It’s our children’s dream to make us happy again. My daughter Apple wanted happiness for me again after me being widowed twice. She heard about Tinder dating app and thought I would meet my happy ever after on there. She grabbed my pictures and signed me up. I will never forget the date. It was January 26, 2017, when I met a guy named Mark that sent me a smile, and I smiled back. We were a perfect match! He was a good looking, handsome fellow in early sixties. Wow, I had butterflies all over my body. We chatted for a day online, and he asked for my email, and we ended up exchanging phone numbers. We texted for a week. I loved getting a text every morning and exchanging emails sharing what was happening in our lives, both good and bad. I thought it’s all good! After a week we agreed to talk on the phone. It was a Sunday after church when he first called me. Sweet guy, but I noticed he had an accent, and it didn’t sound like a German accent, but I ignored this because he was a gentleman, low key, very respectful and charming! A few days passed, and I asked him if we can face time. He nicely answered me and said “ honey, I don’t have an iPhone, I have an android phone where I contact my aunt where my granddaughter is. They are the only family I have since I am the only child now.”
He was working offshore in the Gulf of Mexico as a Petroleum engineer. He worked as a private contractor and was a boss with more than 20 workers. He told me he was home for the holidays and it’s his first week back. He explained to me that cell phones and camera are not allowed on the oil rig. They only have computers with no webcam and have limited phone calls, but because he is the boss he can make phone calls in his room. He told me about his life offshore, his duties and responsibilities. Wow, very informative! We talked about his job, and I worried so much about him, and how he had to be lonely because he was so far away from home.
He sent me emails every day, and text and called me on the phone three times a day for two years!
One day out of the blue, after a month, he asked me if I can help him out and send money for his aunt in Ohio. He wanted me to send $1,200.00 thru Western Union. I told him, “ honey, it’s raining hard here I don’t think I will make it to send the money.” It was a joke that we always talk about it since because he told me to get an app. for Western Union so I could send the money without going out in the rain. He walked me right through how to get the app and send the$1,200.00. The way he told me step-by-step how to do THIS was as if I was a first grader. Then after that, he wanted more money, and more money, and more, and more, and more. He always wanted money! He told me the machine broke down, and I did a bank transfer direct to his mechanic in Texas twice.
Months would go by, and he kept asking me to send money to a woman in South Africa telling me she is his agents for equipment and parts. I sent her money through Money Gram and Western Union. Later this woman came to me telling me he was a scammer, but I didn’t believe her! He was my love, my happy ever after. I was going to have a future with him. She had to be lying!
I was struggling hard to get him money all the time. I pawned my jewelry and borrowed money from friends. Some of my friends asked me what’s going on because I never borrowed money before. I’m a single mom with four grown children and proud that I put them through college and I finished school! He said he was proud of me and very supportive especially about my education. We shared numerous dreams and plans for the future.
I took out loans to give him money. I am now struggled to pay high-interest rates and $1,500.00 a month to a man I owe $21k. He has my jewelry and my children’s titles to their cars as collateral. I took my little retirement money early, and now I owed the IRS 10k in taxes. I stopped counting how much money I sent to him after $60,000.
Along with money, I also sent him over $2,000 of iTunes and other gift cards because he asked for them all the time. I bought him two iPhones and an iPad and sent them to him in Africa, and I also sent one to Pennsylvania, USA. He told me to keep track of everything so he can pay me back every dime. I kept all the information and receipts. He always promised he would be home soon, but he never showed up, and he never will because HE IS NOT WHOM HE SAID HE WAS! The man I fell in love with was the man in the picture, and he doesn’t even know who I am. The man behind the screen that called me three times a day for two years and scammed me out of over $60,000 is an AFRICAN BOY! The accent I heard was a Nigerian accent.
He didn’t leave me, and for now, he stopped asking me for money. He is with me all the time even though I am always yelling at him. He always assures me that he will never leave me! Many time I wanted to end our relationship, and he always begged me not to leave! My attitude changed. I was always nagging and fighting with him all the time! I have been so stressed and full of insecurities. I am scared about my future and about my children finding out one day about all the money I gave to a complete STRANGER that I NEVER met!
One day I went to Facebook, and I found and joined Diana Garren’s Facebook Group Romance Scam Awareness and Broken Heart Support Group https://www.facebook.com/groups/518622965199267/. I started reading all the testimonies from other members, and it woke me up to the fact that I am being scammed!
My friends, if you are, or have been scammed, you’re not alone. It’s not our fault! Blaming ourselves doesn’t help. We need to come out of denial, let go of our scammer, forgive ourselves and move on.
I try to think about the loss of my money as I was helping and supporting a charity for a good cause! I am NOT saying that the scammer was a charity or a good cause, but it helps me overcome the fact that I was scammed out of over $60,000.
REMEMBER… when our heart is hungry for love, we easily eat lies. I became a widow twice. I thought when I met this man that he would give me my THEY LIVE HAPPILY EVER AFTER, but sometimes shit happens!
I thank God that I am now FREE of my SCAMMER. Maybe one day I will have happy ever after like in the fairytales. It’s never too late. It’s not a crime to keep dreaming. However, I now know what a scammer looks like and that a SCAMMER will NOT give me my happy ever after. We live and learn!