2 online dating sites signed up for 3 months thinking these should be safe sites. As fast as I posted my initial information I begin to receive “winks”, I echo return and not too much luck the guys never replied. I thought, are they afraid to communicate with women? Well one guy sent me a wink and I replied. We emailed a few times then he was gone. The same month another winked and the same – “poof”, gone. The third sent a wink, I replied he sent me a message and we began to chat on the site. Not knowing any better – still ignorant to romance scams – he invited me to IM on, you guessed it; yahoo. I received all the inspirational love poems commonly used by most scammers. I thought I really found a loving man. He shared his supposed profile as I did not see one until I mentioned I had not viewed his profile. He sent a copy. I did not think why a copy? I let it go, I wanted to know about him and now I had his profile in hand. Yah, right! Within 24 hrs. he was madly in love with me and he had a meeting to go to and would get back to me after. Well he announced he had won a contract to work in Cairo. He said he is an engineer of solar power plants and he was going to build a plant in Cairo. Be back in 2 months and would fly directly to my home on his return with his son in tow. We built an online relationship but did not plan a wedding although he wanted to marry and settle down. His wife died of breast cancer, he had his own business, his family all dead except for an estranged uncle in the UK. Inheritance is in uncle’s hands. Then immediately after he arrives in Cairo he can’t get his equipment from the port authorities, the son falls ill and is hospitalized the money received for the contract paid the surgery, etc. Now he is working, and Cairo begins to fall. All work stops, the hotel bill accumulates, no funds, getting booted out, etc. What got me was the sick son, no food, losing weight, needs meds. Etc. I began to be his financial crutch. Sent funds to pay for apt, & buy food and purchase meds for his son.. Finally when Cairo tumbles, he is flying out of Egypt with his son and is coming here to my home. But as fate is on my side the internet gets shut down in Egypt and no contact for weeks. I figured he was dead or gone. In the meantime, one of the previous guys who winked and fell off the net sends me an email. This one said was in USA but he is in Lagos, Nigeria. We begin to email after a couple weeks he asks for money – stupid me I did not comprehend my lesson with Cairo, yet; and hoping to hear from him. I was still ignorant I was being scammed. So the 3nd scammer is losing his home & business. What did I do? I loan him money. When he asked for more I told him to ask his attorney to tack any expenses on to his bill and when he wins his court case he can be compensated for those expenses. That really got the man mad I can see his anger flowing through the emails. I stopped all contact with him, FIN. Enter the 4th scammer. This one I was feeling O.K. with as we had on-again off-again -email and IM. Nothing serious just friends. He asked me if I would consider giving him a chance as the women he was interested with did not respond appropriately [I wonder why?] I said we can give it a try and see. We chatted constantly for about a month then he had to take a biz trip to Freetown, Sierra Leone, Africa. [Unknown to me, he was in Accra, Ghana during our contact] He claimed to be in gold a jewelry import biz, aha! So he is off across the sea. Immediately upon his arrival he calls me announcing he cannot get into his hotel, and he needs cash money or sleep in the street. I immediately replied I do not have money to give away to someone I never met. He tells me, he would never do that to the woman he loves. He then compared me to his late wife. I replied, you love your wife so much go crawl in the hole with her, I signed off and never logged on again until recently. I was sick of men asking for money. I ignored his emails placed him on block, I ignored his calls assigned him to silent ringer, and I ignored his IM blocked that also. I still had no idea that I had experienced romance scams with all these scammers. I was at wits end when I stumbled across romancescams.org while reading a news magazine online. I clicked the link and here I am. I learned to be safe on the internet, I acquired tools to be confident and empowered when meeting a predators online or face-to-face. I began to trust people especially men. I met male members here on romancescams website who demonstrate respect toward women. They helped me heal that aspect of my experience. I have grown to love “me” first and allow the rest to fall into place. If I do meet a man willing to fulfill my life and allow me to fulfill his, he will be welcomed with an open mind and an open heart.

Favorite Quote:
“Never allow time to slip away quietly thinking; what was - is now gone; what might be - a future not arrived. Live in the present – enjoy what life has given you for the moment”.

MaryRomance Scams Peer Counselor since February 2013.

MaryM@romancescams.org

About Me:
I am 63 years old.  My husband of 38 years died in 2009.  I have 4 children and 13 great-grandchildren.  I have the most incredible 7 month old long-hair chihuahua named Georgie Porgie.  We live in north/central Florida close to the beach.

I am a retired rural mail carrier.  I love crafts.  I do needlepoint, crewel, knit, and crochet.  I am also in a writers' workshop where I hope to be published one day.  I also am an animal activist and a defender of animal rights.

What do you at Romance Scams:
I am new moderator in Romance Scams. 

Scam Story:
Last year, after being a widow for 3 years, I decided to try the dating sites.  I fell head over heels for a man I thought was from Georgia, but worked around the world building roads and dams.

Well, several thousands of dollars later, plus an Apple laptop,. boxers, and cookies, he confessed he was a scammer.  I thought my world had ended...But it didn't.  I found this site and have been here ever since.   I think I have a lot to contribute here helping others overcome the feelings they are experiencing from being scammed.  It seems that getting older has mellowed me out over the years and it takes a lot to "ruffle my feathers".

Favorite Quote: 
"When on the Titanic, head for the life boats.  Don't stay behind to yell at the iceberg." Taken no less, from Raymond on Everyone Loves Raymond.

patrish Romance Scams Peer Counselor since January 2008.

patrishg@romancescams.org

From: Virginia

About Me:
I work full time as a Telecomm Specialist for a bank. I am divorced and owned by several wonderful cats. When I am not deluged at work, I spend my time helping in any way I can with our group, Romance Scams. In my spare time, I write screenplays and short stories. I am also an artist and work with various mediums. Counted cross stitch, and maintaining a house and garden round out my interests. All of these activities allow me to clear my head and re-energize…which is extremely important to me. I spend time with friends at every opportunity.

What you do at Romance Scams:
My time is spent helping new members. I have had an opportunity to work with Fraud Aid which I find very interesting, and it gives me an opportunity to help those members who are in more dire need of assistance.

Romance Scams Vision:
I would like RomanceScams.org to become so well-known that we only need to assist people in logging scammers who have 'attempted' a scam...to completely shut down the ability for scammers to glean money by breaking a victim's heart. And we will do this. It will be through our hard work and education of people all around the world, but we will succeed!

Scam Story:
In 2006, I thought I would see what the dating sites were like and joined Yahoo Personals. Within the first month, a man who said he lived in Sacramento, CA contacted me. He was attractive but not the handsome kind you find in a GQ magazine. He told me he built roads and had a contract in Ghana in the next couple weeks, but that he would only be gone for about a month and then would return to the USA. He said he was born in Germany where his family lived and taught me some German via email and IM. He had a German accent when we spoke on the phone. Very soon, he was professing his love for me and said he would come to Virginia as soon as his contract was over.

He was gone about a week, when all kinds of ‘accidents’ began to happen. He broke his laptop, lost his cell phone, a caterpillar machine ran over one of his workers and on and on and on. I found myself running from pillar to post trying to keep up with his demands and trying my best to help him. My job allowed enough money for me to assist him, but after a while, I began to get weary of spending all my time doing things, so that he would be able to leave Ghana. Needless to say, I began to get that ‘gut feeling’ that he was never going to leave Ghana. Little did I realize that he had never been in the USA!

We had been chatting for 5 months, when I decided to start looking for information about dating sites. That is when I stumbled upon Romance Scams. As I began to read and learn about these scams, I followed all the advice that I was given, and began the long road to recover mentally and financially. In the five months, I had ‘donated’ an obscene amount of money to the scammer. It was so wonderful to find a group who knew exactly what I was experiencing and had all the information that I needed to begin to ‘heal’.

I began to help the new members that arrived in the RS Group, and found myself learning more and more every day. It was my way to give back to the group for the help they had given me. Nine months later, I was asked to be a Moderator/Peer Counselor, and I try to help in any way I can.

Favorite Quote:
"There are two means of refuge from the miseries of life: music and cats." - Albert Schweitzer

Teresa Romance Scams Peer Counselor since April 2009.

teresay@romancescams.org

From:

About Me:
I own and operate a dog kennel with my husband since 2002. We board dogs for people that go on vacations and enjoy seeing all the different breeds of dogs that come to stay with us.

We have 3 grown daughters (2 of which are married) and also have 2 beautiful grand kids and one on the way.

Being on a hobby farm of course comes with having animals ourselves which include 2 horses, Midnight & Dancer, our watch dog Reily (German shepherd), the boss of them all a Westhighland white Terrier named Sparky, and 4 cats which have found us (Tiger, Sandy, Patch & Kitty).

What you do at Romance Scams:
I welcome new members and help them through the healing process and educate them on how to become more aware on how to spot the scammers.

Romance Scams Vision:
To see our memberships going down in that the scammers are finding less victims because of all the people getting educated. To put these scammers out of commission.

Scam Story:
In May 2008 I joined a travel site that was recommended by a friend as my husband and I just got back from the Dominican Republic and thought it would be nice to meet people from all over the world before planning the next vacation. Now, before I start I would like to say that my husband and I were having difficulties in our marriage at this time.

It was on Mother’s Day when I checked my email and noticed someone wrote from the travel site saying he visited my profile and was interested in learning about Canada (which is where I live). He did mention he was a US citizen but was currently in Nigeria working as an engineer and would be there for 2 months and gave me his yahoo IM address.

I wrote back saying that I would love to know more about Nigeria and so the chats began.
In the mean-time, I was contacted by a fellow named Jerry who says his homeland is in Nigeria but was currently in London for his schooling. So, again I added him on my IM list and started chatting.

I had been chatting with them both around the same time and it took about 2 months before the first one (Alex) started experiencing problems. At first I was reluctant to offer but he gave me contacts (that were supposedly his clients in the US) to show that everything was legit what he was telling me. I even talked to the so-called hotel manager where Alex was staying and I thought, well he only needs $1,000.00 for the balance of his airfare and what he owed at the hotel. He promised he would pay me back when he got back to the states. So, off I go to wire him the money to my local WU office and thought that would be it. Then I get an email from Alex saying he needs $750.00 for the BTA and apologized that he didn’t find that out before. So I send that amount. At this time he even sent me the itinerary for his plane ticket and I called KLM airlines and approved it. Well, then things started to snowball from then on. He had an accident on the way to the airport, recovered from a coma , needed medical care, came down with malaria....the whole nine yards.

Now that I look back, I still wonder why I let this continue? That was all before I found this site and had no idea about these types of scams. I’ve heard of the 419 ones but this was not the same at all. In the midst of it , all I kept thinking is that I need him back to the US so I could get my money back. In all, this cost me around $20.000.00.

When this scam ended, my so-called other friend Jerry had never asked for money. Since we were “friends” for 8 months I thought I could trust him enough and since he was going back to Nigeria soon, I asked him to do some investigation for me.

He got me in contact with who I thought was the EFCC (Economical Financial Crimes Commission). There were so many twists and turns with this story I could write a book.
Well, to make another long story short, I was scammed again. Losing another $10,000.00. Only this time my husband and I were working together.

There is a good ending to all of this. Not only did I make a lot of good friends here on RS, but my husband and I are closer than ever before.

Favorite Quote:
Don’t let the past dictate who you are. Let it be a part of who you will become.

vel Romance Scams Peer Counselor since July 2006.

Vel is currently unavailable. Please contact another Peer Counselor for assistance.

From: Buffalo

About Me:
I am a divorced 59 year old with a grown son and three beautiful grandchildren. I work as a Regional Finance Manager for an Investment Company. My hobbies include scrap booking, reading, painting and writing. I am also an avid doll collector with over 200 in my collection.

What you do at Romance Scams:
My time is spent helping new members, answering technical questions and chatting with those members who contact me for help. I am also a co-owner of the sister site Romance Scams Members Only for people who want get to know one another on a higher level.

Romance Scams Vision:
To educate the public regarding these horrible scams that inflicts such pain and destruction in their victims lives. To one day find the freedom to eliminate this site because we will no longer be needed.

Scam Story:
I joined Match.com and around February of this 2006 I received an email from “David” a 45 year old widow from Maryland with a 12 year old son. We started corresponding and he sent me “normal” pics of he and his son. He said he had to travel to Nigeria as he was building bridges over there but would be home in a few weeks. Eventually we started IM’ing each other and started to get to know one another. After a while he started to profess his love for me which I replied, I need to know you better.

We were chatting one day and he said oh my goodness I just got a call from my sister in Germany. She is in the hospital as her husband beat her up pretty badly. He said I need to get her money so she can get her own apartment away from him. He then asked me if I could send his sister some money but I told him that I had no extra to send as I had just started a new job. He said that’s ok baby, I will borrow the money from my friend and send it to her. A few days later he said I borrowed the money from my friend in Ghana but he wants his money back and I only have some money orders that I can not cash here. He said can you please cash them for me and western union the money to his friend. I said I wasn’t sure if I could do that but he insisted. He gave me the name of his friend “Silas Uwen” and an address to send the money to. I waited for the money orders to arrive and in the meantime “we” had fallen in love and he was to come to see me the end of March after he stopped to pick up his son.

The money orders never arrived and he gave me the tracking number and I saw that they were mailed from Paris, France and were being held up at the Fed Ex in New Jersey. I then became suspicious and did some research and found this site. Much to my amazement, there was my “David’s” pic in one of the albums. My heart stopped beating for a few minutes and I could not believe what was happening. I confronted him and of course he denied it. He still was going to come visit me and there must have been a mistake. He kept asking me where the money orders were. I told him I didn’t know and to check for himself. The money orders never arrived here but I did get a letter a few months later from the US Customs and Border Protection telling me that the money orders were counterfeit and this was a money laundering scam and did I have any interest in them. Needless to say everything worked out and the Mods here helped me through a very difficult time.

Favorite Quote:
"Be careful what you wish for as it may come true"