Disturbing News About Victims of Romance Scams

From Smashy Events comes the following article published June 16, 2011, ” Belgian police probe murders of ten internet daters who died after emptying bank accounts and flying to Africa to marry.”  The article begins “Ten men who emptied their bank accounts and flew to Africa hoping to marry women they had met on the internet have died suddenly”

Even though these are not Americans and the “women” each man went to meet lived in Cameroon instead of Ghana or Nigeria, this story should bring home the dangers of continued contact with any scammer.

From Canada comes the following article which I am reproducing in full here since the newspaper which published the article no longer has it available for reading:

Saskatchewan woman dies in Nigeria, family anxiously waits for body to be returned home

 By Sean Trembath, The StarPhoenix March 30, 2011
 The family of a Saskatchewan woman who died in Nigeria earlier this month is stuck in limbo waiting for her body to come back to Canada.

“It’s just a waiting game. All we can do is sit and wait,” said Marcia Seeseequasis, an adopted sister of Debra Pine.

Pine lived on the Beardy’s First Nation, located 85 kilometres northeast of Saskatoon. On Feb. 9, she travelled to Nigeria to marry a man who Seeseequasis knows as Martin. A little over one month later, Pine died.

Pine had met Martin several years ago over the Internet and got married on Feb. 14. A few weeks later, Pine fell ill. She complained of a headache and vomiting, but didn’t want to see a doctor as she didn’t think the illness was serious, said Seeseequasis.

“She felt that it was just a flu,” she said.

On March 23, Sheryl Horse, Pine’s oldest daughter, was the last family member to speak to her mother. Pine complained of being very tired.

Pine died in hospital the next day, said Seeseequasis, who spoke to Martin that day.

“All Martin said was she’s dead,” said Seeseequasis, who has been the family’s main representative in attempts to get more information about her sister’s death and arrange for Pine’s body to be returned.

“It’s very difficult to communicate with a different country,” she said.

Seeseequasis tried calling the local police station in Nigeria and the hospital where Pine died, but neither would answer the phone.

“We haven’t been able to speak to a doctor. We haven’t been able to speak to anyone else,” she said.

An autopsy was performed to determine the cause of death, but the results are still pending, said Seeseequasis. Both she and Horse said the family does not suspect foul play.

“My sister trusted (Martin),” said Seeseequasis, adding that she trusted her sister’s judgment.

This was Pine’s second trip to Nigeria. In 2009, she went to meet Martin and his family for the first time.

“She said that he treated her well. She said she felt like a queen. I was happy for her that she found someone,” said Seeseequasis.

Since Pine was married before her death, Martin is the next of kin and any attempts to move the body have to go through him. According to Seeseequasis, he has been quite cooperative.

“He’s making all the arrangements over there. Thus far everything has gone well,” she said. Even so, they have yet to receive any confirmation that Pine’s body will be returned. Seeseequasis said that Martin wants to accompany the body to Canada, and this may be holding up the process.

“On behalf of the family, we’ve written a letter inviting him to the funeral,” she said. They hope it will help him get whatever visa is needed to allow him into the country.

Meanwhile, the community of Beardy’s First Nation have rallied behind Pine’s family.

“We’ve been getting so much support. People have been bringing food and money,” said Horse, who lives next door to Pine’s house.

Pine left nine children ranging in age from 11 to 33. The five who are still of dependent age are now living with Pine’s first husband, who also lives on the reserve.

Horse said that Pine was very well liked in the community.

“I never heard anything bad about her, ever. She always had a smile for everybody,” she said.

The most important thing now is getting Pine’s body back, said Horse.

“It’s really difficult,” she said.

“We want to have that chance to say goodbye to her. It doesn’t feel like we can.”

© Copyright (c) The StarPhoenix
 Again, not an American, but the following story hits closer to home. Published August 2, 2011 by The Carthage Press in Joplin, Missouri, I hope the following will remind you of the dangers of remaining in contact with a scammer once you are aware that you are involved with a criminal: Nigerian scam ensnares Carthage woman.
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17 Responses to Disturbing News About Victims of Romance Scams

  1. G says:

    Could you share the stories how you tackled with offenders after the discoveries of con-men’s real faces. Trail, press- charges, arbitration etc.

    • romancescams says:

      Unfortunately you are asking the impossible. As one of our moderators says, “it is impossible to pin a ghost to a tree.” Since scammers either steal another’s identity or make up personas and complete them with stolen photographs and made up profiles, there is nothing really to go on. Our government (USA) does monitor this activity and has recently made arrests of some high profile scammer rings involved in not only romance scams but other 419 scams as well.

      Chasing after someone who doesn’t exist and lives in a country that does nothing concrete to stop this criminal activity is a waste of time, money and can eventually create such anger and bitterness that the victim doesn’t heal and move on with life. That is one of our goals: educate people so they know how to keep themselves safe online and help them heal from the hurt. There are enough law enforcement people out there to take up the legal aspects of these crimes.

      • Rita Crow says:

        THERE ARE NO, NONE AT ALL, ALERTS IN ADVANCE TO ANY PEOPLE, SO WHO KNOWS THIS, NO ONE WILL KNOW THEY ARE TALKING TO A 419 SCAMMER (NIGERIAN) UNTIL IT IS TO LATE BECAUSE SCAMMERS ARE IN TRAINNING TO ACHIVE THE GOLD FROM WESTENERS. WHERE ARE THE NIGHTLY NEW ALERTS???

      • RomanceScams says:

        Rita, there is a lot of information on Romance Scams on the Internet, in magazines and newspapers. But we don’t go looking for something we don’t know exists. ARRP Magazine had a very detailed article on Romance Scams called “Are You Real?” Sadly it came out just after I learned I had been scammed out of a lot of money and had my heart broken. Dating sites are not required by law to warn about scammers and they don’t do it voluntarily because they don’t want to lose paying users. Most sites have a statement telling users to keep communication on their site until you actually meet the person you are in touch with. That way your privacy is protected. The also say not to send money to anyone you have not met face to face. The scammers are very persuasive in getting users away from the dating site, saying their subscription has exspired and they like you enough to only talk with you.

        And of course there are more and more scammers using other sites to make contact. There are social media sites like Facebook and also networking sites like LinkedIn. There are email groups based on mutual interests and hobbies. The real people in these sites may never have heard of scammers, so no warnings will come from them. Strangers may approach us on Skype.

        I’m uncertain what you mean when you talk about nightly new alerts. Publishing information about scammer names, photos and supporting see locations does not help a person who doesn’t know about romance scams to begin with. In addition, the information scammers give us is all false and/or stolen from innocent people.

        One of the goals of Romance Scams is to educate those who have been scammed to recognize the signs of scammers and what to do if we are contacted by them. The owner of the group gives frequent interviews with various media; news programs, magazines, law enforcement agencies and more. Hopefully people will come across these interviews and avoid the heartache and financial loss these scams cause.

        One of our counselors frequently shares a quote from Maya Angelou,
        “Do the best you can until you know better.
        Then do better.”

  2. Carla Seeseequasis says:

    Hello, I am the daughter of the above named, late Debra Pine. We have recently found out that her husband was and still is married to his second wife. The second wife happened to read the story in a Nigerian newspaper and contacted our family to send her condolences and to tell us about her relationship with Martin. Unfortunately for us, he told his second wife how he would “do ANYTHING, to get to Canada.” So, just confirms that he truly was a scammer. He had articles in two Nigerian newspapers, The Punch online and National Mirror, I just google my late mom’s name and the name of newspaper and it shows up.

  3. Bobbie Smith says:

    My online fiance is in Dubai. He said he has money in the bank in the states and cannot get to it. I thought if we for married I can get the money and sr.nt it to him. I have never met him
    He needs 15k for an oil deal. Now I’m scared

    • RomanceScams says:

      Bobbie, I was told the same story about money in the bank that he couldn’t access, even directed to the account and asked to see if I could transfer his money to him, using a different Internet provider. Of course I could see a very large balance (meant to reassure me that he had more than enough money to repay me). It was a faked site of course, just like everything else, another lie.

      I think you are realizing that nothing about this situation is true. There is no such person, you don’t have a fiancé, there is no money in a bank account, not even an actual bank account. If you haven’t already blocked the scammers from contacting you again, please do it now! Whatever you do, don’t agree to marry through some setup where you can be married even though you are not in the same place. That will be a lie also. Please join our support group and get all the information and help you need to be able to accept this and deal with it safely. Do not sit alone in fear and shame and worries. It may seem hopeless right now, but it isn’t. It is difficult, but we can help.

      • B. Smith's says:

        Hi, Thanks for your response. I have blocked him, deleted everything, but the shame is still there. I talked to him, I don’t even know who it was. I was suicidal because, I did end up sending him money and it cost me dearly. I wish I had seen this reply before. Even to his last day he tried to get 11k from me. He said he will go to jail in Dubai. I have a good gentleman friend who has been there for me. I hurt him because of this. I even contacted the site I met him on. He was the 4th person to try and scam me. I reported this to every scam site I could find. I lost my sister over this. I always accused him of being a scammer.

    • Rita C. says:

      I was told bye Michael Richardson he was an oil engineer in the Philippines and was trying to get back to the States any needed money two. Later I found out that he was talking to another a lady and he said he was a railroad engineer and his name was Michael Barnett 1954. And there and we found a third victim and she was a lady who was totally was a railroad engineer and she also send him money. She was not in the interview because we just found her.
      We also just found out he goes by Charles H Baldwin
      We both had set him money and we now are reporting him on every scam site we can we also did a news broadcast.
      IC3.gov is one of the places we reported him.
      CBS.com 2 ‘ sweetheart scam’ victims speak out to mourn other women

      • RomanceScams says:

        Rita, I am curious to find out how you found out that you were all talking to the same person. In a world with an estimated 8 million scammers, it seems unlikely. Scammers share scripts – there are several stories they tell. And they all claim to bein one of less than a dozen careers. Very glad to hear you are all reporting the scammers.

    • RomanceScams says:

      Bobbie, knowing there is no reason to be ashamed doesn’t stop that feeling from overwhelming us. Eminent yourself that you are a victim of a crime on a path to becoming survivor of a crime. Geese scammers, for the most part, are professional in what they do. They are experts in social profiling, finding out all about us and then using that information and insight to create the ideal persona to pull us in deeper and deeper until we are committed to them and will do whatever they ask. I thought I was in contact with a really nice, polite, caring man who wanted me to be happy as much as he wanted to be happy. They make mistakes, but we ignore those red flags because we have fallen into a state much like hypnosis, accostomed to the “ding” of a ne text message, or of a regular time to talk on the phone. When we learn the truth, however we learn it, it knocks us flat. And yes, we feel ashamed. The scammers are the ones that should be ashamed, but they have no feelings for their victims at all. They don’t care if you are hurt, bankrupt, homeless, or suicidal. All that matters is the money. Everything else is a lie.

      It is sad that others that we care about are affected by this horrible crime. And we are weighed down by the burden of guilt and sorrow over that too. I have sometimes regretted telling some family and close friends about what happened. (Many people knew I had connected with someone online; most of them I just told that it didn’t work out.) The people I told were shocked and supportive, but over time I noticed they were uncomfortable with my story and changed the subject if I brought it up. They wanted to pretend it had not happened. What saved me was finding the Yahoo email support group. There was always someone available to communicate with who understood everything I was going through.

      Don’t give up on yourself. You can and will survive. It’s not a smooth, straight path. We all heal at our own pace, in our own way. Group members find some comfort in writing a letter to the scammer, pouring out all of their feelings. When everything is on paper, you don’t send it or email it. You tear the papers into pieces and then burn it (in a safe place, of course) and let some of those feelings float away on the smoke from the burning paper. Some seek professional counseling. Others find comfort in their faith. Some can find it possible to forgive. Whatever you do, take care of yourself. You matter, your life matters. Bit by bit, reclaim your life.

      • RomanceScams says:

        Well, I hope my typo made you smile! “Geese scammers”. Are these people who scam geese, or geese who scam people, or……..?

      • Bobbie says:

        Because of the support of my friend, and alot of praying, I’m doing better than I thought. I still break down in tears but the hardest is forgiving myself. I joined a debt recovery program which picked up the loan that destroyed me. I never heard the word scammer before, I met my scammer, we finished each other’s sentences. I had communicated with him almost 2 yrs. I accused him of being a scammer, said I would report him if he was lying and he never budged from his lies. Yes, these guys, women, are good. I even felt guilty for him going to jail in Dubai and that wasn’t​ even the truth. I was intimate with him and I have no idea who he or she is. He sent pictures from the beginning. I believe what goes around comes around. He will get his. His picture I found on Pigscammer.com. I found him on Tagged.com. I have so much information. The police were not interested in helping me. There are so many out there.

      • RomanceScams says:

        The police department should be informed that e FBI wants them to take a report from you. It is true that there is very little they can do, but it is important for other reasons. Law enforcement needs to now how widespread these crimes are becoming. The U.S. Does not have legal authority to have these scammers extradited to be charged with these crimes.

        You description of the scam is very familiar. My situation was much the same except it only lasted 3 months. The heartache and embarrassment and financial hardship are the same. The longer it lasts the harder it is to rid our minds of the idea of a real person.

  4. Rita Crow says:

    I was told bye Michael Richardson he was an oil engineer in the Philippines and was trying to get back to the States any needed money two. Later I found out that he was talking to another a lady and he said he was a railroad engineer and his name was Michael Barnett 1954. And there and we found a third victim and she was a lady who was totally was a railroad engineer and she also send him money. She was not in the interview because we just found her.
    We both had set him money and we now are reporting him on every scam site we can we also did a news broadcast.
    IC3.gov is one of the places we reported him.
    CBS.com 2 ‘ sweetheart scam’ victims speak out to mourn other women

  5. RomanceScams says:

    Rita, there are at least 13 TV stations linked to “CBS2” At various times they have aired stories on Romance Scams on both network and local news. It seems you may be referring to something else. Normally we do not allow links to be posted except by or with the prior approval of the blog moderator/peer counselor, but since your information was not an actual clickable link it was not removed.

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