Information on romance scams and scammers.
#200285 by raven018 Tue May 06, 2014 1:44 pm
Yes, without a lot of detail right now, I know I was taken big time by a romance scammer. I still don't have it all sorted out in my head and definitely not in my heart, but there are no doubts.

And money was involved. So besides having a broken heart, which is by far worse, I also feel like the biggest idiot in the world. Heck, I'm an IT person, I own a successful internet business and I've been head project manager of my day job's Identity Theft program, but there I am, bought into this and that's that.

My question is this. I did not send money via Western Union or Moneygram. I sent nothing internationally but instead made a wire transfer from my bank out of my funds to another account in another bank here in the states. Now, they were suppose to be the US business contacts from the job this man was working on, and I'm sure they weren't, but what happened was there seemed to be some sort of problem with the account. And after I thought it was all taken care of, this guy is telling me this company can't access the funds. Asked me to see if my bank could help in some way.

After subsequent calls by my banker to a banker at the other bank (yes I was still believing at this point), it was divulged to my banker that the account in question was under review. My banker said they should not have told him that. So we initiated a recall. We've not received anything back and I don't believe I will, but I thought there was a chance, altho slim, since we found out on our own there was some sort of wasn't coming from the scammer.

I have indicated now to my bank that I believe I've been scammed and I'm wondering at this point if that changes things at all, that since it was a US bank account, I know where it went, the money was my money, not given to me by anyone else, if I stand any sort of change of recouping anything. I don't think so, but wanted to at least ask here.

#200294 by HillBilly Tue May 06, 2014 2:17 pm
it really depends on your bank more than anything. If you signed a paper that effectively said " I know I want to transfer these funds to XXX account, and I will not hold the bank responsible, so long as they get them into XXX account..... then you may as well kiss the cash goodbye. In short, most all banks make such statements ( or similar) just to cover their own selves...

The one exception to the above rule is if some authority ( DHS, postal inspector, Secret Service, etc) were the ones that actually confiscated the funds you wired because of an investigation. If that is the case, after a verdict is reached against the accused, you can get your money back that is now being held as "evidence". You should know soon if this is the case or not. Things like this rarely happen, so don't put hope on it.

#200296 by Bryon Williams Tue May 06, 2014 2:21 pm
Chances of getting your money back is very low.

Since you transferred money bank to bank in the US you can report it to your local Law Enforcement and IC3 . Make sure you talk with your Banks Fraud Dept. and file the proper paper work. Once you have done that contact IC3 and your local Law Enforcement. Print and show them your emails from the scammer. Especially the one requesting money sent to that bank account.

The person who received the money may be a victim like you. He/she could be one of his romance victims or a person believing they have an online Personal Assistant job. You can read about them in the Employment forum section.

Please contacta moferatorstor if you have a question or information about this post.

Please do not tell the scammer he is posted here.

Please remember the fallen.
#200301 by TerranceBoyce Tue May 06, 2014 2:41 pm
The account belongs either to the scammer, an associate or a 'money mule' who may believe that the money is part of a legitimate transaction, so you can't assume that the account owner themselves is a part of the criminal act. Strictly money laundering itself is a crime but proving whether or not the person knew what he/she was involved in is tricky and makes a big difference.

I can't provide cut and dried answers as I'm based in the UK and, though the law is very similar, different jurisdictions and even states will have very different policies and attitudes. It was helpful that you were told that the account was under 'review' but strictly doing that is an offence known as 'tipping off' as you may unwittingly warn the person by how you react. It does enable you to ask the question why, if the account was under 'review' (I interpret to mean suspicion), your payment was allowed to go through. In the UK if a bank allows an account to operate knowing it to be involved in laundering stolen money, it's a serious matter.

To make matters more complex, if this payment represented a gift, the recipient could claim that it wasn't a fraud but that you have just changed your mind and are trying to get the money back by making this claim. I'm not suggesting that this is the case, but you have to consider how others may view it, arguments that may be used against you and the complexity of what may appear simple to you.

Simply proving that this money was obtained from you fraudulently may not be easy and until and unless you can clearly demonstrate this, you'll have difficulties. I don't doubt you at all but unless you recognise why people aren't helping you and why, you'll have problems getting anywhere.

CAR ADVERTS - If a car seller mentions escrow - he's scamming you Never ever for any reason pay anything until you have seen and inspected the vehicle
#200313 by raven018 Tue May 06, 2014 3:13 pm
That makes sense. Unfortunately it was for a large sum of money, actually a total of 4 wire transfers.

My inclination is to leave it totally alone and chalk it up to some very, very bad action on my part. My banker who has walked through this with me knows I feel now it's a scam, I didn't however share with him that it was a romance scam...guess I just am too embarrassed. I've known him a few years and he's aware my business has been a successful one, so again, I'd feel like more of an idiot if he knew all the details.

I do think now that the money has someone been accessible to this company. The reason I say that is the scammer no longer is pushing me about checking on whether the recall has worked. What he had said previously was when I got the money back in recall, I could send it somewhere else...well, I'd never be sending it somewhere else that's for sure.

The key here was to pay the subcontractors who worked past the established contract date for the job. Supposedly the union stopped them working until the overage was paid. I've stood my ground over the past week saying the money's been paid, not my problem if they can't get it and that US company must have done something with it instead of wiring it to the subcontractors. Well, that must have finally sunk in for now I understand the workers are going back to work. That is why I know it's time now to walk away from all of this. And I'm pretty positive whatever problem was with the US company's account no longer is.

I don't want any money back if it comes from him in any form. It was different if it was a recall of funds that never were actually received at the US company's account, but I want no money in any shape or form from him. That'd be a complete set up in my opinion for additional fraud. That money wouldn't be any more real than he is.
#200322 by TerranceBoyce Tue May 06, 2014 4:30 pm
Of course, as is often the case, as the target you don't know what of this set up is real and who is honest and who isn't, and it appears to be more confused as there seems to be some business arrangement involved, that you at least believed was real. You're helped in that you seem to have a good bond with your bank but you'll have to explain the full circumstances if you want their help and only you can judge whether or not that will help you.

It probably isn't something I can help you on as there are so many complexities involved and you may be better advised talking it over with an attorney to see what actions are available to you, if any.

CAR ADVERTS - If a car seller mentions escrow - he's scamming you Never ever for any reason pay anything until you have seen and inspected the vehicle
#200331 by raven018 Tue May 06, 2014 6:47 pm
It all seemed to get more and more involved although at the beginning and even through it, it seemed pretty straight forward.

Standard meet guy on online dating site. I actually approached him. We conversed for a short while and it was I who suggested email. I wasn't ready to talk on the phone or text. Emails back and forth. I knew that English wasn't his first language, but the writing wasn't as horrible as all the examples I've been seeing. Thought he was Maori. Voice was even believable to that end.

He said he'd been living in the area for 2 years. Never married. The standard daughter living with mom in UK. He did renovations. Mostly private homes over the last 20 years, last couple it was commercial ones. He was working on a bid for a job when I started talking to him. Course he won the bid, flew to NY to negotiate and sign contract and then called and told me they wanted him on the job there. Job was in Turkey. He had subcontractors there who provided the workers..was supposedly 40 of them. Two weeks into the 4 week job, the his iPads were ruined that had all the plans for the structure (yep, I believed that). I bought two and sent. He said it'd get to him easier and quicker if I sent them to their partners in England (yep, bought that too), so I sent them. I didn't make it as a personal gift tho, didn't know to do so and they got hung up in Customs for over two weeks (I could see it via the Fedex tracking). Workers stayed on job, but worked slowed down without the plans and low and behold they worked over the allotted time. That is when the requests for money started.

He'd already given me access to the offshore account where the money he was to be paid was at. Told me he was unable to transfer it until job was over. Yes, believed that too. So when he asked for money, I gave it to him. It was in a number of different wire transfers though. I wondered if he was taking me, but I thought if he was it was him doing it, not some criminal ring of Nigerian scammers. But, I was in love. I trusted him. I took the gamble.

The problem with the account came after and I recounted all that earlier. So now we're at the place where he knows I have no more money and it's convincing. All of a sudden now the workers are going back to work. So that is why I think the money has been made available to this US company's account holder.

I've now got lots of other proof after a week of digging, and my only hesitancy had been in seeing if there was going to be any way that the recall would have worked. I was hoping that this company's account there in Brooklyn would stay under review. Looks like that's not the case.

Much of what story he spinned is different than the normal stuff I'm reading with a few exceptions. And dang, I still can't find his pictures anywhere. Still reeling at this point with not only falling for all this, but being devastated emotionally even knowing it's not real. The heart has got to catch up to the head.
#200351 by vonpaso xlura Tue May 06, 2014 8:39 pm
Please PM the account you wired the money to to a moderator. If it's in the USA, it probably belongs to a mule; there are people on this site who know how to warn them.

Also it would probably be easier to prove that you were scammed if you printed out all the emails between you and the scammer and showed them to the bank.

The story about the iPads being ruined is nonsense. If plans were kept on iPads, which they aren't, the destruction of the iPads would mean the loss of the plans only if they had no backup, in which case a new iPad wouldn't do any good to get the plans back.

Also could you post the emails, both the first ones (which are script, so that other victims can find them) and some later ones? We can generally tell where in the world they are by their writing.

... ni los estafadores heredarán el reino de Dios. 1 Cor. 6:10
#200437 by AlanJones Wed May 07, 2014 7:51 am
^^^ If someone you have met on the Internet, but never met in person, is asking you to send money to them or anyone else then yes, you are being scammed I'm afraid.

You won't be able to trace them as they will be using fake IDs and hiding behind the anonymity of the Internet.

If you can post as much details as possible here, such as email addresses and examples of emails and photos used then that will help other victims avoid being scammed by them.

Please do not tell scammers that they are listed here - it will take them seconds to change their fake details and their new details will not be listed for any future victims to find.
#200439 by raven018 Wed May 07, 2014 8:44 am
There's an old saying that is so try...hindsight is 20/20.

It certainly wasn't the case I wasn't aware of the myriad of scams that have occurred via email, mostly based out of Nigeria over the years. They've been everywhere. I was only to a much lesser degree aware of romance scams. The mention of Nigeria would have been all I needed to have steered clear of this, but that was never in the mix. And it wasn't until I checked the IP's in the headers of the last two emails that Nigeria ever came into the picture. Up until then they were from in the states, Cyprus, Turkey, England. Of course when I discovered all of those, I also knew, and I'm also well aware these can be forged, but the "without a doubt" came when I saw the originating IP as Lagos, Nigeria.

Again, I was stupid. I checked his emails in the beginning, heck I know to do that with anyone for any reason. And they were from my area. I had no reason to think at the time that they could have been forged. But, of course they were.

I plan on posting the entire story along with the IP headers, copies of the email texts, and photos as soon as I have it all together...working on it now.

It's a difficult task. My heart has not caught up to my head.
#200443 by TerranceBoyce Wed May 07, 2014 10:16 am
The fraudsters are catching up with the internet age and I doubt your guy is even the top rung who can give large corporations a run for their money.

It's too easy nowadays to believe the internet but it's so easy to be lulled in to a false sense of security when frequently you cannot trust any contact that has only ever taken place over the internet. I won't make matters worse by pointing out all the holes in his story, but that's where this trickster knows he must make a romantic connection so that you'll overlook issues like why he can't get finance from his own bank.

Like many victims you're coming out of a dream, or more accurately a nightmare, where everything you believed is a lie or mostly make believe and it'll take a while to purge your brain of all the lies he has fed you. You can also be certain that he'll come back to you, maybe even with a new identity and some new twist to his tale, maybe an opportunity to recoup your money or maybe he'll become someone new.

The way they operate is nothing short of pure evil and that's the first thing to come to terms with. Any man who puts a cost on love or affection is a scammer. A true man would prefer to go broke than ask a woman for money. A man who asks a woman for money is a scammer.

CAR ADVERTS - If a car seller mentions escrow - he's scamming you Never ever for any reason pay anything until you have seen and inspected the vehicle
#200460 by DorothyBS Wed May 07, 2014 11:37 am
Emails that have been used in my scam nightmare is [email protected], the romantic.
Then the so called bank [email protected] and [email protected].
Now this one I suspected right away [email protected]
I was suspicious and checked out every address and website but the bank one was hidden so good that I only found the domain today. 7 months later :bondage:
#200464 by AlanJones Wed May 07, 2014 11:46 am
The domain has been suspended already. The details used to register it are

Registrant Name: JAMES WILLIAMS
Registrant Organization:
Registrant Street: 50 WEST STREET
Registrant Street: KEMPTON PARK
Registrant City: JOHANNESBURG
Registrant State/Province: GA
Registrant Postal Code: 1619
Registrant Country: ZA
Registrant Phone: +27.717981146

[email protected]

Banks do not register their domains using individual names, mobile phone numbers or free email addresses.

Please do not tell scammers that they are listed here - it will take them seconds to change their fake details and their new details will not be listed for any future victims to find.

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