Anatomy of A Romance Scam — April 21, 2008

The romance scam is different from other “419” scams in that it preys on a victim’s kindness and openness, not their greed. This type of scam relies on creating a strong emotional bond and tie that, in retrospect, very often bypasses logical thought and common sense. The romance scam begins usually with personal ads placed on internet dating services. A photograph of an attractive person, very often stolen from a modeling website, is used. However, more and more photographs of prior victims (or ordinary people like you and me) are being used. Profiles include descriptions designed to attract the targeted audience. The scammer is often a widower or widow whose spouse died tragically leaving him or her alone with one or more children. The scammer’s parents are both dead and rarely do they have a sibling that resides in their home country. The text of the ad is often poorly written but not so much that an uninformed victim wouldn’t think it was more than an individual who doesn’t have good writing skills or some sort of dyslexia or other learning disability. Since we all have seemed to relax the “rules” we were taught with respect to grammar, spelling, etc., for the acronyms and shorthand of the Internet, most would not necessarily judge an individual profile by the poor grammar and spelling.

 

Scammers post highly scripted fake profiles on multiple dating sites. I know of only three dating sites online who are and strive to stay scammer free. Other than these, there is not another dating site online that does not contain active fake profiles. Scammers target every type of dating site. A profile can be amended to fit any niche in the market. Most scammers are men and will pose as either gender in order to con their victim. The scammer’s fake profile will show a location close to the victim so that you or I believe we are beginning to get to know someone we can eventually meet face to face. The initial concern of the scammer in this type of scam is that the potential victim is willing and ready to open his or her heart.

 

Once contact is made through a dating site, the scammer will usually attempt to move the victim to an instant messenger (“IM”) client rather quickly. The most common one used is Yahoo Messenger (thus, the term “yahoo yahoo” boys). There might be an exchange of one or two emails to the victim’s email address but it is more likely that the scammer will continue writing the victim back and forth on the dating service until he can successfully convince the victim to install IM so they can chat. Once chatting begins, the scammer quickly begins to establish emotional intimacy with the victim. Sex is rarely discussed. Instead, chivalrous talk and endearing names are used. Statements are made about how the relationship must have been pre-ordained and/or how the scammer has finally found that one true love of his or her life after searching fruitlessly for so long. Sincere interest is shown by the questions asked. Often quick declarations of love and/or affection are made as well as the strong desire to be physically present in the victim’s life. Frequent and constant contact is made.

 

Usually after the first or second contact (if not before), the scammer who is some sort of entrepreneur, engineer, or has what most of us consider a high profile occupation which requires travel, will advise the victim that he or she must travel overseas (usually to a country in West Africa – Nigeria, for the most part, but Ghana has become a scam hotspot as well) for business. The scammer will tell the victim that he or she will be away from a few weeks to a few months and so the face to face meeting must wait. At this point, the scammer has, at the very least, ensured the victim’s interest in waiting for his or her return. Once the scammer arrives in Nigeria (for example), he or she will send a phone number so that the parties can stay in touch, continue chatting through IM, declaring committed love to the point of proposing marriage, obtain the victim’s phone number and make calls frequently to the victim to further solidify the emotional connection and attachment, ask for an address and send gifts with romantic notes (all purchased with stolen or fraudulent credit or debit cards). Along with all this attention, the victim receives romantic poetry, letters full of tender and charming rhetoric designed to continue creating the dream of a “perfect” lover and friend. In addition, photos are exchanged, each party sharing the images of themselves and the people most important in his/her life. All of this is created with the unknowing help of the victim and designed according to the answers we give to the questions the scammer asks. To the victim’s mind and heart, he or she has finally met the most thoughtful, supportive, considerate, loving and wonderful man or woman in the world. To each victim’s way of thinking and feeling, it is frequently the end to a very long and difficult search and quest to find love.

 

After the relationship is solidified in the scammer’s mind and he or she is fairly certain that a victim can be controlled through the feelings of love and care that have been established, the money part of the scam occurs. This person that one loves is still “stuck” in a foreign country and can’t wait to get on that plane to finally come home and spend “in real life” time with the true love of their dreams – their future husband or wife. THEN, something terrible, traumatic or catastrophic happens. Some or all of the following stories have been used:

 

  • The scammer or his/her child falls seriously ill or is seriously injured in a car crash while in Nigeria and needs urgent medical attention for his or her or the child’s life to be saved. The victim is contacted by a hospital administrator because the patient is in a coma or unconscious. They will inform the victim that they found a notebook in baggage which has listed the victim as next of kin and as such the victim needs to pay for medical treatment. Without this medical attention, the patient is sure to die.
  • The scammer simply asks his victim to lend money to be able to purchase a ticket or to be able to cover departure tax always promising to repay the money once they are finally together. The scammer may claim that he or she has been mugged on the way to the airport and/or has lost his/her wallet.
  • The scammer claims to have an unpaid hotel bill and that he/she is being held hostage by the hotel manager or their passports or other documents have been confiscated. The scammer will desperately plead for money to settle the hotel bill promising to repay the money when the two finally meet.
  • Sometimes a scammer will ask the victim to open a bank account in the victim’s name or to cede control of an existing account so that the scammer or his agent can deposit a large check. The most common excuse is that the scammer wants to start a business to guarantee their future financial status but the authorities in the West African country will not allow them to leave with the check. Again, the victim becomes a potential suspect in money laundering and/or an accomplice in criminal theft.
  • Scammers frequently ask victims to reship goods for them to Nigeria. This is because many businesses in the world will not ship goods directly to Nigeria until full payment is received by their banks. A credit card in the hands of a Nigerian scammer is virtually worthless because no merchant will agree to send goods to Nigeria, but by using his/her victim’s address (normally in the United States or western Europe), he/she is able to order huge amounts of goods using the stolen credit cards. The scammer then arranges for either the victim or an associate to pick them up the following day and ship them to the scammer in Nigeria where they will be sold. When the credit card company fails to honor the payment, the merchant pursues the victim for the goods or the money. The victim becomes responsible for the bill because the goods were delivered to his or her address.
  • Eastern European scammers tend to use the guise of mail order bride agencies to scam their victims. Like their West African counterparts, the lady in question is incredibly attractive and a rapport is quickly established and the lady declares the victim to be her dream partner. Before long, there is a desire to meet to test compatibility but the victim needs to pay for her passport, visa and ticket before she can come over to be with him. Needless to say, even after giving the money, she will never materialize and the victim is left with an empty wallet and an aching heart.
  • Becoming more common is a variation of the scam –  some scammers will ask a victim to take cash advances on credit cards, then offer to pay off the balances. Of course the victim is asked to give out credit card and security information. The scammer will sometimes pay on the card, but not the entire balance, so the victim will accrue a very high interest rate on the remaining balance and advance.
  • Most common of all is that a scammer will tell the victim that they have received payment from their employer in the form of checks, money orders or another financial instrument but cannot cash the item because the bank will not honor a instrument of this type drawn on an account in a foreign country. The scammer who has by now formed a trust relationship with the victim will ask their “love one” to do a favor for them, receive the instruments, deposit them, obtain all or part of the cash (keeping some to help the “new spouse’s” household) and wire the remainder via Western Union. None of these financial documents are valid. All are fraudulent. When an item comes back unpaid, the victim is held responsible for repaying every dollar or face possible arrest for passing bad checks and fraud.

The romance scammer will keep trying to get as much money as possible from a victim until the victim can no longer afford to send money or until the victim realizes that their “loved one” has been running a con and is never going to come. More often lately, the way a victim realizes that the “love of his or her life” is a dream turned nightmare is to have law enforcement arrive at their home or place of business to question and possibly arrest them for any number of crimes, including felony fraud and money laundering. We have had several members in the past that have been arrested, taken to jail handcuffed and then charged with a felony. Recently, after a scam show was done by Oprah Winfrey, several victims who were facing prison time contacted our group and have been matched with experts to help them. I do not believe any one of these victims had any idea that they were in the middle of a scam until the moment of arrest.

 

In whatever way a victim arrives at the moment of “knowing” that this relationship has been anything but real, it is a terrible shock. Members join and lurk for awhile sometimes trying to assimilate what has happened in some way to make it have sense to them. It doesn’t. The loss of this relationship which for many has lasted from several months to several years is no different in how it feels to have a loved one die. The grief is overwhelming as is the hurt and dismay. There is utter disbelief. A new member will refuse to cut off all contact trying to hold onto the dream believing until the very last. Once the proof and realization hits and denial must be put away, the victim is left destitute – totally crushed from the inside out emotionally, psychologically and sometimes physically and then for many, financially. Many of our members have lost their homes, savings, jobs, retirement plans, maxxed out credit cards, now owe thousands of dollars in loans taken out to help their loved one get out of trouble and be able to come home or money owed because checks sent by the scammer have finally been returned to the bank in which they were deposited. The devastation financially to not only Americans but those in other western countries is horrendous and only a few will ever report the true monetary losses they have suffered. Even when the shock wears off, it is a long road to healing and many never admit what happened to them. They are too humiliated and embarrassed to admit it to any friend or family member though often are forced to because they now need financial help or will need to move in with a relative or friend to avoid homelessness.

 

It is a huge misconception that people who fall victim to this crime are lonely, fat, ugly, desperate or any of the many things we tell ourselves to feel better and assure ourselves that it could never happen to any of us. It can and does every day. It is a hidden, dirty little secret we often keep to avoid being made to feel even more ignorant and stupid for becoming involved and having been taken advantage of in this manner. I can assure you this crime crosses every type of line we in civilized society have created. There is no one who is immune to being approached and drawn in if he or she is open to the idea of finding love and a relationship.

 

Next … taking time to heal and recover….

 

 

Copyright by DianeG

Moderator/Peer Counselor

http://www.romancescams.org

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/romancescams/

 

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35 Responses to Anatomy of A Romance Scam — April 21, 2008

  1. Good Blog. I will continue reading it in the future. Nice layout too.

    Aaron Wakling

  2. Nice writing style. I will come back to read more posts from you.

    Susan Kishner

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  4. Sherry Kakol says:

    This is very accurate! I have a friend who has been emailing/talking to someone from Florida(?) who had to go to Nigeria because of his sick mother. while in Nigeria he got mugged & ended up in the hospital and was held hostage there until the bill was paid. (1st request for money). Then he needed money to pay his internet bill to continue corresponding with her. (2nd request for money). Then he wanted to get a web cam (3rd request for money) so they could see each other while talking. (Never got the web cam).

    On and on!!!

  5. Merry B says:

    Hurts heal. Pain stops. Knowledge is gained by following your heart. Hear those that tell you it is still good to believe. My sprit will soar again and I can believe that man is good not evil. Without this triumph he wins and I cast my eyes downward, mistakenly without the ernest hope of tomorrow.

    Thank you for this lovely page and God bless
    Merry
    http://www.boloji.com/writers/meb.htm

  6. Claudia says:

    I just came out of a very painful split from a 7 year relationship. I was contacted by a man on a dating site that I was on for only a few days. He lived in the US but in another state and said he was a christian and looking for true love. He came out of a very abusive and painful divorce. He was a independent civil engineer and got a contract going to Ghana for five weeks. Everything was great with romantic ecards, poems, emails and IM’s. He contacted me every day. But after 40 days or so he went to Ghana and everything changed.
    Obstacles:
    1. Lost luggage, could I send him polo shirts for work. Cost $600.00 including postage.
    2. PayPal airtime minutes, he needed help paying for his phone minutes as everything ran through his phone modem: $300.00
    3. His credit card was blocked by the company and he was not safe in the house he was staying in Accra so he had to move to a hotel. Once this error was fixed he would pay me back. He asked for $2,500, I sent him $1,000 via moneygram.
    4. He asked what email address to send the money back but that day he broke his arm and needed $1,650 cash for surgery. He also said he was being held there until he paid and he was in pain. He wouldn’t tell me the name of the hospital & when he did he was not there. I didn’t send any money as the US embassy said they would help him, pay his bill and he could pay it back. He became very upset I called the embassy and wanted the cash. He even had a bogus doctor call me (sounded just like his voice) to ask me for the money.
    5. Now he wants to come back to the US and be with me and needs 2,300 for the airline ticket and he has sent me the flight schedule. I checked with the airline and they said I could by by credit card at the airport and if he didn’t make the flight I could get my money back. That was not acceptable, he must have cash as it’s not safe. I ask for who?
    Now when he IM’s me he gets very angry and then states he is sorry when I say no to cash. I even told him I thought he was a scammer and sent him the Oprah infor. He assures me he is a man that is in the wrong place and he needs my help. He has two siblings but of course the numbers are disconnected and they can’t help. I’m it and I’m selfish and a lier for not helping him because I don’t trust him.

    He still calls, IM’s, emails but his responses sound more scripted and phoney the more I say no. The airline told me to tell him I would go and pay for the ticket with a credit card to get him home and see what the reaction was. You know the answer…cash only sent to him.

    I am very hurt and sad about this situation. And then at another time I am very angry as these people are monsters taking advantage of women by using “love as their vehicle” to extract money. And this leaves people broke and broken.

  7. Miriam Kiel says:

    I got a lovely mail from a pretty man 3 months ago at neu.de. He was called Harry Dennis Pott…and this man sent me a lot of lovey emails to make me understand that we were mentioned for each other…he said he would work in London, but also in Bonn, next to the city where I live…then he had to go to Nigeria (Lagos) to sell the farm and the land of his late father…suddenly he needed 5000 Euro for the Tax Clearance Certificate…I should send the money via Western Union to man called Gift Ugochi Amadi…………
    the his “mum” helped him out with some money and now she is in hospital in California and he cant pay his hotel bills and so on……….
    Its a pity that Ive trust this man…

  8. Carla says:

    Hello dears,

    I just stopped a scam situation. I am almost 40 years old, pretty, successful and been through this situation.

    Thanks God I realized something was not right when after receiving a fantastic bounch of flowers from London (I live in Uruguay, South America) a day before he was leaving to Nigeria to supervise some “constructions projects”.

    Gave me a number to get in touch with him (did he really travel? the phone number was correct, from Nigeria) and called me. A day later he called me with a very sad voice telling me that a man robbed his bag with his clothes and expenses money! Who in the world is that stupid to travel and live the money on your handbag!?

    Well, I started skipping his money requests, then his 14-years old daughter requested (I was so attached to her, by email and IM) and finally sent him an email telling him that I knew all the thruth.

    Disappointing, even for a 5 weeks e-romance.
    But I am safe.
    I trused on my heart and my intuition for the very first time in my life and I am very proud of it.

  9. ladies please be careful of romance scammer if it sounds to good to be then it is

  10. Rachelle says:

    You did an awesome job at explaining and laying it all on the table….. Yes it does hurt a lot but as days go by we become stronger and stronger… they will never change my love for other people, it surely opened up my eyes a whole lot that people can be so hurtful and use and abuse others……..

  11. margaret pyles says:

    i was coned about 2 months ago by a man named michael wilson. He stoled my heart but not my money. Thats because I had a bad feeling about what happened. Since then I have been approached by two others. A man by the name of stephen godsend and another man by the name of Tommy Hendrrich. I have all their emails and am still talking to the last two. Should anyone want to catch them please let me know. Sincerely, Margaret Pyles

    • Julie says:

      I don’t know if it’s the same person, but I was scammed too. I was on a dating website that is supposed to be free of scammers, if that’s possible because they match you. He was from the England living in Florida. I put the photo in a website to identify people and it came up several times. It followed the same story line. He was an engineer, widowed, no brothers or sisters. I was the best thing in the world. He wanted to use Yahoo Messenger to IM, but it never occurred. He had to go to London for business. I haven’t given him any money, but who I thought he was had my heart. It is crushing to feel like I have lost a relationship, even though I know it wasn’t one, but it felt like one. I am mourning it. I am strong and will move on, but there should be a special place in hell for people who deliberately toy with peoples emotions.

    • Pat says:

      I have just come into contact with a man named Wilson Michael who is a Civil Engineer and has suddenly had to travel to Nairobi for business. I have sent him $60 because they have held his luggage!!!! $60 is worth the feeling he has given me thus far, but its good to know that im done doing that. Lets get him

      • RomanceScams says:

        Pat, please understand that we cannot “get” these crooks. Did you know that there are estimated to be about 8 million scammers? Just because the same name is used doesn’t mean it is the same person. In fact when you are involved with a scammer you are actually involved with a group of 4-6 men, all working together to scam several victims at once. The are well organized and change their identities as often as most peopl change their socks! What you must do is block all further contact: this drives them crazy and it keeps you safe. Baiting a scammer is extremely dangerous. They have the skills to infect your phone or tablet or computer with undetectable viruses that can give them full access to your contacts etc. they can take over your device and destroy. We know this to be true because it happens frequently when the scammers are not blocked and ignored.

        Stay safe!

  12. amsha says:

    I have recently met a guy from LA , working in universal auto as a car dealer and his name is George parker.well this is the introduction he have done with me but i dont know who he is and where he is from.He told me he lost his wife last year in car crash and he have son called mohammed.As he is frim romania and his late wife was from malaysia and she called azwaiti.So i felt kind of sorry and we start talking on this singel muslim site.Then he said i have so stronge feelings for you and we should meet so i have told him i dont have the money but if he want to come he is welcome.so he said he is coming on coming saturday and i was very shocked to hear cos he never discusse nothing as where he is going to stay or how many is he coming cos coming to scotland from La is around 14 hour flight.But i stayed quite and thought is bit spooky.
    He acted he is very busy and came few time sucpiciose but i thought maybe he is working.but then next day he said oh am sorry i cant come as i have to go to malaysia as i have shipped car to them and they are going to pay me so much money and i will deal with them and come from there straight with $850000 and bring a diamond ring too for us and i said no i dont think i would make that decission before meeting you so dont buy any thing.
    Then he phoned me from malaysia with malaysia number as he was ringing befoer with american number.
    and said i will be leaving here on monday and get there tusday early in the morning he also send me the ticket confirmation too with malaysia real sign where i did question where is the america ticket and where is your return ticket.Well he keep saying is so difficult to understand i have given you my heart to treasure and you dont trust me.How can you think am liar.Please make me promise never to hurt me.Then he said when you write something like that amso weak after reading this so please love me with fear and be mine cos am going to give you alove who can never die or fade.
    On monday night he said he will call me before flying as he spoke to me before on that day but he never really did near the time so as i was not very close to him so i never really thought about it.BUT I WAS WORRYING IF HE DID COME HE IS NOT COMING TO MY HOUSE AS I DONT KNOW HIM.Then i have receive a call from a person with exact accent like him and heavy voice telling me he have broken the policy on malaysia airport and he has been detained and he have missed the flight so i was very worried and concern and i said where is he let me speak to him and then i will belive you.few minutes after he put him on the phone and he keep saying oh i did not know the law in malaysia but have said to them keep every thing and let me go but they are not so they have fined me with $7,500 and i have paid $2000 but please you pay $5500.
    I said please call in america and ask them to help you as i dont have the money but he just more and more got distressed on the phone and claim for the money and promise to pay me as double.
    But i contacted police and spoke to them and also contacted american consulate embassey in malaysia and passed all the numbers and their names cos the man was claiming the money called Fakhi Ghazi and his number was 0060163545560 and George Parker number was 0060146205683.They called me whole night and keep asking me for the money and then said you need to go and make the payment to western union and give us the number and we will put him on the next flight but i tottally refuse and told them i have contacted all these people and then George spoke to me and said dont shout at him as he is helping me why are you not paying him if you do i will double your money when i get to scotland i said am sorry i cant help you i know this is scam and you are part of it and no one called me after that.Also i have contacted the site and reported about him so they have deleted his account and took a note of his mail which was …geoparkerr@yahoo.com.He said he converted to islam as i was muslim but he hardly knew any thing about it but he said you are the perfect woman who can teach me.But that does not mean muslim do that but i think good and bad all over so we cant really judge but can be becarefull.Am sharing this to all my sisters as i dont want this happen to anyone so take my advice soon you know someone mentioning money dont let them fool you cos we are far better then them.

  13. Thaks for the article i really like it…

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  15. Ann Miller says:

    One of the things that got me was the embarrassment, the feeling of helplessness, and the desire to get my money back…so I believed the scammer for a long time. I kept hoping against hope that he was real (as of course he said he was) so I kept going along with his requests, his situation, and his attention to me. But finally, he gave up knowing he had reached the end of possibility of any more money. I couldn’t tell anyone to get help, I couldn’t tell anyone to get out of the problem…I just got deeper and deeper into the whole thing. If I had read this blog before, I would have realized there was no possibility that this was real.

  16. sadie says:

    I met a guy in tagged.com; he contacted me saying he was impressed by my profile and wanted to know me better. We started chatting; I was married but having a lot of issues with my husband and I was feeling so lonely and abandoned.
    His name was Mark Williams, from Portland, Oregon but was living in UK. He worked overseas for a famous drilling company called Transocean and said was the head of the electrical department.
    He became my only friend and I chatted with him every day. His parents have died, no siblings, cousins, nothing; he was all alone in this world waiting for me… He said he was in love with me and wanted me to be his wife just a couple of months after we started chatting. My husband and I got separated and started to fight for our 8 years old daughter’s custody and our assests. This guy wanted to come and meet me and my daughter and stay with us for a couple of weeks, getting to know each other better and make plans for a very close future. Later on he got this great deal inside his company to drill in Africa so he moved there (he couldn’t come to meet us, of course). He stopped the messages for days and then contacted me saying he and his workers were held as hostages by african men and have to pay them in order he could continue and finish his contract and get paid. He would get $7 million for that contract but he needed to paid $20000 to the african guys to let them finish. But I was in trouble myself, too. My husband didn’t want to give me any money since he found out about this man, so I had to pay for everything around the house. I moved my maid with me in order to have somebody to take care of my girl while I was working and I started to work more hours than ever. Then I crashed my car and hurted myself, had to paid full for the repairs and medical bills so, I was in no place to send him any money to resolve his issues. He didn’t get angry or anything (as I was reading before other guys did); he was sorry he couldn’t help me as well, since he considered himself as my husband. He finally told me he was able to pay the guys and was finishing the contract in order to get out of there and fly to me right away… but he needed $800 for the airline ticket since he spend everything he had left to pay the african guys. Oddly enough, my car was hitted by another car and almost got destroyed, so now I had to pay a lot of money to fix it and again I couldn’t send him any money.
    I stop the IM for awhile since I met somebody “in the flesh” who was pretty good to me and my daughter and I was already suspicious of my “dreamed online man”. Sometimes I chatted with him but I was more commited to my real affair. Then he sent me an email saying he was back in UK and wanted me to go there and visit him; and I had enough. So I emailed back saying to drop the act already and that God will punish him for what he did to me (he pretended to be very religious and put God in every sentence when we chatted) and I blocked him from IM and email.
    I guess it didn’t hit me hard because I was already involved with someone else and maybe deep down I realized it was a scam even before I met the other guy. I was angry with myself for being so dumb and believe in his feelings but I also feel proud of myself that I never send him any money.
    So girlfriends, beware, as someone said above: “If something sounds too good to be true it’s because it is”.

  17. Yvonne Apolinar says:

    After reading everyone’s testimonies I do not feel alone. Thanks ladies. I too have been wooed twice. I made a mistake by telling the men on my profile my profession. I recieved alot of responses. Of course I have chosen the most handsome man on the site. And lord behold he was a scammer. I was so nieve and vulnerable and an easy target for this man. I eventually sent him over 16,000 and he’s still asking for more. He would cus me out and even though I would say he is a scammer he would persuade me into believing that he wasn’t and he was real. I finally did get to see him on a cam after talking to him for 5 months. What I saw was not the man in the photo on the romance site. He was not a caucasion, he was a man of different color. He said the lighting was bad and he was honestly a caucasion. UMMMMMM. He sent me false documents which I did find odd and I research it, when I called him on it he would always have an answer for every question I had for him. This man was from Malaysia. I thought all men are not like him and I wasn’t going to give up, and I’ll find someone for myself. I joined another site and again men searched me out. I have told this man that I have been scammed and asked him if he was going to ask me for money. Of course he said he will never ask me as long as I don’t ask him. Okay after two weeks of IM he had to go to Ghana. I told myself not again. This pattern sounded all too familiar. He made me believe that he was not like the other guy that scammed me out of 16,000, but eventually I did end up sending him over 3,000. I did not learn from the first one. After being scammed by two men, one right after another I came to my senses. I de-activated from the dating sites and I just gave up on men. I’m better off alone and stress free. At least I can enjoy my own hard working money. Becareful ladies, when a man says he’s in love with you after one month then be leary of him. Good luck in your endeavors

  18. be careful a man call wayne parker, he use me , but thank you god and no pay $5000 for on delivery, because he working for a company i uk and go to australia in the ship…but in indian sea was attacked for pirates and he need my help , but other girl from Hungary told me the true,,

  19. Renee Hesson says:

    I am 52 and fortunatly I have never sent any money and have had this happen a dozen times but what I do is turn the tables as soon as they ask for money, some it took a couple of months some a couple weeks but I’m the one working them and getting them to give all kinds of info for my records etc HEHEHE and I have saved every letter and IM messages I have fake drivers licence;s all kinds of goodies I’m going to report them all I have found it kind of rewarding to catch them for all us women that got jilted

    • romancescams says:

      Hi Renee,

      This is called scambaiting and it is very dangerous. While scammers may appear stupid once we know how they operate, many are computer experts who can drop a keylogger or virus on one’s computer without us knowing. Please stop. Everything you have collected means nothing. Names are made up and photos are stolen. Trying to find one of these scammers is like trying to pin a ghost to a tree.

  20. Thanks for using time in order to compose “Anatomy of A Romance Scam – April 21, 2008 Romance Scams Blog”.
    Thanks a ton yet again ,Art

  21. Neupan says:

    Is bobby Davies still getting people with his story? Single dad…..wife killed tragically. …has 2 boys ….from Manchester UK…parents died…has sister but hasn’t talked to much in 14 years

  22. Julie says:

    Hi all I am currently though very well aware being scammed a Frank Darlington. He is claiming to be from Berlin originally and has been to Liverpool university (uk) and Melbourne university. He allegedly has a 9 yr old son and lives in California. He has sent me pictures of a man with a black beard, green eyes and a little boy in some too. I am certain this poor man is not him. He is also currently also on badoo.com as Frank Darlington with a totally different picture. Please take care around this man ladies. Julie.

  23. kenny says:

    If someone is scamming me would they pay of a $3,000 dollar bill

  24. No comments for much time? I am Egyptian man, was scammed by older Hungarian woman online.She nearly ruined my life. Married me I think to make boyfriend at home jealous.Left me after weeks and much fighting lies and crazy accusing. She needs therapy. Came back from Europe after one year, more accusing, crazy jealousy for nothing, ask for divorce. I gave at once.
    She nearly destroy me. Now maybe I’m a little crazy. But leave past dead, now have beautiful wife,praise God.

    • Su says:

      +44 7907 742750 this is another guy who said his name is Gabriel who started friendship with me we meet at Interpals but after few talk he said he love me and my son he use to talk with my son everyday over phone then after few days he said me he sent me gift for my son and me. Some day later someone call me and told me about a parcel which i need to pay him 32500 BDT taka like $400 but when i said i shouldn’t pay that should be pay by sender then Gabriel force me to talk with them and pay. When i denied he use bad language with me and sent xxx pictures.

  25. SM says:

    Here is another name to add to your o rig scammer list. “Elliott Lloyd”. 57 years old. Typical dead wife. Tragic car accident took her a year ago One daughter who lives overseas with his only two grandkids that are his life. Not supermodel hot but decent looking. Nice conversation. I’m no dummy I researched and came across a lot of info on oil rigs and scammers.

    • RomanceScams says:

      SM, you can file out a report on Romance Scams and also upload photos so that others can see them. Here are the instructions:

      REPORT SCAMMER PHOTOS:

      SEND SCAMMER PHOTOS as attachment in jpeg format to;   

      tammilee13@yahoo.com  (safe link)

      In the subject line type “SCAMMER PHOTO”

      (if the photo is a soldier please type Military Impostor).

      In the text message box include thescammer name and the website you met.

       

      Please allow 2 weeks for the photos to be posted in the RS Scammer Album, our volunteer receives hundreds of reported scammer photos per week.

      Members will not be notified when the photos are added to the album.

      If in 3 weeks the scammer photo does not appear please resend the photo as yahoo might lose your email before reaching delivery point.

      ——————————————-

      REPORT SCAMMER CONTACT DATA;Include Accomplices contact data also.

      SEND SCAMMER PERSONAL CONTACT INFORMATION to,

      scam_data@yahoo.com  (underscore between scam_data)

      Include:

      scammer alias “user ID” name,

      email address,

      phone numbers,

      physical mailing address,

      city, state/providence, and country.

      Passport number and information with picture

      Include all Accomplices Contact Information also.

      Include all accomplices contact information; children, doctor, barrister, lawyer, aunt, uncle, hotel manager, driver, etc.

  26. an says:

    be careful his name is Adrienn Mark , Jackson Mark ,Miami ,Fl …have a contract in Malaysia ( PETRONAS )

    • RomanceScams says:

      An, are you saying this is a scammers real name?

      • RomanceScams says:

        Because that seems extremely unlikely. Scammers change their names as often as we change our socks. The names can be reused by other scammers or changed slightly as in the names you have shown here. Most scammers,because of the complexity of their own names if they are from Africa (as most are), they often use what English speaking people would consider a first name as the last name of their pretend person. Also, there is never just one scammer working on a victim; they work in small groups, 4-8 men, each taking on different aspects of the scam. One sends texts, one sends poetry, another sends music, one talk on the phone. And they are doing this with multiple victims at the same time. They keep files so that each one knows the storyline and the victim. Scammer names, phone numbers and photos are all created or spoofed or stolen/photoshopped. With these in place they begin to design the ideal person for their victim.

        We all want to warn others to prevent the criminals from ruining their lives. It is just not easy to do based on the lies they tell. It does no harm to share that information, but sharing the story of what has happened gives others something that they may recognize as happening to them or family or friends. It helps others know what to look for when they are in contact with someone via the Internet that they have not met in person (Skype dies not count as they are experts at manipulating the videos).

  27. RomanceScams says:

    That letter is familiar to me as it would be to many survivors of Romance Scams. So is love poetry and links to romantic music. When we don’t know that Romance Scams exist, we don’t realize that these words are not their own, but are lifted from various web sites.

    It is strongly recommended that, once you realize you are in contact with scammers ((they work in small groups or cells) you immediately go silent and block all means of contact that have been used. It may seem like fun to toy with them, but it is actually very dangerous. They are NOT STUPID and know how to upload malware and viruses to your equipment that will allow them access to your contact lists, identity theft, keystroke mirroring that allows them to capture your passwords to financial sites and more. You need to scan all your electronic equipment (phone, tablet. PC, laptop) for these problems. They can even use your computer as a hub for their activities. The longer you talk with them, the more educated they become in how to improve the scams on the next victims.

    Please read the information on our web site at http://www.romancescams.org/ScamBaitingDangers.html (safe link)

    Always remember you are dealing with experienced professional criminals, many with ties to terrorism. It is simply not worth risking those dangers in order to have a few laughs.

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