Main -> Dating -> Women targeted in 'romance scams' lose ?, in space of two weeks . The Independent

Women targeted in 'romance scams' lose ?, in space of two weeks . The Independent

Romance scam victim lost $500,000, shares story for first time

Scam victims tell us their stories Real scam victims have shared their experiences to help warn others about scams. In these stories we ask you to find the signs that it was a scam, and consider how similar scams could be avoided. People from all walks of life can fall victim if the timing is right and the story is convincing. You need to have a clearly defined process for verifying and paying accounts and invoices to protect your business against false billing scams. Calls, emails and other approaches claiming that you have won an unexpected prize or a competition you did not enter are almost always scams.

We fell in love with each other. After living together for more then a year, we agreed to have a baby. So now we have five-month-old daughter and today we got married as our parents wanted. This is the happiest day of my life," Amornrat said. And I met Dmitry, the owner of homestead, for the first time, here. Later we met again, when I arrived to be a volunteer in a project related to capercaillie.

After that we made more projects together and one day I understood I fell in love with him. It was mutual," said Anastasia. My friends and I thought it noble to help the arriving freshman girl students move into the dorms. There was Jenny, unpacking boxes with her family and in classic, comedy double-take action I walked by her room, stopped, and walked right back to it. Through three states, long-distance dating, high times, low moments and 19 years later, we now share a home, a little girl and a life," said Chad.

Rute Magalhaes, 33, and Filipe Alves, 38, are seen through a large format camera while they pose for a portrait at their studio in Lisbon, Portugal, February 8, Photography brought us together and we fell in love.

Then we started a studio to help others fall in love with the magic of photos," Rute said. Asha Ahuja, 71, a housewife poses for a portrait with her husband Chandrabhan Ahuja, 73, a businessman inside their house in Mumbai, India, February 7, Asha said: "It was the summer of when I met him for the first time. It was our engagement day which was just six days before our marriage. We didn't talk to each other until we got married. I was a free girl and used to go to jam sessions and enjoy time with friends.

My life became completely different after I married him.

He comes from a religiously conservative family. From a family of four, I had to live in a joint family of I heard from my parents that he was also a religious person. I got to know about his devotional side when he went to a temple at 5 AM after spending our first night together.

When I woke up I was alone. I sacrificed a lot after our marriage to adjust to a new environment. We are from a generation where we had to make a lot of compromises to make the marriage work, unlike today.

The couple have been married for 42 years and have 12 children. Their love started at a vegetable market and now they dedicate their time to their year-old vegetable shop business which they both worked to expand.

With my wife, every day is like a festival, not just one day," Hayes said. Aviva Ephrati L84, retired kindergarten teacher, and Israel Ephrati, 87, retired supervisor at a higher educational institution, sit in the living room at the protective housing in Kfar Saba, north of Tel Aviv, Israel, February 8, The couple managed an art gallery in Haifa for some years.

They've been married for 64 years. After that young man left the scene, Israel asked me to date him and I refused, I was willing to be a friend of him but I didn't want anything romantic. In the next four years, I almost got married to another guy who disappeared two weeks before the wedding after his father gave him an ultimatum after finding out that my father was not originally Jewish.

Unfortunately, stories like “Tonya's” are not rare at all. Last January we ran an article about some then-recent online dating scams, the same basic story only with. Victim stories in their own words. But I had no idea about Romance Scam and this is my first experience for online dating so I put my slight doubts aside and. Debby Montgomery Johnson, the author of The Woman Behind the Smile, shares the story of how she lost more than a million dollars to a man.

Kazuhiko Kobayashi, 80, and his wife Mieko Kobayashi, 73, pose for a photograph at their music shop named Ameyoko Rhythm, specialised for Enka, traditional Japanese popular ballad, in Tokyo's Ameyoko shopping district, Japan, February 8, She was a classmate of my younger sister.

One day she came over to my house and I took a shine to her because she was so charming.

Since that day on, I called her every day. In the beginning, she did not seem to be interested in me, but I conveyed my passion to her. On our first date, I waited at a meeting place for an hour.

Read our real life stories to see how you can learn from these experiences and Dating & romance scam: Georgina's Facebook fiance leaves her flat broke.

It turned out she had been advised by her mother and older sister to be late for an hour to see whether I was serious about her. My feelings got through to her, and we married on October 15,five days after the opening ceremony of the Tokyo Olympics. Nhuchhe Bahadur Amatya, 76, a retired accountant at Nepal Electricity Authority along with his wife Raywoti Devi Amatya, 74, a housewife, pose for a picture as they sit inside their shop in Lalitpur, Nepal, February 4, Nhuchhe was 17 and Raywoti was 15 when they had their arranged marriage 59 years ago.

Daniela, 37, a Berlin-born social educator, and her partner Arda, 39, a German architect with Turkish roots, pose in front of Altes Museum in Berlin, Germany, February 4, And he recognised me as well.

A smile from both sides. One hour later we were sitting together and having a cup of coffee. Now we live together in a nice flat," said Daniela. Alejandra, 44, an education policy consultant and Razhy, 48, a journalist and a human rights activist, walk on a street in the Coyoacan neighbourhood, in Mexico City, Mexico, February 9, The couple met in Mexico City inafter Razhy was kidnapped and quit his job as a director of a weekly magazine in Oaxaca, a state south of the country.

Months later, Alejandra traveled to Europe to study. Finally, four years later, we were both without partners and decided to meet again. We got married in the neighbourhood of Coyoacan, the neighbourhood where we walked together and we met again after all those years," said Alejandra. Pramodini Roul, 24, an acid attack survivor and a campaigner at Chhanv, an NGO that supports acid attack victims, and her partner Saroj Sahoo, 26, a manager at Chhanv share a moment at the "Sheroes" home for acid attack victims in Noida, India, February 8, The couple met at a nursing home in Cuttack, India, where Pramodini was undergoing treatment for acid burns.

Saroj was friends with the lady nurse who was treating Pramodini and would visit his friend at the nursing home while she was treating Pramodini, which is how the two met for the first time, on April 8, That was the first time I saw Saroj's face.

I had never imagined that I would be able to see Saroj in my lifetime," said Pramodini. Zakir is a farmer and Nurgul is a housewife. They have been married for 29 years and have two sons.

They said there was a girl, Nurgul, that could be my wife. It was impossible to meet a girl anywhere else. Mezbah Ul Aziz L34, and Mausumi Iqbal, 33, pose for a photo in a coffee shop where they hang out on a regular basis in Dhaka, Bangladesh, February 7, In fact, we used to remain at opposite ends of the class mostly when we met first, but you know about magic, it always happens with surprises.

Both of us are dentists and married for eight years now. Before that, we met at our dental school on June 1,on the first day of the class. We both were invited to give a short speech before our classmates and teachers. I went first, and later him. We never admitted, but maybe we felt some spark on the first day, but it was definitely not love.

Later, we chose different paths, chose different reading partners for daily life. But fate brought us together after a year and a half.

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: "Guys are easier to convince — they're a bit desperate for beautiful girls.

Con artists scam victims on online dating websites out of thousands. Here's one woman's story of losing her retirement savings to a scammer. Finding love through online dating has become hugely popular but that in most cases the criminals committing romance scams study the. An Edmonton man who lost $ in a dating scam hopes his ordeal In , they investigated 10 cases with an overall reported loss of.

All his victims, Enitan says, described themselves as divorced or widowed. Ideally, the prospective victim makes the first move. Grooming the victim begins in the second stage. 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. Amy wrote that seven days after receiving the first message from Dwayne. 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. Around 8 p. 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.

Are you real? Will you appear someday. Or are you just a beautiful, exotic dream … if you are … I don't want to wake up!

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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 Catfishabout 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. 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. When she came home from her trip to Florida over the holidays, Amy found a bouquet of flowers waiting for her, and a note:. 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.

If you are involved in online dating and have an account on one of the dating sites, you must have heard about online dating scams. Many men who can't find. Dating and romance scams often take place through online dating websites, but scammers may also use social media or email to make contact. They have even been known to Real life story. Georgina's. The Police Service of Northern Ireland drew attention to the recent cases as they issued a warning about dating scams ahead of Valentine's.

And he couldn't come back to Virginia until he finished the job. He was stuck. So, if there was any way Amy could help him out, he'd pay her back when he returned to the States. When Amy asked for proof of his identity, Dwayne sent copies of his passport and financial documents.

All were fake. 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. Petition online dating sites to help stop scammers. She'd get it back as soon as he came, of course. 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. 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. 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. Besides, he'd be there on February 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. 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? He always called. 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.

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. Still, she wired him the money. Amy's sister-in-law was the first to figure it out.

Phil show, in which the TV therapist confronted two women who claimed to be engaged to men they'd met online. Amy watched in growing horror. This was the same Beijing-bound route Dwayne had planned to be on earlier. As the story of the vanished airliner filled the airwaves, Amy couldn't help but worry that Dwayne had been aboard — maybe he'd managed to take a later flight? Finally, he called her.

But the call went to her home landline, not the mobile phone she'd been using. I was a bit ashamed for my doubts and we continued our online relationship.

Online dating scams - Jan's story

Then we decided that she should come to me to Australia. I trusted her, so I sent the required sum. And I sent. Next day I was at the airport waiting for her. But guess what? The airline confirmed that she canceled her booking. She neither contacted me again nor replied to my messages or answered my calls. Just vanished. I lost her, my money, and wasted my one-week unpaid leave.

Rob, She wrote to me first. She was 24, much younger than me and it was flattering she got interested in me. She told me many sweet things and compliments, and my heart melt. From our chats, I understood how bad Russian men are and it became clear to me why Russian girls like foreigners. Everything was going okay, but one day she told me her sister had a car accident and needs money for a complicated surgery. I knew her family is not very wealthy, so I felt bound to help. Dave, My story is both instructive and fun.

First, I thought my online mate had a bad memory, but then it appeared to me that each time I communicated with a different person. The way they complimented, flattered, and declared their love to me was really fun. Russian Dating Scams The geography of scammers is diverse.

Dating fraud stories

How Scammers Work The first stage is finding a victim. Story 1 Danny, 34, a single father of one. Story 2 Rob, Story 3 Dave,

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