EYEWITNESS NEWS (WBRE/WYOU) — A Northeast Pennsylvania woman said she’s left with debt and disappointment after falling victim to a romance scam. Now she’s sharing her story to help others.
The Netflix documentary ‘Tinder Swindler” has a lot of people talking and a hardworking, intelligent, single mom found herself in the middle of a similar nightmare. Eyewitness News spoke to her Wednesday, March 16 about how she fell victim to a romance scam. She wishes to remain anonymous so she will be referred to as Jane Doe.
Doe said that in September of 2020, a man reached out to her on the dating website Plenty of Fish. The man said he was in the U.K., but traveled a lot for work. He told her he was a chiropractor and sometimes worked with the military.
The two formed a long-distance romance. Doe said he sent flowers, they shared pictures, they talked on the phone and Facetime. She said he even told her he loved her. “Around December he was like, he wanted to make the decision to come be with me and settle down and have a family and stuff like that,” Doe said.
Eventually, Doe said he told her that he was getting a job transfer to the U.S. Doe said the man told her his parents died and he was to inherit about $1M, but the trust was set up in the U.S. He also said his bank account was locked and convinced her to cover some “expenses” until he was able to access the trust.
She said he told her he was adding her as “next of kin” to be a beneficiary of this trust, but that she had to make a deposit of several thousand dollars. Doe said she was going into debt. She realized he had no intention of paying her back, and the passport he showed her was fake.
Doe reported him to local police who referred her to the office of Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro. He recently addressed these types of scams, tweeting: “If you think you’ve been the victim of a romance scammer:
- Stop communicating with the person immediately.
- Contact your financial institution.
- Notify the website or app where you met the scammer.
- Report the scammer to police and his office.”
“I go to church. I donate things. I’m just a good person,” Doe mused. “Why did this happen to me?”
Doe said the situation wrecked her finances and left her severely depressed. She said she thinks the man lives a double life, and worries he has more victims. She suspects scams like these are part of a bigger, organized scheme involving multiple people.