Newport Manners & Etiquette: Online Dating Scams + More
Wednesday, July 15, 2015
My online dating conman
Q. I started a relationship with a man on a renowned Internet dating website that ended in disaster. Unfortunately, it took me too long to understand that he was a conman. Coming off of a stale, long-suffering relationship with a nasty breakup, I was vulnerable to his attentions.
We had an online relationship for four months messaging many times a day. I thought I was in love with him. I was lonely. He was an attentive admirer. All of a sudden after two months, he had money problems. He needed money to keep his company together to pay salaries and back taxes. Then he needed money for his daughter’s college tuition and his mother’s hospital bills. Funds needed went on. He said he was forced to move his business overseas because he was divorced and his ex-wife was draining him and that money owed him was being temporarily held up.
Over a period of two months he bilked me out of hundreds of thousands of dollars.
My best friends and only sibling tried warning me, but love was blind and I believed in this scam artist. The friends have unfriended me and my brother disowned me. My best friend in the whole world told me she didn’t want to be friends anymore.
Not only am I feeling more alone than ever, but I’ve sent this man hundreds of thousand of dollars to banks in Europe so I have no recourse.
I’ve filed complaints through my lawyer with the FBI, etc., but I know I will never get the nearly $800,000 back that I sent him. Halfheartedly, I’ve been playing him along while the authorities have been investigating him.
How do I redeem myself? –Anonymous, New York, New York
A. Online dating conmen complaints are much more common than you could imagine. It’s important to report this man to the authoritative agencies listed below. After doing so, tell your sibling and your friends that you’ve done your part to make sure others don’t fall victim to scammers on social media. If they’re really your friends, they will forgive you, although it may take time.
A 66-year-old woman we know of was targeted by eight different conmen through dating sites in less than five years. The two most obvious tell-tale signs are bad grammar and lying by claiming to be employed overseas. He then creates stories to elicit money. The farther away from you he lives, the less likely he will be available to meet you in the flesh. You are probably not the only woman this conman is working his sweetheart scams on. He could also be online dating over fifty other woman at the same time using the same lines. Lines he’s perfected because they work.
Here is an update of warning signs to look for based on a column written by Sheryl Harris in The Plain Dealer in Cleveland, Ohio:
- A conman from outside the United States, who says he is a professional living or traveling abroad.
- Conmen usually use instant messaging or TTY services for the deaf to disguise their un-American accents.
- A suitor who declares his love for you too quickly.
- A conman doesn’t share specific information about his life or work.
- A man who sends you a fake photo of a male model or well-dressed older man that he’s taken off the Internet.
- Scammers will often string you along for weeks before asking for money.
- They are known to send flowers and candy to sweeten you up.
- Beware if they ask you to wire them money so they can make money for you or to pay their travel expenses so they can be with you.
- Sometimes they will even pretend they know someone you know on social media saying they had made money for that person.
- He may insist on seeing you on a Webcam, even if his Webcam isn’t functioning. He wants to make sure you’re not a law enforcement agent. Besides, the photo he sent won’t match his mug on the Webcam.
- There is always one drama after the next, because he needs funds for his daughter’s college tuition or his mother's hospital bill.
- He may ask you to handle his banking transactions in the US, which could lead you to becoming his partner in crime.
- Do not wire money because it is gone the moment you sent it and you can’t get it back.
- He may have bought expensive items on stolen credit cards and want you to send them to him. That, too, could lead you to becoming his partner in crime.
- Never give out any personal information and certainly not passwords or other information that would allow him to get into your online accounts.
- To add insult to injury, he might even bully you by lying to you about being a fellow victim of a dating scam; or even pretending to be a law enforcement officer tracking down online dating scammers. A real law enforcement official would never ask you for money or personal information such as your Social Security number or account number over the Internet.
- If you haven’t already done so, report your situation to the dating social media website, as well as the following three federal agencies, as soon as possible:
- IC3.gov the Federal Internet Crime Complaint Center
- Fraud.org the National Consumer’s Fraud Center
- The U.S. Postal Inspection Service because you used the postal system.
Q. My wife is trying to find a dress for her nephew’s two o’clock wedding. The groom says it is going to be formal and the dinner will be less formal. The wedding ceremony is in a cathedral. What color dress would be appropriate? She has one dress that’s light grey and another dress that is white with pink flowers and has a hoop skirt, which comes straight down and flares out. –Big A, St. Louis
A. What your wife wears to the wedding depends largely on the time of year. If you’re going to a summer wedding, a knee-length white dress with pink flowers would be lovely and summery on a hot day. The grey dress sounds more sophisticated, even though I don’t know the style. A grey dress is fairly neutral and she can’t really go wrong, as long as the dress is knee-length and it isn’t such a light shade grey that it appears off-white.
Traditionally, out of respect for the bride on her wedding day, the only woman wearing white at a wedding is the bride.
However, if your wife decides to wear the white and pink floral knee-length dress to a summer wedding and there is a lot of pink in the dress, she should look perfectly lovely at her nephew’s wedding.
Didi Lorillard answers questions about all matters of manners and etiquette at NewportManners, the best of which appear here.
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