I can’t believe I’m going to say this, but I’ve been scammed.
About three weeks ago, I was contacted by a guy through Facebook messenger. I’ll be honest, the only reason I even paid attention and responded, is because his name was Steve – same name as my brother who died last year.
One of the first things I told him, was about my brother and he responded by telling me that his sister’s name is Kim. And me, who has always searched for meaning in everything, thought this was more than coincidence – I thought it connected us somehow.
He told me he was originally from Switzerland and had been in the U.S. for eight years. He said he used to work for Exxon Mobile, but is now a freelance contractor. On his profile, it showed him as living in Seattle, but he told me he was now living in Denver (my hometown).
After our first messenger conversation, he told me that he’s rarely on Facebook and asked if we could converse via text & phone calls. I admit, I was a bit skeptical, but I’ve been single for several years now and have so much love to give. I’d like to find someone to share my life with, although I’m not currently actively looking – another reason why I felt Steve and I were meant to find each other.
We texted the first day, but after that it was calls and texts. He had an extremely thick accent, which I loved, although it did make it hard to understand him at times. After a few conversations, I grew more used to it and understood better.
We talked about our past, our hopes and dreams for the future. We had so much in common and just clicked. And it felt good to have someone checking in on me, asking about my mother (who’s in a nursing home) and my favorite line, “Take care of yourself for me.”
I’m not proud of this, but I fell for him. Not in love, but definitely fell in love with the idea of possibly having a serious relationship with this man. This man who showed himself to be romantic, tenderhearted, kind, compassionate and an attentive friend.
After about a week of talking and texting frequently, there came a day where he just didn’t call. No text. Nothing. All day long I wondered and worried if he was okay.
The following afternoon, I got a phone call from him saying he dropped his phone and it had broken, so he had to go buy a new one.
Of course, I believed this because it has happened to me and most everyone I know. We resumed calling and texting and about a week ago, I told him I was planning a trip to Denver on Feb. 22nd and that I was excited to meet him.
He seemed very excited about my trip to Denver and meeting me. He kept telling me how much he liked me and how anxious he was to meet me. Then, last week, he tells me he was in the running for a contract and would be traveling to Dallas for a week. And unfortunately, he wouldn’t be in Denver when I was going to be there.
Something about it didn’t feel right to me, but because I wanted so badly to believe him and what we had was real, I dismissed my uneasiness.
Valentine’s Day was awesome. It was the first time in a decade that I had a man in my life who cared about me. It didn’t matter that I hadn’t met him yet. That was just a formality in my mind. I had given him my heart. He called me several times that day to tell me he couldn’t stop thinking about me and how grateful he was to have me in his life. He told me I was beautiful inside and out and that he was falling for me. Even though that uneasiness rose up in me again because it was all moving too fast, I dismissed it because I didn’t want to believe he might not be for real.
The day after Valentine’s Day – nothing. No text, no phone calls. I didn’t know whether to be worried or pissed off. He had complained off and on about having migraines and also said he was being treated for high blood pressure, so I leaned more toward worry. Besides I had given him my heart and I wanted to believe he was real.
The day after not hearing anything from him, he called. It was about 2pm in the afternoon. He sounded out of breath and he said “Oh, I’m so sorry honey. I left my phone at the check out at the grocery store. I didn’t realize I didn’t have my phone until I got home and when I want back, the store didn’t have it.”
He then proceeded to tell me that he had woken up that morning and got the idea to call his own phone number and when he did, someone answered. He said the guy told him he’d picked it up by mistake, made him answer some questions about who was in his contacts, to prove it was his phone and that the guy who picked up his phone, brought it to him.
There is so much wrong with that story, it makes my head spin. Am I right? He told me he has a laptop he uses for work – he could’ve messaged me on Facebook, like he did initially.
Even though I saw all the holes in that story, when he called to tell me he had his phone back and how much he’d missed me – in that adorable accent of his, I remained skeptical but chose to try and believe him.
The night before he was supposedly leaving for Dallas, I asked when his flight left and he sent me his itinerary. But the flights on the itinerary were from Charlotte to Dallas not Denver to Dallas. I messaged him and asked why it showed him flying out of Charlotte. I also told him that I wasn’t sure I believed him anymore and even came right out and texted “Are you a scammer?” I haven’t heard from him since.
I did do some research and apparently these romantic scams are a common occurrence.
There are three warning signs and I had all three:
- He will ask you to leave FB and call / text immediately after making contact.
- He will do his research and make sure you believe you have much in common.
- He will become serious very quickly and still avoid meeting you.
Most of these romantic scammers, will lead a woman on and at some point present a situation where she will have to give him money to save her new love. I don’t know if Steve hacked into my account and saw that I was broke lol, or another more accessible fish came along. I think the hardest part for me is the not knowing and wondering if any part of this was real.
I have wrestled with the idea of coming out with this publicly because I really am embarrassed about the fact that I fell for it. If I can prevent one other woman from wasting their time and the heartache that comes with it, then it’s worth it to me.
How many times in this article did I say, “I wanted to believe he was real?” If you are questioning, at all, if he / it is real – that is a huge red flag. Don’t dismiss it. Do some research. Find out all you can. And most importantly, don’t give your heart to someone that you’re not even sure is real. (Duh…right?? lol)