Being Scammed Can Happen To Anyone
In this post, I wanted to share how I almost fell for a romance scam. After listening to the recent podcast, How to Money with Joel and Matt. Their Episode 485, Sneakier Scams Targeting Younger Folks, talked about several different scams, and tips on how to protect yourself.
Romance Scams Way Up In 2021
There was a lot of great information shared, and I learned a lot from listening to this one. They mentioned that Romance Scams were way up. The FBI stating that victims of romance fraud lose $1 billion in 2021. This reminded me, and I wanted to share an experience I had, on how I almost fell for a scam.
Being a single guy, I occasionally use current dating apps in hopes of finding a potential match. In this particular situation, I was using the App Hinge. You’ve probably seen their commercials, with the tagline, “The App That Wants’s To Be Deleted.”
I typically chat with matches within the app and see if there is an initial connection. Usually for several interactions, or a week or two. It can depend on how you feel. It can depend on if you are getting good vibes or not? It’s kinda hard to measure, but I’ll then ask if they are comfortable exchanging numbers.
Texting in The App
Once we migrate or progress to texting, I and the potential match continue to communicate over Text or iMessage over the next week or two. This is, again, a feeling. It may include a FaceTime or a phone call, ya know if you are old school. If I feel there is a connection I’ll ask to meet in person over coffee or drinks. There have been times, that the girl immediately asks if I’m on WhatsApp. When this happens, I kindly decline and unmatch.
Let’s look at how this one match progressed, and how I was taken for a fool. I had matched with a woman, who was in her mid-thirties. We begin to chat within the app. She was a single Mom with a 4-year-old and was a bit further away than my typical matches. Sometimes when I’m not getting many matches, I’ll push the location out to about 60 miles. Ya never know! I have a friend that made a relationship work over an hour away at first, and they’ve been together for years. This match and I chatted about our mutual appreciation of horror movies and Thai food. We continued with small talk for over a week within the app. This entire time seemed normal. She’d ask how my day was. She’d ask what I made for dinner? What I liked to do outside of work, where I went to school. All normal conversation when getting to know someone.
Getting the Digits
After some time, I asked if she was comfortable exchanging numbers. We began texting, and it seemed to be a normal conversation for the next several days. In our random chats, She’d be making macaroni and cheese for her daughter or watching a Disney movie with her. She’d send me adorable photos of her snuggling with her little one. This woman said she was a hairstylist, and would occasionally tell me she’d have her mom watch her daughter while she worked shifts.
There were times she’d mention how her phone wasn’t working right and needed a new one. It was kinda weird, but at the time, and originally I didn’t think anything about it.
Meeting in IRL
I had then asked if we can meet for coffee or lunch. Knowing that we were about an hour away, I found a cafe about halfway. She agreed! I was excited to finally meet in person and see if we’d click in real life. We had made plans to meet on a Saturday for lunch, and we’d firm up plans that morning, and what time we’d each need to leave.
The morning of the lunch date came, I hadn’t heard from her. I texted and asked if we were still on after some time I did get a reply saying that she still wanted to meet but her car was in the shop.
Hearing this news, I was concerned and asked “Are you Okay! Did something happen?”
She replied that she had brought her car to the shop to get the brakes done, and now she doesn’t have any money to pay them.
Ahhhh… what?! I confirmed, she said she took her car to the shop. Her car was currently in the shop. Getting her brakes done, but didn’t have any money to get her car out of the shop.
When You Find Out You’ve Been Had
Are you shitting me?! My heart sunk… hard and fast. I immediately understood what was happening. I felt like an absolute fool. Then I started running through my mind, that this woman may have been doing this with dozens of guys at the same time. I’m sure there are some guys that would send Money. It just makes me sick to my stomach.
I did not send any money, and when I told her I couldn’t, that was the last message I heard from her.
I did pay for a service to reverse lookup her phone number I discovered it was a Google Voice number.
Hiding Behind Google Voice
Side Note: If you are a single, woman, I understand why some would be reluctant to give out their actual phone number. It sucks that there are douche bag pricks that would treat a lady poorly, and they’d need to do this, but I totally understand why they would need to.
Ashamed and Embarrassed
I was ashamed and embarrassed. I originally took screenshots of conversations, and had saved many of the photos….but in a fit of anger and disappointment, I had since deleted them, and then blocked the number.
Thanks for allowing me to be a little vulnerable here, and let others know, that scams can happen to anyone.