Tuesday, June 3, 2014

This Is How You Know You've Been Scammed

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.

Any ideas?

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.


  1. I don't know if I have any suggestions, but you can thank her for me. Her irresponsibility is what keeps all scammers in business, and thus gives me scam e-mail stories to talk about.

    At a certain point, it just becomes stupidity. I'm sorry your mom hasn't figured that out yet.

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  3. As much as I do not like being scammed (or people I like being scammed), I do applaud your mother for wanting to believe the best about people.

    I refuse to believe everyone on those sites are running a scam, but there are warning signs.

    When we first started dating as kisd-how often did things like money come up in the first few months? If someone asks to borrow money before the first date, that should be a red flag.

    Also, wouldn't you expect a grown man to be able to solve his own problems?

    Someone who cannot figure his way out of an $800 "crisis," even if he is on the level, isn't he showing you the tip of the iceberg of neediness?

    And even though she is probably looking for companionship more than a provider, if he cannot provide for himself, does she really need a freeloader? Been there, done that, it gets old pretty quick.

    Use of endearing terms (sweetie, etc) may not be a flag, but calling someone "soul-mate" after a couple of e-mails?

    Sorry, I kind of think you need to have a whole lot of face time to know if that's true.

    The biggest questions to ponder in the first few meetings should be whether or not to ask for a dessert menu. Anything deeper than that-run like h-e-double hockey sticks.

    I'm old school, so I think your mom should DEMAND to be wined and dined. If the guy is not willing to do that for a few weeks, keep looking-there are other fish in the sea.

    I used to think dating would get easier as I got older. Boy was I disillusioned. And I was not even thinking of dishonesty, I was just thinking of the normal baggage we accumulate after we reach the age of reason.

    Anyway, you unloaded, and I gave you an unsolicited two cents and then some! Of course, if I knew anything at all about relationships, I wouldn't have lived alone since the Reagan administration.

    I hope your migraine gets better!


  4. CW - She allows herself to get emotionally invested in their story without meeting them. She knows she would never lie and expects the same. At some point you MUST accept that isn't how it is. It's hard. My brother and I are constantly scratching his heads. I know that this will sound hard to believe, but my mom is one of the smartest people I know. But also one of the most naive. In a good relationship, she would be extremely giving (and has been), but in this Age of The Internet she is not navigating well.

    Larry ~ Yeah, I know what you are saying. My relationship history is lousy. So bad that I expect the worst instead of the best. It is where mom and I part ways. She expects the best and keeps getting the worst. We agreed after Scammer #1 that she insist on a meeting (and she did) but he was out of the state at a conference (be back soon!) and here we are. I think I have her convinced to cut him loose. We shall see. I don't think she believes me yet about #3 but he hasn't asked for money... yet. Maybe she can get him to send bacon instead of flowers. I am somewhat hopeful about that...

  5. My sympathies, Robin. This is a time when you might want to keep a journal on your mom's problems, forgetfulness, and feelings of loneliness. Sometimes our elderly need a purpose. It proved invaluable for us when our MIL lived with us, in her own suite. Good luck and practice breathing deeply,

  6. ROBIN ~
    I hardly know what to say. And anything I DID say would come out wrong and probably upset you even more.

    I got taken only once, maybe 3.5 decades ago and only for about $25. but I learned a lesson from that VERY QUICKLY (and rather inexpensively).

    The whole online dating thing is simply a bad idea in my opinion. It got my Brother a Chinese wife, and I've been miserable ever since. My Brother? Well, I'm pretty sure he wishes he could take a "mulligan" on that one (although he's not exactly said that in words, I know him well enough...)

    Beyond this, I have nothing else to offer. However... my debit card was recently stolen and my checking account cleaned out by numerous big ticket purchases. Do you think you could loan me $300 just until my next payday?

    I'm not scamming you, I promise. This is just one friend asking another for a small, temporary favor.

    [Sorry. I couldn't seem to stop myself.]

    ~ D-FensDogg
    'Loyal American Underground'

  7. Robin, my friend: " If she sends money she doesn't have to these morons, I am going to have dip into MY savings to cover HER bills." Let's do lunch.

  8. No way! That is just terrible...um, yeah, you knew that...sorry!

  9. Oh, Robin! That's so horrible! It just makes me sick to think of all her hard-earned savings being gone. I can imagine you are stressed & feeling the effects of it. Is there someone outside of the family circle that could maybe talk to your mom? Maybe someone that she really respects? Not saying she doesn't respect you, but maybe if someone w/an outside perspective could help her see the things you've been telling her, that would help to open her eyes? Take care of yourself and if you need to get out and physically remove yourself from the stress, I hope you can. Even if it's just for a coffee run(for me it'd be a pop run!) or something. *hugs*

    1. I somehow missed your comment earlier. I think I am making progress with her. And I hope that in therapy tomorrow the therapist will clear up any vestiges of doubt remaining.

      Mom showed me a profile of a man she found online today. I was happy to tell her that he DID NOT look like a scammer to me. Now, I hope he answers her email. That would suck if she only was contacted by scammers. Hope is such a fragile thing... or at seems that way right now (for her).

  10. D.G. ~ I think it is absolutely horrible the number of scams run on the elderly. Seeing it firsthand makes me want to punch someone right through the computer.

    StMc~ No, I don't have $300 for you. File a fraud report. Ha! Since the whole thing has happened I have become very aware how EXTENSIVE this problem is... and it is horrible. Elderly people are the victims of financial fraud more than anyone else. I think it is largely due to the fact that my mom's generation just can't wrap their heads around this whole thing (the idea that someone could lie so completely and aggressively to someone they purport to care about). Bah... I will say that the first dude had an elaborate scam that kept sucking her in to give more money to get the money she already sent. (I can't get paid until these debts/problems are settled, but I will pay you when I get paid. Don't worry. Blah blah blah.) By the time I heard about it the damage was extensive, but I still advised to send NO MORE.

    JJ ~ I would love to do lunch but I am not sure you could stand to be around me. I am just heartsick over this mess and my mom would be horrified if she knew I blogged about it. However, your kindness means so much. Seriously. You are THE BEST.

    Andrea ~ Yeah, I knew that... but thanks.

  11. I think it is not you but your mother who needs therapy. She's obviously trying to compensate a great need for love. Scammers know their victims. They talk the talk that would grant them the victim's trust. More often than not the victims only wish to hear they are special and they are loved by this wonderful and rich man or woman, as the case might be. Victims are persons who are vulnerable and have a dire need to believe in love and foremost to believe they can be loved by someone worthy, in your mom's case, a Prince Charming. They are all Prince Charming Engineers. Accepting that those guys are scammers sounds easy for you and most of us, but not for your mother or any other scam victim. Accepting the guy is a scammer involves accepting she is not worthy to be loved, that she is a fool for believing someone as perfect as Prince Charming Engineer could possibly show any interest on her. It is an odd kind of shared guilt. Deep inside the victims feels also like scum that only deserves a scumbag. This is HUGE burden for someone whose heart is hungry for love. No wonder why the victims resist so much to see the truth about the scammer.

    Of course the devaluation of the self is a nasty business that can only be managed with therapy. Of course your mother is a worthy woman who deserves a worthy man. The problem is that deep inside, she doesn't believe this. Thereof her blindness towards her suitors. She refuses to look into herself and face the void there. She probably thinks that by showing these men that she is honest and has a good heart and doesn't care much for the money, she will prove she's worthy to be loved and for men to fight for her. She hopes to touch their heart that way. Unfortunately this makes her the perfect victim and with a proclivity to run into further scams.

    In conclusion, the scammers are not the problem. Your mom is. You cannot get the world rid of scammers but maybe you could talk your mom into getting therapy to improve her self-esteem and to realize that in order for any good man to love her, she first has to love herself. And loving herself involves, respect herself, look after her herself and her own interests and welfare. Loving herself is knowing she is worthy to be loved without having to pay for it (aka, lending money to prove she has a good heart.)

    Dragon Hugs to you.

    1. Okay, Al, let me begin by saying YOU ARE SO RIGHT. I could get into the many many many reasons that you are right, but I think that you have nailed this down very well.

      Whenever we find ourselves in a bad relationship (of any kind) it is important to look at OURSELVES and figure out how we got there. If we are attracted to the same sort of loser over and over then there is a pattern. They fill a need. Once you figure that out you can fill your own need and they become irrelevant.

      My mom just started therapy. We see the same therapist. Since the scamming thing began she has been LYING to the therapist because she didn't want someone else telling her it was a scammer. And then when she realized she'd been scammed she lied to the therapist about how much she sent him. This has been a real pain in my ass because this is MY therapist she is seeing and my mom and her stuff is the biggest source of my stress. So in order for me to get the help I need I have to tell the therapist the truth.

      We have another appointment tomorrow. I will mention to the therapist that my mom needs to start working on her issues before she starts dating again. Otherwise, this is our future. She will continue to be taken in and I will continue to lie in bed with migraines bemoaning her bad choices.

      I have said it before, but it bears repeating, that it is never any fun to clean out our crappy (emotional) closets. It's stinky and gets really bad before it even comes close to better. But if you don't do the work you live with a crappy closet and more of the Same Old Same Old.

      Thank you for this heartfelt response. It is right on the target.

  12. ROBIN ~
    I know. I was just hoping to make you smile despite all this B.S.

    My flippant attitude notwithstanding, I really feel bad about the whole thing. If you ever got a real name and address for Scammer #1, I would go get your Mother's money back for her. Yes, I COULD and WOULD do it. You let me know if that info ever comes your way. I would LOVE to deliver justice in this case. (A friend of mine was recently taken by a scamming property management company employee. I expect to be living in that same area before long, and I think I'm going to visit that scammer and get a pound of flesh. Just call me "The Avenging Knight Of Bad Karma".)

    ~ D-FensDogg
    'Loyal American Underground'

    1. StMc,

      I think my sense of humor has left the building. I barely laughed at the post over at A Beer For The Shower. I think I sounded like a wounded animal caught in a trap. Whatevs.

      I have tried to pinpoint his IP Address but there isn't a website (that I have found) that gets it right. I test it out with an email from a known source. And every site I have found says that it is being sent from across the country. Or states away. Anyway, that makes it tough.

      With regard to scammer #1 (who has the money), I have a first and last name. But, I don't know if that is really is his name or an alias. I have an address for that person (assuming that it is actually him) in Georgia (outside of Atlanta). The problem is that I am not convinced with any degree of certainty that it is him. There could be a totally different guy in GA and this guy just assumed his identity. Or he could be just starting out and was sloppy using his REAL name.


    2. Part 1 Of 2:

      When I mentioned the time 3.5 decades ago that I got taken for $25, that had to do with cash and it was my own fault - being too trusting and naive at that time - but I learned my lesson immediately and never got burned like that again,

      However, I almost got ripped off for about $100 maybe 8 years ago, and this one wasn't my fault. We used to have a gardener who'd come by every three weeks and I would pay him with a check. I figured he had a bank account where he deposited or cashed the checks I gave him.

      Then one day I went to balance my checkbook and discovered amongst my cancelled checks a completely bogus check for approximately 100 dollars. It looked EXACTLY like one of my own checks with the proper bank account number printed on the bottom and everything. The problem was that the name and address printed in the upper left corner of the check were not my own.

      It was a legitimate Phoenix address for a house maybe a ten minute drive from my own. So I decided to pay this guy a visit. But when I got to the house, I opened his mailbox and looked at some of the other pieces of mail in it and discovered that the name of the person living there did NOT coincide with the name printed on my bogus check.

      That's when it all clicked. Someone had gotten possession of one of my checks, managed to create an exact copy, and then printed a name and random address on it. I realized that the guy living at this house would have no knowledge about this thing - his address was probably just taken from a page in the telephone directory.

      Before long I had the whole scam figured out. My gardener did NOT have a bank account and he was taking my checks to one of those sleazy, corner check cashing places where people without bank accounts go to transform checks into money for a slight fee. Someone at the check cashing place was probably creating mock checks from those that passed through his hands, plucking addresses from the phone book, making up names, and duplicating fake checks.

      In the end, my bank recognized that I'd told them the truth and simply wrote off the $100, so it never came out of my account, and from that day on, I paid my gardener in cash ONLY.

      Continued Below...

    3. Part 2 Of 2:

      That's a long way of saying that the name and address you have is probably bogus (unless this is one of those really, really stupid crooks they sometimes show on television).

      Have you ascertained that the NAME and the ADDRESS you have actually go together? In other words, that the name and the address do connect, and that they're not two unrelated things (i.e., there's no record of that name being connected with that address).

      If the name and the address do not match, then one or the other (likely both) were just randomly plucked from a phone directory or something. But if they DO match, it might be worth pursuing further even though the odds of it leading to justice are slim.

      Cops and detectives are all pretty worthless; they don't pursue anything they consider small potatoes (and that's how they'd likely judge your Mom's loss). But if it were me, just on the slim chance I'd get a law enforcement officer with a heart, I think I'd call the police department in the area that enforces the law in the county where the address is located and ask to speak with someone in the department that investigates fraud. Explain the scam and how much money was taken (it sounds like it was a significant amount, and that MIGHT get their attention.)

      If this guy has a criminal record for similar activity, they should know. They might not reveal that to you right away, but they could look into it and if they think they can bust this guy again for the same crime, it might inspire them to pursue the matter.

      As I said, cops are pretty useless these days (it wasn't so back in the 1970s, but now they are overwhelmed by criminal activity and don't much care to go the extra mile even when a crime could be solved but it would lead to lots of paperwork), even so, I would do everything in my power to pursue the issue as far as I could. It won't hurt to call law enforcement agencies in the area of that address to see what you can learn. At least at the "end of the day", you will be able to know that you did ALL YOU COULD in an effort to right this wrong.

      Better to grasp at straws and fail than to grasp no straw and always wonder if a little extra effort on your part just might have luckily led to justice eventually.

      ~ D-FensDogg
      'Loyal American Underground'

  13. Hey Robin,

    Wow... look I got nothing to say except be there (as I *know* you will be) when the light goes on for your Mom.

    She's going to need a still drink (if she does/can) and I would buy a family-size bottle.

    Sending best wishes and some huge hugs for you and Mom.

    Hope the migraine gets better... and the stress goes down... soon...

    1. With my migraines I don't drink much. Every now and then a glass of wine. Let's just say that since this started our wine consumption has gone WAY UP. We already buy the family-sized bottle... Ha!

  14. I am very sorry, and I don't know what you could do to help your mother. She is obviously very generous, and therefore has been taken advantage of repeatedly. (ie: the mention of the non-dating-line person who owes her money and can't pay her back). Would she lend money to a guy she just met at a bar and started dating? Sounds like yes, if he was charming enough. I don't know how you can protect someone so open to everyone who says nice things to her and then claims to need her money. :(

    1. Yes, she is very trusting and tends to believe what people say. I used to be very much like her, so I recognize the desire. I just got lied to so often that I was forced to develop a Bullshit Meter.

      As for the guy who loaned her money... he did a lot of work for us after we moved here - sometimes free and sometimes way below cost. He is a really nice man. He did it because he felt like some of the contractors we were using were ripping us off and he didn't think that was right. So, he tried to help us recoup by doing what he could. So, when my mom loaned him the money when he got into a tight spot her feelings on it were that he actually did that much work for us (at no charge, by his own offer) but she would be okay if she never get the money back. She'd just call it even. And I agreed with that choice when we discussed it.

      But this... this is a whole other thing. If you didn't read Al's comment, scroll up. This is all happening because she just feels decimated by her very recent divorce and she NEEDS someone to tell her that she is worthy and worth loving. And when you live in THAT PLACE you get all of the wrong people saying all of the right things.

  15. It's such a good thing that you live with your Mom and can look after her in matters like this. There must be a lot of singles groups/clubs right in the area where you live. At least the scammers would be local and she may even meet some sinsere gentlemen. I also bet there are sites online for victims of scammers where she could talk to other women who have been sweet-talked into parting with money and she could begin to recognize the red flags. So sorry this is happening.

    1. Well... she took a look at the link that I sent her and said, "Most of those singles groups are geared to young people." There were a few that were geared to older people (probably 400 members in the biggest, which means an average of 40 people might show to any given event). I guess that pool doesn't seem large enough to her because I got the feeling that she has already disregarded it. Bah.

      Oh... and she wants me to go with her. I don't want to go with her. Every time I go out where old farts hang out (no offense) but I get hit on by men age 65-75. I look about 35. Why do men in their 70s think that a woman in her 30s (or 40s, as the case actually is) would want to date them???? This happened to me when I was in my 20s, too. Then it was men in their 50s and 60s. I was still getting carded at Rated R movies.

      I can see it now. We walk in and all of these old geezers flock around me while mom just stands there. Yikes. Nightmare City.

  16. It's hard to believe, knowing you, that your mom is so gullible and masochistic. I'm shocked and sad to read this, Robin. Is there anyone else in her life she listens to? You're telling her all the right things. She needs to be banned from the computer by someone/anyone she'll listen to. It's beyond ludicrous. No wonder your migraines are kicking your butt. I'm very sorry. Keep you head about you. Somebody needs to around there.

    1. My brother lives in Ohio (we are in Florida), so even though she might listen to him they don't talk all that often. I spoke with him recently and he is still reeling. He simply cannot fathom how this happened. My mother was always so sensible and great with money and now... this. I don't know if he can help. He is absolutely flattened by the whole thing.

      I laughed at the notion of banning her from her computer. She MUST learn this lesson and "grounding" her won't help. I think Al is right. Her best bet is in therapy and understanding this need to put her here. When we feel unloved and unlovable we do ludicrous things. I need to remember that better so that I am better able to be sternly compassionate.

  17. Hugs Robin. I have the same sort of mom. She trusts everybody! I remember when I was a kid, there was this weird lay who would come to our house during the day and sell my mom produce and honey. She happened to stop by while my dad was home and he got the instant alarm feeling, had the sheriff check her out and she was a paroled member of the Manson gang. Mom said, well that was her past...

    What dating site is your mom on? My mom started with Zoosk and got nothing but creeps and scammers. I told her to join a reputable site, so she did...I thing Match.com where people are better vetted. She has met a guy on there who seems like a genuine wonderful guy. He bought her an airline ticket to visit him, so for now, my mother looks like the scammer.

    I do feel your pain, I find myself nagging my mother more than my own children, but in the end, I have to remind myself...she's 77 years old. I can't raise her.

    (And a side note about the money...I wouldn't pay the bills. I've told people I love who have addictions of one or another...I will buy you food, I will buy you medicine...you did yourself a hole, you will climb out of it yourself or they will never learn)

    1. Honestly, Elizabeth, I think part of this is just her Generational Thinking. Most people in her age group are honest. Not all, obviously. But it was in the way they were raised. My mom (and probably yours) places an extremely high value on honesty. The idea of lying is just not acceptable (not even to her scammer in an attempt to recover some of HER OWN money). I had several ideas about how to play him to get the money back. She would not do ANY of them. It was HER MONEY for crying out loud. Ah well.

      Would you believe that she met scammer #1 on Christian Mingle? My mother's faith is very important to her and she wanted to date another person who shared that faith. This guy said he was Catholic (devout Catholic) and my mom was willing to go to his Saturday mass if he went to church with her on Sunday. Of course, he agreed.... bah. Scammer #2 (and potential scammer #3) both found her on Match.com.

      Even though she said that she might send scammer #2 the $60 (if she got it back) I really think her better sense will kick in by the time that rolls around. Plus, we will have had one more therapy appt by then... and I am hopeful that the therapist can get her to see some light that alludes me.

      As for me paying her bills... as for right now, I suspect that the monthly shortage will hit her in the credit card payments. Once she files bankruptcy she should be able to meet her half of living expenses (food, bills, etc.) but if she starts sending money out... that is when I would have to cover those things in order to keep the lights on and all that. BUT, I am hoping she is smarter by that time.

      Yes, we can't raise them.

  18. Very unsettling. I sense there is some compulsion at work here, and if the first scammer wasn't enough to convince her, then this has gotten to the point that counseling is in order. This is coming from a guy who works in mental health, and I've seen this kind of behavior a lot, in many different ways. She may not be up to it, but when you find yourself paying for someone else's mistakes, repeatedly, that can't go on.

    Wishing you the best and that your mother will see the damage this has caused.

    1. Thankfully we see the therapist tomorrow. I am really hoping that she can talk the sense into that I have not yet done. Maybe she will use better words. I don't care how she does it... I just want my mom to value herself so that she doesn't need to find her worth in someone else. When she does that, someone will come along who values her for who she is.

      Thanks David.

  19. Wow, just wow. I grew up learning about scammers, so I think it is a generational thing.

    1. Yeah, I think younger people are more aware of how scammers operate. I have had to learn some hard lessons of my own about who to trust and who not to trust. The internet just makes it easier for those non-trustworthy types to take advantage.

  20. What a sad story. It's something you hear all to often. I feel bad for your Mom for a number of reasons. Beyond the obvious, once she wakes up to exactly what has happened to her, how will she ever be able to trust another unknown person again? While I know personally how important it is to 'wake up and smell the coffee' and know for a fact that the world is a dangerous place, it still makes me feel bad to know that someone so kind and trusting has had to learn this type of lesson in such a hard way.

    No one wants to think of themselves as naive and stupid, but at the same time it's a sad world that we live in where you can't trust ANYBODY!

    In this day and age with so much information and so many warnings about exactly this type of thing everywhere you look, it's hard to believe that someone could so easily be taken advantage of. I guess when your are THAT lonely, you want to believe anything and everything. At the end of the day, as marvelous a thing as the Internet can be, we are all simply 'words on a screen' to one another. Deep discernment of the overall sincerity of any correspondence is most important. An outright plea for money and a willingness to take from someone repeatedly, SHOULD BE a giant flashing warning light, and yet so often some are blinded by their need.

    Good luck with getting your mom to listen. That will probably be a real battle. I hope you can find peace with the whole situation and know that although it will probably impact you also, she is an adult and must come to her own conclusions, unless, of course, she really needs extreme supervision with respect to her financial matters.

    I hope you can let go of the worry enough to start feeling better and know that you must take care of yourself in order to be any help to your mother.

    1. FAE, I think that I am making progress with her. Scammer #2 instant messaged her last night or early this morning (not sure?) downgrading his need from $800 to $200. She told him she had NOTHING. He then said something brief and headed for "the door." She could she that he was still on Instant Message but he stopped talking to her. I said he was working someone else (and I am sure he was). She actually agreed with me. So, I think the light bulb is coming on. Huzzah.

  21. (This is Liza)...and my brain is on the ceiling with yours. What more does your mother have to lose? Her reputation, that's what. They have her name and address and can and will resort to blackmail. (Yes, I do know.) These people are unconscionable in what they will do to get money, or jollies, or whatever!! First thing, and not that you don't love and want to trust your mother, but you must protect all of your own assets. That means take her name off of anything that is yours. She won't mean to hurt you, but might...because of these horrible people who pray on those who are kind and naïve. Next, change everything that gives them easy access to her. Change email addresses, change passwords, delete her name or at least change her name on any sites she is on, honestly, even change your phone number. I could send you reams of warnings about scammers. They are out there EVERYWHERE and in every mode. Scammers can make it so when they call, caller ID makes it appear they are calling from a legitimate office, like the IRS, the County Sherriff, even the police. If ANYONE you or you mother has not met, (no matter how legitimate they seem or sound or how demanding they become) asks for money for any reason...run awaaaayyyy! And please God, tell me you mother knows to never offer her social security or credit card or banking information over the phone to anyone.

    A security told us at work that you should never answer a phone call from a number you don't know. The reason? When you do, the scammer on the other end now knows the number is live and they SELL it to other scammers. I hate to say it, but with your mother getting three bad apples in a row, my guess is someone is selling her name too. Oh Robin, I am so sorry. Get her off of those sites!

    1. It is mind boggling, isn't it?

      It never occurred to me to change our phone number. Yikes. The common first point of contact with all of these has been the internet dating site. The first was Christian Mingle and the rest on Match.com. I will suggest changing all of her passwords. That is just a good idea to do occasionally (even if you aren't a victim of scamming).

      Fortunately, we don't have any joint assets.

      I am considering setting up another page here that invites people who have been scammed to list every bit of information they have about their scammer. Maybe it will help someone else from being scammed. Not exactly sure how that would work... still trying to wrap my brain around it.

  22. This story just made me sick. I feel terrible for your mother. I wish I could find these jerks and kick their arses. I would totally do it.

    Maybe meeting somebody at a bar isn't so bad after all.

    1. You have no idea how many times I've wanted to rip the phone out of her hands while she was talking to one of those jerks and told them exactly where to get off... and just exactly what I want to do to them. Contrary to their hopes... they would NOT like it.

  23. We have two friends who met on eharmony.com I don't know anything about the sites, but I do know the two couple are and have been happily married for awhile. Maybe she could try there? I am very sorry to hear about her being taken advantage of... that stinks. :(

    My mom recently told me the funeral home director asked her to switch her life insurance out of my name and put it in their name. She said she's considering it. I told her it was a scam, and she got very haughty and told me how nice the guy was running the home. I told her sounded like a VERY GOOD decision man too. "But he calls me out of the blue to see how I'm doing sometimes, who does that?" um... hahaha She didn't take my sarcasm lightly, so I told her it's her money, her decision. Bet she does it, and bet he takes 'all of the policy' to pay for her funeral and then I have to handle every single other thing (assuming I don't go first). Crazy that our moms can't see what's very obvious right in front of them!

    1. Scamming someone out of their life insurance money... how low will you go???? Don't answer that. Already know the answer. All the way down!

  24. Sorry to hear about your mother and what you've had to deal with.

    I know how it is to want to believe something so badly that you'll risk good money trying to pursue it. I've done it more than a few times in my life. And I've thrown money to the wind, often thinking that I was going to reap benefit from my "investment". That's what scammers prey on.

    I'm sure if I had money to lose now I'd probably lose a few bucks now and then. These days money is too tough to come by and the scammers will have to knock on other doors besides mine.

    Hope your mother finds what she's looking for, but she probably should stay away from the dating sites.

    Tossing It Out

    1. I used to be much more trusting than I am now. I was scammed out of small money in my 20s. So, I know sort of how she feels... And I made a horrible husband choice that ruined my health. So, I am living in something of a glass house. I just like to think that I have learned something from all of these bad choices and would never fall for this sort of bologna again.

      Nice people do finish last. Sad fact.

  25. What a terrible story. No wonder you have a migraine. I constantly worried about my mom getting scammed as she got older. There has to be a special hell for people like those guys.

  26. THIS IS ABSOLUTELY INSANE!!! Geez, Robin. I am so sorry for you and your mom. It's so hard to support people who just don't get it. BUT your mom, getting hurt this way is not good for either of you. She is so sweet and trusting, but she needs to listen to you. I know she appreciates and knows you are looking out for no matter surly she may get. Why else would she let you read the emails from other guys. She does trust you! AND relies on you. I hope she will understand soon. Your heath and her financial status is at risk here. And it is VERY IMPORTANT to clear this. I know how hard this is for you...

    Keep breathing and be patient. Mom will get it...

    Sending you a HUGE cyber hug! I wish I can give it to you in person. Sounds like you can really use it....

  27. OMG! I've no idea what I would do or how I would react if I were you. No wonder you have a migraine. I read through some of the comments. I hope therapist helps. Hugs.

  28. Susan ~ Yes. I think you would have to be a sociopath to do something like this.

    Michael ~ Happy to say that mom has had several revelations since I posted this and SAYS that she will never send money to someone she doesn't know ever again. Whew. She can see that even if they aren't a scammer (they probably are) they are still not someone you want for a boyfriend/husband. Only the sorriest sort of person would ask someone they wanted to date them for money before having met them. And their fiscal irresponsibility wouldn't improve as the relationship wore on. Thanks for the hug. It did help.

    Carol ~ The therapist did help!

  29. I'm so sorry that you and your mom have been going through this. It sounds like you've been getting a lot of great advice about how to handle it. I didn't read through all of the comments, but I did see Liza's proactive approach. I know you are at wits end, but these con artists operate like drug dealers to your mom. She needs an intervention for her addiction, and I know you'll help her pull through it. Just remember to protect both of you.


  30. He asked your mother for money and she sent it.... I hate it when that happens. This is why there will never be world peace. Yes, there is always more to lose. You just need to be aware of what you've got, is all. I'm sorry this happened to you Mom.

  31. I read this and all I can think to say is WOW! You should really encourage your mom to file a police report. You should contact the attorney general for your state. This guy is probably doing this all over the Internet. Hopefully you can talk to your mom and make her understand just how wrong this has been for her.


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