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Man Pays $200,000 To Save Fake Online Girlfriend 464

Posted by samzenpus
from the scam-of-the-heart dept.
An anonymous reader writes "A 48-year-old Illinois man has experienced an online scam that was particularly devastating, both financially and emotionally. A woman he believed to be his online girlfriend turned out to be a fake, and his money has disappeared with her. The scam was recently revealed because he went to the police asking for help to rescue the woman, insisting that she had been kidnapped in London. The online 'relationship' between the two began over two years ago, during which he wired about $200,000 to several different bank accounts in Nigeria, Malaysia, England, and the US."

*

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Man Pays $200,000 To Save Fake Online Girlfriend

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  • Dumbass (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 28, 2011 @03:31PM (#35340974)

    Dumbass

    • It's sad they had to steal from him. He would gladly have paid 200K just to continue the fake relationship for more years. It seems to me that 200K compensation for being a fake online girl ought to be plenty for a Nigerian Scammer, so why not just continue the relationship for a 200K fee instead.

  • by Afforess (1310263) <afforess@gmail.com> on Monday February 28, 2011 @03:32PM (#35340976) Journal
    Why didn't he check that she was a real person. Would have cost less than 200k.

    Darwinism at work folks. Move along, nothing to see here.
    • by MikeDirnt69 (1105185) on Monday February 28, 2011 @03:36PM (#35341014) Homepage
      There is no enought 4chan memes to explain how alone this guy is right now.
    • by Upaut (670171) on Monday February 28, 2011 @04:00PM (#35341236) Homepage Journal
      Some people get to wrapped up in the fantasy. The hope of love, easy riches, these both speak to a deep need in many of us.

      A friend of mine once got engaged and moved the Scotland (from Massachusetts in the USA) for her Everquest sweetheart. Never having communicated with him in any way but online.

      Now they didn't last more than a couple years, but it shows there are quite a few that never really alive in their own skin, and the prospect of making new friends in person causes stress and panic. But the need to connect is still there.

      Personally, I feel for him even greater sympathy than those that lose their savings in a 419 scam; one has a core of inherent dishonesty -playing off ones greed for a quick payoff. This played off his need for companionship, and as he invested years, and thousands, into it, it wasn't for any form of payoff. Just to connect.
      • by Seumas (6865)

        I don't get the "online girlfriend" part. In other words, "an online acquaintance".

        Anyway, "online" has little to do with it. I knew a girl who had a couple relationships which were entirely founded around her bilking somewhat older guys out of money and eventually breaking up and disappearing. The simple answer is not suspect everyone and don't fall for every fucking snatch that crosses your path and you'll have a lot more time, money, and sanity to enjoy your life with. (Not that I don't still feel some s

    • And he didn't get a lap dance out of it!

    • by $0.02 (618911)

      A real woman may cost you well over 200k.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 28, 2011 @03:34PM (#35340998)

    Where men are men, women are men, and children are federal agents.

  • Can this be real? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by tekrat (242117) on Monday February 28, 2011 @03:36PM (#35341016) Homepage Journal

    How do people this stupid have $200,000 to begin with?

    I've worked hard for many years, and while my lifestyle isn't excessive, I still don't have anywhere near that kind of money to throw around even if I was getting laid by a real girlfriend.

    This guy gave "her" $200k and never even got a blow?

    Wow, where do I find suckers like this? I need the cash.

    • by MrEricSir (398214)

      Ever heard of credit cards?

    • by Larry Lightbulb (781175) on Monday February 28, 2011 @03:44PM (#35341092)
      Probably the majority of it was in the last few months, and may have been for what he thought was a ransom. I don't have $200,000 laying about but if I truly believed that my girlfriend was being kidnapped I could get it within a couple of weeks by loans and remortgaging.
    • by 19thNervousBreakdown (768619) <davec-slashdot@l ... et minus caffein> on Monday February 28, 2011 @03:45PM (#35341102) Homepage

      Well you see, an obsessive devotion to a single pursuit tends to lead to two things:

      1. Expertise in that area.
      2. A corresponding lack in other areas.

      When you take that devotion to extremes, you can make a lot of money and not have the time or desire to spend it on anything. And unless you work hard to avoid it, the "lack in other areas" is likely to include your love life.

      How do you not know this?

      • by EdIII (1114411) on Monday February 28, 2011 @03:56PM (#35341198)

        When you take that devotion to extremes, you can make a lot of money and not have the time or desire to spend it on anything. And unless you work hard to avoid it, the "lack in other areas" is likely to include your love life.

        How do you not know this?

        Uhhhhhhhh........

        2. A corresponding lack in other areas.

      • by Seumas (6865)

        I am confounded on a regular basis by how desperate people are, in general. Guys who cling on to the first thing that fucks them, even in highschool (and of course, realize twenty years later that they wasted their youth). Girls who can't stand belong alone for five seconds and go from one stupid/bad/pathetic/abusive relationship to another. Nobody seems to be able to just hold the fuck up and be with themselves for awhile. It's like the idea of not having someone to cling to or fight with or have drama wit

        • by Dunbal (464142) * on Monday February 28, 2011 @04:42PM (#35341678)

          Guys who cling on to the first thing that fucks them

          A puppy is for life and not just for Christmas.

          Nobody seems to be able to just hold the fuck up and be with themselves for awhile.

          Except for you, apparently? It's an instinct, hard-wired into people's brains to ensure the survival of the species. Most people follow their instincts. Congratulations on being so intellectual that you managed to over-ride this programming. Now let's talk about how your highly evolved genes are going to be passed on. Oh wait...

          • by craash420 (884493) on Monday February 28, 2011 @05:26PM (#35342128)
            OK, I'll feed the troll. Are you such a mouth-breathing knuckle-dragging animal that you can't defy your instincts? "I'm sorry honey, I didn't mean to bang the babysitter but my instincts took over! It's not my fault; she's half your age with supple skin and firm breasts. The survival of the human race depended on me and I did not falter!"
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Anonymous Coward

            Somewhere around age 28, I took a year off chasing tail and hearts and yeah, just spent some time hanging loose. After awhile, I started seeing patterns in the kind of women I'd been dating/pursuing (more emotionally stunted than myself; therefore safe to date and self destruct) and realized that was getting me nowhere. Once I figured out what kind of woman would be good for me (self assured/creative/down-to-earth/technical/funny), I took a look at myself and realized that a well grounded woman who was livi

          • by SmallFurryCreature (593017) on Monday February 28, 2011 @06:26PM (#35342680) Journal

            You seem to think Oprah is real. Well it is, for a segment of the population. Don't let the tv stereo-types fool you into believing this is how most people are. TV shows the extremes because normality doesn't make for intresting TV.

            There won't be a program Deadliest code, gripping the nation season after season. O.C. Support Desk is NOT a sure fire hit. BugBusters will not be challenged by the president of the US of A.

            Most teenagers? Never rebel and get along with their parents and siblings. Most women are not complete sluts in college crying they can't find a good guy while banging the soccer team. Most men do not in fact follow their cock, either that or the navy has a LOT more gay people in it then a republican can stand.

            Most people lead simple sensible lives, they might screw up a little by accident but recover and move on. The real idiots are rare. Same as with criminals. Most people will NOT in fact kill to gain a fortune even if they could get away with it.

            Humanity is a lot more normal. TV reality is about showing the extremes on the edges but you would be a fool to believe it. Do you believe everyone can run really fast because you just saw the olympics? Then why do you believe all people behave like the freaks on talkshows.

            Ancient statistic. 50% of people loose their virginity before 18. Means over half the population does NOT.

      • by Locke2005 (849178)
        Ok, now can you please explain to me how I can use my excessive devotion to porn taken to extremes to make a lot of money???
    • Re:Can this be real? (Score:4, Informative)

      by NFN_NLN (633283) on Monday February 28, 2011 @03:45PM (#35341108)

      How do people this stupid have $200,000 to begin with?

      I guess you've never been to northern Canada.

      Any smart person would refuse to work: outdoors in -30C weather, in the middle of nowhere, where you can lose an arm because someone forgot to properly chain a pipe down, and the only thing to do during your time off is drink and do drugs in an all male labor camp.

      If you're willing to endure all that, then you can make $120k+ per year all while still being just smart enough not to wet yourself.

      (All the guys dumb enough to wet themselves in -30C weather died of hypothermia)

    • "This guy gave "her" $200k and never even got a blow?"

      Love is a many-splendored thing...

    • by spun (1352) <loverevolutionar ... minus physicist> on Monday February 28, 2011 @04:02PM (#35341270) Journal

      Wait, do you think we live in some kind of meritocracy where intelligence and hard work are rewarded, while stupidity is punished? No, we live in a kleptocracy where connections and favors are rewarded and being born poor is punished. If you have money and/or connections, you can make more money with very little risk or effort by stealing the labors of honest working people, who are so desperate that they will do nearly anything for you. So, you shouldn't have to look to hard to find suckers like this, if you aren't already rich, try looking in a mirror. If you are halfway intelligent and working at a salaried job, you've more than likely given away at least that much value.

    • No. It is "reel". As in fishing.
    • Re:Can this be real? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by vlm (69642) on Monday February 28, 2011 @04:06PM (#35341316)

      Home equity loans. Those are usually used for cars, bling, and cosmetic surgery, and on very rare occasion are used for home improvement. I got a roof and air conditioner with one in the early 00s.

      Usually these "moralizing human interest stories" have a much more complicated and detailed real story behind them.

      When it comes to he said / "she" said like this, if he was dumb enough to be out $20K, but smart enough to report it as $200K and theres no paperwork to prove it either way, he may as well go for the gold and strike back at "her". Worst case he's busted for filing a false report, although how they'd pin it on him is a mystery. Best case is he makes a nice profit. He's probably pissed off and looking for revenge....

      Another possible situation is someone turned 200K into coke, snorted it, doesn't want to admit it, and weirdly enough this utterly pitiful story sounds "better", or at least doesn't violate someones parole terms, divorce settlement, custody requirement, etc.

      Then there's the money laundering mule whom got burned. His handler got him used to sloppy handling procedures (yeah I know I told you to keep the last $20K for yourself, but I'm in a hurry and you can just keep $40K of the next shipment). Next thing you know "his" share of the money is gone and he's left holding the bag for laundering, errrr, I mean now he's a unfortunate victim going to the police, how sad.

      Sometimes these stories are people whom did NOT get burned, if you know what I mean. Sure, they withdrew $200K of their money and wired it to Mr Kingpin in another country whom now has $200K with a valid receipt proving it is his. The untold story is Mr Kingpin handed him a bag of $300K cash as the first step. Sometimes the IRS catches these guys if they're dumb enough at cash handling (buys a Ferrari, in cash, the week after reporting his "loss", etc). Generally the less the guy helps the cops the more likely this is the situation. He's probably not making that much on a risk free carefully choreographed transaction like that. Probably more like 10% or maybe he's having a favor taken care of for him or being forgiven of a certain mistake toward a powerful person.

      The IRS situation is very complicated. If you withdraw the cash, stash it, or wire it to your brother in another state, suddenly you have quite a capital loss there to report. Of course you can only do this about once per lifetime, but, maybe he had a windfall inheritance and this is how he, uh, "lost" it...

      Sometimes you see this "behavior" when a genuine, although illegal, deal goes bad and at least you'd like to deduct it from your taxes. So, your "co worker" promised you a 25% rate of return, and he just needs a little cash to get him thru a tight time, but he skipped town instead... Well, at least you can write it off, and/or explain where the money disappeared to, even if thats not exactly where it went. Look thru the local papers for a grow up that got busted a couple weeks ago that had about $200K of expenses, etc.

      Shockingly enough, it might be true as reported. Historically unlikely, sure, but possibly true. Maybe. Its a heck of a story anyway.

    • by cvtan (752695)
      Watching This Old House I saw a project involving a California house built on the side of a hill in an area with mudslides, earthquakes and wildfires. My first reaction was: How could anyone dumb enough to buy this home earn enough money to pay for it? It did have a nice view though...
    • How do people this stupid have $200,000 to begin with?

      I've worked hard for many years, and while my lifestyle isn't excessive, I still don't have anywhere near that kind of money to throw around even if I was getting laid by a real girlfriend.

      This guy gave "her" $200k and never even got a blow?

      Wow, where do I find suckers like this? I need the cash.

      Although the short article did not say so, when I have read about these scams before, the victim goes to their friends and family and tearfully begs them to help. Even if he couldn't quite make 200K appear, a few of his friends and family might have been able to get some loans and remortgages to help him reach the sum.

  • Strange... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by pedantic bore (740196) on Monday February 28, 2011 @03:37PM (#35341022)
    People with common sense don't get so far into such a scam without smelling a rat... But people who don't have at least some common sense don't have $200K just sitting around. This poor guy must have been terribly lonely, and the perps played him like a harp. Very sad.
    • I really hope her name wasn't "Francesa A. Sample"...
    • You're assuming he had $200k. He probably borrowed the money against his house or something. Not only did it probably crush him, it's likely to ruin his life as he'll think everything is a scam.
      • He probably borrowed the money against his house or something.

        Good point.

        To make matters even uglier, he's probably going to have some problems if he ever tries to borrow a significant amount of money again...

    • by istartedi (132515)

      People without common sense don't have $200k? I beg to differ.

      Running a Ponzi scheme doesn't seem like something you'd do if you had common sense, does it? Sooner or later it'll catch up with you, right? Well...

      OK, a less extreme example? Buying a McMansion with a NINJA loan. Total nonsense. Yet, there were probably some people who actually, through total dumb luck, got out at the right time. Same deal with dot-coms or any other bubble.

      The lottery. Suckers game, and yet people win $200k all the time

      • by vlm (69642)

        A doctor!!!

        Doctors are legendary for not being able to handle money. Right up there with dentists, pro sports athletes, and lottery winners.

        And yes, my first thought was "I don't want him operating on me".

        An accountant or a cop, yeah be scared. Docs get a free pass on money handling. It doesn't really have much to do with their job.

      • Re:Strange... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by tukang (1209392) on Monday February 28, 2011 @04:23PM (#35341484)
        You left out the most common one: inheritance.
    • by Darinbob (1142669)

      At least I know my online girlfriend is real. She sent pictures.

  • This is not the end of the road Blogoviovich, you will rebound from there. Don't give up. Continue the fight.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    My previous landlord was sucked into this. He has sent over 20k to online scammers who are from the U.S. We even google mapped where they were in Florida yet he still sent money. He was sent various cheques, would cash them and western union the money, then charged with fraud from the cheques. He sent his rent money to "save her" to the point where he was 10k in debt on the house on back payments.

  • Don't Assume (Score:5, Insightful)

    by b4upoo (166390) on Monday February 28, 2011 @03:40PM (#35341052)

    People don't think these classic scams could ever suck them in but if they are done in an artful way they actually can sucker people in. Most of these con artists lack the ability but there are a few out there with serious skills that really can sink a strong man's boat.

    • by goodmanj (234846)

      Agree. Also, there is no fool so foolish as a fool in love.

      Falling for Nigerian fraud scams isn't normal. But on Love it is.
      Love. Not even once.

  • In reality, the man in TFA has been participating in a covert intelligence test using a new innovative testing method. The cost for this testing is $200,000. I don't think I need to go into what the results of the testing.
  • Is this a relevant story because the fraud happened online, or because of some other reason that is not in TFA?
    • by dziban303 (540095)

      Is this a relevant story because the fraud happened online, or because of some other reason that is not in TFA?

      Teh lulz are always relevant.

  • by roc97007 (608802) on Monday February 28, 2011 @03:44PM (#35341096) Journal

    ...is how people so profoundly stupid can nevertheless be intelligent enough to make enough money to have $200,000 in discretionary income. That must require a remarkably narrow set of capabilities.

  • This reminds me of the story [broadbandi...tricks.com] that came out not too long ago about the composer who lost millions, believing an even more elaborate hoax than this guy.
  • Sigh... (Score:5, Funny)

    by koan (80826) on Monday February 28, 2011 @03:48PM (#35341134)

    See the difference between "screwed" and "laid".

  • Big head... (Score:5, Funny)

    by TimHunter (174406) on Monday February 28, 2011 @03:49PM (#35341150)

    ...meet little head.

    From my soon-to-be-published book "Dick: An Owner's Manual"

    Rule #1: Your dick will lie to you.

    • From my soon-to-be-published book "Dick: An Owner's Manual"

      About time there was a Dick manual, we've had Jane's guides for years (and before anyone says they've got nothing to do with women, my last girlfriend was ocean-going and had a gross displacement of around 10,000 tons).

  • bought himself a pretty high-classed hooker. Not sure for how long though......
  • He saved money (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 28, 2011 @03:56PM (#35341204)

    If it was a real woman, she would have cost him more than that in marriage

  • by Rude Turnip (49495) <valuation@gma[ ]com ['il.' in gap]> on Monday February 28, 2011 @03:57PM (#35341220)

    Admit it--You're all jealous over how easy this guy got off.

  • athough it should come as no surprise, is that this guy's Slashdot member number is 101.
  • Prostitutes would have been cheaper, and he might have ACTUALLY gotten laid.

  • Lack of empathy (Score:5, Insightful)

    by hahn (101816) on Monday February 28, 2011 @04:19PM (#35341452) Homepage
    I'm a little saddened to see all the negative comments aimed at the *victim*. What did he do wrong? He trusted someone. Apparently, that's so idiotic and inconceivable that it makes him the one who's at fault. What's next? Blaming rape victims for not bringing pepper spray on a blind date? What happened to blaming the perpetrator? The lesson here appears to be, if you're capable of scamming people online, then you deserve the money and your victims are morons. I guess the study that was written about in NY Times [nytimes.com] last year wasn't far off the mark.
  • by HeckRuler (1369601) on Monday February 28, 2011 @04:30PM (#35341554)
    Wait for it. [xkcd.com] It'll happen.
  • Nigeria (Score:5, Insightful)

    by b0bby (201198) on Monday February 28, 2011 @04:44PM (#35341702) Homepage

    As soon as you see Nigeria and bank in the same context, always run away. In fact, just Nigeria should be enough...

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