Long-distance love turns out to be a scam

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More than one third of all couples now meet online, many of them on dating websites. If you're single and looking for a partner, or recently divorced, an online dating site can be the answer to your prayers.

But these cyber dating sites come with a risk.

One woman just shared her story to warn others how easy it is to fall for them.

Hunky Soldier Shows Interest

She's a 9 to 5 office worker. He was a handsome U.S. serviceman. And it looked as though it could blossom into the romance of her life.

"He told me he was from New York," Kathy said, "and he was stationed in Kabul, and he had a 16-year-old son and was looking for the love of his life, because his wife had passed away several years ago."

Kathy, who asked that we not use her last name, found "James," a strapping 50-something Army sergeant, on a dating site.

"I received an email that said "Hey, you look interesting. I want to meet you."

Soon, she says, their conversations over books and wine turned into declarations of love. Within weeks, his messages said "I pledge my heart" and "All of my love."

"I was the love of his life, and he knew that God had sent me into his life for a reason."

But just as he was about to visit her during leave, a snag developed: He needed some money.

"He sent me a list that totaled $300 for things he needed. And I said, 'I'm not sending that, I can't afford that.' And he responded by asking, "Then how much can you afford?'"

Kathy got suspicious. After all, she had never met him in person, and he wanted--he really wanted--money.

Who is this Man Romancing Me?

"I asked him repeatedly to verify his name, his rank, and his serial number. And he said because of the job he's doing in Kabul, he couldn't release that information."

At that point, even more suspicious, she started looking online, and she found her "James" showing up all over dating sites as a "Ricky James, "William James," "James Stewart," and others.

According to the Armed Services newspaper "Stars and Stripes," scammers in Africa stole the photo from a real soldier's social media pages. "James" is now one of the photos used most often by scammers online. CLICK HERE to see the Top 10 most common photos that scammers send their victims.

Warnings Signs of a Romance Scam

"Stars and Stripes" warns that romance scammers have even impersonated the commander of U.S. forces in Korea, General Scaparrotti. They once impersonated the head of forces in Iraq.

The red flags of a romance scam?

  • The person is a soldier or American businessman traveling outside the US.
  • There's always a reason they can't meet in person.
  • They will profess their love for you very quickly, almost too quickly.
  • Before you meet, there is always a snag, and they always end up needing money.

Some women have drained their bank accounts, wiring hundreds and hundreds of dollars to these scammers in the desperate hope it is who they dream it is.

Kathy just wants to warn other women so their hearts and dreams don't get broken by someone who sweeps them off their feet.

"Beware of anyone who says they are in love with you immediately," she said.

Sites to Check

Before you join any online dating site, check out two websites that will give you warning signs and even photos of the top romance scammers. One is RomanceScam.com, and the other is RomanceScams.org.


Bottom line: don't fall in love with someone you've never met, so you don't waste your money.

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  • april4got

    This happened to me in West Michigan by Brian Scott Smith of Sturgis. He met me online five years ago. Moved in with me and over the past five years has taken money from me. I allowed him to move in while he was getting his business in order due to a client filing bankruptcy. This seemed to go on forever. Each week he would tell me he is getting closer and when his settlement came in he would buy a new vehicles and homes and vacations…..on and on the lies. He had two small children so I felt bad for them. He talked about how I provided such a wonderful space for all of them and how much loved me. I was so patient with him he would tell me. He was charming and deceitful. He would order checks from my account without me knowing and overdraw my account. There would be an apology and then he would do it again. I had to switch banks and hide my checks. There were too many incidents like this to mention.
    Why did I stay with him? Good question. I loved he and his children and believed in him. Only to find out that six weeks ago he was having an affair with another East Grand Rapids women (target area) while still living with me. He took $800 out of my savings in March to wine and dine her. Then he hide my bank statements. I travel a lot for work so I wasn’t around to question him. I kicked him out finally and he has moved in with her. Still no car or income. She is his next victim.

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