Jordan Alexander (pictured) has revealed how she was scammed out of $140,000 after falling for a man she met on a dating website
A devastated businesswoman has explained how she was scammed out of $140,000 after falling for a man she met on a dating website.
Jordan Alexander, 51, struck up an online relationship with whom she thought was a well-educated, family-oriented railway engineer.
The businesswoman, originally from Canada but now lives in New Zealand, said the man she knew as ‘James Norman’ appeared keen to share every aspect of his life with her – despite the fact she’d never met or seen him in person.
The mother-of-two said she fell head over heels in love with the ‘millionaire’ businessman, 50, and was convinced he was ‘The One’.
That was before she travelled all the way to Hawaii to meet him for the first time after six-months of online romance – only to realise she had unwittingly become involved in an elaborate scam when he never showed up.
James spent months building her trust by giving her access to his bank accounts where she saw ‘millions of dollars’ – before he started asking to borrow money from her, she claims.
Her story draws comparisons with Netflix series and podcast Dirty John which sees a real-life successful woman meet a ‘charming’ doctor on a dating website – before discovering his web of lies.
She realised she was swindled after she travelled all the way to Hawaii to meet him, only to find out he was never going to show up (pictured in Honolulu waiting for James to arrive)
The single mother met ‘James Norman’ who she thought was a ‘well-educated’ railway engineer. She believed the man in the image had nothing to do with the scam
Jordan turned to online dating in 2012 after struggling for years to find time for a relationship due to the demands of her job and family commitments.
‘All my friends were saying I work too much and need a man. As a single mum and business woman, I didn’t have a lot of time on my hands. Online dating seemed like an efficient way to meet new people,’ she told Daily Mail Australia.
After just one day of setting up her dating profile, the mother said she was ‘excited’ when a James Norman ‘matched’ with her.
Ms Alexander said the pair hit it off instantly because they had a lot in common – they were both working in business, both owned a consultancy firm, travelled overseas for work and were single parents.
‘I thought… geez so far so good – James and I are already “on the same page” around issues, feelings and what’s important,’ she said.
‘His profile pic showed him in a business shirt, sleeves rolled up so he had this air of casual but still smart, crystal blue eyes, warm smile – and a moustache I was sure I could get him to shave off in time.
‘He was a Christian, spoke fondly of his deceased wife who was taken by cancer. He hadn’t dated in years – me too.’
By this stage, Ms Alexander had transferred James more than $110,000 (left) – but he made up more excuses when he needed more money. The mother was waiting in Hawaii when James continued asking her for money because he was ‘detained in Sri Lanka’ – but Ms Alexander realised he was not real.
Ms Alexander said James was the first to say ‘I love you’ to her
The pair started exchanging messages on a daily basis.
‘He was so attentive and remembered everything we spoke about, he’d follow up things and revealed personal feelings,’ Ms Alexander said.
‘He was always asking about the girls and work. I felt he was caring, thoughtful, kind, family oriented, keen to have a deep and meaningful relationship “with the right woman”. It was fun, he made me feel special – he could be “the one”.’
As their romance blossomed online, James – who claimed he was living between London and New York – started calling her following weeks of emailing back and forth.
‘Our first conversation was a bit of a surprise – he caught me off guard. We hadn’t planned a chat. I remember thinking – where is that accent from?’ she said.
‘He said he lived in South Africa for work for a long time, and then New York and London. His accent was a bit “different” – so was mine as a Canadian, now Kiwi, who was born to European parents – I thought it all made sense.
‘It was a lovely voice and he even sounded tall, dark and handsome.’
The mother from Canada but now lives in New Zealand with her daughters Sage and Ella
Over the months, Ms Alexander’s loving messages quickly turned blunt after she noticed the red flags when he was coming up with a different excuse every time he asked for more money
Ms Alexander said James was the first to say ‘I love you’ to her.
‘I remember it felt like it was a bit soon, but as an impulsive Gemini, I didn’t think it was impossible,’ she said.
‘We were having a connection and what felt like a soulful chemistry, I thought everyone defines love differently. Who am I to make assumptions about his feelings.’
Four months into their relationship, the couple planned to finally meet in Hawaii for their first romantic getaway together.
I had to do some banking for him – on his accounts, using his passwords so he didn’t ask me to give him money at first… When I logged in, I could see he had millions of dollars in his account
‘His assistant had emailed me regarding details for the hotel, all paid for. I loved that someone other than me was making the arrangements, I felt wonderful,’ she said.
And it wasn’t long until James – who claimed he was working at a remote railway area in Sri Lanka at the time – started making bizarre excuses.
‘First it was the WiFi problems in the “remote” railway areas,’ she said.
As James claimed he had trouble logging into his bank account due to bad reception, he asked the mother to help him transfer his own money.
‘I had to do some banking for him – on his accounts, using his passwords so he didn’t ask me to give him money at first,’ she said.
When she logged into his account on what she believed was a legitimate website, she was stunned to see his bank balance.
‘I could see he had millions [of dollars in his account],’ she said.
She turned to online dating in 2012 after struggling for a few years to find time for a relationship due to the demands of her job and family commitments
The mother-of-two said she fell head over heels in love with the ‘millionaire’ businessman, before discovering her lover was a fraudster
Ms Alexander told James she had her own bills and mortgage to pay for – despite already lending him money – but it seemed it was never enough for him
But after she attempted to wire the money, the transfer didn’t go through because of the bank’s security feature.
‘It was when his bank didn’t let the transfer go through because the request was from an unknown server – I am in New Zealand not London, he only then asked me to send him $15,000 to buy the railway supplies from China,’ she said.
But his request to ‘borrow’ money didn’t end there. He would make up a different excuse each time he asked her for money as well as a promise he would pay her back.
Ms Alexander said she ended up borrowing money from the bank, maxing out her credit cards and even re-mortgaging her home to help him.
‘There was one excuse after another,’ she said.
By the time their romantic holiday came around, Ms Alexander had already sent him $140,000.
But after seeing the ‘millions’ of dollars in his bank account with ‘my own eyes’, she convinced herself she would get her money back.
When she arrived in Honolulu, James told her he was going to be a day or two late.
‘He was delayed in Sri Lanka. I was so disappointed,’ she said.
‘I had played out the “meet James” scene on my mind a million times, planned the outfit I was going to wear and the drink I would order if I got to the bar first.
‘But when he texted to say he couldn’t be there, I was gutted. Major anti-climax but I was still excited though that he’d get there in a few days. I had tonnes of work to do, so would keep busy in the room until he arrived I told myself.’
The mother said she was so traumatised by the ordeal, she didn’t find love again until six years later when she met her now-fiancé Rick (pictured together)
The couple got engaged two years after meeting – and Ms Alexander is happier more than ever
The single mother-of-two struck up an online relationship with who she thought was a ‘well-educated’, family oriented, and potentially ‘The One’ railway engineer
She has written a book about her whirlwind journey titled I love you, Send Money
Sitting alone in her hotel room, she realised she had been duped when he told her to send him more money after he was ‘detained in Sri Lanka’.
‘He asked me to send him money when I was in Hawaii waiting for him so he could get out of jail – that’s when I said “no way”. He’s not coming.’
When she checked out of her room, she realised James never paid for the booking because she was handed a bill for $1,500 after spending around six days in Hawaii alone.
Following six months of dating, Ms Alexander said she never heard from James again when she tried to confront him.
The mother said she was so traumatised after falling victim to the online romance scam, she didn’t find love again until six years later when she met her now-partner Rick.
‘I went back online six years later and found an amazing man, Rick – now my fiancé after two years together,’ she said.
Seven years on, Ms Alexander has since written a book about her whirlwind romance titled I love you, Send Money and even launched a business Love Assist Associates to help people find love online safely.
By sharing her story, Ms Alexander wanted to warn other women about the red flags of falling victim to online romance scams.
‘It took me years to have the courage to talk about it. So much shame and guilt – very self-deprecating,’ she said.
‘I do not want anyone to go through what I did – years of self deprivation and shame I never thought it could happen to me. But when the love goggles go on, love makes people do crazy things.
‘My experience changed my whole life – and affected those around me. That’s why it’s so important for me to help others. It helps me to find meaning and purpose from the scam event.’
What are the red flags of an online romance scam?
- You meet someone online and after just a few contacts they profess strong feelings for you, and ask to chat with you privately. If you met on a dating website they will try and move you away from the site and communicate via chat or email
- Their profile on the internet dating website or their Facebook page is not consistent with what they tell you. For example, their profile picture looks different to their description of themselves, or they say they are university educated but their English is poor
- After gaining your trust – often waiting weeks, months or even years – they tell you an elaborate story and ask for money, gifts or your bank account/credit card details
- Their messages are often poorly written, vague and escalate quickly from introduction to love
- If you don’t send money straight away, their messages and calls become more desperate, persistent or direct. If you do send money, they continue to ask you to send more
- They don’t keep their promises and always have an excuse for why they can’t travel to meet you and why they always need more money
Source: Australian Scam Watch