Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Shameful Deceit

I have a friend who has found herself single after 23 years of marriage. After taking a while to reconstruct her own life, she thought to get back into circulation. Unwilling to do the bar scene, she joined an online dating service for her age group. After a couple of weeks of shifting through the choices, she thought she had met someone who she would like to get to know better. A supposedly retired, slightly older, professional man seemed to be a good possibility. He had been a widower for a number of years and was looking for someone with whom to start his life over. They began talking and sending texts. By coincidence, he had to go on a business trip right after they began. It was something left over from when he was still working that was unresolved. They were still able to continue to text, even though he was out of the country. This went on fine until the day before he was due to fly back to the States. He sent her a text that he had been attacked and robbed. They had stolen his bag that contained his passport. He missed his flight, as he had to go to the American Embassy to see if he could obtain papers to return. She expressed concern, but he insisted he was fine. A small red flag flew up with this information. However, she wanted to give him the benefit of the doubt as it could have happened. The next day he called to say that he had obtained a temporary passport, but now had to get a ticket home. He asked her to loan him some money, which he would promptly return when he arrived State side. The small red flag bloomed into a huge one. She knew then that she was being scammed. She informed him quite truthfully that she had no money to lend. He said he would call her later that day. Of course, he never did. On careful review of a few other “men” she had talked to on the dating site, she concluded that probably they were all the same person. He had put up various profiles, hoping for a score. I suppose it happens. You see it on talk shows, how people have bought into a sad story and sent cash. It is usually always women who have sent money to men. My friend saw through the ruse, but what about those who might not? It is a shame and a scandal that another human being would perpetrate that kind of scam on another, especially when they use people’s search for companionship as their vehicle.