Senior loses over $64K in online romance scam
Sean Irvine, CTV London
Published Friday, March 29, 2019 1:30PM EDT
She lost $64,000 in an online scam, all in the name of love.
CTV News has protected her identity, and given her the moniker ‘Beverley.’
In late 2017, the senior was interested in finding love, when a friend request appeared on Facebook.
“It said that we had one friend in common,” she says, so when he reached out she felt comfortable talking to him.
An online romance lasting three months began, with three times a day texting back and forth.
But Beverley would never meet the man who claimed to be in the U.S. military.
“He said he was a three-star general due for retirement.”
As the relationship quickly grew, she suddenly received word there had been an attack on his base.
By that time she’d already fallen for him, “hook, line and sinker” and was worried about him.
So when he asked for help to get home, money he didn’t have because a private business bankruptcy had impacted his finances, Beverley sent him the $3,000.
A short time later Beverley says she received a message about suitcases being held at the airport, and the man needing $30,000 in local taxes or their dream of being together would be delayed.
Beverley says, “And I kept saying, I can’t do it, I can’t do it…I kept thinking something isn’t right, I kept getting this gut feeling, but instead of listening to my gut feeling, I was listening to my heart.”
Beverly sent the money.
Then, amazingly, another message like this came back saying there’d been a plane crash, “To get home, in my leave window, I’ll have to charter a plane with some others.”
Again, he sent seemingly legitimate banking information with his request.
Beverley got the money by exhausting all of her assets. The total of what she had now sent him reaching more than $64,000.
“I’d pawned jewelry, everything to get this money,” she says. “Now it just sounds so crazy, how I got caught up in all that…I made the wrong decisions and I think I’ve paid for it.”
Shortly after the last money order was sent, Beverley realized her love was not coming home and contacted London police.
Meanwhile, she was forced to re-mortgage her house, and for her - worst of all - admit to others she’d be scammed.
“Now I have to come clean to my kids, that was so hard. It was so hard.”
London police Det. Amanda Pfeffer says, “I hear that people believe frauds to be victimless crimes, and that could not be farther from the truth. As in this case, this woman was victimized, not only financially, but emotionally.”
Pfeffer adds that if someone asks you for money, and you have not met them, it’s an attempt at fraud.
Police say romance scams, are growing across Canada, with people of all ages taken in, and people shouldn’t be ashamed, but should reach out to police for help.
Beverley now hopes her story will help others recognize how quickly emotions can cloud your judgement.
“I said, when he asked for money, that will be it. But it wasn’t it, because I was so emotionally involved by that time.”