Email: cutey_19@email[dot]com

Password: ilovelife

One Unread Message: Hey, I saw your picture and I think you’re so cute, can we chat?
Reply: Aw, thanks sweety. Yeah, we can. I’m Chelsea, and you are?

Man: I’m Jeremy. I’m 19 and I’m in college, you?
Woman: I’m 18, and I just finished high school. I’m going to college too. Which college are you at?
Man: I’m at UCLA, you?
Woman: NYC.
Man: You’re too cute to be alone in NYC. Maybe move to UCLA after your first semester.

Woman: I’d love to, but at the moment, let’s see how things go. I still don’t know anything about you and I’d love to know more. You’re so cute. Blond hair and blue eyes are my favorite in guys. What about you? What do you like in a girl?
Man: Whatever you have. Brown hair. Brown eyes. You’re so beautiful. The most beautiful I have ever seen. The only one who I could call wifey.
Woman: Oh, my God. Really. I’m so flattered.

One month later

Woman: We have been chatting for a month and I have only seen the one picture of you, can you send me anymore? How about we video chat?
Man: Picture sent.
Woman: Oh, Lord, are you training now. You look amazing. I had no idea you were so fit. Oh, my!
Man: Training is my life and I’ve been training forever. I want to be a UFC fighter, but—
Woman: But?
Man: I, well, never mind. Forget it. I’ll be fine. It’s okay sweety. I can manage.
Woman: No, tell me. What’s going on? Maybe I can help…
Man: I know we haven’t met, and we will soon, as soon as I get to it and come back stronger.
Woman: What are you talking about?
Man: My mum. She’s very sick in hospital and I have to travel to her and travel requires money, which I don’t have now which I used for my rent and other stuff for UCLA, you know how it is. Anyway, yeah, that’s my problem.
Woman: Maybe, I can go see your mum. Where does she live?
Man: Europe.
Woman: You’re not American?
Man: No.
Woman: Oh.
Man: Sorry, we never asked each other about where we are from, but I thought after I travel to see her, I could pass by and see you?
Woman: That’s so sweet. For sure. I’d love that. what are we talking about though? A ticket to and from the US to, where?
Man: Russia.
Woman: That’s far.
Man: I know baby, but it’s my mum. You’d do the same for yours right?
Woman: Yeah.
Man: You know what, forget it—I’ll ask someone to check on her. It was wrong of me to ask you, and I didn’t actually ask anyway, so we’re good.

Woman: No, wait—I want to help you.
Man: You do?
Woman: I do.
Man: Can I say something?
Woman: Anything.
Man: I love you.
Woman: Me too.
Man: So, it’s ticket and bus fare, will that be fine?
Woman: As long as you pay me back, because I’m taking it out of my college fund, yes, we’re good.
Man: For sure babe. I’ll share your picture with my mother. She’d be happy to meet you once she gets better. Woman: Love it. So, how much?
Man: Are you sure?
Woman: Positive.
Man: $1500.
Woman: Wow. That’s a bit much, but it’s for your mum and I’m a sucker for mums.
Man: Thanks.
Woman: Hey babe. How’s your mum?

A week later

Woman: Babe, you haven’t contacted me, if everything okay? I’m very worried. You said you’d come and see me once you left Russia? Are you still there?

Another week later

Woman: Babe? I’m getting worried. I’m thinking of flying out to UCLA to see you and see if everything is okay. Babe? Will you please get back to me?

A month and a half later

Woman: I can’t believe I fell for you. You’re a liar. I hate you but you owe me money. What the hell?
Man: My mum died. I had her funeral. I just got back. I’m sorry.
Woman: Oh, my God. Baby. I’m so sorry. I never meant to sound rude.
Man: I’ll pay your money back, but I can’t now. I’m still coping. I still love you, I hope you do too.
Woman: I do. I really do. I’m in love with you. But I wish I could hear your voice?
Man: Recorded voice note.
Woman: You don’t sound Russian.
Man: That’s all you heard? You didn’t hear me saying I love you?
Woman: No, I did. But—never mind. Can we facetime?
Man: Tomorrow, when I’m alone. I have a lot of classes, but tomorrow, I promise.
Woman: Okay, Jeremy. By the way, I don’t know where we are with this—relationship, but I’m going out with my girlfriends and I wanted to share with you my dress.
Man: You’re my woman. So, yes, I want to see what you wear and what you don’t wear.
Woman: We’re not there yet, for no clothes.
Man: When we facetime, we will be. You will like what you see. I know.
Woman: Picture sent.
Man: Jesus! You are gorgeous. Marry me!
Woman: It’s too early.
Man: I am joking about marriage.

Two months later

Man: Chels. Please answer. I don’t know what to do. I’m in big trouble and I need your help.

An hour later

Man: Chelsea! I don’t know what happened. It’s important. They’re after you too. It’s my fault. Please answer.
Woman: What?
Man: I didn’t mean to involve you but they threatened you.
Woman: What are you talking about?
Man: I’m being extorted. You remember the pictures you sent me, they’re threatening to release them if I don’t pay them money and I don’t have that amount. I know you told me about your dad and his business, maybe you can help.
Woman: What pictures. Wait I got an email in my inbox.

Dear Chelsea, If you don’t want these explicit pictures (picture one sent, picture two sent, picture three sent) to be spread throughout the internet, you will pay us a sum of $5000. Also, your boyfriend’s life is in your hands. Extortionists.

Woman: Jeremy, what did you do? Why would you do this to me?
Man: But I didn’t. I was attacked last night. I’m using my friend’s computer. They took mine. Your pictures are there.
Woman: No. I can’t. That’s too much. I’m scared. What if I pay and the pictures go up anyway?
Man: Do you not love me? Do I not mean anything to you? Does my life mean nothing?
Woman: It does. I do. But—it’s too much.
Man: I knew you never loved me and you were playing me this whole time. I can’t believe I fell for your bullshit lies.
Woman: No, wait. Jeremy. Please wait.
Man: What?
Woman: Money sent.
Man: Thank God. I love you.
Woman: I love you too.

Six months later

The girl and the guy never met. Jeremy didn’t exist because he was a creation of the romance scammers we all face all over the internet. Chelsea fell in huge debt, she dropped out of university, her dad cut her off, for extorting him the way she did. In the end, she took her own life.

But like Chelsea, many vulnerable individuals long for romancing and fall into the romance scams which have dominated the internet. Both men and women alike fall into these loopholes, these traps and end up paying with their life, their bank accounts and their souls.

How to spot romance scammers?

You can’t. They are everywhere and they pose a threat to you whether you see that or you don’t. All you have to do is test the waters, do your research; learn and ask questions. The red flags are there, and clear from the very beginning. The sweet talkers are now being easily spotted so, they try to change their M.O., but it’s up to you to understand if they are a scam or a fraud.

Desperation is another factor. If you’re too desperate for love, the best way to find it, is by going out to your local café, bar, or club (gym). That’s where people meet people and you see the body language and hear the red flag cues, than being behind a computer, being tricked into happiness ever after.

Know this, not all who approach is bad, but the ones who usually have the bigger red flags are the ones who involve money and use their family as a scapegoat for getting what they want out of you. You need to be smart about how you handle the situation. Don’t be like Chelsea, where she fell for the “mother is sick” scam, or “mum died” scam.

Most importantly, if you feel the person is a scammer, report him or her and block and delete them. You don’t want them hanging around and learning more things about you, to use it against you, later on.