As I wrote in a previous post, I’ve started dating again. Recently, I very nearly got caught up in a dating scam, and want to tell others how this happened and warn them to be careful.
I ‘met’ this girl on the lesbian section of match.com, she contacted me, saying she had a preference for being with older women, and that she was fed up with shallow relationships and wanted to meet someone who was serious about having a real and meaningful connection. As this was very much what I was seeking I replied.
We began to exchange daily messages, then swapped email addresses, I used one that does not give my name, but hers was the name she had given on the site. The emails continued daily and we swapped info about our past relationships, what we wanted for the future and found we wanted many of the same things. Her interests in film and TV were different to mine and she was into sport which I’m not, but otherwise we seemed very well matched. She said she lived in London and worked in a para-medical job, in forensic anatomy, and travelled abroad as part of this, which seemed plausible.
The only thing I was uncomfortable about at this stage was the fact that she didn’t want to talk on the phone, something I was very keen to do, as it’s one of the ways I find really let’s me discover more about a possible date. She put her reluctance down to being shy, and we continued to message. I was careful what I wrote, she never knew my address, family name or other personal information.
We ‘talked’ about meeting and fixed a date a week ahead, but I insisted that we talk on the phone first. Then she sent me a message saying she wouldn’t be able to meet that day as she was flying out to Nigeria for work in three days time and that she would be away for 12 days. I asked her to call me before she left for the airport, and she promised she would, but no call came. She also said she was going one her own, not with work colleagues, which seemed very odd to me.
The next I heard was an email saying she’d arrived safely after what seemed like an unusually long flight, and giving me a phone number to call her on. I was somewhat reluctant to call a Nigerian mobile, but thought I would give it a try, it took several goes to get through, and when I did, it was very difficult to hear what the person the other end was saying. Also, the voice sounded very strange, as through voice synthesiser was being used. I quickly ended the call, and went back to emailing!
Then the next day I got an email saying the company she was working for had paid her by cheque and she couldn’t get it cashed until she got back to the UK, and that her bank card wouldn’t work in Nigeria, so please could I loan her some money till she got home?!
My reply was short and to the point! No way would I be lending her money, even if I had it to spare, which I certainly didn’t! She wrote a vitriolic response, which I didn’t dignify by answering.
I was angry with myself for spending so much time on the emails I wrote her every day, and the emotional energy I had invested into what I had hoped might be a future relationship. But very thankful I’d been so cautious with my personal information, and that she or possibly he (the voice didn’t sound very female even with the synthesiser), didn’t know where I lived.
I’ve notified match.com and also posted her/his information on romancescams.org, a free to use site, which gives lots of information about dating scams.
There is also a WordPress blog: romancescams.wordpress.com, which tells stories from people who’ve been scammed and gives support to victims.
So, lots of time wasted and I’m back to trawling the dating sites again. Let’s hope I find a real woman this time!