When a one realizes they have been a victim of a romance scam, they want justice. Unfortunately, seeking and receiving justice is challenging on many levels, from a reporting perspective who do you call or contact? Can your local police department track a scammer or funds sent to a foreign country? Most likely not, but there is the outside chance the scammer is not overseas. You can report the crime to a national law enforcement agency, but such complaints do not move quickly, but still, challenges should not stop you.
Many victims are unable to share their misfortune with law enforcement, family, or friends and so they stand alone. Even though, I believe you can still fight your battle and keep it under the radar by going after to people you sent money, contacting foreign banks and law enforcement. Be loud!
There have been times where the scammer discovered the victim contacted law enforcement and the receivers of the funds. The scammers threaten to tell their family, friends, and other people. Other scammers out and out bullied some clients, demanding they back off, or else. I am happy to say; not one has ever backed down. They are fighters. I believe if an online dating scammer victimized you, you should fight back, scream loud, and let them know you are a fighter!
When I reveal my findings to a client that the person they have been chatting with, and even fallen in love with is not the person in the photos, behind the phone number or the identity in the passport, despair rings loud. Many thoughts and emotions rage through victims but some find it difficult to face the facts.
A woman from Zurich met a man while online dating; a widower living in New York with his young son. He traveled extensively to China because of his engineering business. They hit it off quickly, and the digital relationship moved forward.
Even though they never met or chatted by video, she fell in love, and they talked of her moving to his Park Avenue apartment in New York, which meant her giving up her design business and selling her home. You are wondering how one fall in love with someone they never met or even seen on video. It happens all the time in a romance scam, it is part of the manipulation by convincing the victim, that they are in a long-distance relationship, not an online or digital one.
A problem developed with the Chinese factory and the scammer asked the victim for sixty-thousand euros. She was quick to aide him; he was her future. Then the scammer told the her the Chinese police detained him because of unpaid taxes, and they will not allow him to access his bank account. The scammer sent her a link to his bank, login, and password. The balance read just under four million dollars. She tried to make the transfer from his account to China, but security features would not allow her. Note, scammers, create fake bank websites, with logins, and impressive balances. Remember, you can’t always believe what you see.
After learning of his net worth, she had no doubt he was a man of means and transferred one-hundred-eighty-thousand euros into a Chinese bank account. He kept pushing for more money; he suggested she sell her home as quickly as possible and move to his place in New York. He even had a friend send her a first-class plane ticket, which proved fake. It wasn't long until someone made an offer on the apartment, also an associate agreed to buy out the business.
The client sent me his passport, which I noticed as a fake immediately. In the photo, he wore glasses, which can only be allowed for medical reasons. I showed the client that the bank was fake and the name, a deviation of a real bank. Even more crushing for the client, I searched the address in New York; he did not own the apartment nor rent. The proof of his falsehoods drifted on down the page. She was devastated with the deception and could not believe the man she loved broken heart, and stole her money.
She confronted the swindler, and he denied all I revealed. He sent her a photo of a check for the total amount she lent him but first needed her to send the bank a payment 10% as a bond for the them to release the money. The offer posed a considerable conflict. What if everything I told her was incorrect. She thought, what if she paid the ten percent, she might get her money back.
Unfortunately, what ifs do not work in the world of online scams, only facts ring true. Even with the abundance of evidence proving the scammer was a fake, she sent twenty-four-thousand euros. He then vanished.
Facing the truth that a swindler broke your heart and stole your money is beyond horrible. However, you must find the strength, to be honest, and trust in the facts — not the words of someone who has a motive to keep you in the dark. Sure it is easier said than done but you have no choice but to be strong and take control of the situation. As dreadful as all is, you can and will get past it in time.
Many of the victims I encounter, feel relief after the fact. Yes, financially times are difficult, but there is a freedom and a relief felt. They no longer live in a fake world, strung by hope from a dark stranger who sucks them dry emotionally. With this, I say, have faith that the tough time will eventually be in your rear-view.
Frank M. Ahearn educates victims on romance scams.
He is the author of the New York Times Best Seller How to Disappear.
Email Addresss: ID@Scam.Guru