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Online dating scams still rising

August 7, 2015

In reading the article, Dating-Site Scammers Tear up Hearts. Empty Wallets, it gave me a place to air my story a second time. The first time came with the actual incident that occurred in March of 2012. Not only was my article well received on the site where my association was severed a week ago, it was retold in a weekend segment of the Today show a few months ago with the rebroadcast of Stolen Valor, where people use fake military uniforms and medals to attract and defraud women. In that case, it wasn’t the normal middle-aged lonely woman, it was a woman in her twenties. Apparently, they were supposedly wounded from being in battle, which he showed her via pictures.

The thing that stabbed at me was that he knew he was doing wrong and there was no remorse. Just like some of the international dating scams that occur, a lot of them didn’t care how they damaged these women. In the segment, he got arrested on a lesser charge. My mother said he should have been arrested for impersonating a military man instead of apologizing to them in a written letter. It was a felony. He also walked around a military base looking like he belonged there.

There was another side of the coin, however. Like the lead article and a lot of what was seen via Dateline on NBC and the Dr. Phil Show, the older women that ended up being scammed by online romances were warned by their families and didn’t listen to their kinfolk.Crimes like these went unreported because they were shamed into silence in spite of the on line pledge to tell if anyone asked for money.  This was the main reason why they ended up those shows whining about the large monetary loss or hurt feelings because they got dumped after the person they dated received what they pleaded for or when the money ran out. After the cars and the cash was handed over, his contact with her ceased because the call to Nigeria was rejected.

In my case, almost four years ago, the man on another dating site was already overseas serving in Iraq, that had an unnamed son in college somewhere in West Africa. By the end of the second week, he was pleading with me to send money while professing strong feelings for me. In the beginning, he bragged about owning five houses and three cars when he contacted me. If anything, according to my mother, he should have gotten rid of four of the five houses he owned and two of the three cars he had to help his son. My uncle told me that humble people never bragged about their possessions or riches. The biggest scare for me was that he wanted too much information on my mother. My fear was him getting chummy with me to cause her harm.

He showed up on Facebook in April of the same year using the same picture on the dating site he was pulled off of. This time he was serving in Kabul, Afghanistan. It took no time reporting the information known to me previously. The report said that the name was one of three he used on line. And there wasn’t anyone in the Army with that name. While all my information on him disappeared, it took him nine months to a year to clear his name. While that email address and photo looked up by me was still active, it wasn’t connected to any fraudulent activity. He changed his online name, putting his last name first because there were a lot of people using the same name.

Turning in this scammer did not make me an expert. Listening to my gut instincts kept me from suffering like the others did. If something didn’t sound right, it was probably a scam.

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