My name is Andrea.  I never thought I would be a victim of a romance scam because I am well educated, I knew what signs to look for, and I was (and still am) in a strong, loving marriage. However, when a man approached me in November 2018, I was in a dark, vulnerable place due to some events that had happened to me that year. I was still adjusting to being a stay at home working mom of a young child, I was trying to grow an at home business, I was coming to terms with the fact that I was about to be a mom of twins, and I was recovering from a horrible car accident. At first, the attention was friendly, and I didn’t think much of it, then he came on strong, and I played it off, saying that I was a happily married woman. The red flags started screaming at me, and I knew he was trying to take advantage of me. However, I chose to ignore it because he was claiming to be a widower with two small girls, which pulled at my heartstrings. After all, I am a mom. I called this individual out on praying upon my emotions and my goodwill. I was all set to move on and say forget it. Then he said he would pay me back, and I thought, how can I allow for the two little girls to suffer. It started small at first with just a couple of iTunes gift cards. Then he started promising me things, an escape from my mundane life. Then before I knew it, I was buying Google Play gift cards, iPhones, and money via bitcoin. Then before I knew it, I had maxed out two credit cards and then some. I had given him information to one of my credit cards because he said that he was going to make a payment on my card. In total, I gave him $25,000. All along the way, I questioned him, and I believed all of his lies. I woke up when I went to check my credit card statement and found charges that I KNEW weren’t mine. In the fall of 2019, I called him out on it and all of his lies, and after a couple of weeks of calling him out, he showed me his true face. He was a 20-year-old Nigerian boy!

After the credit card incident I stopped sending and giving him money, but I didn’t stop talking to him. I tried and would be successful for a few weeks, and then I would see an e-mail in my spam folder telling me that he missed me and he loved me and that we should be together and I would cave. I would test him by staying signed in on Google Hangouts during the times I had stopped talking to him. I know I’m leaving out a few details about how this all started on Words With Friends, then moved to WhatsApp, then to Google Hangouts and so many of the lies. I continued to talk with this individual on and off for about a year.  More than a year and a half after this all started, I have finally taken back my power and see this individual for who he truly is. I know I have left out many of the details, like the fact that I started my own personal journey of healing in September 2019 with individual counseling. I know my journey is not over, and I hope that my story can help others in their quest to heal.