Recently, I started working with a private client who was emotionally involved with a scammer. She was in love with him and it's no wonder why. He was attentive, offered up beautiful poetry and had found a way to identify with her deepest pain.
Yet when I shared why it sounded like she was becoming attached to someone who was less than honest, she was shocked and couldn't believe this nice man she spoke with on a daily basis was about to take advantage of her.
So I told her, if you can't break contact yet, at least stay open to the possibility that he is a scammer and if he asks you for money, promise me two things. First, you won't give it to him and second, to call me so you have the support I know you would need to break contact with him.
Sure enough, within three days, he told her he was in trouble. He was about to close a deal but had a problem. The bank needed two more weeks to get all the financing together but he was going to lose the deal if he didn't come up with the money by the end of the week.
He asked if she could possibly help him. His family had invested too, he said. This was his way of making her feel safe enough to go through with it, even though it wasn't true.
Fortunately, she kept both promises she had made. We talked and I helped walk her through this. Let me tell you, it was not easy, but it would have been harder if she hadn't had support from an objective source. A piece of her didn't want to believe he was scamming her.
Why? Because he had captured her heart and she really wanted to help him. The scammer had spent hours setting her up for this by connecting with her through beautiful poems and lengthy conversations.
I hear this story over and over again. You may think, oh no, this would never happen to me. Let me assure you these women would have said the same thing. They are intelligent, successful women desperate to find the love of their life.
And this is what these men prey on. My client was lucky. Other women have not been so lucky and have lost thousands of their hard earned dollars to men they thought loved them.
I wrote today's post because I don't want to see another woman get taken by these con men again. There are nine warning signs worth heeding when you're out there dating.
1. They Feed Off The Clues In Your Profile
Don't mention your income or where you work. You can say you're a nurse or an executive but don't mention where or how much you make.
Be aware of sounding needy and lonely in your profile. It makes you perfect prey for scammers looking to hook you into their scams.
2. They Live Outside The US
These men will often say they live in metropolitan cities in the US but their work takes them elsewhere in the world. He tells you he'll be coming back soon ... and, of course, to wait for him because he can't wait to meet you.
3. Scamming Women Is Their Job
Most of these men are from developing countries. Jobs that pay well are scarce. Men there who are willing to con you have learned that in a couple of hours a day, they can easily communicate with women in the US, find their weak spots and make a fortune.
They speak with British accents, something American women easily fall for. It's sounds romantic to us. These men know this and use it.
4. What They Tell You About Themselves
Often, they will tell you they were born in England to a British mother and Italian father. They give themselves romantic names like Valentino and Antonio.
They will send you pictures of themselves and they're usually drop dead gorgeous. Look closely at these pictures. They are often shots of handsome models posing in hats, sunglasses, holding products like beer or wine standing in front of tall buildings in urban landscapes, or posing by expensive cars.
Sometimes the men in the picture don't even consistently look the same from shot to shot. The pictures they send are model shots easily found on the internet.
They might send you family pictures of children or grandchildren. Rarely are they in the picture with them. This is a huge tip off.
5. They Use Romance
We love romance and these men use it by sending you the most beautiful poems you've ever heard. They get these from the internet as well.
6. What They Talk About
As you chat for hours every day, scammers will find your weak spots. If you've lost a close member of your family, don't be surprised if they tell you they have too.
They use holes in your heart to get you to trust them. We bond easily with people who have had similar experiences in their lives.
Or they will share news of the big business deal they are in. You'll hear how they just need a little more money to finish it.
They'll tell you this is all the money the bank will give them and how their family members have invested too. Then they'll email you copies of contracts to make the deal seem legit and ask you for a loan just until the deal is signed. Once the deal is done, they'll wire your money back to your bank account, they tell you.
Never, ever give them access to your financial resources!
Through this negotiation you hear a lot of I love you baby, I can't wait to see you baby and As soon as this clears up, I'll be there and we'll be together.
7. They Have Excuses For Never Being Able To See You
They want to see you so badly and even tell you they are making arrangements to travel in a month or two. Yet as the date arrives, suddenly they aren't available and the date gets moved back over and over again. This is another HUGE TIP OFF you're dealing with a scammer.
8. You Can't Find Any Record Of Them
Try searching on Google for your Valentino or Antonio. More than likely nothing will show up.
But if you tip them off that you've done this ... within days you will see a listing pop up with their name and phone number.
They want you to believe they are real and the phone company made a huge mistake with their information.
A tip off here is they will list their job in the residential white pages, which few Americans do.
9. How To Protect Yourself
Date men closer to home. Keep emails to no more than three or four. Move men to the phone and keep calls to a minimum of one to two, then meet ASAP.
If a man tells you he'll be out of the country for a month or two, tell him to give you a call when he gets back.
Don't get pulled into a fantasy relationship that will rip your heart in two and wipe you out financially if you're not careful.
He will try and keep you in the communication process as long as he can with his romantic poems and sad stories of his life.
He wants you to feel guilty saying no to him. Don't get pulled into this con. Move on and date other men.
If this has happened to you, you are not alone. Thousands of men and women get caught up in these scams.
Situations like this can leave you feeling emotionally devastated. You might find you have a hard time trusting men again.
There are lots of good men out there to date online. Remember the tips I've shared with you and if you're not certain about someone, write to me or share your story with your friends. They are objective and can give you an honest opinion of what they believe is going on.
I hope you'll share your thoughts in the comments.
Lisa Copeland is known as the expert on over 50's dating. She's the best-selling author of The Winning Dating Formula For Women Over 50. Her mission is to help as many women around the world as she can discover how to have fun dating and finding their Mr. Right after 50. Learn more at www.FindAQualityMan.com.