THIS is about women who fall victims to love scams. These scams cause hurt and misery, emotionally and financially.
Are you in a “textlationship” with a total stranger now? If you are, stop it. Textlationship, a new term which I’ve learnt from the Internet, refers to a relationship where people text each other frequently, but never interact in person. It is the cheapest way for love scammers to con desperate women.
Most scammers employ this tactic against lonely and desperate women whose social media accounts like Facebook are open and accessible to the public. It is a matter of time before their accounts are scrutinised; they will receive a personal message on their Messenger application from Net prowlers.
A message like this, “Hi love, you look extremely beautiful today. I really love to get to know you. Connect with me”, can deceive a lonely heart.
A woman I know was cheated by a foreigner online in an illusory love affair. The woman found out too late in the relationship that her lover was a fraud. After all the persuasion and sweet-talk, they “fell in love”. The problem was that only one of them was genuine.
What happened next was all too familiar. The “lover” claimed he had sent an expensive gift that was somehow “detained” at the Customs department at the airport for tax clearance. A payment had to be made to the authorities to retrieve the so-called gift. The scammer sent falsified documents that appeared authentic and told her to bank in a large amount of money into his account. She was obviously gullible to believe that this was true.
But how do you know when you’re trapped in a textlationship scam? There are some indicators that one should be aware of.
The first hook is that he’ll introduce himself as having an impressive career, maybe as a pilot with some well-known airline in the Middle East or a mechanical engineer who works on an oil rig in the high seas. He gives the impression that he will not be readily available if you wish to meet him in person.
After some texting, try asking him to meet up face to face. Texting isn’t the same as dating. If he doesn’t reciprocate, that’s the first sign this stranger is attempting to cheat you.
You know, it’s always strange if the guy seems to be available only via text. Try calling with the hope of putting a voice to him. I’m sure the call will always go to voicemail and I’m doubly sure he will text you back with a story that he’s away at an important meeting.
Sometimes, he’ll answer your call but come up with an excuse that he switched off his phone because he’s on an aircraft somewhere in Iranian airspace. For all you know, you’re in the same city as he. And here you are proudly telling your friends that you’re in a long-distance relationship!
In many cases, love scammers will text about serious issues that may make women believe they are interested in developing a deeper level of intimacy. And since he wants the relationship to go to the next level, he lets out stories of relations with other women that have gone sour. He confesses that he has found something extraordinary in you that no other woman possesses.
Sometimes a romantic textlationship can go overboard. It progresses from texting to sexting. With all the late-night dirty talk, you better check what time it is on his side. If he says that he is in Los Angeles, quickly ascertain the time. If he takes too long to tell you his current time, then you know he’s bluffing. There’s one woman in Singapore who did just that. She found out that she’s sexting with a scammer who didn’t have a clue that it’s actually daytime in London.
Then there’s the promise. He’ll promise the moon and the stars. He’ll say that he misses you so much and can’t wait to see you. One thing for sure, he’ll keep this textlationship going with incessant promises. A gullible woman will believe this because he makes her believe that she is stepping into a real relationship.
After a while, he’ll stop texting the woman for days and she becomes anxious. A text message comes through eventually telling her that he has been hospitalised because of injuries in a road accident in a foreign country. He uses excuses like his insurance policy has “maxed out” or that the insurance company won’t cover the medical expenses for his negligence. Now he says he doesn’t have money and urgently needs her help. Desperate women and even men will be overly concerned with the situation and that usually leads to sending a large amount of money.
And by God, this trickery appears to happen to many gullible women in this country.
C’est la vie.
The writer is a former NST journalist, now a film scriptwriter whose penchant is finding new food haunts in the country
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect those of the New Straits Times