“The lonely heart is a vulnerable heart.”
– Nigerian online romance scammer
The ones I know are smart, sophisticated women – not women who have lead secluded, sheltered lives. And never did they believe they would get hoodwinked by an online romance scammer. After all, they laughed about those phony phishing emails that promised an award or inheritance and recognized them right away wondering how on earth anyone could fall for them.
But this was different. The three women I know who got sucked in were looking for companionship and perhaps someone who would make their heart skip a beat and light up their life. Each of them had been married before and all of them were widows in their fifties or sixties. All were financially comfortable. They were young at heart and ready for some possible romance.
They each signed on with an online dating site and scoured the profiles looking for a possible match. They each found one and they were the ones to reach out to the possible match. Each of those guys seemed like what they had been looking for forever – in fact, perfect from their viewpoint. Until they weren’t.
The clues were there almost from the beginning , but as the quoted scammer said, “The lonely heart is a vulnerable heart.” Perhaps the truest words he’s ever spoken – this scammer who made over $800,000 from twenty victims both male and female over a four-year period (Are You Real? Inside on Online Dating Scam, AARP The Magazine, June/July 2015).
Luckily, for one of the women, she sensed something strange was going on and as embarrassed as she was, she confided to a friend and her daughter who immediately suspected something also. Thank goodness no money was lost for her.
The other two women I’ve talked with were not so fortunate. One lost over $60,000 and the other… get ready, over $400,000 – more than one-third of her life’s savings. There is no hope of getting any of this money back. It is gone.
According to an article in the June/July 2015 AARP The Magazine:
“According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), complaints about impostor ploys such as the romance scam more than doubled between 2013 and 2014. The FBI says that Americans lost some $82 million to online-dating fraud in just the last six months of 2014. And that figure is probably low, because many victims never report the crime — or even tell their closest friends and family members that it occurred.
Shame, fear of ridicule and the victim’s own denial enforce this contract of silence.”
With the proliferation of everything online, the fact that so many people are looking for love and find it more than challenging to “meet” someone at church, in a class, at the gym, by the produce counter, or with a friend’s introduction… this scamming will continue to be a big business.
To get the facts about what’s going on out there in the world and to protect yourself, be sure to read and share with other friends – both male and female – who are considering enrolling in a dating service, the following recent articles:
Nothing wrong with looking for love and wanting to open your heart up again. After all, love can make the world go ‘round. But just as with any important decisions in your life, be educated going in and keep your intuition on high alert. Most importantly, don’t hesitate to discuss your concerns with a trusted friend or advisor if you suspect something strange going on.
I believe that love is out there for all of us if that’s what we want. Heck, it took me forever to find it – and, we just bumped into each other at the mailbox one day.
As always, would love to hear your love story or online success story, or if you’ve had any experience with online scammers or in-person conners. Our stories help others…
“It’s only when we truly know and understand that we have a limited time on earth – and that we have no way of knowing when our time is up – that we will begin to live each day to the fullest, as if it was the only one we had.”
– Elisabeth Kubler-Ross
I just spent a wonderful week with my one and only sister from Virginia. It’s the first time she’s been to visit us in Vermont since our big move last year and it was a delight to share some of the things we love about our new hometown and state.
Now, my sister Linda is one of those Type A personalities, going ninety miles an hour most of the time, running her very successful marketing business for restaurants, hotels and attractions in the Richmond, VA area. She built the business from scratch over a decade ago and it’s her baby. And those of you who run your own business know that it all comes down to you most of the time regarding the running of the business.
Lucky for her, she has some good help – and, needs more – but still, her business is a BIG part of her life. So when she came for her visit with us, she was ready for some chilling out, sleeping, taking naps, reading, and a little bit of checking out the scenery around Woodstock. We also managed to eat very well. In fact, too well.
Sitting out on the deck or chatting over lunch, we talked about our similar personalities that often know only one speed – GO and GO FAST and DON’T STOP UNTIL IT’S DONE… PERFECTLY – and what a pain in the butt it is to have that character flaw that feels like THAT is the way we are supposed to live our life.
We might have totally bought into that lie for most of our life – after all, it seemed like our default program. But as we have matured, what’s wrong with living that way keeps coming up for review. And we don’t like it.
Living that way can give you not much of a life. Sure, you get stuff done but those rich experiences of life that open your heart and give you an opportunity to soak up blessings often get ignored. People you love get ignored. Friendships you could foster get ignored. Your own self gets ignored. Not good. It’s similar to what Arianna Huffington talks about in her book, Thrive. At some point in our life if we don’t slow down and take time to thrive, we will reach a point when we wish we had gone for more walks, tried new things, took more naps, loved more openly.
Over the past year, I’ve gotten a jump start on changing that old pattern since I don’t have the same schedule or work requirements I used to have, but I can still surprise myself by guilting myself because I SHOULD be doing something productive – like living life isn’t good enough to qualify. Geez.
Linda brought me all sorts of goodies from Virginia, and the best??? – this lovely ZEN FROG that has found the perfect home on our deck overlooking the backyard with Mt. Peg in the distance. Just in the short period of time that she’s been with us, I found out if I check with her each morning, she has the wisest things to say – JUST WHAT I NEED TO HEAR!!! Here are a few things she has shared with me:
“Even though it’s Monday and we can have a tendency to be in a rush with a long “to do” list … start out your week with a calm heart and carry that with you in all that you do.” – ZEN FROG
About 5:30 am before the sun peeped over the mountain and all was still quiet and the air was crisp and clean, she spoke: “Close your eyes. Take in a deep breath and then let it out slowly. Do it two more times and feel your heart expand with love and gratitude. Open your eyes slowly and say hello to the world. Love on, sistah.”
– ZEN FROG
“After a soaking rain late yesterday afternoon and evening, and the cool breezes this morning…I’m thinking about all the places I could go today. I remember a Rainer Maria Rilke quote – ‘There is only one journey. Going inside yourself.’ – and, maybe today is a good day to meet the Inner Explorer.”
– ZEN FROG
Wise frog, eh? So each day, I will look to her for some wisdom to start my day and will share her wise sayings with my sister who needs to hear them, and on my personal Facebook page because I just bet there’s someone else out there who could benefit from her wisdom, too.
Just imagine… a world of blissed out women.
What’s your Zen Master sharing with you?