This romance scam took me by surprise. It’s more serious than most of the ones I’ve personally been involved with here on Keep Safe On The Net. But it matches the experience of many of my readers over the years – readers who have been taken in by these romance scammers and lost thousands of dollars or pounds.
The attempted scam took place over two weeks. It started when a friend alerted me to a fake Facebook account, pretending to be Eric Whitacre the musician and composer. The fake accounts was replying to women on his page, asking them to contact him privately.
So my alter ego contacted this fake profile and it didn’t take long for the scammer to start flattering her and asking her personal questions.
Then the scammer started fishing for information – asking her questions about herself and then asking what kind of phone she used and what kind of computer she had.
After a couple of days the scammer went from telling her he was married with a family, to telling her that he had caught his wife cheating on him, that he was heart broken and then that he was falling in love with Annie.
A few more days past, in which he kept declaring his love, sending kisses, kisses, hearts, kisses, hearts and more hearts. He was in love and was coming over to be with Annie.
Then he said he wanted to send her a present, and tried to get her address. She wasn’t giving him her address (which is odd, as she doesn’t exist anyway!!) but gave him a made up address for her cousin in Scotland.
The scammer then tried either to find out if the address was real, or to deliver a present. You’ll have to watch the video below to find out what happened.
Then, of course, he went to court for his divorce. Quick work – this was in the space of a week. The court case, of course, went wrong and his wife claimed everything. Including all of the 57 houses he claimed to own.
His accounts were blocked and he needed to pay his attorney. So, surprise, he asked Annie for seven thousand pounds – which she agreed to pay.
This scammer had taken time to get to know his potential victim and had constantly declared his love for her. This is how the more serious of the romance scammers work. They take time to groom their victim, until the reach the point where they believe their victim has fallen for them.
Annie was vulnerable – divorced and living with her elderly mother. She also told the scammer she had money from her divorce.
Once she’d agreed to pay, the scammer sent her the details of a money mule in the USA. Annie found this person on social media and warned them that they were being used. These mules are money launderers. They receive money from victims and pass it on to the criminals.
This person was either desperate for the money, or had been taken in by the scammers, because they told the scammer about Annie’s warning.
The scammer then went on to play the heart broken victim, claiming they had fallen in love with Annie and were now heartbroken. More emotional black mail to try to make them sound believable.
Watch the video below for the whole story. I’ve tried to make it instructional, so please share it with anyone you know who may be vulnerable or who has decided to try online dating and may not be 100% internet savvy.