My husband passed at the end of the year. I moved to be closer to a friend that I grew up with. After I got myself settled, it was a new year; I thought it was time to find someone, so I met a guy on coffee meets bagel. He was one of three guys that were sent to me. We talked for a short time; he told me a lot about himself. He said he had been married, but his wife left him for his best friend. His father left him and his mother when he was six; he was in Germany at the time, a few years later, he and his mom moved back to England, where she is from. He said he was a civil engineer and was on holiday because he just finished a job. He was a private contractor; he had worked for Exxon Mobil but quit to work for himself. He had me check out his Linkedin account. He had a Facebook page but said he didn’t see the point in that one, so he never used it.  He said he was living in Rhode Island, but was leaving to visit his mother as he had not spent Christmas with her because he was working. It was then that he started to say he was falling for me already. He asked for my email, and he spent all of June and most of July getting me to fall for him, I was hesitant as we hadn’t met, I didn’t have a lot of self-confidence, so I couldn’t understand how he could say that he was falling for me without meeting me. He convinced me that he didn’t need to see me, that he knows in his heart that I am the one for him.  In a few of his emails, he told me to please never hurt his heart. He always used words of endearment, such as hun, babe, etc., he hardly ever used my name, and if I didn’t answer the phone, hi honey, or hi babe, he would verbally correct me. And it had to be I love you, not love ya or luv you. He was conditioning me. He went through the whole process of applying for the contract of this job in England, bidding, working on the proposal, and him getting chosen for this job. He sent me pictures of him at the job, he called me every day, and he sent me paperwork to fill out as the next of kin, to prove his loyalty to me.

Before he left for England, he talked about a guy that he was friends with, and he had gone to a birthday party for him, and he sent me pictures of the party. The first time he asked for money, he said it was this guy’s kids Birthday and would I get him a couple $100 iTunes gift cards for him to give them. It didn’t dawn on me that he could get them himself, so yes, I got them for him. The next time he asked me for money, he led with “since we are partners now.” He needed $15,000 for the shipping of a part for a machine that broke. I had never wired money before, so he told me what to do. He gave me the address where to wire the money and then asked me to take a picture of the receipt for the $15k I sent. So he could prove to the company he was getting the part, and that the money was wired. A few weeks later, he asked me for more money. He told me that another machine broke and he needed $100K, and I told him I didn’t have that. He told me he would find a way to get it, he told me his mother took out a loan for him to help, which for some reason made me feel like I could help too, so I wired him $50k. He wanted to get $100k from me; he changed what he needed to $150k, as his mother got him $50k.

Shortly after this, my friend, who was on a dating site, saw his picture on bumble, he had told me that he had closed all his accounts. At that point, I thought he was going to take my money from my account. He had the information needed to do this from the receipt I sent him. So I froze my accounts, the whole night I was sick, I couldn’t sleep. I did change my accounts, but what he wanted was for me to give it to him, he wasn’t going to steal it. At that point, I think I didn’t want to stop talking to him because I wanted my money back. He was pissed at me because I told him I didn’t have more money for him.

I told my friend that I had given him a lot of money, she told me not to send him more money that he was a bad businessman and should have allotted money for things like machines breaking. I sent him an email, telling him he was an ass for demanding money from me and trying to make me feel bad that he was in this position. He sent me an email and apologized for the whole thing; he wrote that he didn’t want me to stop believing in him. Then on the next phone call, he told me he wasn’t scamming me… like he would say to me he was. He was ok for a while as we still talked. Then he again asked me for money, he asked for smaller amounts.  I told him people are telling me that he is not real, but I talked to him, and I felt he was real. He said to go with that! He convinced me to give him more money. After he eventually got the 100k from me. He asked me if I would take out a loan for him for $40k, but I couldn’t do that, and I told him that I couldn’t. He then gave me a sob story of how he cried when he read my email that he hadn’t cried like that since he was 17 when the boy across the street was learning how to drive, and his dad was taking him out teaching him. And because his dad wasn’t around, he never taught him how to drive.  I should have lied and told him I couldn’t get one, but I’m an honest person. Feeling bad now, I told him I had some money that I was holding for future endeavors so we could borrow from that. He was so happy; he wanted me to go right to the bank to send it his way. But it was a holiday weekend, and I told him the banks where closed, he was ok with it because he knew he would get it on Monday.  It was the last bit of my savings. Thinking he would feel bad that I was taking that money, but he didn’t care that I took and sent him that money.  $140k total that he got from me. This man emailed me every night telling me how much he loved me, and that I was his soul mate, and we were going to have a house and life together, and that he couldn’t wait to love and live with me. I told him I was afraid of losing him. But he told me every day how much he loved me, so how could I lose him. Then, after all the money he finally said he was done with the job, the inspections were done, and he passed them all. He got the check, and he was packing and getting ready to come home to me, but he had to wait for the check to clear before he could buy his plane ticket. This was on a Thursday; On Monday, he called me to say that the company had the bank put a hold on the check. At this point, I knew no one has this much bad luck. I even told him that he couldn’t catch a break, I knew it was all bull s#*t, He told me that there was a leak and it created a small explosion. He assured me that no one got hurt, but he needed $60k to fix it, and he couldn’t use any of the money from the job. He was to get paid 11 million. He sent me a picture of the stop funds letter. But I told him quite calmly that I didn’t have it, and within a few days, he stopped emailing, calling and answering my calls, no more texting, When I knew he wasn’t communicating with me any longer, I had this sense of release. The hold he had on me was gone, I didn’t have to email him ever again. He convinced me that I needed to email him every night. Shortly after that, I had a sense of loss for this man that made me fall for him. He wasn’t real, so I was heartbroken and embarrassed at the same time, and my money was gone! Luckily I had put some money into stocks after my husband passed, I had purchased my home outright, and I owned my car, so I wasn’t going to lose my house, and I could get work.  I was grateful that I was alive, but at the same time, I just wanted to die. I was so embarrassed and hurt that it could and did happen to me! I thought I was a lot smarter than this, I know that I was very vulnerable at that time. And that scammers are very good at what they do!

I was so grateful that I had my best friends, they got me through this, and there was no judgment from them. I know they didn’t understand what I had gone through. But they were and are there for me!