QI’ve been very stupid. I got involved with chatting a guy on line from overseas. I developed an on-line friendship with him and went and visited him. We had an amazing four days together. I revisited him once more, met a few of his friends, and for me there were fireworks sexually and emotionally. I completely fell for him. He wanted to visit me, but due to visa restrictions he needed to show he had enough funds in his bank to get a visa. So I transferred the funds over to him. I’ve not heard from his since. The money arrived in his bank account. He’s deleted his profile, his friends have not responded to calls, and last week I discovered I’ve contracted an STD. It’s treatable, but in the last two years I have only slept with him so it must be from him.
I’ve even sent letters, but two months have passed since he got the money. I spoke with his landlord who speaks very little English, and said he had left leaving lots of debts and unpaid rent. The money was all my savings. I feel so stupid. Have I been conned?
I am sorry to say it does seem to be the case. Contact your embassy in the country he was in, and they may be able to advise you on what measures you could take with the country’s authorities. Also speak with your bank to see if they can retract the money from the foreign bank account; however, as such a long time has elapsed, recovery is probably a long shot, but worth discussing.
This also needs to be a warning to our other readers. Beware of potential-lovers from other countries meeting you on social media. Some may well be genuine. But sure signs of a con are when they ask for money from you. In your case, you actually met the guy and spent time with him. But more often, these predators will court you online, they’ll try to develop intimacy very quickly (calling you pet names and telling you how much they love you). Then comes the story. Their situation. They have family who needs help, or they need to need to show proof of funds for a visa, or they’ll ask you to send money for a plane ticket. And as soon as that money arrives in their account, they are history.
Recently, the con-scenario of choice seems to be military personnel stationed overseas. The guy will send you photos (usually lifted from some other dating site), showing them in uniform with their friends. They’ll tell you they’re serving in Afghanistan or some other hot area. In this scenario, they will probably tell you they are about to be discharged, that their tour of duty is almost up, with the promise of seeing you soon. Your heart gets completely involved: playing on your sentiment toward “the troops” and getting excited about immanent love. We all have a sense of patriotism, and even when we disagree with the politics, we always want to seem to be supporting the troops. Mixing those emotions is a powerful incentive, it’s easy bait. And to have those feelings exploited is disgusting.
Just like in local online dating, don’t commit your heart too quickly — and definitely don’t open your wallet. When the promise of money is removed from the situation, you’ll see quickly the real intent of the person’s heart.
If you have a relationship or dating question contact us by emailing hello@GayDatingExpert.co.uk
JONATHAN WELFORD heads up GayDatingExpert.com, a relationship and dating coaching practice. He was awarded the accolade of being one of the top 10 Gay Relationship Bloggers for 2013. He writes gay agony uncle columns for numerous publications in both the UK and USA, and is also a regular columnist for DatingAdvice.com. He lives with his Scottish husband in Manchester, UK.