Dating & romance scam: Georgina's Facebook fiancé leaves her flat broke | Scamwatch
Entertainment · Lifestyle · Celebrities · Television · Movies · Music · Theater & Arts · Eat & Drink September 3, at pm. Scam artists are apparently alive and well in the online dating world, with a Los Gatos Mark also introduced Allison to his “sister” via Facebook and said the woman had been in. Online dating scams cost victims the most money — almost $28 . only as Anne, was wooed by a man she met on Facebook in late by Christina DesMarais on December 04, in Computers and Software, Here are popular Facebook scams you should watch out for. . This has happened on Fb but I have also been approached on a dating site in a very similar way.
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. This is the painstaking grooming process that Enitan calls "taking the brain.
My life will never be the same since I met you.
Dating & romance scam: Georgina's Facebook fiancé leaves her flat broke
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. 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.
‘I was scammed by an online love rat too,’ survivors of internet fraud speak out
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. 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. 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.Facebook's dating app revs up romance scams
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.
‘I was scammed by an online love rat too,’ survivors of internet fraud speak out
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. Then, when the day finally came, Amy's phone remained silent, despite her efforts to get in touch. Something must have gone wrong. Why hadn't he called or texted her back? She tried to tamp down the pinpricks of panic. When she collapsed into bed that night, she thought about how this had been the first day in almost three months that they hadn't spoken.
There wasn't a single thunderclap of realization. But that week, it all came apart. Dwayne finally contacted Amy three days later. He sent a single text. Something about being held up by immigration at the airport in Kuala Lumpur and needing money to bribe the officials. This was the third time that Dwayne had failed to show, the third last-minute catastrophe.
His wife had died in a car crash and he had one daughter. These scammers know how to find vulnerable people. He told her he wanted to move to Australia with his daughter to be with Anne. She was groomed for two months and then the emotional manipulation to send money began.
She created a Scamming Scammers Facebook page and says around people a week contact her to share their stories. AFTER just a few contacts they profess strong feelings for you and suggest moving the conversation away from the website to email, instant messaging or telephone.
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THEY continue to ask you for money, but never actually visit you. THE email is poorly written, vague or contains specific information taken directly from news articles, repeats itself, you are addressed by the wrong name or the email is not personally addressed at all.
TALK to an independent friend, relative or fair trading agency before you send any money. NEVER give credit card or online account details to anyone by email. BE very careful about how much personal information you share on social network sites. IF you agree to meet in person, tell family and friends where you are going. If this includes overseas travel, consider carefully the advice on smarttraveller. WHERE possible, avoid any arrangement with a stranger that asks for upfront payment via money order, wire transfer or international funds transfer.
Unnecessary damp proofing You are offered a free damp proofing survey. The surveyor always finds damp which needs urgent attention, quotes a high price and requests an immediate deposit. Home maintenance services A trader offers you a cheap quote to pave your patio or driveway, carry out home maintenance or gardening services, or repair "unsafe" roof tiles.
They demand an upfront cash payment to start or finish the job — then scarper with the money or make unreasonable charges for botched work. Fake dates You join a dating website and are contacted by an extremely good looking potential date who lives abroad. After starting an online romance the scammer asks for money for emergency bills. Council tax refunds You are told by a cold-caller that you are owed a rebate on your council tax bill or are overpaying because your property is in the wrong tax band.
You are then asked to hand over your bank or credit card details so your money can be refunded. Council tax discount You are told that if you start paying by direct debit you will get a discount — but first you need to pay an administration fee.
Dodgy job website You register your CV at a job site and quickly get a call or email from an employment agency guaranteeing you a job, but only if you first pay a fee. Bogus pay cheque You are called or sent an email from someone who wants to give you a job, and offered a cheque in advance of your first payday.
Cash the cheque and you'll be told you've been overpaid and must return the money via an online transfer — before the cheque bounces. Training course claim You see an advert online for a high salaried job, but are asked to pay for a training course first. Prize scam You are called, texted or emailed and congratulated for winning a prize or even a huge lottery pot although you can't remember buying a ticket.
In order to collect your winnings you are asked to pay a processing fee or to call a premium rate phone line.