North Bay woman reveals step-by-step tactics of online romance scam costing her $35K
Woman said she was taken in by the man's dating profile, which seemed 'genuine'
A North Bay woman is still reeling after losing over $30K to man she met on Plenty of Fish, an online dating site.
CBC Sudbury agreed not to publish the woman's name.
In an interview with CBC's Morning North, she described how she was lured in, and the pitfalls of believing everything you see in an online profile.
It started when she uploaded her profile to Plenty of Fish.
"The online dating site tells you to be honest, to write a genuine dating profile," she said. "The more you put about yourself, the better the chances of meeting a quality person."
Within a day, a man made contact.
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His profile said he was an avionics technician who had gone through a recent divorce. She said the man seemed "genuine."
She was taken with pictures he posted of himself, and his professional demeanour. He was living in Vancouver, was well-dressed, handsome, and displayed pictures of himself riding a bike.
"The next day or two I was starting to see 'hi.' He was approaching me slowly," she said.
On the third day, you're it
"Then on the third day, he decides that I'm it, I'm the chosen one," she said. "I'm the one he wants to spend the rest of his life with."
"He used his charm," she said, "and said how he was going to come and share his life with me."
She said she was pulled in further when the man described his attachment to his daughter.
"He used his daughter, which I don't believe he has. His daughter was in school studying computer science in Houston, Texas. I don't know, I just love kids. He got me there," she said.
And then came the requests for money.
"He needed to send [his daughter] money. He said 'I will deposit money into your account so that I can transfer it to Houston.' He didn't have time in Vancouver to transfer it to Houston, and she needed the money right away."
She did notice deposits made into her bank account. But then she discovered the source of those deposits.
"That's when I noticed that charges that he was depositing into my account, were charged to my Visa," she said.
The first charge was $5,000, she said. The second, another $5,000. The third was $9,000, followed by another of $9,000.
She estimates in total she lost over $30,000. That's when she told him.
"Then he got confrontational, and said the bank wouldn't' help me," she said. "[He said] it was too late, it wasn't his mess, it was mine."
"I went to the police immediately, and a constable came and met with me at my apartment. He said I was a victim of fraud."
She also sat down with her bank manager, who walked her through the steps, but was ultimately unable to help.
The woman says the shock of the scam has left her feeling "non-existing" and "not capable of functioning."
"I'm constantly crying," she said. "And I just I stay at home."
"I'm totally ashamed and embarrassed I got myself into this situation," she said. "But I got sucked in royally into his deep concerns about his daughters."
"Emotionally, he got me, and I paid the price."
Don't believe the profile
The woman, who lives on a fixed income, is now wondering how she is going to repay all the money. She says she has been selling her things, just to get by.
It's a trap she hopes others aren't tricked into. She offers some advice to people who are looking for romance online, or have built up expectations around a mate's online persona.
"First of all, don't believe the profile," she said.
"And the minute they start controlling how you should do things, and what to believe, the flags should go up," she said.
"Everybody wants to be loved and wanted and feel like they belong. I don't' want anybody to go through this ordeal I'm going through."