Scams are older than dirt


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gma

Because of our fast-paced and ever-changing society, it is sometimes difficult for a single person to meet the right kind of partner. Many businesses frown on co-workers dating, church attendance has fallen out of favor with young people, and some workers commute long hours to a different community for their jobs.  A few generations ago, young people met and married within their own community. Now we are a mobile society and when young people go off to college, they seldom come back. So how is a single person supposed to meet the one he wants to share his life with? Many singles turn to the internet and use dating sites to meet Mr. or Ms. Right. Sometimes it works. I personally know of a young couple who met on-line, fell in love, married, and lived happily ever after, but often it not only causes heartache, it can also cause bankruptcy. Those who use the internet in today’s society must always be aware of scams. There are even advice sites on line that tell you how to avoid being tricked by a scammer into sending money to someone who isn’t who you think they are. But did you know that long before the internet, criminals were busy trying to dupe someone into sending their hard-earned money to them?  Recently, in browsing through some old newspapers, I found a case that emulated what now is referred to as dating scams. During the westward movement many young single fellows found that homesteading was a lonesome life. We’ve all read about how men out-numbered women during the Gold Rush days. We are also familiar with stories of mail-order brides, young women who were willing to travel west in order to find a husband, sight unseen.  So it isn’t any wonder that some unscrupulous person would take advantage of that innate desire for a lifetime companion. In this particular case, a young Otoe County lad came up with a scheme that he was sure would line his pockets.  He placed an ad in several different newspapers and magazines, describing himself as an orphan girl named Nora Henry.  Part of the ad reads as follows:   “I am good looking and a practical housekeeper. I am neat in form and want some honest gentleman in need of an affectionate wife, to help me make a living.” The letters began to pour in to “Nora Henry”  from all over the United States and Canada.  Packages arrived containing jewelry and money.  One Canadian rancher who lived in an isolated area that is now in Alberta, sent a large bundle of furs he had trapped. Of course, “Nora” replied to every letter, explaining that she certainly would be willing to travel to the writer’s home, but unfortunately she found it impossible to raise the money for the trip. In a dozen cases, money was forwarded.  One man sent $100 in currency; another sent a railroad ticket that was immediately converted into cash. Fortunately, an alert postmaster became suspicious of all the letters and packages addressed to Nora Henry, but picked up by the son of a well-to-do family that lived in Nebraska City.  An investigation was begun and the young man was hauled in to federal court in Omaha.  After a long hearing, he was found guilty of fraud and was placed on probation, providing he made restitution to all those he had scammed. They say there is nothing new under the sun. That goes for crime and also for lonely would-be lovers.
Because of our fast-paced and ever-changing society, it is sometimes difficult for a single person to meet the right kind of partner. Many businesses frown on co-workers dating, church attendance has fallen out of favor with young people, and some workers commute long hours to a different community for their jobs.  A few generations ago, young people met and married within their own community. Now we are a mobile society and when young people go off to college, they seldom come back. So how is a single person supposed to meet the one he wants to share his life with? Many singles turn to the internet and use dating sites to meet Mr. or Ms. Right. Sometimes it works. I personally know of a young couple who met on-line, fell in love, married, and lived happily ever after, but often it not only causes heartache, it can also cause bankruptcy. Those who use the internet in today’s society must always be aware of scams. There are even advice sites on line that tell you how to avoid being tricked by a scammer into sending money to someone who isn’t who you think they are. But did you know that long before the internet, criminals were busy trying to dupe someone into sending their hard-earned money to them?  Recently, in browsing through some old newspapers, I found a case that emulated what now is referred to as dating scams. During the westward movement many young single fellows found that homesteading was a lonesome life. We’ve all read about how men out-numbered women during the Gold Rush days. We are also familiar with stories of mail-order brides, young women who were willing to travel west in order to find a husband, sight unseen.  So it isn’t any wonder that some unscrupulous person would take advantage of that innate desire for a lifetime companion. In this particular case, a young Otoe County lad came up with a scheme that he was sure would line his pockets.  He placed an ad in several different newspapers and magazines, describing himself as an orphan girl named Nora Henry.  Part of the ad reads as follows:   “I am good looking and a practical housekeeper. I am neat in form and want some honest gentleman in need of an affectionate wife, to help me make a living.” The letters began to pour in to “Nora Henry”  from all over the United States and Canada.  Packages arrived containing jewelry and money.  One Canadian rancher who lived in an isolated area that is now in Alberta, sent a large bundle of furs he had trapped. Of course, “Nora” replied to every letter, explaining that she certainly would be willing to travel to the writer’s home, but unfortunately she found it impossible to raise the money for the trip. In a dozen cases, money was forwarded.  One man sent $100 in currency; another sent a railroad ticket that was immediately converted into cash. Fortunately, an alert postmaster became suspicious of all the letters and packages addressed to Nora Henry, but picked up by the son of a well-to-do family that lived in Nebraska City.  An investigation was begun and the young man was hauled in to federal court in Omaha.  After a long hearing, he was found guilty of fraud and was placed on probation, providing he made restitution to all those he had scammed. They say there is nothing new under the sun. That goes for crime and also for lonely would-be lovers.


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