Romance Scammer Stories: One Online Dating Scam
Beware of Mohamed Sesay and Ibrahim Conteh from Sierra Leone. Form a list of scams and you'll get a long list with these two being on top! Its registered office is Accra Ghana was established in early to explore and develop mineral deposits in Uses online dating sites to commit fraud with criminal intent. (Include links to more scam pranks; have you seen an African guy in a bra?) Anticipating towards your letter. Im interested in purchasing your Los Angeles Lakers Licensed GM Series Watch which "Nigerian Fee Fraud and Online Dating Scam" Posted by: Mike Geary Abs at April 3, Con artists scam victims on online dating websites out of thousands. By December 17, they had exchanged eight more emails. revolution, partnering with the online dating service HowAboutWe to launch AARP Dating in December ).
I'm almost certain intuitively it's a scam but there's nothing concrete yet. Let's continue and help the guy through his grade-school arithmetic: My only concern is that if you want it from July 1 then the room will be empty for two weeks now 'til then.
I have to pay rent on the room. Is 1st July earliest for you? Cheers, Paul Many thanks for your mail. I am ready to pay 3,pounds. As regards payment,this is what i am going to do. I will instruct him to make out a check to you in that amount and as soon as it clears in your bank you can now deduct your money from it and send my balance via western union international transfer.
Although the value of the check is more than the money for the rental duration. A, 32days to clear over there, whereas check sent from within the UK would clear tops within 3days because immediately you receive it you are going to take it to the cashing point or deposite it.
Victims can be found anywhere — scammers also forage for connections on social media — but dating services provide the most fertile territory. Profile photos are pirated from social media or other dating sites. To snare women, he'd pose as older men, financially secure and often in the military or in engineering professions.
For male victims, he just needed a photo of an alluring younger woman: All his victims, Enitan says, described themselves as divorced or widowed.
After learning everything he can about his target, he would launch a campaign of love notes and gifts. It feels like the universe is manifesting my perfect partner right before my very eyes. Prayers answered and yes it does seem like we have known each other a long time. They were on the phone for hours every day at this point. His was the first voice she heard in the morning, and the last before bed. Typically, Amy would talk and text with him until about 11 a.
In their emails, they filled pages with minutiae about their lives — her upcoming holiday trip to Sarasota, Florida, with a girlfriend; his visit to a textile museum in Kuala Lumpur.
Mixed amid this were Dwayne's increasingly ardent declarations of affection: Last night, in my dreams, I saw you on the pier. The wind was blowing through your hair, and your eyes held the fading sunlight. Florid passages like that did not spring from Dwayne's imagination. He cribbed them from the Internet. Still, on Amy those words cast a powerful spell.
That's how she thinks of it now — it was like a switch flicked in her head. She'd been in love before. But this was different, a kind of manic euphoria. Will you appear someday.
Or are you just a beautiful, exotic dream … if you are … I don't want to wake up! At the core of every romance scam is the relationship itself, a fiction so improbable that most of us initially marvel in disbelief: How do you fall in love — really fall in love — with someone you never meet? Until the term "catfishing" crept into the vernacular, love affairs with digital impostors were little-known phenomena.
The term comes from the documentary film Catfish, about a man with a girlfriend who, we learn, does not exist; it later inspired an MTV series. Pretending to be someone else online is a social media parlor game among some young people.
But Amy had never seen the show or heard the term; she had no idea the practice was so common. Computer-mediated relationships, she says, can be "hyperpersonal — more strong and intimate than physical relationships. Photo by Gregg Segal Research has shown that certain personality types are particularly vulnerable to romance scams.
Unsurprisingly, age is a factor: Not only are older victims more likely to lose larger sums of money, there's evidence that our ability to detect deception declines with age. But when she surveyed scam victims in the U. These people tended to describe themselves as romantics and risk takers, believers in fate and destiny. Many, like Amy, were survivors of abusive relationships. Women were actually slightly less likely to be scammed than men — but were far more likely to report and talk about it.
The other term that Amy would later learn is "love bombing. In both situations, the victim's defenses are broken down by exhaustion, social isolation and an overwhelming amount of attention. Amy would later describe the feeling as akin to being brainwashed.
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This is the painstaking grooming process that Enitan calls "taking the brain. My life will never be the same since I met you.
Love, Dwayne Not long after this, slightly less than a month since his first contact, Dwayne brought up his money troubles. But some components he purchased from Hong Kong were stuck in customs. He didn't need money, he assured her — he had a hefty trust fund in the U. But he couldn't use his funds to cover the customs fees. And he couldn't come back to Virginia until he finished the job.
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So, if there was any way Amy could help him out, he'd pay her back when he returned to the States. Photo illustration by Chris O'Riley When Amy asked for proof of his identity, Dwayne sent copies of his passport and financial documents. Finally, Dwayne set a day for his flight home and emailed his itinerary. He'd be there January Amy even bought tickets for their first real date — a Latin dance concert in a nearby city that night.
And she told her brothers and her friends that they would finally get to meet this mystery boyfriend. But first, another problem came up: He had to pay his workers. She had the money. And Dwayne knew it. Not exactly how much, perhaps. But he knew she owned her home and two other properties. He knew that her mother and husband had recently died.
And he knew she was in love. January 25 came and went. A new problem delayed him; Amy took one of her friends to the concert. Dwayne apologized profusely and sent her more flowers, again with the promise to pay her back. Soon, he needed more money. This part of the con follows a familiar pattern.
The scammer promises a payoff — a face-to-face meeting — that forever recedes as crises and logistical barriers intervene. As February wore on, Amy was still telling friends that Dwayne was coming in a matter of days or weeks. But she never mentioned the money she was lending him. It's not that she was intentionally misleading anyone. You know me better than that. When doubt started to creep into her mind, she would look at his pictures or read his messages.
Still, almost in spite of herself, she wondered.
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Little things seemed odd. Sometimes, out of the blue, he'd fire off a series of rapid-fire instant messages—"oh baby i love you" and so forth. It felt almost like she was talking to someone else. Another time, she asked what he had for dinner and was surprised to hear his answer—stir-fried chicken.
But I thought you hated chicken. To her relief, she got a photo moments later.
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There he was, sitting on a bench in the sun on the other side of the world. Psychologists call this "confirmation bias" — if you love someone, you look for reasons they are telling the truth, not reasons they are lying.
We tend to find what we are looking for. And Amy was looking, desperately, for reasons to trust Dwayne, because the money was really adding up. She planned to make dinner for him that first night. She bought all his favorite foods — fresh salmon, sourdough bread, a nice Merlot. The trip would take more than a day: He had to fly to Beijing, then Chicago, and finally connect to Virginia. He'd call her as soon as he got to Chicago. His last message was a brief text that he said he sent from the airport in Kuala Lumpur.
I'll be home soon my love. Too much, too fast. There is a reason scammers wish for you to contact them directly via private email and not use messaging available through the dating site. Him answering with questions to your specific questions is a sign of a scammer as he is not giving you an answer.
Remember, there are a number of services where you can get a phone number with almost any prefix. Also, if he is supposedly overseas on a trip, and he gives you his foreign number and says call any time, it is more likely his real number. Another indication that a scam may be going down is when there is a distance between where you both live.
This is a great test: Ask to meet soon after the introduction on the Internet. Most people who earn a decent living wish to be wanted for who they are, not for their income. In other words, he is really wishing to find out if you are worth his time to scam, as you have financial resources to share.
Think about your friendships—do they ask you about your financials? His photos are fake. Ask him to send you a picture of himself via snail mail. Do a Google Image search to see if his photo shows up on stock photo sites or catalogs.
Notice the background in the pictures posted online. Are they indicating that they are wealthy? Does it show a big house, a new boat, or something else that yells wealth? Again, people who have real wealth do not advertise it.