Hi Diana, thanks for welcoming me to the Victim Support Group. I just finished reading your book. I admired you for the work that you put in to complete the book. It will educate the public and help people have a deeper look into the world of the scammer. I can’t imagine you have to put up and to interact with the scammers for two years, knowing that they are the con men with dangerous mind and master in manipulation.
I want to tell you about my scam story. I am 55 yrs. old Asian woman Vietnamese background and live in Toronto. I have been divorced for 20 yrs. and live by myself since then. I met this individual (s) on Vietfun website (operate in California U.S) on March 2018. At that time, I knew little or nothing about the romance scam. I was just laid off from my job after working with the company for 20 yrs. I was kind of sad and thought I could try the internet to meet new people with my time. I went to Vietfun.com and registered myself. Within two days, I got a lot of response, but felt uncomfortable to reply to the messages, so, I decided to delete my profile. Before exiting the site, somehow, I saw the scammer’s message. It was short but seemed nice and sincere, so I replied to him by giving him my email and asked him to write to me directly. The next day, I got his response. He said he was a Vietnamese American living in San Joe. California and working in Kenya as a private contractor.
After chatting for two weeks, he started asking for money. He said he couldn’t access his bank account since he left the U.S. for more than a year, and the bank blocked his bank account. At first, I felt very uncomfortable. I asked him why don’t you ask your family or your friends to help you out. I just met you two weeks ago, and you shouldn’t have asked me the stranger for money. I just feel very uncomfortable and kind of turn off. I emailed him and said I am sorry that I can’t help you, and we should stop chatting. Of course, he didn’t give up. The next day, I got 20 text messages from him. He was crying and begging not to leave him. He continued texting non-stop for the next few days. Finally I felt sorry for him and respond back to him. The game had begun.
I gave myself very hard thinking before I decide to help him. Financially, I was not in a position to help anyone. I just got laid off from the job after 20 yrs. with the company. I had a decent job making enough to pay my bills and support myself. I had no savings or extra money to give to anyone. This con artist was very persuasive and consistent in his words. He kept sending messages and promised he would return all of the money within a few weeks if I helped him get out of the country. At the same time, he bombarded me with all the romantic emails with all the promising future. He said I am an angel or god sent, and we are perfect for each other and are going to live happily ever after.
Finally, I decided to help him. I thought if I sent him money then, he would leave the country soon afterward, and I will get my money back within a few weeks. I went to the bank and withdrew a cash advance from my credit cards. Unfortunately, after maxing out my credit cards and sending him $65,000, he still got stuck there. He demanded more and more money after creating all kind of the fake stories.
During the ten months course of the scam, I never suspect anything about this individual. I had never asked any questions about where he lived in California or what his background was. I totally trusted this con man. If I had any doubt, I would have stopped and google his email or telephone. At that time, I knew little about the internet; I didn’t even know Face time, Skype or video chats. I thought I was helping the old man sitting in the wheelchair since he didn’t send me the pics of the handsome guy. I did just about everything for this con man. I emptied my bank accts, my retirement fund, and maxed out my credit cards for him. After swindling all my money, he disappeared without saying a word or goodbye. I was devastated. I had never talked, or video chatted with this perpetrator. So, I had no clue where to find him. I asked the P.I in California to run the check on him. I thought the guy in the pics was scamming me. After a few days, the PI sent the report and said this person is not living in California. The P.I. can’t locate his name with the D.O.B as he gave me. He does not even exist. At that time, my whole world was crumbling in front of me. I thought is this really happened to me? All of my money gone? After a few days of crying, all of the romantic feelings just disappeared. I was more concerned about the debts mounting in front of me.
That is my story. The Internet is a great way to connect with people. Unfortunately, these con artists take advantage of technology and run their own agenda. These scammers have no conscience. Their evil intention is to inflict wounds on other humans. They don’t give a damn whom they hurt. They literally do not care for anyone but themselves. They go after 80 yr. older women who are old enough to be their great grandmother or who are sick or just lost their husband. All they care about is money, how much they can get, and how fast they can get from their victims. It still bothers me to the extent and the depths of their lies. I keep asking myself the question, how I encountered such evil people in my life.
It has been six months since the scam. I am still struggling with my emotions. I couldn’t believe I did what I did — sending money to someone that I never met. As a result, I am financial ruined and suffering the consequences. If I just ignored him or blocked him the first time, then things would have been different. What if or what if…….