Woman spends 2.5 years in Argentinian prison after falling victim to romance scam

Trusting your gut, rather than your heart, goes a long way in the world of online dating.

Woman spends 2.5 years in Argentinian prison after falling victim to romance scam

A New Zealand woman spent two and a half years in prison after she fell for an online romance scam.

Sharon ArmstrongOn Wednesday, Sharon Armstrong, 59, recounted her story at a Queensland University of Technology symposium on the reality of romance fraud.

It all started several years ago when Armstrong signed up for an online dating site, met a guy, and "fell hard and fast" in her words. As Armstrong told news.com.au:

"He talked about our future together. There were daily phone calls, emails, texts. When my computer was later analyzed they found more than 7000 emails. But nothing visual. There was always an excuse for why he couldn’t Skype. Now I realize that for those 5.5 months I was being groomed very well through a number of tests to see if I could be trusted."

Apparently, Armstrong passed all the tests.

Several months into their relationship, the scammer asked if Armstrong could travel to Buenos Aires, pick up a contract from a local company, and deliver it to him in London.

Armstrong researched the company and determined it was legitimate. Additionally, while other dating scammers have asked for money from their victims, this particular fraudster agreed to pay for Armstrong's airfare both ways.

So she got on a plane and traveled to Argentinian hotel, where a suitcase awaited her. She found no documents in the suitcase, but the scammer told her the contract had been placed in the lining.

"He said it was a large contract, there was lots of secrecy around it, but if I wanted to, I could lift up the lining and have a look. I never pulled up the lining. Part of me was telling myself 'You’re being paranoid'. I just thought 'You know what I trust this man. He would never do this'."

Unfortunately, Armstrong couldn't have been more wrong.

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Security personnel stopped Armstrong at the airport and told her she was carrying something unusual in her luggage. After going through her belongings, they ultimately found three long packages of cocaine in the lining of her suitcase.

The woman was arrested and ended up spending the next two and a half years in an Argentinian prison.

Notwithstanding the prison sentence, Armstrong is glad things didn't turn out worse:

"I learnt early on that I didn’t want to remain a victim. I dealt with the betrayal, the whole set up while I was in prison. If I had made it to London and the authorities hadn’t got to me, I may not even be here. After they received that suitcase they would have slit my throat and left me on some street. I’m lucky I wasn’t sent to a country where they have the death penalty for drug offenses. I’m grateful. The prison wasn’t flash but there are a lot of worse places to be."

She hopes her story can help the public stop blaming those who fall victim to romance scams.

As for those who choose to try online dating, Armstrong urges lots of care:

"If I had any advice it would be to listen to your gut. It’s hard because when you have those rose-colored glasses on, you don’t want them shattered. But if something feels too good to be true, then it probably is. If you’ve been talking to someone online but you’ve never seen their face and they ask you for money, or to go overseas, just don’t."

If you think you have fallen victim to a romance scam, please alert the local authorities. If you provided financial details to someone online and feel you have been a victim of fraud, contact your bank.

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88 Responses

  1. cranstn rainston

    June 3, 2016 at 11:34 am #

    its amazing there are people out there that still fall for this

    • Joyce M. Short in reply to cranstn rainston.

      June 4, 2016 at 7:13 am #

      Scammers are very good at what they do. Anyone can get scammed, including you!

      • Camille in reply to Joyce M. Short.

        July 12, 2016 at 5:27 am #

        I've told a couple of them to take a flying leap. Not all of us fall for it so easily. In fact, I get easily annoyed by guys trying to scam me on Facebook.

      • Lara in reply to Joyce M. Short.

        September 27, 2016 at 11:33 am #

        Exactly. And this is the trap of scams because everyone thinks they are smarter than victims and will never fall for it! Scammers would like them.

    • coyote in reply to cranstn rainston.

      June 4, 2016 at 9:08 pm #

      You think that, do you? Well here's what I think (actually I know it):

      It's not amazing that people blame the victim; it's far too common. Why? Because too many people (e.g. YOU) are *bloody cowards* who are too afraid (weak!) to stand up for others.

      People like you are filth and an absolute disgrace even considering being a human. You should be sterilised at the very least. Think I'm being far too harsh? Well maybe it's more like I have known too many people (one is too many but I've known several) – some who are very close to me and some who weren't but I was one of the only ones they could trust … they knew it by my conduct – who have been damaged beyond repair through sexual assault – and then also blamed for it. You're an extremely disgusting human being as is anyone who is so callous as to blame people for being manipulated, assaulted, encouraging (and participating) in stigmatising people (which actually encourages further abuse). The fact people approved of your message actually proves my points exactly.

    • Lara in reply to cranstn rainston.

      September 27, 2016 at 11:32 am #

      "Still" falling for scams? Don't you know scamming is one of the oldest crimes ever existed since the advent of intelligence? Pfff……… Can't believe there are people like YOU still saying sh*ts like this.

    • Lara in reply to cranstn rainston.

      September 27, 2016 at 4:43 pm #

      Is it? Scamming is one of the oldest crimes in human history since the advent of the intelligence. Why is it so hard to believe there are scammers and victims out there. It has been that way and it will always be that way too. Crimes do not go away.

      "People" you say, can you think of any other animals who fall for this? Why do you think people fall for that? Because we have heart to be played around empathy to be abused with. You wanna call it "stupid", go ahead. I'd rather be born with heart and empathy than not, like scammers they are completely void of it.

      Would you rather be a victim or be a scammer? – pls dont give me "I will never fall for anything because I am the smartest arse in the world" that's a bullshit we know that, right?

  2. SteveB

    June 3, 2016 at 11:55 am #

    I have a job where I just sit for long hours doing not much… so I spend it reporting these scammer profiles on dating sites. Without much effort, I can find dozens every single day. And as soon as they're taken down, new ones pop right back up.

    • Arthur in reply to SteveB.

      September 5, 2016 at 1:29 pm #

      Maybe a bit late, but if you have that many spare time, you can play the game with them and keep those scammers out of the street. You know that they are scammers, so every minute they pay attention to you, is a waste of time for them which they cannot spend to others.
      Assume that you could reach this 'incident'. You got the tickets, you say you travelled to Buenos Aires but it ends that you cannot find the guy who should hand you over the suitcase. There your game could end.
      Once, I had to pick up a box in Ireland, my bonus should be 20k euro. So, I searched for the flights on the internet, made some tickets (just with MS-Word), photoshopped two selvies and act as if I went to Dublin. I even was able to spend more time on this scam, because I couldn't find 'my man', but I had to catch my return flight. So I blamed him and demanded my money spend on the ticket. It is really fun, however, I really missing the real situation what's happening at the airport of Dublin. I hope the local security could pick him up.
      The whole contact took about 4 weeks, so 4 weeks that they couldn't spend time to someone else and I enjoyed it to cheat the cheater.
      So, my advise is: If you know you are dealing with a scammer, keep them busy as long as possible. But be aware, after one or two days, they try to contact you with another account, just to verify you. But don't blame the victims; some scammers are really smart.

      • Lara in reply to Arthur.

        September 27, 2016 at 11:36 am #

        Scam baiting needs cautions. Pls read about it online before deeply engaged into it. They are global criminal syndicate with terrorist connections, many of them not all, if they know you know they are scammers they will send you malware to spy on your device to steel information to use for identity theft etc. FBI has warned about this too.

        Safe scam baiting!

    • Lara in reply to SteveB.

      September 27, 2016 at 11:31 am #

      Good work. :)

      Are you reporting it on Romance Scam website not only on dating sites? Pls post the info of the scammers including profile names, phone number, email address you got so that potential victims can search online when they are just about to get scammed and you can save their lives!

      http://www.romancescam.com/

  3. Ken

    June 3, 2016 at 12:06 pm #

    If there's anything to genetics, thank God they didn't have any children. At least half of them would have been idiots.

    • Lara in reply to Ken.

      September 27, 2016 at 11:38 am #

      Spotted a criminal sympathizer. Victim shaming is your state of art is it?

  4. Marcus

    June 3, 2016 at 12:24 pm #

    Seriously? it didn't raise any red flags when she was asked to go pick up a package and deliver it? stupid woman- deserves what she got

    • Lulumay in reply to Marcus.

      June 3, 2016 at 3:28 pm #

      It's a true indication about how lonely so many people in this country are. Lack of strong family ties, numerous single living conditions and obsession with our phones 24/7, some even sleep with their phones. That lack of human touch and caring causes so many to rely on the "machine" for gratification, and nothing is worst than a middle age woman looking for "LOVE"

      • bcjdhkk in reply to Lulumay.

        June 3, 2016 at 4:00 pm #

        Lulumay, but "this country" you mean New Zealand? It sounds like many places around the world from the rest of your description. @Marcus, it was almost 6 months into the "relationship" that she did this. It should have not gone on that long – a big red flag was the no visual/physical meeting in all that time. Many older people don't get the signs of being "catfished" but then again, obviously younger people fall for it too.

        • Lara in reply to bcjdhkk.

          September 27, 2016 at 11:42 am #

          As you said, younger people do get fall for it too. Though younger people are not the target because they got no money,

          "Old" "Lonely" for victim profiling is wrong. That is a misinformed media contribution to making people think "I am fine, I am not old, I am not lonely, I am educated". A lot of victims are educated otherwise what do people think where the money (they send to the scammers) come from?

      • Lara in reply to Lulumay.

        September 27, 2016 at 11:39 am #

        No. "Loneliness" is a wrong word. Not everyone who get scammed are lonely in fact. You think you are not lonely, you are not old, you are not stupid, you will never fall for the trap. Well, think of what exactly educated you then, articles like these. You should THANK the victims.

    • coyote in reply to Marcus.

      June 4, 2016 at 9:19 pm #

      And you too should be sterilised for blaming the victim. Even if she is stupid (which you don't know her so calling her stupid only shows how ignorant you really are) she doesn't deserve it. Not even extremely weak, pathetic, cowards like you truly deserve to be manipulated (although if anyone has to be hurt it should be people like you who either harm others or sympathise with those who cause others harm).

      • Lara in reply to coyote.

        September 27, 2016 at 11:43 am #

        Victim shaming ever ends. Shame side of the human psychology same as the mentality of scammers.

  5. Jim

    June 3, 2016 at 12:30 pm #

    Stupid is as stupid does.

  6. David Michael

    June 3, 2016 at 1:08 pm #

    Why would the public stop blaming people who fall for these scams? A contract in the lining of a briefcase? Really?

    • Roland in reply to David Michael.

      June 3, 2016 at 6:42 pm #

      Of course what the perp should have done was have some fake contract written in unintelligible legaleze sitting inside the briefcase. Poor planning on the crooks part

    • coyote in reply to David Michael.

      June 4, 2016 at 9:23 pm #

      The same reason people (i.e. you it appears) would (that is should) stop blaming the victim of all crimes. Unfortunately they don't because far too many are too weak and too cowardly. FYI some people (esp the elderly) have harder problems putting things together AND in addition even the most clear headed person can be cheated. Some also have learning disabilities where they truly can't grasp these things.

    • Lara in reply to David Michael.

      September 27, 2016 at 11:45 am #

      Why would the public? Because the "public" loves blood, loves the smell of it. Loves innocent "stupid people" so they consider shedding blood and in pain. Public always AWALY loved watching it because it makes them feel good and better than those "stupid people". Simple as that.

  7. J_V

    June 3, 2016 at 1:14 pm #

    Anyone who say's "learnt" deserves 2 go 2 prison…….

    • languagelearner in reply to J_V.

      June 3, 2016 at 2:07 pm #

      Learnt is the British spelling….

    • Graham Cluley in reply to J_V.

      June 3, 2016 at 2:17 pm #

      I'm not sure if you're joshing or not, but just in case…

      I think you meant "says" rather than "say's".

      And you probably mean "to" rather than "2".

      And "learnt" is just fine in the country I learnt English. Which was England. :)

      • Bob in reply to Graham Cluley.

        June 6, 2016 at 9:04 pm #

        It's "sez" Dearie. As long as the commo is totally clear, without possibility of misunderstanding, they're is no real reason to quibble is their?

    • coyote in reply to J_V.

      June 4, 2016 at 9:33 pm #

      Yeah and you deserve to have to repeat school (particularly learning 'English'). On second thought perhaps it is more like you need to learn English rather than American. You might also consider learning that the Internet is worldwide and it so happens that Graham is English and therefore 'learnt' is perfectly acceptable. Your hypocrisy is amusing.

  8. Urban

    June 3, 2016 at 1:28 pm #

    She was probably a decoy. They use women like this so they can hold up airline police while the person with a larger amount of drugs passes through. Poor women.

  9. janice

    June 3, 2016 at 1:41 pm #

    how desperate do you have to be to get involved with online dating!!!!!

    • Graham Cluley in reply to janice.

      June 3, 2016 at 2:20 pm #

      I suspect it's one of the most common places people find love these days.

      More and more of us work from home, or work long hours which means we don't get to go down to the pub/ice rink/pottery class (delete as applicable for your favourite pick-up joint).

      We shouldn't really stigmatise folks who try to use the internet to make their lives happier and more fulfilling. They're doing it with good hearts, it's just that there are bad guys (and gals) out there waiting for an opportunity to exploit the unwary as well.

      Everyone should be careful.

    • TRavel in reply to janice.

      June 3, 2016 at 5:33 pm #

      Well, if it is to avoid judgemental people like you….

    • Phyllis in reply to janice.

      June 3, 2016 at 5:40 pm #

      Online dating, at least E-Harmony, worked well for me, it helped me to get to know myself and what I needed to look for in a mate better. Every single person that I was matched with and went out with I connected with on a deeply personal level and I feel like had we not met in such an awkward place we would still have been friends afterward because of how much we had in common, granted I met my spouse elsewhere, even though we were both on E-harmony at the same time but that is because he wasn't what I was looking for, I was looking for someone older, more physically attractive, it's one of those friendships turned into marriage kind of things but when it came to online dating I had a good time and it helped to prepare me for marriage because I got to know myself and what I needed better and I think that it helped to lead where I am now, a happily married woman going on 10 years.

      • Scott Hedrick in reply to Phyllis.

        June 6, 2016 at 4:03 pm #

        I met she who is my wife online when I wasn't even looking. I had looked online to date, I simply wasn't at the time I met my wife in a chat room. I was planning on moving and was in a chat room for people from that area, looking to find out more information about the area. My now wife was in the room and was willing to talk to me because she says I was the only guy not asking what she looked like. My brother had no respect for people looking online to date- as he said, "if those women were any good, they wouldn't need to go online to find a man." Ah, irony, when my wife flew out to meet me for the first time, part of her trip included my brother's wedding, to someone he met online. We married about 8 weeks after we met online, just celebrated 19 years.

    • Lara in reply to janice.

      September 27, 2016 at 11:47 am #

      Ah…. Are you from 19th century?

  10. Axixic

    June 3, 2016 at 1:48 pm #

    Pathetic that someone builds a love life in her mind. He, if it was a "he," was someone she dreamed up. Extremely stupid woman. She didn't question why a contract couldn't be sent by FedEx? She deserved more time in prison to keep her away from society and grow up.

    • DeAnnR in reply to Axixic.

      June 3, 2016 at 5:02 pm #

      The hook was that she would meet him in London. Not a good for someone whose face you have never seen. Anybody could have shown up and she might never be seen again.

    • Phyllis in reply to Axixic.

      June 3, 2016 at 5:41 pm #

      That is very mean Axixic.

    • coyote in reply to Axixic.

      June 4, 2016 at 9:36 pm #

      The one (of you two) who is immature is Axixic. So unless you're saying that you're this woman in disguise…

    • Lara in reply to Axixic.

      September 27, 2016 at 11:49 am #

      Pathetic that you are void of empathy. Like scammers. Are you one of them?

  11. Misty123

    June 3, 2016 at 2:12 pm #

    Education is the key this woman was a victim and learned from her mistake the hard way but she could have easily been killed. I believe she is doing the right thing by telling others what to watch out for. There are many women that have lost their life's savings to these scam artist. Countries should work together to prosecute these criminals.

    • Joyce M. Short in reply to Misty123.

      June 4, 2016 at 7:22 am #

      I'm working to create laws on Catfish Profiling. It's hard enough to get a state to pass a law, let alone countries or a group of cooperating countries. If you'd like to help, log onto #StopRapeByFraud

      • Lara in reply to Joyce M. Short.

        September 27, 2016 at 11:58 am #

        Would you like to elaborate that a little please? How do you actually try to do that? I just briefly checked your profile on Twitter and website. I don't think the dating website can stop people from creating fake-profiles and as an online dating website user, I don't particularly want to provide all my real information either.

    • Lara in reply to Misty123.

      September 27, 2016 at 11:51 am #

      10 is what happen 90 is how you react. This woman is very courageous. All the victim shamers here in the comment section, nothing happens to them yet look how they're reacting!!

  12. Cathy

    June 3, 2016 at 2:55 pm #

    Since no photos were exchanged, why didn't the Argentinian government send someone to impersonate this woman and catch the criminals. Maybe she could have gotten off for helping to stop the drug trafficking or at least a smaller prison sentence. Anyway, people, stop being scammed by online dating. If they "need" money to get out of the country or for "medical" reasons etc. that should be a red flag to you!

    • Lara in reply to Cathy.

      September 27, 2016 at 12:00 pm #

      "Anyway, people, stop being scammed by online dating", saying is easy.
      Why don't you setup an education website for people about the scamming if you dare to really want to stop or help?

      People, stop getting a cancer!
      People, stop getting hit by a bus!

  13. New Mexico Mark

    June 3, 2016 at 3:03 pm #

    "If you’ve been talking to someone online but you’ve never seen their face…"

    Her advice is still incomplete since she doesn't realize the depth some scammers go to in order to build a false persona. Many scammers (especially those tugging at heartstrings) provide lots of pictures and could even recruit another victim to woo their ultimate target, but of course, the pictures have no relationship to the actual scammer. The part that amazed me was that, even when encouraged, she didn't look behind the suitcase lining and find out what she was being asked to transport across national borders and through security checkpoints. Even if was a document, certain types of information can be far more dangerous than drugs. I feel sorry for anyone who falls for a scam, but I'm glad she is moving forward in a positive direction to warn others.

  14. bigun

    June 3, 2016 at 3:34 pm #

    the only thing she was a victim of was her own stupidity

    • Lara in reply to bigun.

      September 27, 2016 at 12:01 pm #

      And so are you…

  15. soledo

    June 3, 2016 at 3:50 pm #

    The scammer is a low life A H.

  16. Douglas

    June 3, 2016 at 4:06 pm #

    This woman should do the 2.5 in prison out of PURE STUPIDTY.

  17. WhoCares

    June 3, 2016 at 4:10 pm #

    1. Never do what she did. NEVER.
    2. If you can't meet the person in person with in one week. in public… Move on.
    3. If they can only talk with you at so & so times. Watch out. They could be married.
    4. if they are more then a Hr's drive from you. Move on.
    5. NEVER SEND MONEY…
    6. NEVER PAY TO JOIN A SITE.

  18. DeAnnR

    June 3, 2016 at 4:47 pm #

    It never ceases to amaze me that so many 50yo women fall for these Con Artist Casanovas. I have a girlfriend that refuses to believe she is being groomed for a Morroccan green card marriage scam right now.

    • Joyce M. Short in reply to DeAnnR.

      June 4, 2016 at 7:26 am #

      Have her read my blog…. it's totally free. She needs to be educated! #StpRapeByFraud

    • rubee in reply to DeAnnR.

      September 5, 2016 at 12:18 am #

      Its so sad to generalise about a certain group of people who for their own reasons need to date online I personally know of many amazing beautiful over 50yrs men an woman who have dated and still date online they are the lucky ones its easy to sit an judge another she did her time now she shares to help those that are vulnerable and in search for their true love ..for those looking for their romeoes or Juliet's I wish you luck an joy ROMANCE is still alive and you can find it if you stick with the rules of date sites
      I found my georgussss guy online and he's from Nigeria we have been together in the flesh now for two years and lmfao I'm over 50 god dam!!!!!!!

  19. Tats

    June 3, 2016 at 4:57 pm #

    Gaaah, they still make them this dumb?

  20. Paco

    June 3, 2016 at 5:16 pm #

    There is sucker born everyday.

  21. Chris P. Bacon

    June 3, 2016 at 5:31 pm #

    Another one of the oldest scams around!

    • Lara in reply to Chris P. Bacon.

      September 27, 2016 at 12:34 pm #

      Yes indeed the scamming is one of the oldest crimes every existed since the advent of intelligence. And it never goes away, neither will victim shamers. – see all these victim shaming comments!

  22. Angel Damask

    June 3, 2016 at 6:11 pm #

    Can you say "gullible" ?

    • Joyce M. Short in reply to Angel Damask.

      June 4, 2016 at 7:28 am #

      Can you say "positive valence" or do you not know the term?

  23. AMRS

    June 3, 2016 at 7:34 pm #

    Insanely unkind comments. This woman did something foolish (not stupid). She did even do a bit of research into the job that she was asked to do. We warn people all the time about someone on the Internet asking for money NOT for them offering you a plane ticket.

    Should she have been a bit more savvy? Yes. However, she is generously putting her story out so that others will not be so foolish. But commenters are mean and must feel superior to someone and today it is this woman.

    • coyote in reply to AMRS.

      June 4, 2016 at 9:40 pm #

      Yes and those who try to show superiority like these worthless cowards are actually the inferiors (if we're going to suggest it comes down to superiority/inferiority).

    • Lara in reply to AMRS.

      September 27, 2016 at 12:08 pm #

      Amazing isn't it? These victim shamers when I say "People like you protect the rapists and blame the victims" they go "I didn't say that, rapes are different!". They think they are somehow different from those victim shamers of rapes, somehow different from people who fall for traps in the lives.

      Falling is part of our lives but coming back up in living.
      This woman is doing well.
      Victims shamers will never come forward when something happens to them because they will never admit they too have fallen.

  24. Terry

    June 3, 2016 at 9:04 pm #

    That is why at the airport they ask you if you are carrying another persons bag. She knew what was in the suitcase. Smugglers and their employers will go to great trouble to shift blame.

  25. BobK

    June 3, 2016 at 11:26 pm #

    You were probably safer in jail (so you would not hurt yourself). How can any adult have a complete lack of skepticism and still be whole mentally?

    • Lara in reply to BobK.

      September 27, 2016 at 12:32 pm #

      Read the article again. "Complete lack of skepticism"? Gosh, why people like you, victim shamers always simplify everything? I guess for the easy for your simpleton to understand the complex issues isn't it?

  26. Ted A

    June 3, 2016 at 11:44 pm #

    How can anyone be so desperate for love that they fall for someone who they never see in person and travel round the world as a drug mule for them? Really, really sad.

    • Lara in reply to Ted A.

      September 27, 2016 at 12:30 pm #

      Where is the article did it say she was desperate?

      You can read up about romance scam or any financial scams. Not all of them fall in love either. There are red flags all along since the beginning you ignore because what you want overcomes the estimated loss. Say, OK US$15,000 is affordable. OK, travelling time is affordable. If that's all what you lose. Depends on your earnings. For some US$15,000 is a life saving for some it's a month salary. Say if US$15,000 is your month wage, you wouldn't think it is too bad to lose would you? But the trap of these crimes are, which YOU will also fall into, that this crime was carried by a global criminal syndicate and the loss was much bigger than the cash.

    • Lara in reply to Ted A.

      September 27, 2016 at 4:16 pm #

      Not everyone, and not maybe many of them fall for it because they were desperate. I wasn't. For me it was "OK, I can lose US$5,000 I earn a lot. Will see if he is really trying to scam me and if he does I will confront him!" and yes "he" (they, as a global criminal syndicate) scammed me as a result. I wasn't desperate, I wasn't lonely. I just didn't know anything about Nigerians or Nigerian scams.

      Check this out, an Assie TV show about romance scam. You know, the victims are not necessary as you think (or WISH!) desperate at all.

  27. Joyce M. Short

    June 4, 2016 at 7:11 am #

    What an amazing tale and what resilience this woman has shown! June 15th is TRUTH in ROMANCE DAY around the world! Help raise awareness about Romance Scams! Exchange IDs with new romance partners. #StopRapeByFraud

  28. Rainescloud

    June 4, 2016 at 8:16 am #

    So many ways to communicate with others, yet many people, even subconsciously, need some one to give them some kind words. There are so many people who feel alone, even if they are not. If the scammer can hit on the precise need that a persons subconscious recognizes, then they can be taken advantage of. It takes time, but scammers don't care what they say either. In everyday life, we have to deal with the obvious and the subtle levels of social interaction. This effort can help keep a conscious about what a person does and says in place. The internet is a whole other box of playground not-so-nice toys. Many of the automatic cues practiced over the years that makes one 'think' in real life, disappear as the sense of being anonymous moves in.

    Some of these questions are good ones, but thrown into the discussion without a sense of conscious. Sitting at the computer screen and being able to say anything and everything you might want to, adds a subtle rush for power. It is like the 'big man' syndrome. BurtX , for example, post mean comments on several different websites, when the comment is posted, once he has hit enter, there is the payoff. 'No one listens to me in my real life, but they have to in chat, so if I can make a few people feel bad, mad, or otherwise, then the day is not a total loss because I did it.' And, someone will come along to tell him his post is rather mean. Unfortunately, acknowledging the harsh comments is not the best idea because any argument about their own 'internet stupidity' is a challenge and that has its own rewards.

    This lady lost $ 15,000 and two and half years of her life. When she, who is a victim (regardless of her role in contributing, she is still a victim) see's the mean comments, it could make her feel even more violated than she does now, and two and half years of your life lost is a really long time to tell yourself everyday I know what I did and I am paying the price for it. Perhaps she has 'grown' as is suggested, that would be wonderful because I'd love for her to read the nonsense, and not even acknowledge its presence. She is now 59, and she lost a whole 2.5 years. Cyber bullying is a real source of concern. Right now, pretty much no one knows who you are when anonymous, but that will not be so for too much longer. If you want to let your mean side all hang out, I believe that is what email was invented for. Just saying.

    PS: The questions are good. As they say "Google it" You will probably be shocked at what you get back, but you'll also be informed.

  29. coyote

    June 4, 2016 at 8:56 pm #

    'She hopes her story can help the public stop blaming those who fall victim to romance scams.'

    I appreciate what she's doing; however, she'll need much luck in the matter: the same goes for rape and other sexual assault. It's very often that the victim is the guilty one – even amongst family members including immediate family members! It's a disgrace.

    'As for those who choose to try online dating, Armstrong urges lots of care:'

    True what she says. However, you don't 'fall in love' with someone having never been with them in person. Any suggestion to the contrary is naive at the very best.

    • Lara in reply to coyote.

      September 27, 2016 at 12:25 pm #

      Many of them do fall in love or they thought they did. Who knows the magic of "love"? When we think about our exes, don't we also wonder why on earth did we fall for them too?? Some of them must have been illusions!!

      And many victims did not fall in love. They had doubt all along but they wanted to help. Psychology of this is very complicated. Red flag all the way yet, somewhere in you want to believe "Well, OK, all I will lose is US$5,000 that's affordable!". In this case, I guess she thought all she would lose was the time of travelling.

      The post is, if you have never heard of some crime, you are gullible to fall for it. And there are tens of millions of crimes in every shapes exist. Scamming is one of the oldest crime since the advent of intelligence.

  30. erika

    June 5, 2016 at 12:14 am #

    im sorry but this woman is an idiot

  31. Andy Bob

    July 25, 2016 at 8:13 pm #

    I am called Alexander Bob, a widower and I use Skype to communicate with my family and friends around the globe.

    One evening I received a request from a girl named Ann from West Africa and she was good looking when she turned in her webcam. She was single and searching for a man so I have a try if she could become my wife.we agreed that she visit me and I paid all necessary cost for her traveling and it happened that she was arrested at the airport for various reason so I have to pay money for her bail – which I did and we scheduled another date and she had a reason not to come again.

    Was so furious I searched online and contacted the Ghana Crime Unit (info.ghanapolice at consultant dot com) and sent all Ann pics and was redirected to a model website.

    I was eager to catch this girl and set her up with a western union transfer and she was arrested.

    Beware of scam.

    • Lara in reply to Andy Bob.

      September 27, 2016 at 12:20 pm #

      Did "she" get arrested?

  32. Andy Bob

    September 10, 2016 at 8:29 pm #

    I had been a victim to Ghaba scam where the lady named Elizabeth , found me on Skyoe and we became good aquintance then she wrote love letters to me each other,am a widow I suggested to fall in love again and paid all her traveling expenses but there was always an excuse then I felt it was a scam and reported to the Ghana Police ( info at police.gov.gh / service.ghanapolice0 at gmail.com.
    Beware of scam and report now

    • Lara in reply to Andy Bob.

      September 27, 2016 at 12:19 pm #

      Sorry that you were scammed. Please post all the information you have about "her" including full name "she" used, email, phone number, Skype address. This will help potential victims right now in the contact with "her" to search online, find your post and be saved. This is one revenge you can do and one healing for you to save others.

      You can also post in http://www.romancescam.com/ too.

      "She" is not a woman, "she" is a global criminal syndicate operating large cross border. They will never be caught.

    • Wendy in reply to Andy Bob.

      March 25, 2017 at 6:06 am #

      This sounds like a scammer. As if the Ghana police can be contacted via a gmail account. Now scammers are trying to scam those who have already been scammed. Probably by saying something like "we have caught the scammer and recovered the lost funds. Please give your bank account info so we can deposit them."

  33. Lara

    September 27, 2016 at 4:37 pm #

    All these victim shamers will never fall in romance scams not because they are smart but because only nice people (stupid you call or not) fall for it. It comes from an empathy (wanting-to-help) which something victim shamers don't have.

    Someone you thought genuine is in need of help. If you are savvy then you would look up their info online and if you are lucky you can find out s/he is posted as a scammer already. For me, I searched online for "his" number too but it didn't show up because I typed with spaces in between county code and area code, what was posted was without.

    People want to believe "loneliness" or "desperation" drives victims, because it sounds more dramatic but in the reality many victims are not lonely or desperate. Some weren't not even in-love with the person they thought they were communicating to. I wasn't either.

    Check this out. An Aussie TV talk show about Romance Scam inviting victims, guys whose photos were abused by the scammers, police who chase scammers, person from Western Union. They discuss about romance scams in multilateral way. Only the ones who are absent are scammers themselves.

    • Lara in reply to Lara.

      September 27, 2016 at 5:51 pm #

      Here, from the video. Comments by experienced police who have been on romance scam cases summarize it all.

      —————————————————————————–
      Show host: "Who do you think you would be most likely vulnerable to these scams"

      Police: "Look, WE ARE ALL VULNERABLE. No one is excluded from that statement. If you were approached with the right story at the right timing of your life, you might well fall into the scam."

      Show host: "Why do you say that with such a confident?"

      Police: "(Sigh) Because I have spoken to so many victims. Intelligent, articulate people that have lead immaculate lives made good judgement good decisions and all of the sudden, "heck how could I make that decision why couldn't I see the obvious?" But vulnerability in that point of their life means they wanted hopes. We go out and how many of us buy lottery tickets thinking a big jackpot coming up? Because we live in hope!"

  34. Eli

    November 25, 2016 at 9:56 am #

    That poor woman was a blatant mule that was used as bait so that the real load could leave the country easily. Mules swallow drugs, they get implants filled with drugs and she was given cocaine bricks inside linen ready to caught. But in legal terms, she was the smuggler.

  35. April

    February 10, 2017 at 2:01 am #

    I know someone who has been being scammed and he had sent her lots of money unfortunately but he now knows what she is doing and has stopped sending money but he is still texting her and we are trying to figure out how to get her caught. If you can tell me what to do to get this woman caught because she is still at this game doing this to other people sending nude pictures and all to get what she wants please tell me what to do to get her caught I need to know who I can call or what I can do please help me stop her. Oh yeah if you ever hear the name Nina Hopewell stay clear she is from Brazil she says & says she lives in Florida but she says that she is in Nigeria right now and she is a romance scammer will tell you that her father died and owned a oil company main office in Canada but that is a lie too her passport is fake everything about her is fake

  36. Andy bob

    August 10, 2017 at 2:01 pm #

    I met her on Skype as friends ,she was charming and lovely and I couldn't hide my feelings ,we arranged that she visit me in Paris and I paid all traveling expenses until she was arrested at the airport and wanted $20,000 for bail which I researched and found her lies,I contacted the Ghana Crime Unti(info.ghanapolice at consultant dot com) and she was arrested and not the girl in the pics I was chatting to..Beware of scam!

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