My name is Teresa. I live in North Carolina. I was 50 years old and newly divorced when I was scammed. I met my scammer in early 2013.  He approached me on Facebook through a friend request. At the time I was working at one of the largest medical centers on the East Coast.

My scammer pretended to have worked at the medical center at one time as a psychologist. The pictures he sent me were of a man in Shrewsbury London.

Through our conversations I believed him because he had appeared to have a lot of knowledge about NC and my line of work. He told me he had moved to Houston Texas to continue his practice.

We talked online for several months while he lived in Texas. He was a widow with a 7 or 8 year old son. His mother lived in Germany and his father in Africa. That explained his mixed race.

One day I never heard from him. It was into the next night that he messaged me and said he had to take an emergency flight to London. That he was called to a conference to assist people with suicide intentions due to tragedies that happened in their life.

Around this time is when he started asking for money. He said he counseled people, but they were not required to pay in those countries only if they could afford too. So I sent money for him and his child to live on.

Scenarios like this went on for two years. He had made many many attempts to come back to the states. But couldn’t due to lost passports, legal documents, etc. etc…Then came a sudden move to Nigeria. It was a poor country…he and his child had to eat.

I had even planned a trip there to meet him and maybe get married there and come back to the states as a family.  His request for money came more frequent and the sums larger. He would get angry when I had to wait till payday. So I started getting suspicious and asking questions. Then he disappeared again for several days and one day his “sister” left a message on Facebook and said he was hospitalized and couldn’t talk due to the stress of not having money to come back to the states. I told her that he was on his own that I couldn’t send the amount of money she was saying he needed to leave the hospital.

In a few days he called me and said he needed to come clean and showed his true identity. He was a Nigerian. For several months he begged for money claiming he was starving.

Then I found the support group Diana started and read her book. She and the group helped me see that it was all so, so wrong.

Monetary value wasted was around 5,000. I’ve lost so much more than money. I lost time…time that I’ll never get back. I chose him over my family…I always wanted to be home to await his calls when I wasn’t working…I was working all the time to be able to send him money. I lost my home…my vehicle…my friends…family…money…my heart and my soul.

My grandkids are my world. I can’t believe I lost time with them because of him. Time I can’t get back. My grandkids and I should be much closer, but I feel a gap there. He destroyed my spirit. I really don’t even know why or what I’m even existing for some days. It is three years and it’s still much too painful to talk about. I’m just now beginning to be able to talk about it. My spirit has been broken. And I don’t know that it’ll ever come back. That’s why I don’t say much in the group. I really don’t feel worthy.