BOOK REVIEW: Red Flags of Love Fraud by Donna Andersen

By Joyce Alexander, RNP (retired)

I’ve been eagerly awaiting the release of this book, Red Flags of Love Fraud 10 signs you’re dating a sociopath, and I was not disappointed at all. Donna Andersen, the owner of the website, received her “credentials” in dealing with sociopaths (psychopaths) when she married James Montgomery, a full-fledged con man. At the time Donna “enrolled” in this course in the University of Hard Knocks, she was totally unaware that this charming and charismatic man she had married was indeed a sociopath. He conned her out of more than $200,000 during the short course of their marriage, had numerous affairs, and actually fathered a child with another woman during their marriage.

Wanting very much to help others avoid enrolling in this course in the University of Hard Knocks, Donna has written her second book about the experience.

While I was up all night reading her first book, not being able to put it down, this book I read more slowly and carefully.

Red Flags is laid out almost in an “outline form,” so that it is easily understood. Donna has arranged each chapter and each section so that it is easily comprehended. She has also used excerpts from many of the thousands of people who have sent their stories to Lovefraud and completed Lovefraud surveys (of course changing the names).

Donna explains the confusion with the terms sociopath, psychopath and antisocial personality disorder, not only the professional differences about what to call it, but also the exact diagnostic criteria for any one of them. She also makes it plain that it doesn’t matter what you call them, they are toxic and there is no cure for what they have.

She debunks the myths about sociopaths/psychopaths all being serial killers and deranged criminals. In addition, she points out the old fallacy of “there is good in everyone” as being one of the things that keeps victims hanging on.

The Red Flags that are covered in the book are:

  1. Charisma and charm
  2. Sudden soul mates
  3. Sexual magnetism
  4. Love bombing
  5. Blames others for everything
  6. Lies and gaps in the story
  7. Intense eye contactӬMoves fast to hook up
  8. Pity play
  9. Jekyll and Hyde personality

Each of these actually correspond to symptoms on the Psychopath Check List developed by Dr. Robert Hare, but in more informal terms.

This book is not stiff or clinical in any way, but infinitely readable and packed with information to help people spot the “red flags” that sociopaths/psychopaths display in how they try to hook vulnerable people in order to fleece them, before they get fleeced.

Every high school kid should be required to read this book in order to educate themselves to the predators among us. People who have already had the “course” in dealing with a sociopath/psychopath will also profit as well. I recommend that everyone buy two copies, one to keep and one to give to a friend who is in a bad dating situation.

Red Flags of Love Fraud—10 signs you’re dating a sociopath is now available exclusively in the Lovefraud Store.

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30 Comments on "BOOK REVIEW: Red Flags of Love Fraud by Donna Andersen"

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Well. Since you asked.

One day I dropped by my parents’ house on my way home from work and my sister pulled me aside and had this look of delight on her face. She said, “I need you to do something. You need to put my name on the list of people at the high school who are authorized family members. I went to the school today to report that he was skipping school, and because my name was not on the list, they refused to talk to me. Your son was NOT sick. He is missing too much school, 20 years. He’s faking. Someone has to step in and see that he gets his butt kicked.”

I looked at her. And said, “How dare you. No, I am not putting your name on any list. That is completely over the top and so uncool. I’m the mom, and I’m responsible for him. I can’t believe you took it upon yourself to do that. That is so wrong.”

There was more from her, along the lines of in her opinion, I’m not doing my mom-job very well so as the aunt she is required to step in. I stood my ground and was very tough — just drew the line. I’m the mom. Period.

(later, at home, and to friends, I allowed my jaw to drop — because I could not believe what she had done and with such DELIGHT and also such ENTITLEMENT. Such BALLS. Geez.)

At the time, I was trying to puzzle through what it meant. Now I know.

(it is also true that my son misses more school than is typical. We have been working with his pediatrician to address his health issues.)

I’ve seen firsthand how difficult it can be to educate people about psychopaths. My best friend, who was with me through my entire 6-year spath relationship and knows everything that’s transpired, STILL pooh poohs me when I say he’s a psychopath. And she has a master’s in special ed! When my copy of Donna’s book arrives in the next few days I will share it with her.

When you watch TV, the only time psycho/sociopaths are referenced in the media or on crime shows, etc. it’s related to murder. I frequently heard Casey Anthony referred to as a psychopath, but never Arnold Schwarzenegger, Tiger Woods, or any other public figures who we know are probably narcs or spaths but whose “only” crime is serial infidelity and lying and betrayal of their loved ones.

It just seems like such an uphill battle and I get so frustrated sometimes. I do agree that educating students is the best way to start; I’d also like to see the media targeted with some intensive education, but that’s probably asking too much.

Keep up the excellent work Donna!


20 years,

Yes, that is over the top that she should interfere with your parenting like that…IF (and I say “if”) there was a problem in her opinion, she should have come to you about it, not gone to the school! I’m glad you stood your ground and it gave you an idea of what she really is. GOOD for the school, too, for not allowing her any information.

Forewarned is FOREARMED so that is a good thing I think.

Knowing what she is before she started in on your parents is a good thing. At least you know what you are dealing with and that is probably half the battle.

Hey Oxy! speak for yourself, I’m a GOOD person.
:mrgreen: 👿
but anyhoo…

That is really over the top, 20years, telling you that she’s stepping in because you’re a bad parent. 🙄

Now that you know what she is, you must realize that she has no limits. So I guess it’s best that you don’t let on that you know her mask. Realize too, that she is filled with envy, even if she doesn’t show it. They all are. So try not to trigger it.

It’s so sad that there are so many of these creatures. It’s way more than 4%.

and the earliest “story” I remember is….

my sister, maybe 4 years old, BITING HER OWN ARM and going to our mother and saying, “Mommeeeeeeee!!!! 20years BIT ME!!!!!!” and my mother came to me — I’m off by myself doing stuff; had not been hanging out with my sister, and suddenly I was in trouble…. but innocent old me had no clue what I was under arrest for and that probably showed (rather than guilty denial, haha — it was genuine!) and my mom took another look at my sister’s arm and realized that since I was missing my 2 front teeth at the time — there is no way the bite marks matched. Haha!!!!

(I would be interested in knowing how my sister thought that trick up, and WHY — envy, right, Skylar?)

True story.

20, Your mom was one smart cookie to pick up on that.

Sounds like Sissy dearest has been an “early blooming psychopath” which doesn’t bode well for you dealing with her. I think sky is right, she is filled with envy of you so keep that in mind as you deal with her. Try not to invoke the envy in her and just learn to play up to her, using her own weaknesses against her. Or as Erin brock would say “back spath her.”

Looking back you may find other memories of her attacks against you in the past.

spath from birth huh? lol.
You and I seem to have a lot in common. My spath sister used to get me and my brother in trouble all the time by accusing us of hitting her. My mom knew she was lying but punished us anyway, just to make her happy.

So my observation is that your spath-sis, like mine, didn’t do it for envy. She did it for power. She needed to know that she could control the authority: mom.

As she grew up, she showed more of that.
As a freshman in highschool, she dated a senior. When she went to college she dated her teacher. She got out of school and got her first job and dated her supervisor. She lost that job, broke up with him and married a cop.

It’s all about the need to manipulate authority. They all have this need.

My exspath used cops in his cons. He liked the power he had over cops and that “theme” shows up over and over in his cons. They want the power that comes with authority but none of the responsibility. What better way to achieve that, than to control the authority figure?


I am looking forward to reading the book. I would also like to know about your appearances at high schools and how to arrange for one at our high school.


Aftermath radio – wonderful interviews I listened to this week. Small world , Oxy !!!! You also have a bundle to contribute !!!!!!

20 years, my egg donor’s brother was 7 when she was born and very envious of the new baby’s attention. He tried to smother her to death….my grandmother knew this but kept it a “secret” from her husband and just tried to keep the baby within her sight at all times to protect the baby….Uncle Monster managed to smother my egg donor unconscious many times though until when she was 7 and he was 14 his dad caught him and fanned his pants for it. that was the last time he did it. My grandmother’s “reason” for keeping it a secret was “if his dad knew he would spank him and he might run away from home.” WTF?????

My family was really good about keeping secrets. Protecting the “golden child” from the consequences of their behavior. Always a male child that was protected.

newlife, thank you!

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