Editor’s Note: This story was submitted by a Hoax-Slayer reader as a warning to other Internet users. Names and other details have been changed to protect the privacy of the victim.
I am 54, a woman who met a man on a well known dating site.
His profile stated that he lived in the same town as I did and so we began emailing and using the instant message feature. He was lying about where he lived. He said he was temporarily working in the United Kingdom as a mechanical engineer, building a huge bridge. He said that he needed to use my bank account to deposit a large sum of money into. He said that he had to get a loan against his home to pay to build this bridge. He sent me a copy of this fake “contract” for 3 million US dollars that he said was going to be paid to him. This was to trick me into thinking he had plenty of money. I began to get suspicious because of several things.
First of all, an individual isn’t going to get a contract to build a bridge of this size. It would have to go out for bids and large construction companies would be the ones bidding and building this type of structure.
I printed a copy of the “contract” and showed it to a co-worker who is an attorney. She told me it was fake. The address listed for him on the contract was different from the town I live in, which caught him in another lie. He never gave me his real name. He went by two different names “Watts” or “Collins”. He would not tell me where he really lived. I asked him repeatedly to fax me a copy of his driver’s license to prove to me he was legit. He never would.
He spoke of God and how if I really loved him that I would do this one small favor and give him my banking information. Also, he was going to send me an engagement ring (which never came). He brought God into the conversation a lot, saying we were soul mates, how much he loved me, and so on.
I never gave him my banking information, nor did I send him any money at all. I accused him of being a scammer and of course, he denied it. He kept trying to wear me down with sweet words and promises, but by this time, I had made up my mind to stop talking to him. He threatened me, telling me how “sorry I was going to be” for dumping him. He also said he “released the devil” into my home because I would not help him. He said that I couldn’t just stop talking to him because “I belonged to him and I would soon find out how much”.
We had never even met in person or talked on the phone. It was all emails and instant messages. All fear tactics. I am extra careful now of who I talk to and I always try to be aware of my surroundings and always keep my doors and windows locked. I never go out at night alone.
I did not go to the police because I never lost any money, just a lot of wasted time talking to a fake person. I don’t even know his real name or where he lives.
Importance NoticeAfter considerable thought and with an ache in my heart, I have decided that the time has come to close down the Hoax-Slayer website.
These days, the site does not generate enough revenue to cover expenses, and I do not have the financial resources to sustain it going forward.
Moreover, I now work long hours in a full-time and physically taxing job, so maintaining and managing the website and publishing new material has become difficult for me.
And finally, after 18 years of writing about scams and hoaxes, I feel that it is time for me to take my fingers off the keyboard and focus on other projects and pastimes.
When I first started Hoax-Slayer, I never dreamed that I would still be working on the project all these years later or that it would become such an important part of my life. It's been a fantastic and engaging experience and one that I will always treasure.
I hope that my work over the years has helped to make the Internet a little safer and thwarted the activities of at least a few scammers and malicious pranksters.
A Big Thank YouI would also like to thank all of those wonderful people who have supported the project by sharing information from the site, contributing examples of scams and hoaxes, offering suggestions, donating funds, or helping behind the scenes.
I would especially like to thank David White for his tireless contribution to the Hoax-Slayer Facebook Page over many years. David's support has been invaluable, and I can not thank him enough.
Closing DateHoax-Slayer will still be around for a few weeks while I wind things down. The site will go offline on May 31, 2021. While I will not be publishing any new posts, you can still access existing material on the site until the date of closure.
Thank you, one and all!