Scam: Foreign Responder to Personal Ads Claims Money Can Buy Love
Claim: “I love you and I want to spend the rest of my life with you. I’m working on a construction project in Ghana and I need funds for new equipment. I love you.”
If you’ve ever posted a personal ad online, you know that the attention your profile receives from random people is flattering. Flattery aside, finding an honest companion using this method will require some due diligence on your part. Better Business Bureau warns, love isn’t always the motivation for some people that use online dating forums.
Sarah decided to post an ad on Yahoo Personals. What she wanted was simple: tall, honest, ambitious, and keen on traveling the world. Sifting through the 30 or so ‘ice breakers’ she received over the next four days, she came across one profile with a picture that made her heart skip. She quickly perused the profile to find it was posted by a widowed man from Oklahoma who’d been stationed in Africa to complete a large government-run construction project. He was in charge of everything from hiring workers to choosing locations to ordering all of the supplies. He was 6’2, 31 years old, and financially stable.
Luckily, he seemed as interested in Sarah as she was in him. They began emailing each other at every free moment; Sarah liked how he was always available to talk, even when it was late in Ghana. Days later they had progressed to phone calls and he’d even sent Sarah roses to her home on her birthday. Sarah was completely smitten. Months into their relationship, with plans of a first meeting in the works, Sarah received an urgent phone call from her new found love. He said that the construction site had been shut down and he wanted to come home to Sarah sooner than planned; but there was a minor problem with that. He hadn’t gotten paid for the time he’d served so far, and he needed Sarah to send him $9,000 to cover his airfare to the US and to cover wages for his now unemployed laborers.
Despite not wanting to believe her dreamboat was a swindler, Sarah saw the red flag go up before he finished his well practiced speech. She’d heard about this happening to other victims who’d lost everything, but had held out hope that her true love was real. After ending the phone call, Sarah reported the experience at www.ic3.gov, an internet crime complaint center where consumers can report cyber-crime complaints.
Sarah now knows to exercise caution when responding to personal ads online and gladly shares the following tips: Be wary of excessive typos, warp speed professions of love, and avoid sending money to someone you don’t know, or it will be more than a broken heart that you’re trying to mend in the end.