I had gone through a lot in the past year, a divorce from the man that was my whole life, a layoff and the drama of the family. My husband and family were my life. I didn’t socialize, no need to. I had a facebook page with 23 friends who were family. I used it to share pictures and keep in touch. When I found myself living alone, and it had been about four months since I had one visitor to my house. I sat down at my laptop and started accepting all the friend requests. Soon I was up to 500 plus friends. It was nice talking to different people and looking at their pictures, seeing family and missing mine. Soon I started getting messages from men. I’d chat with them for a minute, then blocked and deleted them from my friend’s list. I wasn’t looking for a man or even love, just friends. One day, the day that sent my world into a spin and today It’s still spinning. I got a friend request from a soldier, something about that smile and his blue eyes got me curious, by this time I got a little curious about these men, so I checked his facebook profile. I saw all the red flags- no family pictures, no check-ins, and a lot of female friends. I didn’t know anything about red flags or romance scammers. I knew about scams. I never opened an attachment on emaIl or responded when I won the lottery, or someone wanted to send me money from China, those were scams. When I checked out his friends, he was a friend of a friend of mine. I sent her a message along with several other of his friends to find out about him, I didn’t know until much later what they mean by trusting your gut, but I know now that was what I was doing. They came back and vouched for him. I did not know until later that this girl lied about knowing him and the guys were fellow scammers.

I finally accepted his friendship, and that was that. It was about a week later that I received a text from him. We chatted for about 15 minutes; he was pushing things along fast. I told him that all I wanted was friends. I told him that I had to go. I sat and thought about it then I blocked him on messenger, and that was that. Another week went by, and I get a message from him. I knew that I blocked him, yet he still got through; I took it as a sign, not dumb luck that I fat fingered that block button. I returned his message to tell him that I wasn’t Interested. When we started chatting he just had all the right words. We chatted for weeks, and it was all about me and what I was going through. I never really talk about my feelings, but he had me just blurting it all out. I was ok because he was a close friend. One day about a month into our chats he ended it with I love you. I freaked out and told him that they were very strong words and something I didn’t take lightly. After that, I tried to Ignore him but I couldn’t. Like my husband, he became my life. I had that cell phone in my hand 24/7.

I remember the first time he brought up money; he told me that he was using his friend’s phone because he ran out of minutes, he called it connection. I told him no that he was in the army in Libya and they would make sure he was taken care of. I told him to leave me alone and blocked him. I knew right afterward that I was In love and I missed chatting with him. Don’t ask me why, but all I could picture was him so far from home and not being able to talk with his family. I unblocked him and sent it to him; then it went from there, he needed food a winter coat, clothes and so forth. My severance package was gone from the layoff. My unemployment was not enough to cover the bills, but I continued to send him money. I couldn’t look for work; I couldn’t concentrate. All I thought about was him. I fought with him everytime I sent him my bill money. I’d break down and give in. It was now October, and my soldier was coming home in December. I could deal until then. He asked me to marry him by tagging me in a post on facebook. My friends and his friends all thought that was so cute. I felt so trapped I knew something wasn’t right, but I was under his control. He didn’t come home in December, his tour was extended until the end of the first quarter. By January I was behind in my mortgage and my ex had started running scams on the house. After a long talk with my soldier. I put my house on the market. Life was hell for me at this time. I was getting messages about scammers and being told that he was a scammer. They were coming from everywhere. I would talk to my soldier, and he would trick me and convince me why they were wrong. I sold my house and rented a room, and found a job I just had three more months and he would be home. The demands for money kept coming along with all those messages, and my research began. It was a total nightmare when it was time for him to come home he was delayed because his replacements didn’t arrive, and then he was stuck in Kuwait because of the air strikes. When he asked for 17,000.00 for the plane fare is when I faced it that he was a scammer, but I was so hurt I needed proof. I drove from California to New York,  skipping the base in Pennsylvania were his army base was, I wasn’t ready to face it. I was still chatting with him, during this time and even stopped to send him money on the way for food and connection. I couldn’t send him the money that he needed by then. I was ban from WU MG RIA and ban transfers. I was sending it this time like in the beginning, Walmart to Walmart to his contacts in the States. That’s who I thought they were anyway. In total, I sent him over $130,000.

When I got to a hotel, I was exhausted. I couldn’t sleep, too many messages to much fighting. I gave up. I blocked him and took a bottle of pain pills. I got really high, then realIzed  I wanted to live. I realized I didn’t take enough and they were not strong enough to do me in, and I was able to throw them up.

I went on Facebook and found Diana Garren’s support group,  Support Group for Romance Scam Victims https://www.facebook.com/groups/1540355089557643/ and right after that she called me on messenger, and we chatted, and she saved me.

I went to his profile page and took screenshots of all his friends and his friend’s friends, and all the posts. I deleted all my pics and posts except one that I was not able to delete before I unfriended him.

I was at first so angry. I went after my scammer with vengeance and did many things to piss him off.  After much coaching from Diana, I finally stopped and accepted what happened. I was doing good in the groups. I finally deleted everything that I had on my scammer, and he had stopped creating profiles to contact me with.

It was the start of a holiday weekend, which I was deadIng because holidays depressed me. I was doing ok; then I got caught up and in a scam all over again. I get a message accusing me of taking his money.

Now, he came back after me with vengeance. My face and my name are being used everywhere. I had to leave the group to keep them safe, and I deleted all my friends. The only two friends that knew of me being scammed don’t understand. I will now handle this better, but now I’m truly on my own!