This article is a warning, to all the single/divorced women out there, who are financially stable, but are missing out on that one special thing in their lives.  We all want to be loved, appreciated, and cared for.  We want to believe that it is possible to start over, and find true love in our lives again.  I am writing this today, so that in your quest to find Shangri La, that you stay vigilant, and not allow someone to scam you out of your entire life savings and retirement money that you worked most of your life, to save.

I know you are thinking…this could never happen to me.  I am too smart to fall for any of these scams.  That is what I thought.  If you really believe that, then you are exactly the person that needs to be reading this.  You see, no matter how intelligent you are, you cannot begin to comprehend where your heart will lead you, or what it will make you do, when someone is holding it in their hands.

With the internet, untraceable cell phones, social media, and a wide range of dating sites available to us, we are prime candidates to fall victim to these scams.  Dating sites are flooded with these scammers.  Anybody can make up a profile, post fake pictures, and lead you to believe that he is a reputable person, with good intentions.Once he gets your attention, and starts talking to you, he will want to be able to share himself more privately with you, so he will ask you to move your conversations to either cell phone, email, or messenger, etc.  He will flirt with you, make you feel special, attractive, sexy, and once he gains your confidence, you start to open up to him.  Personal details about yourself, can be used against you, and you become vulnerable.

If you are divorced, are receiving alimony, own a home, he knows you are lonely, have money, and you become a prime target.  He will start getting intimate, suggestive, and will sext with you online.  Before you know it, you are falling in love with someone, you don’t even know, and will probably never get to meet.

There will always be a story, a believable excuse, as to why he is unable to meet with you at this time.  He may have listed in his profile that he lives in New York, but will tell you that he is currently working out of the country on business.  He will profess his love for you, convince you that you are that “special person” he has been looking for his entire life. He is getting ready to retire and settle down, and wants to think about making a life with you.  It all seems too good to be true.  Then, all of a sudden, something happens…a tragedy of some sort, accident, sickness, or his life is in danger, and he needs your help.  You are the only one that can help them, because he is usually single or widowed, and has no living family he can contact.

Since he is out of the country, he will give you an excuse that he is unable to access his bank accounts, or that his credit cards are not working, and he will need you to send him money.  He will give you the name of an acquaintance that is willing to help him out, that you can wire the money to for him.  By now, you have already started to picture your future with this person.  He has gained your trust, and you will be willing to do almost anything to help him, so that you can get him home safely to you. He may even show you an online bank account, with millions of dollars in it, he is unable to gain access to, to make it believable, and prove to you that he can pay you back.  I don’t care how official it looks…it is a fake!  You will wire him the money he needs, but it won’t stop there.  Once he sees you are willing to play his game, he will soon ask for more, draw this out, coming up with excuse after excuse, and will keep going until he is certain that he has depleted all of your assets, all the while promising to pay you back every dime.

These men are merciless.  They often live out of the country, so it is impossible to track them down.  They use drop phones that are untraceable, and make up email addresses under fake names.  You will have no idea who they really are, or where they live.  Most of these scams originate in Nigeria, Africa.  The dating websites are flooded with these despicable men, just looking to prey on lonely women with money.  They are masters at this…they do this for a living.

When you get up and go to work, they do too… this is their job.   They often work in groups, and may have you speak to other people that are involved in the scams, to collaborate their stories.

I had a man contact me on POF, claiming to be in the military (an agent working on assignment for a ghost agency).  After a couple of days, he had me texting him on his cell phone, and talking to him on messenger.  Within 2 weeks, we had spent so much time talking, I knew his whole life story, and had completely fallen for him. He swept me off my feet, and said everything that I wanted to hear.  He was sweet, kind, caring, respectful, and sent some hot pics of himself, to seal the deal.

Just before he was supposed to come to meet me, he was sent on a mission out of the country, and was supposed to be gone for just 3 weeks.  All I was supposed to do was write to him, until he got back.  Then the mission went bad…and he was on the run, and needed help. Due to the classified nature of his mission, he was not able to discuss many details, or contact anybody for help.  He was alone, and I was the only one that he knew and trusted that he could count on.  I ended up chasing him through 4 countries over a period of 18 months, and went through over $1.3 million dollars in assets, supposedly trying to save his life, and get him home.

I felt like I was living an episode of “24” with Jack Bauer. As crazy as it all sounds, when you care about someone, and you are made to believe that his life is in danger, you will do whatever it takes to help him.  It was a long, drawn out scam, of epic proportions.

It’s hard to believe, but you will do a lot of stupid thingsfor Love, without thinking of the consequences. Nothing is worth going what I went through.  By the time I realized what had happened, it was too late.   All of my money was gone, and I also had severe tax implications to answer for, because I depleted money from an IRA account.  I never saw him, and the chances of recovering my money are very slim.This was a major case of fraud, and has been reported to the FBI.  There is a whole task force that works just on this group of Nigerian scammers, but finding and prosecuting these people is very difficult, if not almost impossible, because they live, and operate from out of the country, and overseas.

Ladies…there are tools/websites out there, that you can use to check the identity and to verify the backgrounds of these men that you meet.  If you do not use them, you are very foolish. You must also do whatever you can to keep your personal information safe.  I only wish I had listened to my financial advisor, and left the money in my account as he recommended.I was warned repeatedly, that this could be a scam, but I would not listen.  The heart believes what it wants to, and when you fall hopelessly in love, you become blind, deaf, and dumb.  If anyone that you do not know, asks you for money, let that be a big red flag, to just walk away, and never look back.  Hold onto your money…I wish I had.