The Scam and What To Look For

Scam artists have one objective in mind. They want your money. Romance scam artists are one of the cruelest cons. But if you know their method, you will be able to recognize them before they break your heart and your bank account.

Francis Norman was better at this than anyone I’ve ever encountered. Maybe because I noticed immediately how the others followed his pattern. But first I had to learn the hard way. Francis Norman used ever trick and device imaginable. He was persistent. He never gave me a chance to think. He used what he knew about me – things I’d told him.

First, he told me he’d been robbed. The robbers broke into the hotel and stole his money and in the process, his daughter was severely injured. Now he had no money and his daughter would not survive if I didn’t come up with the money for the doctor. He kept me online all day with his story of woe and how much he loved me and as soon as she was well enough to travel, he would come back to the states. He would pay me back double once he was back and could access his money. Why couldn’t he access his money now? Because this was Nigeria. Didn’t I know anything?? I had some money saved up. Yes, I sent him money for the doctor.

Was that enough to solve his problems? Of course not. They had no food. Lizzy, his daughter, was still in pain and needed medication. She was suffering. So I sent him more.

Great news! He was getting a new contract for work that would pay $30,000,000. He would buy me a home and a new car and pay me back for everything.  

But the hotel wouldn’t let him go to the other town to sign the contract because he hadn’t been able to pay the hotel bill. I was furious. Said no more. I’d had enough. He got angry. We fought. Online, of course. But it was as though we were speaking and I could hear every word, feel every pain. One morning he called me. His accent was so thick I could barely understand him. He said it was good to hear my voice and did he love my accent and how he loved me and soon all our troubles would be gone and we would be together.

It went on and on like this. He even sent me the contract from the government that he signed and put me as his next-of-kin. When we fought over money, he would “go away” and put his daughter Lizzy online. She would tell him his father was crying and she hated to see him so unhappy and what could I do to make things better. She wanted me to be her mother.

In essence, he used everything and I ended up sending me a little over $2000 in all. Which I’ll never get back. I’ll never see him. And I’ll never go online with him again. He wasn’t real. Lizzy never existed. I know this in my heart. The money was sent to a city in Nigeria for which he had to sign and show ID. Must be easy to get phony IDs there.

Why am I writing this for the world to see? To warn others not to fall for these tricksters and con men. Even if you’ve been alone for years and they offer hot passionate love and fill  your day with their presence, it’s not real. Their methods are all the same. They follow the same script. Even the poetry is the same. I went online with two other con men, but I did this for a reason. I didn’t send anymore money, not to anyone.

I started writing a journal a week after I “met” Francis Norman and recorded daily what he said and everything that happened during this relationship, which latest six months. I called it research, instead of the obsession that it became. I cried so many tears, it took me a long time to break it off for good.  Subsequently, I must have been a mark for other con men. I was contacted by two others. I continued to record everything in a daily journal. This time it really was research. I wasn’t fooled again nor felt anything for them. I wanted to see if they all did follow the script. They did.

First, the quick and passionate expressions of love. They were in love with me after one week. Two of them claimed to live in Texas – one in San Antonio and the other in Waco. Both had teenage children. Both were engineers and both suddenly got a contract to work in West Africa or Asia. We couldn’t meet in person because they were leaving right away. They took their teenager with them. After they arrived and started work, they “couldn’t use their credit cards even though they had put all their money from the states in their credit card.” I thought that was rather funny, but didn’t say so. They couldn’t eat, their son or daughter was starving. Couldn’t I spare something so they could eat?  No, I could not. Too bad. Suffer. Game over.  One man emailed after he “got back from” wherever but was “so hurt and angry because of the way I had treated him.” I was meant to feel guilty for not sending him money. I did not.

I’m off all the online dating services now, except one, and I’m not sure why I’m still looking. I’m wary of anyone who is much younger than I am, who is a widow with a teenager, and can’t meet in person for whatever reason.  At this time, I have met someone online, but we meet in person regularly and he is a fine man and an honest one. Like me, he is not interested in marriage or a roommate. That’s fine with me. To be occasionally with someone is enough.

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About Laura

I am the author of the Niki Alexander mysteries: Less Dead, Lost Witness, and A Matter of Revenge. A standalone, The Flawed Dance, is set in the late sixties about a young woman fleeing from her past and survives as a go-go dancer in a demimonde world of gangsters, thugs, and beautiful people. In the first Lillian Wallace novel, The Past Never Dies, big money, greed and betrayal can ruin an oil and gas venture, but can Lillian Wallace prevent a murderer from going free to kill again?
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