adventures in dating (or scam me once shame on you)

keyboard return button labeled "find my date"

Online dating is an adventure.  I have met fun, interesting men like Coach through online dating sites.   I’ve also met a few interesting men like that fella who told me all his life troubles in a ten minute phone call.

One of the first men I spoke to online was a charming, handsome, half-Italian widower with a young son.  He wanted to know all about me.  He thought I was charming and beautiful.  And eventually, he wanted me to wire money to pay for his son’s medical treatments after a disastrous accident during a vacation in Thailand.

online dating love

When I met him, I was new to online dating.  I was new to any kind of dating.  The last time I dated, there were no cell phones, computers or online anything.

I am an intelligent, educated woman.  But I still liked the attention of the charming man with the tragic life story.

His wife died in childbirth, leaving him a young widower with a baby boy to raise alone.  He was a professional, an architect who worked for himself in Virginia, an eight or ten hour drive from my house.  He and his son were going on a trip of a lifetime to Thailand.

When he emailed about the “terrible accident” he and his son were involved in while in Thailand, my antennae started twitching.  When he emailed that he needed to “borrow” money to pay for his son’s medical treatments, I realized I was being scammed.  Even though I didn’t respond, he still sent one more email with a more basic scam.  Could he have money wired into my account and then could I forward it to him.

I told this handsome, charming man up front that I was an attorney.  In spite of that, he tried to scam me out of money.  A few weeks later, I spoke to a newly-single, professional friend who had a similar story.

Since then, I analyze online profiles differently.  Here are some of the red flags I look for.

  • Sentence structure that is not correct.  The words aren’t misspelled, but the syntax isn’t quite right.
  • His wife died in childbirth.  Sometimes the babies died with them.  Other times the child is still around.
  • One of his parents is from Italy, or Australia, or any country other than the United States.
  • He insists on swapping personal emails very quickly.  Then he shuts down his dating profile.
  • He want you to be his “queen”.
  • He is effusively complimentary when he doesn’t know enough about you to know how fabulous you really are.
  • He doesn’t not live close enough to arrange an in-person meeting.  This allows him to promise a meeting without ever actually following through.

My friend and I were lucky.  We are smart, professional women who didn’t get fooled by the scam artists who crossed our paths.  I wonder how many other women aren’t as lucky as we are.

Question:  Have you ever run across a scam artist on a dating site?

8 thoughts on “adventures in dating (or scam me once shame on you)

  1. I met a woman online who had a friend that did online dating. She ended up wiring a guy $500 and never heard from him again. I always wonder how man men women get scammed. People that do it must make a nice little chunk of change.

  2. Great tips for avoiding the online scammer… we have a website that reports the “latest scams” called scamwatch… (a govt initiative) which is terrific. I remember speaking to a lady who was telling me she had met the man of her dreams online (similar warning signs you have outlined).
    I told her that it was “fanastic” – but if he asks for money, please don’t send any…
    She did, more than she could afford (it was heartbreaking to hear).

    She is intelligent and was forewarned… She just TRUSTED a guy she had never met, who had sweet talked her like no one had ever done for a while!!! (recently divorced after 23 yrs of marriage and was so ripe for the picking).

    Online dating can be an ugly game 😦

    • I keep hearing stories like that and it makes me so sad for us, as women. That we are so desperate for approval, affection, attention that we fall prey to these sweet talking miscreants.

  3. Just one other point, I believe this lady felt ashamed by how vunerable and needy she was… which is why she kept giving this “scammer” the money. Almost like punishing herself for being so vunerable – “desperate to be approved of and loved”. The problem is that when you come out of a longtime relationship (I can only speak for women) you are not “whole” and do not know how to be at peace with being “ONE”. We have learn’t to be “something to someone” for so long – we lose ourselves and our identity to the relationship. That is why we seek the wholeness to feel worthy.

    • That’s very insightful. After my own experiences and talking to other women who are single after many years of being half of a couple, I agree. Learning to be at peace with being “alone” (and by that I only mean not half of a couple) is so important to our overall happiness and survival. I wonder why we are willing to accept something, someone, less than what we need rather than being alone?

  4. Well… that is the societal dilemma; how many times have you been pitied for being single?

    I am constantly being judged and pitied by friends and people at work for my single status. They are always trying to set me up with their single friends… and do not believe that I am happy being single?
    I say don’t SETTLE… be true to yourself and be happy 😀

    • I’m with you, girl! I’m happier single than I ever was married. Which doesn’t stop me from looking for a good man…but it does stop me from settling for a bad one!! 🙂

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