lf2

Women aged 40-70: Be on the lookout for Internet predators like Tom Guida

Tom Guida, of Toms River, New Jersey, was accused of bigamy, but got away with it.

More than two years ago, Lovefraud posted about Tom Guida, age 55, of New Jersey. This guy is unbelievable. He finds women online, tells them he is a Ph.D. psychologist (lie), Special Operations military (lie), and suffering from brain cancer (lie).

He tells the women he loves them (lie) and then proposes marriage. He doesn’t tell them he is already married (truth). In fact, he’s a bigamist.

Here’s the Lovefraud story:

Tom Guida, aka Tom Gatto – fake psychologist, fake Special Forces, fake brain cancer patient – gets away with bigamy

I just heard from another woman who was targeted by Tom Guida last week. We’ll call “Marjorie.” She wrote:

Tom Guida is still catfishing online.

He messed with my head the entire week and instead of him having brain cancer now it’s his dad.

Please let everyone know he’s still actively out there scamming women. He didn’t get my money but he stole my time.

This guy is a particularly brazen con artist. He is still married. As recently as September, he was discussing marriage with another target — and his behavior was so atrocious that the case is under investigation by law enforcement. Still, knowing that the cops are on to him, he has attempted to seduce a new victim. In fact, I’ll bet that he is attempting to seduce multiple victims.

Marjorie sent me a second email. She wrote:

He spent the week “love bombing” me. We never met but this is my second catfish in a row the other one claimed to be a civil engineer. Why now? Is it because of my age? Are women in their 50s more vulnerable?

To answer Marjorie’s question, I would say yes, women in their 50s are more vulnerable to sociopaths, for a number of reasons.

Financial vulnerability

Although there are sociopaths who do not target women for money, as I wrote on Friday, many of them do. If you’re a woman in your 50s you probably have some financial resources, which makes you an attractive target.

You could be making good money through your career or business. You could have a house, investments, a retirement account, a divorce settlement or an inheritance. Even if you’re not well off, you could have a regular job or disability income. I’ve heard about sociopaths who have gone after all of these sources of income.

Emotional vulnerability

If you’re looking for love in your 50s, there’s a good chance that you have some heartbreak behind you. You may be divorced, widowed, or you just were never able to make a connection. You may feel like you’re running out of time, and you don’t want to face you later years alone.

Therefore, you may feel strong internal pressure to find a partner. A sociopath will know this, and will tell you exactly what you want to hear in order to get his hooks into you.

Internet vulnerability

Sociopaths know that the Internet is a great place to find targets. They can troll for victims all over the world, 24/7. They can pretend to be whomever they want, or whomever their targets want. They know that anyone who is looking for love online is lonely, and they’re experts at taking advantage of lonely people.

Lovefraud’s data shows that the most common place where people meet sociopathic partners is on the Internet. This is especially true for mature victims.

In Lovefraud’s 2012 Romantic Partner survey, I asked how the respondents met the person who they believed was a sociopath. A total of 1,087 women answered the question, and on average, 23% of them met the sociopaths on the Internet. But when you look at the age breakdowns, you see that this is much more common among mature women.

Question: The most recent time that you became involved with this individual, how did you meet? 

How Women Met Sociopaths, by Age (N = 1,087)

AgeInternetSocial SituationWorking Together
14-206.8%16.2%8.5%
21-308.8%26.1%21.7%
31-4020.8%20.1%16.8%
41-5038.5%12.4%19.4%
51-6037.6%16.8%11.8%
61-7066.7%22.2%0%

Danger of the Internet

Tom Guida and others like him view the Internet as happy hunting grounds for potential victims. If you are online looking for love, know that you are a target.

Not only is the Internet full of predators, but the medium of online communication makes it difficult to spot them. Why?

Experts estimate that 65% to 90% of the meaning in any human communication is nonverbal — gestures, tone of voice, body language. So when you’re talking with someone via text on a screen, that means 65% to 90% of the meaning of the message is missing. It simply is not there.

So how do you interpret those words on a screen? You believe what you want the words to mean. Therefore, when you fall in love with someone you met online, you are falling in love with your own fantasy.

Protecting yourself

So how do you protect yourself from sociopathic predators? Here are the three steps:

  1. Know that sociopaths exist, and that they are everywhere.
  2. Know the warning signs of love fraud. If you don’t, get my book, Red Flags of Love Fraud — 10 signs you’re dating a sociopath.
  3. Listen to your intuition.

Our intuition has been with us since caveman days, and its purpose is to protect us from predators. Yes, the predators used to be saber-tooth tigers, but now the predators are sociopaths. Guess what — intuition still works. The key is to pay attention to it.

If you get an intuitive hit, or a gut feeling, that something is wrong about a person, do not dismiss it. You are probably getting a warning that will protect you from a catastrophic involvement with a sociopath.

Luckily, Marjorie was paying attention. She Googled Tom Guida, found Lovefraud, and discovered who he really is. Yes, she lost a week, and she was lied to and disappointed, but it could have been a lot worse.

I think Marjorie did really well.

 



Comment on this article

5 Comments on "Women aged 40-70: Be on the lookout for Internet predators like Tom Guida"

Notify of

My neighbor/friend just down the street, has re-connected with an old boyfriend from their past. They’ve only been together a few months, he’s already moved in, they plan to marry after the first of the year. I hope and pray she’s NOT getting more than she bargained for. I am uneasy about this man; my intuition gives me ‘uneasy vibes’ when Im around him. She wont listen, when I’ve tried to warn her, if ‘she’s ready’..

I once had a dear friend Judy who was in her mid-50’s. She had been divorced and alone for many years as her husband had run off on her 15 years prior for his much younger secretary. She didn’t think of herself as attractive, nor did she ever date anyone. One day, she announced that she had reconnected with an old childhood friend Jerry who happened to be the best man at her wedding all those years ago. Within just a few weeks their romance blossomed and he had moved into her condo. She was very happy and felt he was the love of her life. I was about 40 at the time and considered Judy and Jerry somewhat as an aunt and uncle.

So when my own bf cheated on me and I suddenly had no place to live, I turned to Judy and Jerry who took me in without hesitation. They put me up on the very uncomfortable love seat in the living room. I was grateful to have a place to land while I was trying to get my life back together.

The first night I stayed there – or maybe it was the second – I had a very disturbing dream that Jerry was walking around naked and trying to hit on me. I woke up feeling horribly ashamed and embarrassed that I would even dream such a thing!! Well, guess what? That morning when I woke up, it happened EXACTLY as I dreamt it. Judy had gone to work. Jerry came into the living room and asked if I mind whether he walked around naked because it was more comfortable for him. I felt really awkward and didn’t know what to say, so I said, “Well, it’s your home – you can walk around any way you want.” Then I buried my head in the newspaper looking for apartments. I also wondered if I had encouraged the behavior because I was wearing shorts that showed off my legs.

A few minutes later, he started touching himself and talking about sexual things. This made me REALLY uncomfortable, and I didn’t know how to respond. I had no other place to stay. So I just left for the day to look for an apartment, hoping that it was just an isolated incident. I came back and pretended it never happened. But later that night, when Judy was in bed, he started the same stuff again. This time, I spoke up. I raised my voice so Judy could hear. When she came out, I told her what he was doing. Of course, he denied it and turned the tables and blamed me!

Looking back, I do believe he was a sociopath, but I didn’t know what that was at the time. I didn’t know much about him except that his children had disowned him and he didn’t have a job. He was also a pillar of their church. Though I didn’t know what a sociopath was, I knew he was a bad man. I met with Judy privately and told her Jerry was bad news. But she couldn’t reconcile the sweet loving Jerry with the Jerry who had exposed himself to me and then blamed me! She believed me, but she stayed with him. She sent me a holiday card that year signed, “Love, Judy and Jerry.” It made me feel sick inside. I broke off my relationship with them and never saw them again.

People who are older, maybe have been hurt and shy away from relationships, may be lonely, really need to beware of anyone who sweeps them off their feet. There is a saying, “Girls beware! The guy who sweeps you off your feet may have a dustpan behind his back.” Personally, I think the best way to date is to just go about life being happy and pursuing your passions and you will naturally meet people who have a common interest or affinity.

And now I’m also recalling that my mother – when she must have been in her mid 50’s – also met a man who swept her off her feet and she married him rather quickly. My mother, who had gone through two other husbands, and who had aged poorly and was overweight, had an intense fear of being alone. This guy was a charismatic golf instructor. He blew into her life and gave her some great sex like she had never had. She got very attached. But later he was arrested and thrown into jail for soliciting a 14 y.o. girl. The story takes a Jerry Springer kind of twist. The pedophile golf instructor died in jail of a heart attack because they neglected to give him his heart medication. My mother sued the jail and won. What was left of that settlement became part of my modest inheritance when she died. I used the money as a down payment for my current condo. Now the condo is appreciating, and I hope to use the equity to buy a house. So in a strange twist of fate, something good came from my mom’s encounter with the sociopath.

I myself met the sociopath I dated when I was in my late 40’s and starting to wonder if I would be alone forever. I think women in their 40’s, 50’s, and beyond are very vulnerable to sociopaths.

wpDiscuz

Send this to a friend