Recent Letter to the ElderWisdomCircle™
FAMILY: Mom is a victim of dating scam
Hi! My mother just recently joined online dating sites. She is currently 4 months on chatting up with a guy named Mark. She just recently told me about him & of their plans for her to follow him to Texas etc etc. She is deep in love and can't stop talking how kind he is, how rich he is, how generous he is etc etc.
However, I became suspicious when my mom told me that Mark is currently working abroad in Turkey and is having difficulty transferring bank funds. According to my mom, Mark would first divert half a million dollars from Turkey to her bank account prior to collecting it personally. The fishy part was that there would be some administrative fees & taxes to be settled first and for that, Mark is requesting that my mom send $4,000 to him first.
I have begged her that this is such a common romance scam but she is deaf to my pleading. I saw the profile pic of Mark, then reverse imaged search it via Google and noted that this particular pic was stolen from someone else. However, my mom still does not believe me.
My mom is already planning to send the money within the week. She also tells me to butt off her dating life and that it is her money to spend.
I know that my mom has a right to happiness and that she works hard for the money so she can spend it however way she wants. However, I also do not want to see her hurt and frustrated in the end. I really don't know what to do this time. Thank you for your help.
Your letter is so upsetting, Miles. As you know, this is so obviously a classic scam, and although it seems beyond obvious and ridiculous to us, often folks fall for these fraudulent schemes we wouldn't even read. Your Mom, as I see it, is likely very lonely and and feels desperate - hoping against hope this is real. She may know down deep down it isn't, but she WANTS it to be real.
You've done a lot of due diligence, but maybe you could Google "scams from Turkey" or see if anything similar comes up that, maybe, your Mom will ready to see. It's unlikely you can do a background check because this "Mark" or whatever his name is probably has many aliases. My only other suggestion is to check with some law enforcement office to see if THEY have suggestions or examples of these scams to add to YOUR argument for your Mom. Does your mother have any close friends that she trusts? A doctor? Even an accountant? The thing is, she is going to be horribly embarrassed when this masquerade goes down and she's lost everything. I don't know what her state of mind is - if you could get a therapist or someone else involved. I know she'll get angry, and, yes, she has a right to waste her money as she pleases, but this is so common - that I keep thinking there must be a person who can KINDLY and without drama - try to explain what is going on.
And lest you think it's only older women who get caught in these scams...a guy I went to high school with started sending money to "Natasha"...someone in a former Soviet block country who was going to come here and "marry" him as soon as she got the money to "settle her affairs". Well, ten thousand dollars later...you know the story. It was tragic..and also unpleasant because, in addition to that, he took all of the money for the high school reunion that had been collected and sent most of it to her, so the fraud went beyond him and the perpetrator.
Again, see if you can get some help....examples of this type of dating scam, someone to talk to her, a law enforcement person to give you advice. In the end, if she's competent she will do what she pleases, but keep the fight going as long as you can. GOOD LUCK.