Sweetheart scams are one of the most devastating scams of all. The victim will not only lose money, a car, property, a business, be left responsible for enormous debt, they will often suffer psychologically and emotionally. The sense of betrayal one feels after being a victim of a sweetheart scam can lead to trust issues (and who can blame them?) and feelings of embarrassment, often so bad they won’t report the crimes against them.
The internet has been a huge help to sweetheart scams. The internet has helped them cast a much wider net to “catch” their victims, while they use the cloak of anonymity the internet provides to hide their secrets and schemes, and move on to the next victim. Many men and women have found themselves the victim of sweetheart scams. These victims come from all backgrounds, races, ages, and education levels. Don’t think you have to be incredibly naive to fall for a sweetheart scam, or that it couldn’t happen to you. No victim went into it thinking it could happen to them. These con artists are professionals, and often make these schemes their sole source of income! Most sweetheart scammers are pulling numerous scams at the same time with multiple victims! All victims of sweetheart scams have found out, after the con artist “disappeared” that they were not alone and that several others were being duped at the same time.
The term “con” comes from the word “confidence”. These people are only as good as their ability to make people believe them, trust them, fall in love with them, and give them money. The con artists in these sweetheart scams will either use a “quickie” scam to get short-term fast cash or the more elaborate scams, that take more time and often will even marry the victim! The time they will invest with each victim depends on how much they can get, and how fast, if ever, the victim begins to catch on. They will do, say, or promise you anything because they want you to trust them and believe in them so it is easier to part you with your money.
They will promise you the world – love, marriage, children, dream homes, lifestyles, and business partnerships, anything. The only catch is all the money used to pay for all these things (and so much more!) will have to be provided by you and you alone. They make promises, YOU are required to deliver up front. There are many common scenarios of how the sweetheart scammer will operate, and here is the most common:
- Step 1. They will come on strong in the beginning, have tons of time for you, want to speak with you first thing in the morning, and even right before you go to sleep. There will be numerous long phone calls, emails and chats. They will listen to you, size you up and know just what to say to steal your heart. They will often tell you of their dreams, and of course how they either “had it all” or could have had it all but “something” went wrong which is never their fault. (This is done for you to feel sorry for them.) They will tell you all about how they never felt this way about anyone, never felt so much so fast, and will talk about being in “love” way too soon. It will be a complete whirlwind romance!
- Step 2. They will ask you to help them out financially, whether it is for a loan on a check that is coming “any day” (but never does) or a business deal that is coming through “any minute” (that never does) or a hospital stay, sickness, or some other “emergency”. They can also discuss with you buying property to build your “dream home” (isn’t that romantic?) or get you to go into business with them because they have been “burned by so many others” but they feel they can totally trust you. (Nope, all part of the scam.)
- Step 3. If you don’t hurry up and give them the money they want they will pull away, have to focus their attention on making money (since YOU aren’t helping) and can’t give you the same attention as they did before (and it is all your fault). They will accuse you of not believing in them, trusting them, loving them, and not full-filling your promises. (But they haven’t either, have they?) They will offer contracts to protect you, which in reality cannot protect you. If you sign a contact with them, YOU are responsible to pay the debt, they just run. They don’t care about their credit! But yours will suffer. And sue them? Now you are going to pay for a lawyer on top of it? And what will you get from them? They often have NOTHING. Even if you win the lawsuit, who will make sure you get paid? It often becomes a CIVIL, not criminal matter, and you wind up with nothing. (If you can even find them after they disappear.
- Step 4. When they do get the money, and feel there is nothing else to take or their victim is getting close to the truth they will either vanish out of the blue, or pick a fight with the victim and vanish. Please don’t think if you marry this person that it means they are not sweetheart scamming you. Being married to a sweetheart scammer also does not mean they are not married to other people!! You would be amazed how often this happens!
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