First, I want to thank everyone who has voted on Battle of the Bands (my last post). If you have not yet done that, I hope you will. The last day to vote is the 5th (Thursday). I might or might not have my regular Thursday post on that day. Why?
Second, my migraine is kicking my butt. I am now FULLY aware of how stress in my life translates into extreme pain in my body.
My mother joined a dating website in February (I think). And she met this guy who claimed to be from Georgia, owned his own business, blah blah blah. And before they could meet he had to go to Malaysia to work a job. While there, he was beset with one financial crisis after another. I was unaware that he asked my mother for money (and she sent it) until after the first few sends. When I did find out... I do believe pieces of my brains are still clinging to the ceiling in the living room. But, it wasn't over and she felt compelled to send yet more money in order to get back her initial investment. I STRONGLY advised her not to do that. But, she did. And then she stopped talking to me about it until she sent him EVERYTHING she had. I am talking savings, running up all the credit cards, and emptying her retirement IRA. Everything. Complete financial destitution. It KILLS ME that she sent this scammer creep every penny that she scraped to save her entire life.
By the time she told me the extent of the damage, she suspected she had been scammed. I went online to look for stories of other people who had been scammed. They are all eerily similar. She filed a police report (they said they couldn't help because it was outside of state lines) and something online with the FBI. Radio silence from them. The guy continued to call right up until a few days ago. Sporadically. But enough that it kept a nugget of hope alive in her mind that he was NOT a scammer. (He is totally a scammer.)
In the meantime, she joined another dating site (in order to move past the pain of the first experience). And started talking at first via email and then phone to another guy. He supposedly lives in the area, but it took about a week to find out he was in Colorado for a conference. My scammer alarm began to sound. She let me read his emails. Right away my brain went "Scammer." She said that couldn't be because she told him that she'd been scammed and had NOTHING left. Why try to mine for gold where there isn't any? She had a point, but the other part of my brain said that scammers are liars. Liars tend to think that everyone else lies. So, he probably thinks she still has some sort of nest egg. When the flowers and candy arrived out of the blue (from scammer #2) I knew it was a scam. Scammer #1 sent a rose bush after she told him that she wasn't crazy about flowers. I guess she forgot to mention that to #2. Now, I just sat back and waited for the inevitable financial crisis. It came this morning. He was robbed. He needs $800.
At first I was relieved... she will wake up and see this for what it is.
She says that someone owes her $500 and if she can get that money back she might send him some.
Say what???? What was left of my brain blew off and all of my remaining brain matter now lives on the ceiling of the living room. It's a freaking miracle that I can even type right now given the fact that my brain exploded and is dripping off the ceiling.
Turns out that she can't get that $500 back (whew) yet. At most, the person who owes her can give her $60. She relayed this to scammer #2. I told her he'd take it. After all, he needs reimbursement for the money he spent on the flowers and candy he sent.
She still uses the phrase "IF he is a scammer when she talks about scammers #1 and #2" which does nothing to soothe my migraine. If she sends money she doesn't have to these morons, I am going to have dip into MY savings to cover HER bills. And I don't have much savings. And I don't want to pay scammers.
So, she said she was corresponding with someone else. I told her I knew from the emails right away of #1 and #2 (after I read them) that they were scammers. She asked me to read the emails from the new guy. Guess what? #3 is also a scammer according to my radar.
She did NOT want to hear that. She now thinks that I think everyone is a scammer. Not so. But if they live so far away - or are out of the state for a conference - that you can't meet within a couple of email chats... they are probably a scammer. If they have a crazy lineage to explain their extremely foreign accent, they are probably a scammer. If they call you honey, dear, sweety, and my queen in the second email, they are probably a scammer. If they repeatedly use the word soul mate with someone they have never met, they are probably a scammer. If they write you extremely lengthy emails and manage to convey absolutely nothing with any meaning whatsoever, scammer. If they are an engineer of any kind (no offense if you are an engineer, but seriously they are ALL engineers and do private consulting or own their own business)... scammer. If they are widowed and just want someone to share their life... scammer. (Again, my apologies if you are widowed and on a dating site.) Every single one of these guys meet the above criteria. Every.Single.One. If they send you flowers and candy (and haven't met you) and then need a large amount of money for a crisis - CONFIRMED SCAMMER.
As you might expect, my mother feels horribly stupid over having sent scammer #1 all of her money. But she still can't see the thread of commonality running here. My job isn't to make her feel stupid. She is a very trusting and caring person who is honest to a fault. Ergo, she believes that everyone else is the same. I was married to a chronic liar for three years. I know that just because YOU are honest does not mean other people are.
And she now says like a mantra, "Freedom is just another word for nothing left to lose." What she doesn't seem to understand is that there is always more to lose. Maybe money. Maybe faith. Maybe hope. I believe that this madness will stop only when she reads one of these emails and can clearly see (or suspect) that this is another scammer. I tried to joke with her that if she strung enough of them along maybe she could slowly recoup her money in flowers and chocolate. Or ask them to send something useful like a couple pounds of bacon. Have you seen the cost of bacon lately? I mean that would seriously be helpful.
I have suggested that she change tactics and utilize the Meet Up site here. They have singles groups that actually meet and do things. I sent her the link. I don't know what else to do. I do know that the anxiety over all of this is keeping me in a state of acute migraine all of the time. I don't know how to effectively cope with stress when it lives with me.
Oh, and I am sorry for unloading this huge pile of horse manure on you. Now you know why I originally titled this blog as Blog Therapy. Obviously, I need it.