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RESOURCE PERSPECTIVES: Online predators aren’t who they say they are

Editor’s Note: Lovefraud’s Resource Perspectives features articles written by members of Lovefraud’s Professional Resources Guide.

They Aren’t Who They Say They Are
By Skipp Porteous, Sherlock Investigations

Skipp Porteus profile in the Lovefraud Professional Resources Guide

People contact Sherlock Investigations every week that have been taken by someone they met online. To make matters worse, the perpetrators die off before the benefactors even realize that they’ve been had.

We’ve all heard of the Nigerian scams. (It’s amazing how many people still fall for them.) They contact you by email claiming to be the wife, husband, son, or daughter of someone who had control of a lot of money. They want you to help them retrieve the money. If you help them, they’ll give you, say, a 20 percent commission.

The other day we had a guy who fell for this. He contacted us because he wanted to know if a certain person was the head of The Bank of Africa. He was already in over his head when he emailed us. He had called a number in Africa and spoke to a “lawyer.” The lawyer assured him that he could help him negotiate the red tape to retrieve his money. His only fee would be $850, in advance.

The fool sent $850 to Africa by Western Union. A week later, the lawyer said that he needed another $5,500. That’s when he contacted us. I told him that he’d be had, and not to go to Ghana to try to find the guy and get his money back. People have been murdered trying to do this.

There are many, many scams on the Internet. Some people list themselves on dating sites or other social networking places. After weeks or months sending back and forth engaging email or instant messages, they win your heart. Then, they usually want money or sex.

One potential client sent a guy $6,000 for supposed necessary knee surgery. When our would-be client started to get suspicious, he got an email from someone saying that the guy who had knee surgery died of a blood clot. Without a doubt, it was the same guy who received the money. Time to move on, he thought.

This week alone we received pleas for help concerning three different people who “died” during the course of an Internet relationship. A guilt-trip was even placed on one woman. The writer said, “It was all your fault that he died.”

Young men often fall victim to scams because they engage in online chat with young females who are charming and beautiful. Of course, the photos they send are not usually themselves. One person was sending out photos of an Italian porn star. We tracked him down and found a fat kid living with his mother. We even got a surveillance photo of him.

But, in one case, a guy had been having an online relationship with a girl from the Philippines. He hired Sherlock Investigations to check her out. She actually turned out to be who said she was, and he went to the Philippines and proposed. Now, they’re happily married. This is true, but unfortunately, uncommon.

A lot of people are greedy and think that they can get something for nothing. It ain’t gonna happen, folks. The bottom line: Don’t give money, or yourself, to someone you don’t really know.

The Lovefraud Professional Resources Guide is a listing of professionals who can help victims escape from entanglements with sociopaths. All professionals in the guide are recommended by clients or colleagues. We’re looking for therapists, lawyers, child advocates, private investigators, forensic accountants, expert witnesses and social services organizations. If you know someone who can be an effective advocate for victims, please submit a referral.


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23 Comments on "RESOURCE PERSPECTIVES: Online predators aren’t who they say they are"

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Brilliant and timely post. Thank you.

Every morning my e-mail filter culls about a half dozen such scams from my in box. Then there are about 20 phishing schemes, 15 attempts to sell me sex or pornography products, and one or two forwards of forwards with corny jokes or political messages.

This last catagory is particularly pernicious, in that that is one of the ways my e-mail address gets “mined” and used by somebody who thinks I must want more [email protected] in my in-box.

Mostly I don’t know what’s in there, until someone asks me i f I got such and such message from them… …and of course it was one of those oh so annoying forwards of multiple forwards, but they actually needed me to take action…. arrrghh! So I root around in the debris file until I find their daggone message, and tell them that next time the want to communicate, don’t disguise their vital message as spam!

Any way, there are folks in the world who actually read their spam as if it were mail, and respond to it accordingly. I know this because I had to gently smack my dear mother in laws hands and program her email filters so she couldn’t even see those heart rending missives from the 3rd world! Don’t fall for that stuff folks. It’s pure horse hockey!

P.S.

Lovingly help the more vulnerable members of your family to set up their email filters properly. Have their junk email file automatically empty on a regular basis. It can save untold heartache, not to mention cash.

An aside: while some folks get taken online- in dating and money schemes- sometimes, the narcissistic get their just desserts…
I linked to one such payback-
http://holywatersalt.blogspot.com/

TOTALLY OFF TOPIC

Hey all!

It may surprise you to know that a militant Christian like myself reads the JWR faithfully each morning.

It’s good stuff. I particularly benefit from the Rabbis’ columns. Any how, I thought this was a particularly useful commentary:

http://www.jewishworldreview.com/hillel/goldberg_mishpatim.php3

99% of our human interactions are with relatively normal folk. Doing our best by them is arguably at least as important as learning to avoid the N/P/S.

In general, I believe that healthy relationships are a great hedge against the N/P/S. A strong fabric of good relationships in a community make it harder for N/P/Ss to create havoc. Healthy relationships require constant work and diligent study.

That’s why I pay attention to this sort of material from various perspectives. The JWR rocks. It’s consistantly insightful and encouraging. It’s also free!

Thanks Holy Water Salt,

You always make interesting contributions.

Excellent article! I should have read it a year ago before I loaned money… oops GAVE money to someone.

An excellent article! It is amazing to me how many people get caught up in these scams, and some for tens of thousands of dollars.

But look at the Bernie Madoff scheme, not much more sophisticated, but just with more “window dressing.”

We’ve all been “had” by the Ps, so none of us were immune from being scammed, we were all “sold a bill of goods” by someone who said what we WANTED TO HEAR, and many times sold us something that was “too good to be true” but we fell for it because we wanted to believe it. We wanted it to be true. We trusted people because we are trustworthy.

Having grown up somewhat in the world of “horse trading” I grew up somewhat skeptical of people who wanted to “sell” me something, and so would have a certain amount of caution with people outside the family, but then MY FAMILY scammed me, because I wanted to believe them. To believe that what they were “selling” (love) me was real.

I think any of us can be “had” if the conditions are right, but I do think, too, that our experiences with the psychopaths can ARM US to be more cautious and to be wiser in our dealings with others!

IN the end, I think the experience, as painful as it was, was worth the “tuition.”

In Nigeria, that $850 is probably like 2 years of salary to them. Just a tidbit of information: If you buy anything online with a credit card, make sure the url address starts with https. Look for the “s”; it means it’s a secure site. I recently got a very official looking email from WalMart saying I was randomly selected to receive $350 for doing a 2-page survey. I was pretty skeptical. I did the survey and everything looked so official with links to the Walmart site, contact information, etc. Then a screen popped up asking me for all of my bank account information, including my pin number!!!! And it was not a secure site. I immediately called Walmart who told me it was a scam. So I turned them in to the FTC or whatever that organization is. Can I turn these people in here? Will LF investigate stuff like that?

StarG: Just search for your local FBI headquarters where you live. Save their e-mail in your directory. Anytime you get a scam via e-mail … forwarded it off to the agents at the FBI.

I do this half a dozen times/year … and just tell them, heads up folks … this is the latest scam coming across the net. Makes the scammers do some real work since they have to shut that site down and start another. Like my sister says “Oh, well”.

Works for me (LOL).

Piece of cake, piece of pie.

Of Topic, but….is it really?

Thanks for sharing that link, HolyWaterSalt….

Considering I am lacking cable/network access, and the more common appearance of my t.v. is a blank, black face reflecting the light from my nightstand lamp (except when watching dvds) in which I gleefully explore the amazing imaginations from beloved authors while reading their books…..I hadn’t heard of the uproar and outrage created by that awful, horrible humanoid known as Stephen Fowler who was cast on “Wife Swap”

I have, however, read over the numerous comments from said righteously outraged and furious Americans on the Stephen Fowler Sucks website.

Hey, we all us, the LoveFraud tribe members have most likely met 1, 2, 3, too frikkin many people just like this wanker Fowler so his abusive behavior IS extremely shocking and unwarranted by are we surprised? I think not.

We’ve been involved with some of the most vile people on the planet and I personally consider Fowler to be amateur bully, dictator and terrorizor.

The STEALTH predators are much more adept at hiding their empty hollow innards with a carefully constructed facade created to woo, seduce, conjole…THEN after a while, devalue and/or destroy, then discard. Like yesterday’s newspaper nonchalantly dumped in the trash bin without having any second thoughts, care or concern for the hurting people they leave in their wake. So sad. And sick!

But if you read all the super great and awesome comments from pissed off Americans regarding Fowler’s reprehensible words and behavior, they WILL reaffirm the solid truth that there are MANY wonderful, loving and compassionate people in the world.

If you are recovering from a devastating heartbreak and find yourself on a precarious lean towards a bleak pessimistic view of humanity in general….I would humbly suggest reading this brilliant comments on that webstie.

OH YEAH! We are the good and we are everywhere!

Take THAT, you slimey predators!…….haha

Have any of you looked at http://www.scambuster419.co.uk ?

It is a brilliant record by someone who answers the spam mails and cons the con artists. Only read it if you’ve got hours to spare as it gets anthralling!

The topic of lies by a sociopath are addressed in a good article at http://counsellingresource.com/ask-the-psychologist/2009/03/03/sociopath-lies/.

Stargazer, I was the person who said Internet friends aren’t real friends. They can become friends, but until you meet, I think you have to be cautious. I’ve had it work both ways. I was on one for birds, and one of the people that I felt was a good friend came and stayed with me, before we had really met, and everything was fine. That was a female. I met another female and her husband from the group and basically they wanted me to give up my whole weekend and be their tour guides (with no warning) and they were LOUD and no-stop talkers, which you can’t tell over the internet. Lastly, even hooking up with an old friend over the internet let to my painful experience with a P. I didn’t realize in my youth that he was disturbed and over the Internet, I thought I knew who he was and it helped him immensely in his goal to wear a mask! I think the people on here are wonderful support, it is though, a special kind of relationship.

PS I helped students get mentors over the Internet and tried to get my local “big sisters” to consider virtual big sisters, but they thought it was too full of dangers. I thought those dangers could be addressed. It is not the same as a face to face mentor, but for some it is easier to express feelings in writing, or even over the phone, rather than in person. Sometimes my husband and I have had some of our best heart to hearts over the phone, as it seems easier to focus on speaking your own truth, if you aren’t getting all that instant non verbal feedback, esp for people like me who grew up learning to hyper focus on the reactions of an abuser, so that I tend to react that way still to anyone in an intimate relationship. The telephone levels the playing field for me. And I certainly say things here more from my heart about the P that I can usually do with a friend. Thought I just had a good face to face with a friend who totally got it.

I meant “though I just had”…sorry!

Good point, Justabouthealed, VERY good point. There are all kinds of “relationships” and “internet relationship’ is a new catagory, and like all relationships it can be positive or negative, and also relationships that are GOOD in one context are not so good in another context.

We can’t always take a relationship from one context to the next, say “friend” relationship to the “lover” relationship, it won’t always work, yet, being “friends” is to me a very important part of being “lovers.” I think we need to keep our relationships in a CONTEXT and view them in that context and be cautious before we try to move any relationship from context A to context B. Sometimes it just doesn’t work out and you end up losing the relationship you had in A by trying to inappropriately move it to “B” context.

We also have different intensities of relationships and somtimes turning the “intensity up” on one doesn’t work either.

anf1y: OMG – what a great link to a great site – I had not laughed so loud and long at ANYthing in years…it felt really good to do so. Thank you for linking to Scambusters419!!

It sure opened my eyes, and the “Rev Glibert Murray” is fantastic at “playing” the “players” – we can all take lessons in using the scammers greed (coupled with their IGNORANCE of simple English) against them; I’d love to see “Rev Glibert Murray’s” decision tree – it HAS to be totally circular logic; “The Vicar” is great in all it’s parts. Recommended highly.

anf1y and a_real_wife,

You guys are so right, that link is a SCREAM! I used to “play with” those people who called you selling things on the phone, the were fun to play with, but this guy probably spends as much time working these guys as all of us put together does on LF! My kiinda guy, too! FUNNY! FUNNY!!!

You would thinkk though that they would eventually get wise to “Gilbert Murray” in all his incarnations. Yea, I can’t believe that people fall for this crap, but I guess they do or they wouldn’t keep on doing it. I get several “opportunities” to get money like that every week in my e mail box. Just delete them. Oh, well, no time to mess with them, it would take up too much of my day and my time. I’d rather be here with you guys or outside with the 4-footed jackasses!

The thing is about these scammers though, is that “if it is too good to be true” IT IS. AND there is always a bit of “illegal” or “immoral” craftiness going on so if you respond, they already know you will go in for “illegal or immoral” things, like taking money that you are not entitled to.

The scammers play on people’s greed—just as the Ps manuvered us because we were “greedy” for their love (not a bad thing on our part, not that kind of “greed”) but they used it the same way these scammers use the greed for money. The scammers keep promising to deliver (just like our Ps) but of course keeep extracting more “down payments” and never deliveing. It is right out of the PSYCHOPATH’S PLAY BOOK.

They ALL play out of that play book….but once we know the manuvers we can spot it a lot sooner than before. HEADS UP: RED FLAG—if it sounds too good to be true, it IS NOT TRUE.

That’s good advice in ANY situation.

I met my sociopath on the internet. For a year and a half we chatted and talked 4 or 5 hours each day. She was a filipina(widely considered to be some of the lovliest and most caring, and sweet women in the world)! And she was;she also asked about me ,my family ,my health etc. I’ll jump ahead ( u can imagine what happened) over time I trusted her implicitly. I have never trusted someone as much in my life. And the love I felt for her was the strongest I’ve ever felt.
I visited her in the Philippines for 3 weeks after a yr and a half. Things were nice and she was the most beautiful woman I had ever seen,( this just wasn’t me being in love mind you),I showed her pics to my therapist ,her response,”she should be a model” two other professionals said the same. I asked male filipinos how she looked ,they all said exceptional for any filipna. So I thought I found a younger,gorgeous,beautiful,sweet,caring,simple,nonmaterialistic woman! I’ll leave the rest to ur imagination cuz I could write a book. But mostly the accusations ,the projections,the crazymaking,I was the one doing things wrong,( and here I am trying to please her more all the time to fix ME!
My question or statement is this: It’s been 4 months since I’ve seen her and she stopped communicating 2 weeks ago cuz she has a new “visitor” form the USA for a couple weeks to use for money and sex I hear.
I still feel love for her and wish I could change to be tough enough to take it;or preferably she could change. But she does have all 15 traits of a sociopath. It took me about 3 yrs to figure this out. I thought she just had an anger management problem. Then I realized I felt like I was actually addicted to her,stronger than a drug addiction. And when we were apart despite what she had done to me b4 I felt withdrawal symptoms. The one thing I haven’t read much about is two things. One: is I was 54 and she was 29 ;which is common age differnce in the Philippines. So this of course could nvr happen to me in the USA unless I was a rock star. And two the sex was amazing!! I have been with maybe 40 woman in my life. When I was 23 I met a woman who after a few days was honest and told me in the past due to divorce and money problems had worked in a brothel in California. I thanked her,we got along well and the past was the past. We parted fine. BUt the sex was real nice. But my sociopath ;(who said she had sex only once and was forced) was superincredible; better than anyone and exceed by lightyears my ex-gf who had previuosly in her life was a prostitute! I “knew” the first time my Filipina had been around cuz of her prowess. She denied and said its cuz she loved me and felt primal. Oh,by the way I had nvr been to a prositute b4,but suspected she was or had been one.
A few months later we spent 2 months together. We were together 24/7 . We had sex 4 or 5 times daily,usually initiated by me.So i’m a little concerned about the excessive sex component in the diagnosis. Although though some people said she had a different white guy visit her monthly and everyone;friends ,neighbors and relatives did not telll me;hmmmm! Thr were even rumors she had been a prostitute in Manila at some time of her life. Of course she denied this all and said girls were jealous she had a (much wanted there) “white man”.
Also she didnt drink for about during that time and didn’t gamble, and I saw no evidence of substance abuse; she wouldn’t even take aspirin when in pain. The biggest drugs in that country are meth and marijuana. I nvr seen her high or smell of pot and if she was on meth she never appeared to be,(which is nearly impossible if high on meth)
MY PROBLEM: I still feel love for the good times,I still feel maybe I could visit her once in a while and “just have fun” ,but I nearly went crazy myself with her tirades and anger,and projections; and thought of suicide. I And I miss the incredible sex and her amazing exotic beauty. I know I will never find someone so beautiful physically,young and so uninhihited and naughty in bed again I know I am being shallow here! Lucky for me,I guess is a month or so ago I started asking questions; and since I was on the right track about her she became defense,then changed her email,phone etc. Even her relatives wont answer my calls(she must have instructed them not too) I thought I would die the first few days not hearing from her. Its now 2 weeks and I wish I was dead,i wont do it;I’m just expressing how I feel.

lightheaded,
It hurts when you lose them, that is true. I’m glad you’re here

lightheaded: I can understand the feelings you have about being addicted to a person… and the pain, it’s unbelievable, isn’t it. I am also glad you are here, this is really a healing place, and a site with people who will help you get through all this, I know it has helped me a lot. I don’t know if it is possible to visit a person one has such strong feelings for “just for fun”, you’re heart would be in it too much, of course you still feel love for her, that doesn’t disappear overnight, even though we wish it would! Keep reading and I hope you post again!

Lightheaded!!!!!!!!!!

Oh My God!!!! WE are in the same damned boat. I can hardly believe what I am reading b/c It is so where I am — not done reading yours– right back. Please hang in there! I feel your pain b/c it is mine like you cannot imagine. I feel my S got to my soul through sex—

Lightheaded–
you have to keep coming here. It is safe here and the people are wonderful and understand.
I can relate to your post the most thus far (Do not mean to offend anyone.) and I am so grateful.
My ex was the most physically gorgeous man I have ever seen and the sex was literally to die for– and I was so sick– that I almost did! That is how they get you.
My withdrawal symptoms have been so severe that I now owe 800 bucks for an ER visit!!!! Yeah– just to be put on ATivan intrevenously.
Please keep up your honesty here! Please keep reading. Please know you are where you are supposed to be AND IT IS NOT WITH THE SOCIOPATH even though you and I BOTH FEEL as if we should be with them. It is all a lie– as are they.

Lightheaded… sometimes when i read my own words…it helps me…

“I guess a month or so ago I started asking questions; and since I was on the right track about her she became defense,then changed her email,phone etc.” Lightheaded.

**RED FLAG -Stay on the right track!

“But mostly the accusations ,the projections,the crazymaking,I was the one doing things wrong,( and here I am trying to please her more all the time to fix ME!” Lightheaded.

**2nd RED FLAG-You really dont want to go back to that do you? All in the name of a little fun – it will only get worse.

“she stopped communicating 2 weeks ago cuz she has a new “visitor” form the USA for a couple weeks to use for money and sex I hear.” Lightheaded

***- 3rd, 4th and 5th RED FLAG *** NC. NC. NC.

“I still feel love for her and wish I could change to be tough enough to take it;or preferably she could change” Lighheaded.

** Try to find out within why you would continue to feel love for someone who isnt giving, showing sharing her love with you. Try to find out within why you wish you could be tough enough to be treated badly. SHE WONT CHANGE.

“I nearly went crazy myself with her tirades and anger,and projections; and thought of suicide.” Lightheaded

**FOCUS ON THE BAD TIMES, REMEMBER THE HARD TIMES…BECAUSE IF YOU GO BACK JUST FOR FUN, OR SEX… YOU WILL HAVE TO ENDURE WORSE TIMES, AND MUCH HARDER TIMES… IT NEVER GETS EASIER LONGTERM WITH AN S/P.. NEVER

“And I miss the incredible sex” Lightheaded.

**YOU CAN HAVE INCREDIBLE SEX AGAIN, WITH SOMEONE WHO WILL TREAT YOU AMAZING OUTSIDE OF THE BEDROOM AS WELL. THERE IS SOMETHING TO BE SAID ABOUT “INCREDIBLE” SEX THAT IS SPOILED/TAINTED/RUINED/FORGOTTEN SHORTLY THEREAFTER HAVING IT WITH SOMEONE WHO DOESNT CARE, CONNECT, OR WANT YOU AROUND AFTERWARD. ALL OF A SUDDEN ITS NOT SO SPECIAL WHEN YOU PUT THE WHOLE RELATIONSHIP TOGETHER. ITS ALL DISCONNECTED.

IM SORRY YOU ARE GOING THROUGH THIS. BUT YOU WILL MAKE IT!!! TRY TO STAY STRONG FOR YOURSELF IN A WAY THAT YOU CAN HEAL. ITS A LONG JOURNEY, BUT THE BLOGS HERE ARE VERY HELPFUL. SOMETIMES EVEN JUST REREADING OUR OWN WE CAN GAIN A DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVE ON OUR VIEW – OF WHERE WE WERE – WHERE WE ARE – AND WHAT WE HAVE TO DO TO KEEP MOVING FORWARD. GOOD LUCK! GLAD YOU ARE HERE.

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