I go by almost_bit because I am one of the fortunate few who ended up feeling like I outwitted my scammer.
I was not brand new to dating sites. In fact, I’ve met several great guys on them and I still believe they’re a good way to meet people if you’re cautious.
I met ‘Alfred’ on match.com. He claimed to be an architect/construction guy who built commercial buildings in Europe. Though he said he lived locally, he was in Turkey building a resort complex. Within a few weeks, he declared his love for me. I remember telling him that he couldn’t say such things until he got back home and met me in person.
I was always somewhat suspicious. I googled everything he told me, and I could never find anything to verify the things he told me. The name of his deceased wife – no obituary online. The unusual name of his sister in Ohio. His company website that he said was down. But I’ll also admit that I got caught up in it.
After a few week courtship, he said that his ipad and iphone got fried because one of his employees plugged it into the wrong outlet. He was unable to replace it in Turkey, and he needed me to buy and ship one to him. His story seemed plausible, and he even knew the correct number of Apple stores in Turkey (I did my own research), so I agreed to do this. I sent it via USPS, using global express mail.
He asked me to send him money, and I was really reluctant to do so. He tried to use me as a mule. He told me that because I wouldn’t loan him money, he couldn’t pay his employees. So his engineer’s wife was sending money to the engineer. She would send me a moneygram for $500. I was to pick it up and send him the money via western union. Since I was on my way to a meeting after work, he looked up the nearest moneygram location and gave it to me. I stopped at the CVS pharmacy, picked up the red phone, and asked moneygram if there was money there for me, gave them the tracking number and the sender’s name. They confirmed that there was. I asked how scams work with moneygram, and I told them that I was refusing the money. Then I texted my scammer and told him that the moneygram phone was out of order and I’d try when I got home after my meeting. When I got home, I looked up the location of the woman trying to send me money and saw that there were 10 WUs within 10 miles of her city. (My scammer had told me there weren’t any and that was why she needed to relay through me.) I called moneygram to ask more questions. I learned that the money was no longer available to me. (It had been redirected.)
My scammer continued to pressure me to send money. He asked me to send $4000 via WU, and I might have done so. But I googled the name of the financial agent that he wanted me to send money to, and the site that came up was RS. It was the first time I'd found anything online about him, and it was all the proof I needed that he was a scammer. I told my scammer that I tried to go to WU, but that this was too much to ask and that I’d gotten sick in the parking lot trying to do it.
I called USPS to tell them that the ipad and iphone I’d sent were to a scammer and gave them the tracking number. I wanted to get them back. They told me that once they’d left the country, there was nothing they could do.
The ipad and iphone reached Turkey, where they got stuck in customs. The customs fees were about $500, and my scammer called to ask if I would pay it. He said I’d need to set up a Fedex account and pay through that. He gave me the tracking numbers and the detailed costs. This was the first I knew that USPS sent global packages via Fedex. At this point, my scammer had the option to pay the fees himself and get the package. I called Fedex, set up the account, and told them that I wanted the package returned to me. And I told my scammer that I had set up the Fedex account and that I was working with them. I did not want him to know what I had done until the package left Turkey and I was certain that he couldn’t divert it.
Between the time that I confirmed him as a scammer via RS and when I got the package back, about 2 or 3 weeks went by. I continued to interact with my scammer, and I have since learned that what I was doing was a form of baiting. I’d chat with him and try to guess how old he really was by his answers to questions like how old he was when he first got a cell phone. I’d catch him in lies and call him on them. He’d give some excuse, call me silly, and I’d go along with him. This went on until my scammer found out that I had posted him on RS, and he called to confront me.
He threatened me, gave me a 24 hour ultimatum. Once that 24 hours passed, he dropped me. I have not heard from him since.
The day that I got that package back was such a feeling of victory! I spent money on shipping, customs fees, and phone calls, but nothing that I spent went to the scammer.
But my sense of ‘outwitting’ him didn’t end there.
He had started saying things like ‘I love you more than you will ever know’. I only ever said that to him once. It was the day that I posted him on RS. That night, we talked about unconditional love, and I told him there were things that I could do that would make him not love me. He disagreed, of course, but he didn’t yet know that I had just posted all of the details he’d given me on RS. At the end of that session, I told him that I loved him more than he would ever know. To me, I was really saying goodbye to a fantasy. He didn’t recognize it, but for me, I was ending things on my terms. He just didn’t need to know that….because the ipad was still in transit….and I spent the next 2 weeks pretending to still be hooked.
After this, there were 3 more victories for me over my scammer. I was the first to post this scammer on RS. Three other victims found my post. And our stories enmeshed. I am using the names as they posted them in my thread.
- AlmostBit2 – She had not yet sent any money, but my posting exposed the scammer and protected her. She confronted him. Because of this, he knew that I had posted him on RS. He called me and confronted me. Threatened me.
- ALOT – She is the one who tried to send me $500 to relay, the moneygram that I refused. She was also a victim of this scammer. She did lose that $500 to him – he gave her a different name to send it to. But because she found my post, my scammer was exposed again.
- Caringsister – This one is harder. The brother of a woman who was also being scammed found my post. It was enough to convince him that she was being scammed. Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough for his sister. Last I knew, she had sent an ipad and refused to believe he was a scammer. The situation was tearing their family apart.
Pinky did contact the person whose photos were used in our scam. He is yet another victim. He added a disclaimer on his facebook page: “Just learned a criminal going by Alfred is using my images to scam women out of money because he is financially trapped in Africa or Malaysia! Don't give this bastard a dime!”
My story is long because it was complicated. There were at least 4 concurrent victims of this scammer, my posting alerted the other 3, and our scams impacted each other. But in the end, I feel like I won. I got my ipad back. I exposed my scammer to three other victims. I got to say goodbye on my own terms (scammer didn’t know I was doing so, but it was for my benefit, not his.) I got my first taste of baiting.
Since then, I’ve gone on to do other baits, with mentoring from Slappy and Frumpy. The most fun so far has been Harry and Lola, where my cobaiter duckhunter introduced me to some great baiting toys.
I went on a radio program with Pinky to talk about romance scams. I expect to return to that show in the fall with Slappy and Bluefox to talk about this site.
And I’ve made some great friends in this anti-scam community.
Last edited by almost_bit
on Sun May 13, 2012 4:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.