A Classic Romance Scam

Like many other ladies nowadays, occasionally, I met a man online. I admit, so far, I haven’t been fortunate with online acquaintances. But you never know there might be one who is different than ‘all the others’, right? I decided to give it a chance instead of blocking the try before he can barely say more than a few words.

Number 1 – decided he’d rather play golf and watch movies than talking to me.

Number 2 – an excellent converser, highly intelligent, funny, humorous – and picky. He took me out on a date – outside dining right by the ocean on Santa Monica beach – we had a wonderful dinner, great conversation – and I got the worst flu I had in the past 28 years – and never heard from him again.

Number 3 – Jackpot!! That was probably the sweetest guy I ever ‘met.’ Handsome too! Of course, there was the occasional flaw (like the same first name my ex-boyfriend had and a couple of other little things ), but I thought there was nothing intolerable. We were unable to meet right away since he had a big project going on and needed to go to Europe on a business trip – he had to prepare different things. And I got sick.  Even though he wanted to ‘meet’ in a video call, I refused to do so. I want to meet a man for the first time when I’m fit, healthy, and styled… hair and makeup done – and so on… and not sitting home, sniffing with a stuffy nose and in my pj’s… We therefore texted, talked on the phone, and emailed. What a sweet man… We were talking about meeting after his return, seeing how it works out, things like that. There was nothing suspicious. I usually am immediately alarmed if a guy I never saw before talks about love, but he did nothing like that!

One day, about a week before Easter,  he went on his business trip. I said I would miss the calls since his phone roaming would cost him so much, but he assured me he had the perfect international phone plan. I suggested connecting on Messenger or WhatsApp, which would make calls for free. However, he still insisted, everything was ok, and it wouldn’t cost him anything more to call me, nor would I have to pay. (Interesting. I know about the roaming costs in Europe with U.S. phones… international plan, or not, it sure as hell ain’t for free) Well, I figured, if he insists, fine. I still told a friend of mine, when it comes to me, he could sit somewhere around the corner – I can’t check that. He insisted he was in Eastern Europe somewhere in the forest – and still sounded like standing next to me.

Shortly before he was supposed to come back, something in his project went wrong. There was a machine failing; one of the workers got injured, he worked like a maniac and still couldn’t get things fixed. He had not calculated his budget with the last resort’s assets, and he needed big bucks to get his project going. Otherwise, he could lose everything. A while later, he tells me, his phone got damaged when he tried to make that machine work, and he can barely do much. He’s happy he still can text, but then, after a while, the call function worked too. He talked to a friend and a business associate, and they both are going to help him out financially.

I had never offered any help, and I was thinking by myself over and over again, “please, don’t ask me for money – please don’t ask me for money…”

In the last call, he tells me he couldn’t bring the price down any further. He was desperate – and he was still $5,500 short. Could I please…?

My answer was short and clear: “No.”

He was almost crying… “But you know how much that project means to me. And I’ll give it back to you as soon as I return.” I’m a bit firmer: “I cannot help you.” He is desperate now. “Can you not, or do you not want to…?” And I replied: “It doesn’t matter. I wish you had never asked.” He tells me. “I’ll keep you updated.” And I replied. “Sure… sure.” Convinced I’ll never hear from him again. Shortly after, his profile was gone from my list.

And that was that…


Now, am I surprised this happened? To my astonishment, no. If something seems to be too good to be true, it mostly is.

I was even asked once ‘…but sometimes things aren’t going as planned; what if he sits there, in Eastern Europe and does have a problem? And I had to answer: “Sorry… then it’s not my problem. It’s his project. I worked as a project manager. Your budget is supposed to entail a percentage for emergencies. Calling me ‘sweetheart’ does not give anyone access to my bank account. – And if he took the risk and it didn’t work out – find a way to solve the problem without my money.” 

That doesn’t mean I cannot do my research. Apparently, the pictures the man sent me seemed accurate; at least they didn’t show up anywhere else. The phone number he gave me was connected to a company website that appeared to be his, but: There was no address, just a contact form, which seems weird to me, considering that it’s supposed to be a trading company. That only means that I might have heard half-truths and that this ‘company’ was only ‘founded’ for particular that purpose – for scams.

Also, the IP address was located about 18 miles Northwest of where he said his house and office were located. However, that doesn’t say much; after all, I’m using a proxy server too.

I did a little digging and found an article about Romance Scams on the ‘Better Business Bureau’ website. When I was done reading, I laughed. My case couldn’t have been more ‘typical.’ It was almost point-by-point following the original scheme. The article I relate to can be found here: BBB Tip: Romance Scams.

Now, please, don’t feel sorry for me! That isn’t a case where I need people to pity me. He tried and lost. I’m not heartbroken! I published this post for two reasons: Number 1 – as a warning!

  1. Ladies – watch out there! This guy isn’t the only one to try.
  2. Always keep in mind: if it seems to be too good to be true – it probably is!
  3. Listen to your gut feeling. The slightest doubt – and you go digging. Please do it! It can save you from possibly making a bad mistake.

And number 2: to the scammers out there:

Yes, I would love to be in a relationship and have someone by my side but make no mistake: I’m not desperate.

 

Picture Google.co

Contest Caution: The Sunday Times Audible Short Story Award – Written By Victoria Strauss

On the ‘Writer Beware’ blog, I found a warning about ‘The Sunday Times Audible Short Story Award. Thank you for your ongoing and relentless effort to keep us informed and cautious about the dangers in the writer’s world!


Posted by Victoria Strauss for Writer Beware®

Founded in 2010, The Sunday Times Audible Short Story Award bills itself as “the richest prize for a single short story in the English language.” And indeed, the prize is major: the winner receives a cool £30,000 (no, I did not add extra zeroes.)

With judges yet to be finalized, the selection process will include a 20-story longlist announced in May 2020, a six-story shortlist unveiled in June 2020, and the winner revealed on July 2. The shortlisted stories will be published in an Audible audiobook, with included writers receiving “an extra £1,000 fee, on top of a prize payment of £1,000”. To be eligible, writers must previously have had at least one work published in the UK or Ireland by an “established print publisher or an established printed magazine” (the Terms and Conditions include an extensive list of the kinds of publishers and magazines that don’t qualify). The contest is open for entries until 6:00 pm on December 13.

Continue Reading Here

…Author, Frank Westworth reveals some of the dangers lurking for we scribblers…

Seumas Gallacher publishes a guest post, written by wise, unique and gifted author Frank Westworth. Thank you Seumas and Frank to provide us with this article of warning!

Seumas Gallacher

…any seriousHarley-Davidson rider, who also writes great books and gets playing blues guitar, automatically commands my attention… Author friend, Frank Westworth, is no exception in that regard… have a read of his WURDS of wisdom…

Unsafe Spaces

Frank Westworth’s new crime-thriller, ‘The Redemption Of Charm’, arrives at the end of March. In the meanwhile he ponders a topical peril of political correctness…

Writers have a problem. Readers. OK, so writers have many problems, among them … readers. What do readers do which is a problem for writers? Surely they’ve paid their sixpence, bought the book, and everyone is happy. What can possibly go wrong? What goes wrong is that readers sometimes read the books they’ve bought. No no, do not doubt me, for I know this to be true. It gets worse. After reading some of the book some readers write to the writer – to the author…

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Beauty, Danger and Pride – A Riddle

Picture courtesy of: http://www.barryrhodes.com/2011/12/new-year-rules-riddle.html
Picture courtesy of: http://www.barryrhodes.com/2011/12/new-year-rules-riddle.html

 


 

The sharpest eye in animal world

is said this bird does own,

He sees a mouse between the rocks

no matter how high he’s flown.

**

He is a predator, of beauty and strength

a symbol of power to all,

when he circles the skies with majestic pride

and is always successful in haul.

**

Unexpected, hidden and in shocking speed

he falls out of the big blue skies,

there’s not the slightest chance to  escape

when his screaming doomed prey dies.

**

He is family bound, this beautiful creature

doing for kids whatever he can.

He will hunt and protect, no matter what costs

to protect his kids and his clan.

**

A symbol for humans, for us who admire

this fantastic animal who is our sign

for hope, for pride, for solidarity

a strong picture who shows us to shine.

**

With his white head and tail, his chocolate wings

his strength and his power are pure and true;

a symbol, a guidepost for our country’s hope

the epitome of the Red, White and Blue!

*****

(Copyright, Aurora Jean Alexander, January 2016)

 

 

Picture courtesy of: http://www.zmescience.com/ecology/animals-ecology/american-bald-eagle-endangered-17022015/
Picture courtesy of: http://www.zmescience.com/ecology/animals-ecology/american-bald-eagle-endangered-17022015/

Dangerous Darkness – A Riddle

When sunbeams shine on skies above

light the world , the fields and all thereof.

Deep in the woods where it’s cool and dark

the life of danger’s set to park…

**

Sleep comes easy, rest does too,

It’s important to let strength re-new.

The night will be another fight

to get the pray and some to bite.

**

Finally from dusk to dawn

the time has come to test the brawn.

in silence and with secret swings

the danger has prepared its wings.

**

Soundless floating on the wind

it finds its victim, has it pinned.

A cry in highest pitch and pain

and the predator has won his gain.

**

Quickly carrying it to hide.

three beaks to feed with strength and pride.

The night just started, much to do

mommy flies – for kids to chew.

**

No prey will have the time to fear

death will come, with none to hear.

No sound, no smell, it will go fast.

And no memory to even last.

**

The predator will eat it whole

later we’ll find them by the pole.

A pellet out of bones and fur

a victim’s life, gone in a blur.

**

But danger’s kids will proudly grow

to become more predators to show.

Beautiful and lethal, in secret to hide

More danger, more murder in silence to glide.

**

Adjusting with nature, in dawn and light

during night and day a beautiful sight.

Eyes like candles , attentive and wise

a master of death and in disguise.

**

Of course this danger is protected in weathers

covered from head to toe in feathers.

Something some call without respect “fowl”

I’m talking, no doubt, about the beautiful owl.

**

Copyright, Aurora Jean Alexander, August 2015

Picture courtesy of: http://10000birds.com/great-gray-owl-seeing-the-ghost.htm#prettyPhoto
Picture courtesy of: http://10000birds.com/great-gray-owl-seeing-the-ghost.htm#prettyPhoto