Romance Scams offers Support, Education, and Healing For All Who Find Their Way Here
Romance Scams Owner/Peer Counselor since June 2005.
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.
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.
“Are you Feeding a scammer"
Romance Scams Peer Counselor since December 2005.
Click here to see what I do for fun and profit.
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!!!
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.
“Are you Feeding a scammer Today”
Romance Scams Peer Counselor since October 2005.
From: Boston Ma. (Beantown)
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!!!.
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 women 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 women (I am 56) that are on the internet and that I may have lost $$$$$.
The catch, I had been IM'ing another gentleman from GlenFalls, NY who sent 3 pictures and said he was originally from England but all his family died and he moved to the US. He ironically owned his own computer business....we IM'd for about 4 weeks. I hadn't heard from him for a while and then he got back on saying that he was in Nigeria with a friend that needed a kidney transplant. He finally asked for money to pay his hotel bills while waiting for his friend to get out of the hospital. (I have saved all the correspondence since the Nigeria approach).
In between this, a 3rd man was IM'g me and this went on for about 2 day's when he typed in the exact poem/love song as the first man...I had immediately blocked him...wish I had waited to see what was up.
I am fearful that some women is going to get taken for their property $$$$ 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.
“Life is so uncertain, eat your dessert first”
“You never lose the one you love, as long as you love the one you lost"
Romance Scams Peer Counselor since May 2008.
Profile to be added soon.
Debbie Basiaga, 4/26/1957 - 8/15/2010, Rest in Peace.
Our RS Angel
The essence of you
Will always remain
You helped us fight
A vicious game
Time to rest on a
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
When RS meets at
I know our Debbie
Will be there for sure
Wings of gold and
Greeting all with
Her love bestowing
Aggie G. C2010
* * * * * * * * * * * * *
Romance Scams Peer Counselor April 2009-August 2010
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.
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.
“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
Romance Scams Peer Counselor since July 2009.
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.
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.
"Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you are going to get."
Romance Scams Peer Counselor since July 2006.
From: Washington State
I am employed by 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.
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.
“My worth to God in public is who I am in private." — Oswald Chambers
Romance Scams Peer Counselor since April 2009.
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 fulltime 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.
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.
Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass, it is about learning to dance in the rain.
Romance Scams Peer Counselor since September 2008.
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, workboots, 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 rs 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.”
Romance Scams Peer Counselor since December 2005.
email@example.com (back-up peer counselor)
From: New York
I am a bi-lingual legal secretary. Single with no children.
What you do at Romance Scams:
Spend most of my time helping new victims learn how to navigate our group page. Chatting with them off-group to help them better understand the various links that we have available to help them. Listening. I have done several media interviews to help get the news out about these scams. I also do the interview list of victims who are interested in speaking with the Media.
Romance Scams Vision:
My vision for Romance Scams is that one day soon there will be no use for 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.
I joined the personals because I had my heart broken by my childhood sweetheart in December of last year. After a few months of not finding Mr. Right, but rather, Mr. Right Now, I decided to start off the summer on a different foot. I did the "three month plan" just to give it a try.
Well, my scammer contacted me within three weeks of me being "live" on the personals.
Though he "lived" cross-country (in Oakland, CA) I was taken in by one of the most beautiful letters I have ever received in my life. His English is perfect -- punctuation and all. He was also a hunk! This was the before the fourth of July. Summer was off to a beautiful start. Well ... not for long. About a week after I met him and we started to communicate, I was diagnosed with a malignant melanoma (skin cancer). Thank God I have wonderful doctors who caught it early and after two surgeries I am now cancer free!
His story was compelling, and drew me close to him almost immediately. You see he was an orphan, who was adopted at 3 years old. His adoptive father was an Irish American and his adoptive mother was English. They were an older couple in their 40s when they got him. They lived in many parts of the US, but his parents retired to San Diego, which is where he lived his late teen years and early 20s. He married and his wife was killed in a car crash about 8 years ago. He realized rather quickly, that he could not be in a relationship, because he needed time to heal. So he took a "volunteer" type position working with an orphanage organization, which desperately needed help in Africa. So he went there and worked his way up in the organization to the point where he was running it. His job was his life, and his personal (amorous) life suffered for it. Though he took it as a sign from God that he needed to heal from the heartbreak of losing the only woman he ever loved (until me, that is). He realized it was now time to take care of himself and had just placed his ad as well on the personals. He used the personality and romance tests to find someone suited for him -- and that was me.
This guy was right there at all hours of the day -- calling me, sending me beautiful letters and poems. I even would switch messenger onto my telephone and get messages from him during the day that just lifted my spirits. In the darkest moments during my illness, he would send me the most beautiful letters and say just the right words. After about three weeks, he proposed and said he wanted to come home from his job at the orphanage that he worked at directly to me. I should start looking for a larger apartment for us -- or better yet a home to purchase. He had money, after all, because his parents were dead and left him some property in California that he would sell before arriving home to me so that we could get a beautiful starter home near my family -- because family is important to him.
For the first time in my life, I tried on about 20 different wedding gowns, before finding THE ONE. It was so beautiful. I even made sure that it could be delivered quickly because he wanted us to elope immediately upon his arrival. Somehow I was able to talk him out of that -- and was going to make him wait at least a month -- because I wanted my father to be there. He said I had to find the most beautiful dress no matter what the cost. He was going to send me the money. Money was no object. Well, something happened to the first "package" he was to have sent me and it never arrived. When I would ask about it, he said something about UPS taking extreme precaution when delivering to the US and there was some delay or another. I didn't worry about it, really, because until I got the funds, I wasn't going to start paying for the dress and accessories. [Thank goodness I didn't ... otherwise I would have been out $3,000 by the time I was done.]
While he was packing his stuff to bring home, he was even having some dresses custom made for me from some regional fabrics. He also had a suit made for our wedding with a shirt custom made in the color of my gown (antique gold) -- because there was a tailor that he used there that he really liked. He talked more about the wedding than I did. Even saying that we would honeymoon in Venice, Italy.
He was originally supposed to leave Lagos to come back in early August, but he needed first to go to London, in order to settle the estate of his parents with his father's lawyers and to have the property sold so that we could buy our house. Just before leaving Lagos to go to London, he got me for $500 wire transfer. (To finish paying the expenses for the Orphanage for the next month before he turned it over to the church.) (I should have seen the sign right there, because Western Union called me immediately and asked me if I knew the person personally that I was sending the money to, due to the enormous amount of fraud in Nigeria. Of course, I lied and said yes, the person was my fiance's personal assistant.) In any case, it took him about two weeks in London to complete the transaction of his parents estate. While there, he was anxious about coming back to the U.S. and he tried to get a flight out from London here. Allegedly, there was a problem with his passport, and he had to return to Lagos to have it corrected. Because it had to be done at the Consulate that issued it. (His passport was issued three years ago.) He goes back there and again, more delays and now funds are getting tight -- because he wired all his money here to the U.S. in anticipation of returning immediately. Finally, a date is set for him to come home to me. It's a Saturday evening and he wants me to be sure to be at the airport for his arrival. He's taking a "charter flight" from Lagos -- because of his wealth, it's the safer route than the commercial flights. It's a plane for very discrete travelers and won't be listed on the flight arrival screen at the airport. But that I should be waiting for him, no later that 5:45, because his flight arrives at 5:30 and they would get through customs quickly. I get to the airport at 5:15 -- giddy and excited. My apartment sparkling like a magazine. New sheets on the bed, new towels in the bathroom, fresh petite roses in every room, and a bottle of champagne chilling in the fridge. I waited at the airport for over 5 hours ... till 10:45. I call the airline and they have no record of any flight. I'm hysterical.
Sunday arrives and I'm a wreck. I didn't sleep all night, crying and thinking that something terrible happened. Sunday afternoon -- my brother in law says the word to me -- scam artist. I don't believe him and get even more hysterical. Monday, I got myself together and looked up personals scams and found my way to this group. After reading through a few of the posts, I thought -- NO ... NOT ME!!! I even went to the Focus Hawaii website and looked through 2 categories and didn't see him. Then, on the third category THERE HE WAS!!! My fiancée, my boyfriend, father to be of my children. How could he?!!! Well, I posted his pictures immediately on the Romance Scams group site. [Scott] Tuesday morning I called the American Embassy in Lagos (using the calling card that most of us have to call our loves over there). The gentleman was very nice to me, not looking down at me. He answered every possible question that I had and then apologized that I had been taken. I was now armed with a defense shield against whatever my scammer would throw at me next. I know now for sure that he's a scammer and am ready to hunt!!!
After six days of no communication, I finally get a message from him. He was in a horrific car crash on the way to the airport to come home to me. The driver was killed and he was in a "comma" until that morning. Somehow he managed to get a wireless computer in the hospital and chat with me for hours on end ... day after day ... while he was treated for a fractured knee. The wireless computer was not interfering with any of the equipment at the hospital (yeah right!). He has a fractured knee, but should be out in a couple of days. Said knee having recovered sufficiently that he was able to leave the hospital in a week without a cast. I tell him over and over to contact the consulate and they will take care of getting him out of there and back here. I'm playing the worried fiancée every chance I get. He calls the people in the consulate bureaucrats and refuses any assistance. [Note: The EXACT same day that he finally contacted me, six days after I waited for no one at the airport, I received an Express Mail envelope from Canada with a cashiers check drawn on COMERICA Bank for $5,800.]
Fast forward to present day ... My beloved "fiancée" is stuck in a hotel near the airport in Lagos. His passport and money have been stolen by the hotel manager and he's being held hostage there until he pays money owed for his stay there. He decided it best to stay at an airport hotel rather than with his friends and personal assistant that helped him for the past 8 years because he was tired of being a burden on them. Unfortunately for him, the check he sent me was not worth the paper it was printed on. I told him the check was a fake, forgery, not worth the paper it was printed on. I tell him that someone in his circle of trust stole his money. He found that hard to believe. [Thanks to this group I never cashed the check or even took it to the bank.] So I have no recourse to help him. Because of my surgery, having been on disability, and a huge electric bill, I didn't have any extra money. To make matters worse, he said was now going to send me money orders to deposit in my account. I told him that my account had been put on a 90 day watch because of attempting to cash a fraudulent check. Luckily it's only a watch because of my longstanding relationship with the bank manager. But that I basically was limited to only depositing my payroll checks and nothing else. [The hold on my account is not true, I never cashed the check. I put the check, together with the envelope, and a copy of my filing, and emails with full headers to the FBI together and sent it to them.] When I asked him about his money that he has here, he says that he has to go to the bank in person to collect it. [Allegedly some $500,000.]
I anticipate that I'll hear from him in the next day or so with some new twist. He's not getting anything else from me. Now, I have it all in my hands and am just keeping him occupied so that he does not scam anyone else. I find such relief in this group. Through the serious posts, and the jokes, it makes it all the easier to get through the day. At some point, my family will understand this was out my hands. I was only telling them what I thought to be true.
Joining the Yahoo Personals ......$44
Calling Cards ....................$60
Cab fare to/from airport .........$70
New sheets .......................$80
Personalized Towel ...............$25
Dinner / Champagne ...............$90
Text Messenger Package ...........$10
Western Union Gram ...............$538
Finding this group and all the love and support here ... priceless. I too, can now, exhale ......... He did continue to contact me ... online only. I removed the messenger from my telephone. He called me two days after my birthday and again asked why the check had not cleared. Still trying to convince me that the check he sent me was not a fake. I finally got back at him. I had downloaded the other pictures of him from the Focus Hawaii International website. One day when he was talking to me, I said to him ... wait, I have a new picture for you ... and I switched to one of him that he had not sent me ... a picture of Scott with another girl and his hands in the air. He freaked out. Wondering why I would do something like that to him. Did I realize that I fell in love with the words from the man, not the man in the pictures?? While I told him that yes, I did fall in love with Scott Grant for the words he told me, I thought that all he told me and said to me were true. Not the lies upon lies that he told me about himself. He did tell me that his real name was Peter (no last name). And that he did not FORCE me to send the money to Festus (his assistant). He only asked it of me. I also told him that I checked him out with the US Embassy in Lagos and they had no record of issuing a passport to anyone named Scott Grant at any time in the past 5 years (he told me his was reissued 3 years earlier). He was very angry at me for not still loving him despite his lies. I told him that I could not form a relationship with someone that was based on sand ...
nothing solid. And it ended from there.
Post #7114 http://groups.yahoo.com/group/romancescams/
"Be careful what you wish for as it may come true"
Romance Scams Peer Counselor since August 2011.
From: Albany, Oregon
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.
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.
Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole. Roger Caras
Romance Scams Peer Counselor since August 2011.
LibelulaR@romancescams.org (Spanish interpreter)
From: N. Centro, California
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!
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.
“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”.
Romance Scams Peer Counselor since February 2013.
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.
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.
"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.
Romance Scams Peer Counselor since January 2013.
I am 44 years old who lives in Northern CA, single and no kids. I have an older brother and sister. I have 4 nieces and 2 nephews. I have two lovely dogs; one is Jack Russell Terrier and a mix Chihuahua. I have worked in Psychiatric field for about 5 years and for Medical field for about 10 years. My other work experienced was in sales and restaurant when I was in my early twenty. I took some courses for BS degree in Business Administration. I also took few courses for Criminal Justice. My passion is writing. Beside writing, I enjoy singing, dancing, volleyball, tennis, pool, cooking, and traveling.
What do you at Romance Scams:
I am new moderator in Romance Scams. I’ll guide members and help them the best possible way that I can for them to go through the healing process.
It all started from an email I’ve received from FB in 2009. I thought to myself, a nice looking person, why not. "She" said, she was from St. Petersburg, Florida and to what "she" claim originally from Manchester, England. When I replied to her email I said, of course, we can be friends. Then the second email from her wanted my personal email address. I didn’t think the harm by giving someone my personal email address. I think 2-3 weeks passed, she suddenly if I was willing to help her to retrieved some properties to what she claims from her deceased parents. I thought to myself, why lend a hand. I thought I was giving some caring and sympathy that she was living alone and didn’t have anyone to help her. During the process, she claims that she hired this lawyer from Sarasota, Florida to help “us” to retrieve these properties. To which I thought those properties was in Florida. Then I got an email from this lawyer stated that there’s a problem that these properties are in Malaysia. Why tell me one thing and then tell me another thing. I wanted to help her probably because I was falling for her deeply and just wanted to be there. Then another email from the lawyer that she needs to fly to Malaysia to sign some documents in able for them to retrieve these properties. During this time, I was already involve with my emotions everything she was telling were all so true. So I send some money via WU for her to fly to Malaysia. When "she" got to Malaysia as what she claims that they will need some money in able for Security Company to retrieve these properties. The" lawyer" even mentions that there will be two other people who will be helping. "us". Since that was taken care of, "she" IM me and they will be sending these properties to me via DHL. Then the following morning, I got an IM from "her" telling me that they got pulled over by the Malaysian officers. They ask them why carrying such amount of money in that suitcase. So "she" claims that they have turned them in and she has to be detained. Since these properties are now in the hands of the Police official in Malaysia, they asked for some money in able for them to release it back to "her". When that was settled, I didn’t hear anything from her for like a week. I start to wonder what was going on. Then I got an IM from "her" after a week not hearing from her, "she" said the two men and the lawyer took off with these properties and left her stranded somewhere in Malaysia and this kind woman found "her" and stayed with her. "She" claims, "she" filed a report to the officials to find these men who left her stranded somewhere in Malaysia. Few days later, I got another IM from her to let me know that they found those two men except for this "lawyer" and they ended up in Nigeria. Why they ended up in Nigeria because "she" claims there was this note in this box/suitcase from "her" deceased father noted that there was money intact in the bank in Nigeria from her father’s investments. So I went on believing and trusting her; I went on communicating with "her".
She is now in Nigeria. Now these properties are now in the hands of the police official in Nigeria. Again "she" ask for my help since "she" claims how “important” these properties to" her". Now that was out the way, she got what "she" came for and "she" is now at the airport in Nigeria to tell me she’s coming to me. Oh, I felt this joy in my heart and finally the problems is done. Oh no, it didn’t end there. "She" IM letting me know they compensated these properties because they found the bills being “marked” that belongs to CBN and they have to send that money back to them. Okay. "She" decided to stay like what she claims how “important” these properties to "her". Since they got the boxes back and now it’s in the hands of the bank and from the note that was left in this box from her deceased father we are now dealing with that issue. (This time this suitcase is no longer an existence).
We went through the process with the bank and I even got an email from a person who “claims” who works for the" bank". In able for them for that “money “to be released that they need to reopen the account since it hasn’t been touched for over a year as they say . (Oh, I was the beneficiary and this came about while she was still in “Florida”)
From this scam, I probably encountered some other people via email and phone conversation who were involved to make me believe that they wanted to help her/us. Many and many months has gone by, still in Nigeria dealing with the bank, etc. Again this new "lawyer" got involved because they said they couldn’t release the "money" not until it goes through this process. When it all fell apart, all the anticipation with the "bank" and everything else, "she" decided just to let it go and leave everything behind as we will take care of it when she gets to California. "She" said she wanted to come to me and claims she was getting tired of the whole process and so was I. I was flabbergasted knowingly that she was finally coming to meet me after three years. I send "her" some money for her plane ticket (she even send me the confirmation of her flight) and I was all ready to finally pick her up at the airport. Well, of course "she" never showed up. Again "she" IM me to let me know she couldn’t go on that flight because she has overstay "visa". To what she claims that they will be needing some money for that and from that, I stop my communication with "her".
Between those three years, I was blind sided and didn’t want to hear what anyone has to say. All I wanted to hear was my heart and how I felt for "her". I knew back then I knew there was something “odd” about this but then yet I fell for "her". "She" controlled me to what make to think everything was all so real.
Romance Scam Vision:
My vision that one day there will less and less victims coming to RS. And maybe one of this day such law will pass (worldwide) and stop this criminal activities.
"I can't change direction of the wind, but I can adjust my sails to always reach my destination"
Romance Scams Peer Counselor since January 2008.
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!
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.
"There are two means of refuge from the miseries of life: music and cats." - Albert Schweitzer
Romance Scams Peer Counselor since March 2011.
From: Halifax, Nova Scotia
I am a 47 year old self employed businessman. I run my own marketing company as well as do contract work for other marketing research firms. I was divorced 12 years ago and have only had one serious relationship since that time in 2001 that lasted 10 months. So I guess I was prime pickens for the scammers. For hobbies, I like to play and write music, play pool, go golfing and I love to cook.
What you do at Romance Scams:
I am one of the newer Moderators here, but I have been on the boards and in the chatroom for well over a year now helping the new people as they come in. It is very gratifying to help people who have just found out their "Love" was all a scam. I remember that feeling all too well. It is even more gratifying when we get to help one before they sent any money, nothing makes my day more than that! I just want to pass on what was so freely given to me.
Romance Scams Vision:
That someday, through the work of this group, we raise awareness enough that there aren't any uninformed people out there to be scammed.
My story is a little different; mine claimed to be in Ghana all along and was more of a please rescue me from a bad situation scam.
In the spring of 2009 after coming out of a 1 year online relationship with a real woman, I got a friend request on myspace from a girl in Ghana. The only reason I wrote her back was to tell her that myspace was not a dating site but a social network, huge mistake on my part as that started a conversation. She claimed to be 31 and widowed, moved to Ghana to be with her new husband who within 9 months was dead of malaria. His family was trying to get her kicked out of the apartment she was in because it belonged to the husband; they had even turned off the electricity so she could only talk for 4 hours at a time without recharging her laptop. (All of this I know to be BS and huge red flags now, but at the time it seemed plausible) She tells me she just wants to meet a nice man who can take her away from all this. Now even though at this time I was hurting for money and almost out of oil for my house I wire her a few hundred dollars so she can get her power back on.
The next day I get an IM on yahoo from someone claiming to be her sister who wanted to know exactly what my intentions were towards her sister. She proceeds to tell me she warned her not to go on myspace because she would just get sold into prostitution, even though that is where the sister supposedly met her husband from Germany. After asking many questions, (pumping for info to help create a character) she says she thinks I would be great for her sister and she approves. Next thing I know the first one is online too, the first of many times this would happen, having the two of them coming at me at once.
She wants to get married so she can get a Canadian visa and come be with me, I told her we don't know each other well enough to do such a thing plus how were we to get married even if did. (Once again, big mistake to ask) She tells me she knows a travel agent who could arrange it all, he did it for her sister and her husband and now she is living in Germany with him. (Even though he is supposed to be Dutch) He could arrange a wedding (with a white guy standing in as me, supposedly same white guy who stood with her sister, cost for white guy alone $500) he could arrange a Canadian visa and book the air flight for us. (Wow, what a lucky find there) 9 She asks if I mind if she gets the travel agent to email me, I foolishly say no I don't mind. She then tells me she already gave him some of what I sent to get the ball rolling. Now the sisters typed pretty good English, a little broken but legible, but I was about to get my first experience with scammer grammar. So I get my first of many emails from Edward Blay:
Yeah how are you. This is edward the travelling agent how are you . I hope you doing good . Yeah on the 2nd of july 2009, Your wife Rams gave me 300$ to start the visa process well by gods grace we have started, and we need to go to court on 7th of july and i told her to get a Lawyer and she got it but the amount the lawyer told me was a little bit much.but i told her to manage but she gave him half of the money untill she got the visa approved. then she will pay the rest If the visa has been prove , i told her to find a white man to stand as her husband but uptill now she did not get so please tell her to try and go and hire one so that we can do everything fast as she want . but i have one white man which i used to deal with and he charges alot but i told your wife to get an amount like $100 but still now did not say anything yet and the court will be on tuesday 7th july 2009 . so please try to tell her to get the white man fast .She was annoyed with me this morning becouse i did not email you yesterday but i told her i did it . so please tell her i e.mail you earlier today ok . hope to hear from you soon byeeee. but tell her to get a little amount for a taxi ok. i was raying to mail you since 3rd of july but not going through.mean whiles i did it firstname.lastname@example.org instead of email@example.com so plaese srry for not amiling earlier hope to hear from you soon byeee
By this time other characters were being introduced into the story, her mother in a wheelchair, who flew from Dubai to stay with her till she left to meet me. Her Pastor, who used to let her use the phone at the church to call me, one of her neighbours and a couple women from her church group, All of whom were so happy for her that she would be coming to be with me soon. So the day before she is supposed to get on the plane arrives, I get another email from Edward telling me she needs another $8000 to have as a declaration fee in order to travel. I don't have that much left, the most I can get my hands on is $2300 as I had already sent the rest to them to cover the wedding and the visa costs. So he says well send that and we will see if it's enough and like a fool I did it, sent my very last cent. I get this response;
How are you?Hope you are fine and it is regarding the declaration Fee and the ticket of your lovely wife Rams to canada. now she has to have some amount of money in her so that she can prove that she is on a visit to her husband(robert ),she has to prove to them that she has money that she will spend and then book her reservation and so on.she will prove that to the Ghana Immergration service at the check point at the Airport for her to travel to your destination in Canada, also she will be inspect the same way at Armsterdam Airport.When we talked about the declaration fee it is a money that she will not spend on anything or on her way to your destination and she will bring back that amount to you safely and also she will have to prove it in Canada when she arrived ,so that they will know that she has a money on her to spend.When it comes to that amount she has to get about $8000 Canadian Dollars on her and also it is due to the passport she is using and i think i already explain that to you.but she will not use the money for anything or buy something with it and all she will do is to prove to the Immergration services in Ghana,Holland and Canada.and also about the ticket we have got it booked and they have sheduled for her departure and she will have to departure on tuesday on the 4th of August at the time of 9pm in the evening here in Ghana at Kotoka International Airport and now your wife Rams is not happy when she heard about the amount that you have to send for her for the declaration Fee and even she started crying there and saying that they dont want her to see or meet her lovely husband (Robert),but i told her to be exercise patient and they are just doing their work and that how it works,but she told me that she is only crying that you dont have money on you now and i really feel sad about this and i wish to help but i cant because i have already invest my money in alot of things here and i have runout of money.so please Mr Robert try your possible best for you to get her the amount money and even if you have to loan for her try and do that and as soon as she is there you will get the money back and pay that person.but yet still your lovely wife Rams is not happy with the way things are going with her. But she did not heard the departure date because she did not listen to me and she is unhappy and she just move out of the room and took taxi to her place.so try and explain that to her and let get prepared for that date and time.i really hope you will understand what am sending to you and if you have any questions regarding this dont hesitate to mail me back and i will reply you back with the answers.
So they tell me they will try to get her on the plane with the $2300 as a fee the day of the flight, I hear nothing from them even though she was supposedly given a cell phone so she could text me. So out to the airport I go and I wait........................ and I wait.................. and I wait............... Two days later I get an IM from her, she is supposedly stuck at the airport and is refusing to leave unless they let her on a plane which they won't do unless she has $8000 for a declaration fee. She even gets what is supposedly airport staff to call me and ask why I don't love my wife, why I would let her sit here like this.
I'm getting really frustrated, I have no more money, then I make one last really stupid move, I offer her and her sister and brother in law jobs with my company that they can do online so they can help me raise the money. Claimed they couldn't figure out how to do it, too complicated for them. All I wanted them to do was place adds on kijiji and craigs list and the like for my products. I provided them with prewritten text and pics but they said it was too difficult to figure out. (Yet they can create a profile on myspace?) I finally googled "Declaration Fee's from Ghana" and guess what I found? RS
I didn't say anything or make any posts for 2 months, I just kept reading and reading, looking for someone else with a story like mine, I guess I was just hoping beyond hope that mine was somehow real. I never did see one exactly like mine, (Though a lot have similar parts in their stories) with all the different characters getting involved. So I made a post to that effect. Denise was the first to answer and I will forever be in debt to her and Mair and all the others. Then after 2 weeks of trying to get in but having problems with java and my antivirus software I finally made it into chat. I found a room full of people who understood, who didn't look down on me for what had happened, and who helped me build up the confidence to just let it all go and move forward. In short I found a whole new family of loving caring REAL people to talk with, it saved my life.
In the end I had lost just over $14,000, I sent money so often that western union gave me a card they could just scan so I wouldn't have to fill out the paperwork. (Wasn't that convenient of them?) lol
To anyone new, stay here, stay safe
""At the end of life it is not the things we tried at and failed that cause regrets, but rather the things we could have tried but made no attempt at." Me
"Life begins at 40" John Lennon RIP 1940 -1980"
Romance Scams Peer Counselor since April 2009.
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.
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.
Don’t let the past dictate who you are. Let it be a part of who you will become.
Romance Scams Peer Counselor since July 2006.
Vel is currently unavailable. Please contact another Peer Counselor for assistance.
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.
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.
"Be careful what you wish for as it may come true"