Romance Scam Survivor is an in depth account of your experience with an online scammer. What was the inspiration that made you want to turn your experience into a book?
Initially I gathered all the emails and texts in an attempt to understand what had happened. When I realised I had been scammed I was in a state of disorientation, so did this to try and make sense of it all, to try and see where my judgment had lapsed and how I had slipped up so badly. I chose to put all of this content together in a way that was totally honest, so the reader to see for themselves if they would have done the same thing. Once I had collated all of this I couldn’t look at it for some time.
The rest of the book wasn’t written until several years later. By that time I had done a lot of research and better understood the psychological skills that scammers have, and their ability to manipulate one’s emotions. Later I was writing to show that it is possible to come through the other side of such a devastating and traumatic experience.
It’s obvious in hindsight that this was a scam, but do you feel that there was something that someone could have said that could have helped you?
I was warned several times that it was a scam, but somehow could not believe it. I felt that the relationship was too intimate to be a scam.
I have also worked with others who are in this situation, and know it is very difficult to break through the hypnotic state that a victim is in when they are in a scam. I wish I did know what might have helped, because there are many others who could be helped with this information. There is no silver bullet that I have found, regrettably.
Do you think that finding love online is an inherently vulnerable prospect? Is there a way for people to be both safe and vulnerable online?
I am not against online dating per se. Many people have established and maintained successful relationships and marriages from meeting online. I do think it is important to not give too much away, especially personal details, until you are very confident of your partner.
For those who do want to do date online I would suggest
- Make sure you only connect with those people you can meet face to face
- Understand what the red flags are before you begin – later may be too late.
- Have a friend mentor you in the process, but start with an agreement that you will take their advice. You need someone who will not be emotionally involved.
- Follow the safety rules that are set up within the dating site – don’t get enticed to go off the site for convenience.
- Never give money – ANY requests for money are a scam
What advice would you give to someone that is currently online dating?
- Trust your intuition: If you have any sense that it might or could be a scam then it more than likely is?
- Make sure you meet face to face.
- Follow the guidance given above. If any of them raise concerns, it is likely to be a scam.
- If you do get caught in a scam, report it to the relevant fraud agency.
“How could you give money to someone you’ve never met?”
That’s the first question most people ask.
For Jan Marshall, life was good. She had worked hard, set herself up well, and was looking for a companion to share her future with. Just as countless thousands around the world do, every day, she turned to online dating.
In just a few months, Jan believed she was ‘in love’. She accepted a proposal of marriage, and then sent money – ALL her money – to a professional scammer.
How did it happen? How can an intelligent person be so thoroughly scammed?
Jan courageously shares the details of her devastating experience, in order to help others recognise such devious swindlers who prey on trusting souls, and maybe even to catch this thief.
You might think it can’t happen to you, or someone you love, but can you be sure?
The work is a non-fiction account and memoir covering the communication between myself and the scammer, based on my records of our communications. By sharing the personal and intimate nature of the interactions it asks the reader to put themselves in my shoes, and in response the question “how could you be so stupid?” is answered. It details the process of dealing emotionally with the scam and the financial difficulties that I found myself in afterwards. It is a story of my process through being a victim to becoming a survivor. Areas that need change are also addressed. Some support resources and links are also provided, though this is not the main purpose.