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International Relationship Scams

In the last months, I have had the unfortunate task of informing a number of clients, and even a good friend, that they were caught up in another relationship scam. Sad to say, we so want to be loved – and to love – that we can be trapped by our desire, our willingness to trust, afraid to listen to our inner warning bells.

These web-based relationship scams have taken so many women for so much money that I felt it was important to publish some insights about how these scams operate. Although the Internet makes it a lot easier for these vampires to prey on folks, it also provides a great deal of information that can help you avoid being taken for both your affections and your money.

Janet requested a reading about a man she was getting involved in, and while waiting for the reading, wisely trusted her instincts and took the time to do a a little research, as I recommend… It diidn’ take long for her to recognize the truth. Her story is so typical, that with her permission, I am reprinting our dialogue here:

Unfortunately, my suspicions about Marcus turned out to be correct.  He was too good to be true.  We met on-line, and the photos he claimed were him turned out to be stolen photos of a model based out of Hawaii (should have known he was way too cute to be from around here).  In truth, Marcus (I have no idea of their real identity) was merely a scam artist whose goal was to eventually draw money from me.  I had a sense that something wasn’t right, and did some research about on-line scams and discovered the truth.

I was actually very lucky.  I didn’t provide any personal information about myself (such as addresses, account numbers, etc.) so no harm was done .. other than my disappointment that the connection I was feeling turned out to be based on a lie.  Still, I feel I learned more about myself from this experience. I have learned that I am able to go with the flow and be open, and still be smart enough to protect my overall well-being, all at the same time.

Janet, I’m surprised that this one got by Lisa… (Lisa’s reading said with patience, this relationship might work) – sadly these scams are becoming all too common, and they put up such a good front that even the psychics don’t see them… although I must say I have caught a couple out recently… I’d be interested in knowing a bit more about how you first connected with this man and what roped you in… Let me know, OK? Lotsa LLLove, Danielle

I would be happy to share what I know.  :-) Actually, it makes me feel better that it got by Lisa. :-) 

This person was really good at their game, and I was definitely wanting to believe all the nice things they had to say.  When someone tells you how wonderful you are, it is only natural that you want to believe it.  :-)

I met this person via Match.com.  They said they really liked my profile and wanted to get to know me better.  We started communicating via email … and they soon told me they were removing their profile because they wanted to focus 100% of their intentions on building a relationship with me.  Then they asked me to remove my profile (which made me skeptical since it was so soon after we had started communicating). The person kept telling me I was wonderful, and sweet, and beautiful … all the things a person wants to hear.  Then suddenly, before we could meet face to face, this individual was called away to Nigeria for a contract job.  This again made me skeptical, since they were able to get a flight out so quickly.  I mean, after all, Nigeria isn’t the easiest place to reach. Still, I carried on communication (with a bit of doubt in the back of my mind).  This person continued to send emails once they “arrived in Nigeria”.  Saying they wished I were there, they couldn’t wait to get home to spend time with me, and promising to bring me gifts.  They told me about their trip to the hotel from the airport, chatted about the weather, etc.  Then suddenly I get an email telling me they are having trouble dealing with the Nigerian banks.  This was my final straw.  I knew something wasn’t right.  I simply sent a sweet email telling them to contact their bank here in the US.  I said their bank should be able to resolve the issue, and there was no need to deal with any of the Nigerian banks directly.  Then I went straight to work searching for info on on-line scams.

I started reading the messages at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/romancescams/messages?o=1and found a lot of useful information.  It was through this board that I happened to find a link that lead me to the pictures that had been used by my scammer. Turns out my gorgeous fellow is really named Thomas, and has no idea I exist.  What a shame  He was such a cutie. :-)

Please feel free to share this info.  All I ask is that you change the names in the story to protect the foolish. ;-)

Not so  foolish, hon, you did the very things I recommend, you searched for the truth and got it… many women have been bilked in the same way, and for many thousands, you at least stopped it before it got very far… – PLEASE report him to Match.com – this is a site Dr Phil promotes, and he is one of the folks who has been talking about preventing this kind of thing… Match.com supposedly has some protection against these fraud artists. I would make it as difficult as you can for sweet “Marcus” to make another connection… I might even write to the owner of the photo and let him know…Lotsa LLLove, Danielle

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Tributes:

"Another great reading and very helpful advice. I think I have a new friend and advisor. Thanks again." Hugs TL

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