By | April 7, 2017 7 Comments

Widow loses $1 million to con man she met on

Money. HeartSix months after her husband died, and after her own treatment for breast cancer, the 75-year-old widow wanted to take her mind off of everything she’d been through. She joined

“Edward Duffey” liked her photo. They started talking, one thing lead to another, and soon, even though they had never met, the woman started liquidating her assets so he could “invest” them.

Needless to say, she lost her money — over $1 million.

The woman certainly isn’t alone. A 2015 study by True Link Financial estimates that American seniors lose $36.48 billion per year to elder financial abuse.

How a phony online boyfriend scammed a 75-year-old widow out of $1 million, on

The True Link report on elder financial abuse in 2015, on

Story suggested by a Lovefraud reader.

Posted in: Donna Andersen

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It’s well worth reading True Link’s full report, if only for the warnings it has about the great diversity of scams out there. You don’t have to be a senior to fall for some of these. For instance, I’d never heard of the “Gift Basket Scam” before, but it’s clear that any unwary person could be victimized by it.


It’s well worth reading True Link’s full report, if only for the warnings it has about the great diversity of scams out there. You don’t have to be a senior to fall for some of these. For instance, I’d never heard of the “Gift Basket Scam” before, but it’s clear that any unwary person could be victimized by it.

The True Link report also mentioned the “Magazine Subscription Renewal Scam.” Quite by coincidence, this morning I found in my mailbox a bill requesting payment for a magazine subscription! It was headed IMPORTANT ACCOUNT UPDATE. It continued:

We have yet to receive payment for your subscription. But if you pay right now you are entitled to a $3.00 discount off the total cost.

Pay online for fastest reinstatement of your delivery service…

The right hand side of the bill lists the “Previous Balance,” the “Amount Due Now,” and a deadline: Due By: 04/27/17

To be fair, this is not exactly a “scam” within the usual scope of the term, or the type that True Link discusses. That’s to say, it’s a well known magazine, legitimately ordered in the past, at a properly discounted price. They’re only asking $9 for a year, not the inflated prices mentioned by True Link. Nevertheless, True Link quite rightly points out the danger of misleading language used to exploit unwary victims, and that’s exactly what this is! Many of these magazine publishers entice or pressure their subscribers to extend their subscriptions for years into the future {“Pay now and save 45% for three years!”) but this is the only one I’ve seen so far that uses deliberately misleading language to suggest I actually owe them the money! The use of terms like “Previous Balance” and “We have yet to receive payment…” along with the “Due By” date implies that a real debt has been incurred—and might even be sent to collection if it’s not paid! Also, the use of the term “reinstatement” implies that delivery has been (or will be) suspended for non-payment of this supposed “debt”!

In reality none of that is true, and this particular subscription is already paid up through April of next year! But I’ve no doubt at all that these publishers are counting on the fact that many subscribers won’t bother to look at the address labels on their magazines to see when their subscriptions really expire!

It’s all a big con. And that’s the second “bill” I’ve received from that particular magazine couched in that kind of misleading language. I shall not be renewing that subscription. I don’t like their tactics.

What did astound me was True Link’s finding about telemarketing calls:

A person who receives just one telemarketing phone call per day is likely to experience three times as much financial loss as someone who receives no or only occasional telemarketing calls.

I’m not sure quite what this means, or why. If it’s literally true, I ought to be bleeding cash to scammers of all kinds, because I must get a dozen of these calls every day! Being on the Federal “Do Not Call” list seems to make no difference.

I don’t know if they’re talking about how many telemarketing calls people receive—or how many they answer! There is a difference. I never answer those calls if I can help it!

So let me be precise. There are two landlines in the house, both with answering machines (I couldn’t live without answering machines), and calls come in several times a day on both. Unless I’m actually expecting a call from someone within a few minutes, I never pick up one of those phones unless the caller speaks—and then only if it’s someone I want to speak to! That means a friend, family, or legitimate business. In practice most of these callers never speak. Many don’t even keep ringing after the fourth ring, and if they do, when what they get is the answering machine, they hang up without speaking—often before the answering message has even finished!

As a result, I simply don’t know who most of these calls were from, or what they were about! (The fact that I don’t give a damn is beside the point! 😀 ) I’m sure many are these stupid “robocalls” that have proliferated so much in recent years—which is part of the downside of electronics being so cheap and accessible to all. The upshot of all this is that I have no idea how many of these calls are made by a live telemarketer. But I’m sure some of them must be.

By and large I’ve managed to avoid getting telemarketing calls on my cellphone, which I would (and do) find immensely annoying. But that may be because I never give my cellphone number out to anyone if I can avoid it, except to personal associates, friends and family, and select business contacts (such as the guy coming to service the air conditioners who needs directions to the house). When it’s some online outfit like Amazon that wants a phone number for reference, or some store that wants a number for their “loyalty program,” what they get is the primary landline number instead. You can bet your boots they sell lists of those numbers to other outfits, which is how we end up getting all those unwanted telemarketing calls.

But a few of those callers do leave messages. And among them I’ve found numerous instances of the “IRS has filed a lawsuit against you” scam, and the “Your Windows license has expired” scam. (I hope everyone is wise to those at least.) So watch out, folks! It’s a jungle out there. It’s full of predators just itching to prey on all of us—whether you’re “seniors” or not!


My first (apologetically human) response to this article is that I wish I had a million to lose in the first place. Dreams aside, please invest what you have wisely, and beware of any potential love interest who needs you to front them money for anything. I have refined my definition of a real man to include “provides for his family” or at least tries. Any man who wants to live off of his partner is not a man but a leech.


Stargazer, that comment about money is so judgemental and without lack of empathy. This is about trusting a monster she never knew existed. Just because someone is older and was raised as a caring loving person doesn’t mean they should have known about this sociopathic conman. I understand what she is going through because I live with the unimaginable pain of what was done to me. God Bless You and I will keep you in my prayers.


Honeybee, I apologize if you found that judgmental, and I completely understand your response. I qualified my statement by saying I am just human. Whenever I hear about someone losing a million dollars, my first reaction is often, Wow, what I would give to have a million dollars in the first place…Of course I would never wish to be conned out of it by a sociopath. Perhaps – in being completely truthful – since I have never had a large sum of money like that, I probably don’t have the kind of compassion someone would have who has been in a similar situation. That doesn’t mean I don’t care. I apologize if my post upset you. On a site like this one, it was probably irrelevant and best kept to myself. I was conned by a sociopath, but fortunately, he didn’t get any of my money. In fact, he was very generous in that way. He just got my heart and soul, and that broke me emotionally at the time.


Stargazer, I appreciate that. You are entitled to your opinion so don’t stop being truthful. You could read my story on the internet under Marie Cresta. It took me 9 years to find 3 victims and I won’t stop until I find someone that will get him off the street to start protecting his next victims. I also want to change the justice system to favor victims instead the criminals. God Bless You and I will also keep you in my prayers.


I will be sure to read the story when I have time. I look forward to it.

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