As I sit waiting for Littlest to come home from nursery, enjoying my last half hour of adult TV, I am watching yet another story of a woman taken in by an online con man, who took her in completely and emptied her bank account in the process.
This isn't the first story I've heard on TV or in magazines about similar women who have also been conned into giving out cash to men who they wrongly believe love them.
As a woman, I like to think I'm pretty savvy. I'm not gullible enough to believe the spam emails I get in my inbox daily would lead to actual true love. So what makes a reasonably normal, clever woman fall into the gullible trap?
It would seem love is the culprit, or the belief that you can find true love in the strangest ways.
These women all wanted for some handsome, strong man (I think the last 4 times I've seen or read about this its been a con man posing as an American soldier) to suddenly find them in a chat room, or even on a Christian dating site (as happened to woman number two), and honestly believed that this man would sweep them off their feet to live happily ever after. To the point were they swindled thousands of pounds out of them.
|Can Love ever be a simple click away?|
The cruelest part of this specific trick is, after they well and truly suck the lady in, they play on her emotions by going incommunicado for weeks. When the lady starts to panic and tries to phone, and leaves many worried messages, a second "friend" (often the same con man in another guise) tells her that the original man has been hurt in action, or has caught a deadly disease, and surprise surprise, only more money will make him better.
They ask, and many seem to receive, thousands upon thousands of pounds- with many giving up their life savings, re-mortgaging their homes, or taking out vast loans to support this love interest and his ever increasing requests.
Its only when they are flat broke and the con man realises they have cleaned the poor woman out that they then block her email, change their mobile number, and move on to more unsuspecting victims. It's very hard to track the fraudsters down, and none of the women I've read or heard about have ever seen their money- much less their love interest- again.
Why is it so easy to take people in?
Well, making up a convincing back story you can use time and again isn't hard. There are so many free to use dating sites and forums online, finding vulnerable women who are looking for love isn't hard. Then its as simple as a mobile number, a few stolen off the web pictures, a made up name (pick up any Mills and Boon novel for ideas) and a net connection and off you go.
My advice- if it sounds too good to be true, it usually is. If a guy asks for cash before you've even met, ditch him straight away, and don't give out too many details online!
Or you could be the next victim of this ever growing scam.
*Image:renjith krishnan / FreeDigitalPhotos.net