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The Perfect Scam

 

Elaine's Gemstone Jerk

When Elaine makes a connection with a man on a dating site, she believes this could be something really special

The perfect scam aarp podcast

AARP

 

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When Elaine makes a connection with a man on a dating site, she believes this could be something really special. Over time, the online relationship turns romantic. So when Elaine’s new boyfriend claims to be overseas on business and needs money, she’s willing to help. In the end, the man disappears — but only after Elaine had sent him thousands of dollars in cash. Online romance scams are the No. 1 scam for loss money reported. It happens every day, and con artists are only getting more clever on how to pull at your heartstrings.

TPS quote ep 10

TIPS:  Use a dating site that verifies its members. Don’t post straight on photographs of yourself on Facebook or LinkedIn or other social media sites.  These pictures can easily be transferred, manipulated and posted on passports, ID cards, or on dating sites.  Don’t pick up the phone if you don’t recognize the phone number and don’t click on any unfamiliar links.   

[00:00:01] HOST: Coming
up on this episode of AARP's Perfect Scam.

[00:00:03] This guy
looks very nice and whatever he told me, I feel very bad for him and he's a businessman
and okay.

[00:00:11] HOST: It's
an all too common scenario in this age of online love and dating. What seems
like the perfect match at first turns out to be anything but that, but we're
not just talking about someone who doesn't live up to expectations. These are con
artists who know every trick in the book when it comes to attracting attention,
making a connection, and eventually, walking away with the victim's money. And
you might be surprised to learn how easy it is to fall into the trap. For the
AARP's Perfect Scam, I'm your host, Will Johnson and I'd like to introduce once
again, my cohost and AARP's Fraud Watch Network Ambassador, Frank Abagnale.
Frank, welcome back.

[00:00:43] Frank
Abagnale: Thank you. I'm glad to be here.

[00:00:45] HOST: So
here we are again this week we are talking about dating scams, romance scams
and big business, right?

[00:00:50] Frank
Abagnale: Absolutely.

[00:00:52] HOST: This
is one that makes sense in terms of being able to get to somebody through their
heart. It seems like a low-hanging fruit almost for a scam artist.

[00:01:02] Frank
Abagnale: It's true and it also, it's amazing to me how much money some people
have given to these scam artists, even though their family members are telling
them it's a scam and trying to tell them not to be involved in the
relationship. They just continue to send money, over and over again.

[00:01:19] HOST: It's
easy to almost feel like these people are so gullible but you have to put
yourselves in their shoes to some extent as well.

[00:01:26] Frank
Abagnale: Absolutely.

[00:01:27] HOST:
Alright, so on this episode we will introduce you to Elaine. After ending a
relationship, she was interested in meeting someone, someone new. So, she went
on a dating site and before too long ran across someone.

(MUSIC SEGUE)

[00:01:40] Elaine: He
put down a long, you know, a description of who he is and what he is and that
he lost his wife about so many years ago and he had this son who he lost in, he
was in the military and he, he lost his son in Afghanistan, and he's alone and
he, he's looking for, you know, somebody. Anyway, so he started connecting with
me and the communication went on and on without me knowing who he is.

[00:02:16] HOST: Will
Johnson: And so it's fair to say you connected with somebody on the site and
initially you liked him, you enjoyed having a conv--, messages back and forth?

[00:02:25] Elaine: I
enjoyed the conversation and he, he started communicating with me under a name
and then he also put in a, an email address where I could get to talking to him
in more detail.

[00:02:44] HOST: And
did you, at any point early on did you at all question this or did it all seem
pretty legitimate to you?

[00:02:50] Elaine: I
didn't question, because I trusted him. He told me what he is. He was supposedly
a marine engineer other BS or whatever he came, come up with.

[00:03:03] HOST: Did he
play it up on the romance side at all as well?

[00:03:05] Elaine: Oh
yes. He told me, and he, he put all these wonderful talk, you know sweet talk
to, to a person who was ready to absorb all that. So he said that he has a
beautiful rose garden and he would like to send me some roses, what is my
favorite color? So I gave him a color. And then one day in the evening, and I
gave him my address of course, how else are they able to deliver flowers to me?
So, one evening at about 8 o'clock in the evening, the doorbell rings, and
there is an elderly gentleman, person, I don't know if he's a gentleman if he's
connected with that guy, he's not a gentleman. He holds in his hand a beautiful
colorful balloon, Happy Birthday or whatever it was, and he had a beautiful
vase with a gorgeous big bouquet of flowers. I said, "Oh my God, it's so
beautiful, and oh it's so beautiful that he sends me flowers," but that
was in the very beginning.

(MUSIC SEGUE)

[00:04:33] HOST: So he
really, I mean this person like you said, they're really good at what they do
and he went through a lot of steps, including sending you something at your
house.

[00:04:42] Elaine: He
made it so believable. So anyway, he was, he was telling me one day that he has
to go overseas and he has to, he's in contact with to buy minerals overseas and
he needs to go and he's packing right away because he has a fantastic deal, and
he is leaving within a few hours because he has to catch the deal.

[00:05:17] HOST: Let me
ask you, two questions: how long was, had you been messaging with him before he
gave you this story and ...

[00:05:25] Elaine: It
was, it went on for maybe two weeks or thereabout and you know I said, okay, this
guy looks very nice and whatever he told me, I feel very bad for him and he's a
businessman and okay.

[00:05:42] HOST: Had he
mentioned his business overseas before?

[00:05:45] Elaine: Well
that's what he said to me, that he was mine, he was buying minerals from
different mines in, in Ghana.

[00:05:57] HOST: Okay.

[00:05:58] Elaine: So
when he gets there, he send me this message and he tells me that they will,
they have a law they will not accept his travelers’ checks, whatever he said,
American Express or whatever. So what he said is that he, he needs to have some
money and it should have given me the red flag right at that moment, but I
didn't, I didn't catch it. So, stupid me, I, and he said, "You have to run
down right away because I need the money, otherwise I can't go to the mines and
that could be in anyplace in, in the country."

[00:06:48] HOST: How
much money are we talking? Did he mention that at this point?

[00:06:52] Elaine: The
total of that was maybe around $3,000.

[00:06:57] HOST: Will Johnson:
And did you send it all at once? So he told you to...

[00:06:59] Elaine: No,
I did not send it all at once. And then me made all kinds of other excuses that
he needed, that he has to pay the hotel where he's staying, he cannot anywhere.
That he has to prove to the mines that he has the money, and all that stuff.
And he said, "I need," I don't know, another $1000 or whatever. And I
said, "Well, okay." He said, "Run down immediately to Walmart.
And while I am standing at the counter at Walmart, the people there get a call
from some authority from the transmission authority who cashes these payments.
She says, "I am not letting you, you know, to let this money transaction
go through because it's a scam and you will get a refund on this money."

[00:08:01] HOST: That's
amazing. So she...

[00:08:02] Elaine: They
knew already that this is a scam and it should not be handed out. And then she
said, "I am putting a block on this," and she's sending the money
back to, to the Walmart people and I got the credit for the money. Anyway, he
sent the message to me when I got home, and he said that, you know, he made up
other stories. Later on, what he said was, "Don't worry, I am going to
send, give you back all the money you sent to me because I am not even going,
when I come back to the, to the states, I am not even going to stop at my city.
I am flying straight to you to Tucson."

[00:08:58] HOST: At
this point, Elaine's made multiple trips to Walmart and sent a lot of money to
this guy. And so she finally decides to do some checking around on him.

[00:09:07] Elaine: I
got the background check from different companies. Well, first of all they had
addresses all over the place and then the address that he gave me was a house
that was for sale. It was not a house where anybody lived. So it was phony,
every step of the way was phony.

[00:09:31] HOST: You
know, this kind of took your heart for a ride, too, I imagine. Talk about that,
emotionally.

[00:09:35] Elaine:
Well, I was emotional, emotionally vulnerable. And I, it kind of you know felt
good that there was somebody who, without knowing me, wants to have, you know
talk to me nice and sweet talk and whatever.

[00:09:58] HOST: And
send you a rose from his garden, as a matter of fact.

[00:10:00] Elaine: Yes.

[00:10:02] HOST: You
know, this kind of thing, first of all I want to say, we really think you're
brave for talking about this, because there's a lot of people who, you know,
it's not easy when you've been scammed or you feel like you're the victim of
something, that you've done something wrong. Has that been hard for you? So
thank you, first of all, and then is it hard to talk about here today or have
you gotten used to telling the story? And do you talk about it to others?

[00:10:23] Elaine: I
have no problem telling people. I will tell anybody.

[00:10:28] HOST: You
know, I'm reading, I have some notes about your story and one thing you told
somebody here before is, if you’re smart, you have to disconnect from all of
this. I think that's a...

[00:10:38] Elaine:
Yeah, you should disconnect and I, it, it is also very important and it’s
important for me what I learned. First of all, you have to speak to the person.
You have to speak and hear the conversation from a live person. You can tell a
lot from speaking to someone and to hear his reactions or her reactions or
whatever because there are women scammers too.

[00:11:10] HOST: I hope
you find somebody who will send you a legitimate real rose from their rose
garden.

[00:11:15] Elaine:
(laugh). Well I don't know. I don't need rose garden, I need a real person.

[00:11:21] HOST: Yeah,
well, that's true, right, right, not just the rose. I have a title for this
episode you might like.

[00:11:26] Elaine: Oh
yeah? Well, look it's been...

[00:11:27] HOST:
Gemstone jerk.

[00:11:29] Elaine:
(chuckle)

(MUSIC SEGUE)

[00:11:34] HOST: So Frank,
I feel like if I'm on a dating site or if anyone's on a dating site and
minerals or mines are mentioned, I'm going to stay away from it. Stay away from
that person.

[00:11:43] Frank Abagnale:
Yeah, you know it's just amazing to me the romance scams, they've been going on
for generations. Some romance scams are somebody trying to rip you off for a
small amount of money. Some are very wealthy women who have been conned out of
millions and millions of dollars in romance scams. First of all, you know, you,
you never want to send someone money that you never actually even met.

[00:12:07] HOST: Bottom
line, that, that's the first thing.

[00:12:08] Frank
Abagnale: That's the first thing, that's a red flag. A lot of times these scams
work more on the fact that you get to know the person on the phone or over the
internet, maybe you met them through a dating site, you have actually never met
them personally. They befriend you, they invest a lot of time in talking to
you, maybe sending you flowers, having a relationship with you online or over
the phone, and then it gets to, well I see you're not feeling very well today.
No, I'm, I've had to go down to the doctor and I have to have this operation, but
the operation costs $5,000 or I need to get to have the operation, and I don't
have that kind of money. And then they almost get you to be the one who says,
well you know, I could help you with that. I could give you the money and
they're not even asking you for the money. They turn it around so that you're
offering the money to them. Again, you know, a lot of times it's like when I
speak to a younger woman, and she says to me, "I've been dating this guy
for six months, but I'm, you know, I don't, I don't, I'm a little suspicious
about this guy." I say, "Well let me ask you this, have you ever been
to his house?" "Uh, no." "Have you ever been able to call
him at home or only on his cell phone?" "I only have his cell phone,
I don't have his home number." Then you should be suspicious. And it
always turns out eventually that probably the guy's married. Maybe he's not
trying to rip her off for any money, but he's deceiving her because he's
married and he's trying to have an affair with somebody and not let them know
that they're married.

[00:13:40] HOST: But
love is so hard, Frank. I mean you find somebody who's paying attention to you,
you kind of see all of a sudden, they're getting lavished with whatever it may
be, oh, I love your picture and I really want to meet you. I mean...

[00:13:51] Frank
Abagnale: And I'm fine with that up to the point to when they say send me some
money.

[00:13:55] HOST: Don't
send them money.

[00:13:51] Frank
Abagnale: Okay? That's when I, then I have to stop, no matter how much I'm
involved with the person or taken over by the person's sweetness and what
they've done for me. The minute they start asking you for money, then that
raises a red flag that I have to say, who is this really? Do I really know who
this is because I actually have never met them, I don't really know a whole lot
about them, so before I invest money, it would be like you investing money in
something, before I invest in it, I'm going to check it out to make sure that
it's real. It's the same way here. Before I invest money in this individual, I
need to make sure I know who this individual is.

[00:14:30] HOST: So
have a cup of coffee first before, together before you start sending money for
the mines in another part of the world.

[00:14:36] Frank
Abagnale: Absolutely.

[00:14:37] HOST: The
other thing and you mentioned this a little bit about the amount of time they
put in, but these romance scams, I mean sometimes that can be like a really
long drawn out romance, where people stay with somebody, but they must have
multiple ones.

[00:14:48] Frank
Abagnale: And that's it, you know, it's like all scams where people say, well I
can't believe the time they invested in, with this, to just get this money out
of me, and I explain to them you're one of 100.

[00:14:57] HOST: It
wasn't the only game.

[00:14:57] Frank
Abagnale: They just move on. When they hang up from you, they move onto the
next one. They're working constant scams, and each one is coming in paying out
as they go back, so they're not just sitting home doing one call and then
investing all this time in one call. They, they've got multiple calls going on
and they're each at a certain point to where they're going to move to the next
position to where in the end they end up getting the money from everybody. We've
even had them where if I don't get the money, someone's going to kill me
because I owe these people this money and they're, they're not very nice
people.

[00:15:26] HOST: You do
get that.

[00:15:27] Frank
Abagnale: Yeah, you hit those scams where, you know...

[00:15:30] HOST: As
soon as you hear that, cut bait and run.

[00:15:32] Frank
Abagnale: Yeah, I mean, again, I, if I was the best advice I'd have is say you
know listen, carry on the romance if you want, but if you've never met the
person, you really don't know who they are, the moment they come along and say,
give me some money, you need to stop and ask, do I really know who this person
is?

[00:15:51] HOST: Back
in your previous life, women came and went through various elements of what, of
what you did. We know about the flight attendants and how they were, how you
put that into play in order to cash checks again most of the time, you weren't
scamming them directly. Was romance a scam for you ever, or did you have
experience of you know tugging at heartstrings?

[00:16:11] Frank
Abagnale: I think, you know, I, for me, it was so unusual because here I was a
16, 17-year-old, dating girls 25 and 27 because they assumed I was a pilot or
the doctor or the lawyer, so I was pretending to be this person 10 years older
than I was, so...

[00:16:26] HOST: Your
confidence level must have been amazing.

[00:16:28] Frank
Abagnale: Yes, and but all the, all the girls that I went out with were much
older than me, so people always used to say to me, well did you ever get really
involved with one? And I said, no, because my mother would never approve of me
getting married. I was too, I was too young, and so I was conscious of never
giving a lot of this, I love you, and you know, I bought them nice things, but
it was always, I tried to keep the relationship casual because I knew that I
was so much younger than them and the relationship...

[00:16:53] HOST: And
wasn't it all brand new? This, even if you did like somebody?

[00:16:56] Frank
Abagnale: Yeah, and I'll tell you, I'll tell you a quick story that's actually
in, in the book, Catch Me If You Can.

[00:17:01] HOST: We
love stories.

[00:17:02] Frank
Abagnale: I, I had met a girl who was a flight attendant with American
Airlines, and she was probably about 10 years older than me. She thought I was
her age. I dated her for a while and she got very attached to me, and she asked
me if I would come home to California to meet her family over the weekend. I
was reluctant to do it, but I, I went there and met her family and...

[00:17:25] HOST: As a
pilot.

[00:16:57] Frank
Abagnale: As the pilot and she thought me to believe that I was a pilot and,
and I started to realize over that weekend that this person was getting real
serious about me, and this is not a good thing because I, by meeting her
parents, I think she was interested in maybe getting married and, you know,
that's not going to happen. So we went on a bicycle ride in her neighborhood,
and we got to a park, and I had never confided in anybody about who I really
was. So sitting under a tree, I said, "I need to tell you something, I'm
only telling you this cause I care about you," and I said, "I don't
want to hurt you," but I said, "The truth is, I'm not a pilot. And
actually I'm only 18 years old. I'm running from the police because I ran away
from home and I've written a bunch of bad checks." First, she thought I
was kidding because she said, "I met you on the flight. You were sitting
in the cockpit in the jump seat." I said, "Yeah, I ride around on
these planes, you know in the jump seat," but I said...

[00:18:16] HOST:
Deadheading.

[00:18:17] Frank
Abagnale: This is the truth. So she got very upset and then she said,
"Well let's go back to my house." And I said, “You know what, why
don't you go back, I'm going to sit here for a while, I'll, I'll be back there
shortly." So she left on the bike and a few minutes later I got on the
bike, but I went one street past her street, went down the back, so that I
could look for her yard from the back and all these police cars were out there.
Now, I thought there you go. People only like you for who they think you are;
I'm not the pilot, she turned me in. So, I'm never ever going to tell anybody
again who I really am, you can't really trust anybody. Now that's the thinking
of an adolescent 18-year-old. Later on in life, who I've met this girl since
then, I met her brother since then years later, she obviously was an adult who
went back and said, this is a kid, the police are looking for him, he's a
runaway, you know, somebody needs to do something before somebody gets hurt or
the kid gets hurt, and so she did the right thing. But in the eyes of an
adolescent, I looked at it like see, you can't be honest with anybody, they're
just going to, they're going to just turn you in, so I'm going to never tell
anybody again the truth, and I didn't.

[00:19:25] HOST: You
learned like the wrong lesson.

[00:19:26] Frank
Abagnale: Yes, the wrong lesson.

[00:19:28] HOST: And
how different your life might have been had you actually gotten caught earlier?


[00:19:31] Frank
Abagnale: That's right.

[00:19:32] HOST: And I
mean, the thing that keeps coming back to me in your story, too, is that you,
you did have this, this life of crime, but it has turned into what you do
today.

[00:19:41] Frank
Abagnale: Right.

[00:19:42] HOST: And so
maybe things had turned out differently you wouldn't have had this
incredible...

[00:19:46] Frank
Abagnale: I am a big believer...

[00:19:47] HOST: Be
thankful.

[00:19:47] Frank
Abagnale: Yeah, I am a big believer that things happen in life for a reason.
You know, so I, I look at that as that's something that happened in my life and
I was able to turn what was a very negative thing into a very positive thing,
and I think that says a lot about, we live in such a great country that no
matter what you do, whether you're an alcoholic, you have a drug problem, no
matter what it is, you can change your life. Because we live in a great country
where people give you the opportunity to get a second, third, sometimes fourth
chance to turn your life around. So, when I look at age 69, I look back on my
life, I'm not fascinated by the things I did between 16 and 21 as most people
are, I am absolutely truly amazed every day of my life that I did those things,
I went to prison, paid my debt, and where my life ended up. I've been married
to my one and only wife for 40 plus years. I've brought three sons into the
world, the one who is an FBI agent. I mean how amazing it is for me to have a
son become an FBI agent.

[00:20:47] HOST: For
people who didn't know that, yes.

[00:20:49] Frank
Abagnale: Yeah, those, those are the things that every day I have to wake up
and say, I get to work for a great organization like AARP. My clients like
Lexus Nexus, Experian, working with the FBI. Who would have ever believed that
was possible if you had said to me sitting in that jail today, one day you'll
be doing this? You know, and so it says a lot about our country. It also says a
lot about that the world does not judge you on what your father's mistakes were
or someone else's mistakes, so they judge my son only on my son, not on me.

[00:21:22] HOST: Well,
from dating scams to getting second chances in life, your story is amazing.
We're lucky to have you on the show.

[00:21:29] Frank
Abagnale: Glad to be here.

[00:21:30] HOST: One
more thing about her story we'll go back to is that, and it was an interesting
element. It was at the store where she was getting money actually said don't
send any more money. Do you hear about this sometimes?

[00:21:38] Frank
Abagnale: Yeah, you know, years ago, going back now 35 years ago, when I used
to work with banks, it was mainly me training bank tellers. Now mostly it's
talking to their corporate customers, but years ago I used to tell tellers,
"If I come in and tell you that I need to withdraw $5,000 cash, and I'm an
elderly person, you need to question that person, and say, 'Look, I don't want
to get personal, but did anyone approach you and tell you this?'" It used
to be a very popular scam back 35 years ago where they would see an elderly
person go into a bank or a savings bank and they would then follow that person
home, and a few minutes later there would be a knock on their door and two nice
gentlemen dressed in a suit would identify themselves as secret service agents.
And they'd say, "We need your help." And then they'd come in, they'd
sit down, and they'd say, "We believe that one of the tellers at your bank
is stealing money, and we need to catch her, and we need your help. So we would
like you to go to the bank and withdraw $5,000 in cash and then bring it back
to the apartment."

[00:22:38] HOST: Get
out, that's crazy.

[00:22:39] Frank
Abagnale: "We're going to mark the money, and then we're going to give you
the money back so that you can bring it back and put it in the bank, so we can
catch the teller red-handed." You don't know how many thousands of people
fell for that scam, so you would say to the teller, if somebody came in, you
just said I don't want to get nosy, so I think more and more today, certainly
AARP is working with banks and financial institutions to let them know about
these scams so that they can step forward and say, are you sure nobody
approached you, because then the lightbulb goes on and the person's going to
say, oh yeah, that's exactly what happened. Well then that's a scam. They're
just trying to get your money. So Walmart obviously is training their people
very well because, and I think that's great.

[00:23:19] HOST: Dating
sites. I mean anybody can get on a dating site and put themselves in however
they want to, right? There's not, is there a lot of verification going on?

[00:23:26] Frank
Abagnale: I think if I was, if I was someone who wanted to go through a dating
site, I would absolutely make sure that was a very legitimate dating site,
where the dating site, that company checks the people out who actually want to
be on their site. They verify that they're a real person, that's their real
name, they do currently live at this address, they are currently employed at
this place, so that at least you have the security that they've done some
background checks so that the person they're hooking you up with at least
someone has established who they am. If they're not doing that, I wouldn't be
doing business with that dating site.

[00:23:57] HOST: So
don't go onto dating sites that specialize in guys who work in mines in other
parts of the world, and need your money.

[00:24:03] Frank
Abagnale: Go on dating sites where someone has them verified who they're
putting you in touch with.

[00:24:07] HOST:
Absolutely. Alright, Frank Abagnale, thank you once again for being here,
taking about dating and romance scams, and you know, one thing we didn't talk
about was trusting photos online. Anybody can go to a dating site and put a
photo of somebody, right, that's not them.

[00:24:19] Frank
Abagnale: Photos are everywhere, like on LinkedIn or Facebook or social media
sites and people can take those photos because that's a digital image of you,
put it on a passport, put it on an identification, or on a dating site and
saying I'm this person, and it'd be very impressive to the person who thinks
they're dating that individual. There are a lot of photos that are used and
manipulated, that's why I always tell people that are on Facebook and social
media, don't put straight on photographs of yourself that are easily taken and
then transferred somewhere, somewhere else.

[00:24:52] HOST: Got
it, okay, that's good to know and if it looks like somebody in really good
lighting in an office setting, don't trust that one either, because it's probably
a stock photo.

[00:25:00] Frank
Abagnale: Exactly.

[00:25:02] HOST: And
also, along the lines of photos and the technology of it, are we able then also
to reverse that equation in that we can take images and search online, or is
that kind of a black hole.

[00:25:12] Frank
Abagnale: No, there are two technologies out there now. One is called
Pitt-Patt. That was actually developed by MIT but it is owned by Google, and it
is a facial recognition tool tied back to Facebook, so if you have your picture
on Facebook, and I snap a photo of you, it'll search all the Facebook pages
around the world till it comes up to a match of that person on Facebook. The
Russians have even a better, faster technology called Fine Face, and it is
available in the U.S.

[00:25:42] HOST: These
are the good guys using this technology or the bad guys?

[00:25:19] Frank
Abagnale: It's both, so a lot of bad guys use it basically because if I see you
in the airport and I snap a photograph of you, and it takes me to your Facebook
page, and on your Facebook page you happen to tell me where you were born and
your date of birth, I'm 98 percent of stealing your identity.

[00:26:00] HOST: Wow.

[00:25:19] Frank
Abagnale: Yeah, it is amazing.

[00:26:02] HOST: Wow,
that's scary.

[00:26:05] HOST: In
keeping with our topic today of romance scams, we have Jen Beam from the Fraud
Watch Network. She manages the Fraud Watch Network Facebook page. Jen, thanks
for being here.

[00:26:14] Jen Beam: Thanks
for having me.

[00:26:15] HOST:
Alright, so romance scams. You guys hear about them a lot on the, with your
Facebook community, right? Can you tell us about it?

[00:26:21] Jen Beam: We
do. What we hear most is sort of two different things. So often, we will get
folks who reach out, sort of just before, so potential scammers will reach them
and they'll send us, you know, hey, does this person look legit, you know, and
they'll send us a Facebook profile and we can you know, usually it's pretty
clear it's a scam. The other which is more common is that we hear from friends
and family reaching out who are just absolutely at their wit's end trying to
reach someone who has been victimized. One of the hardest exchanges that I've
gotten is a really close friend; her best friend had fallen for this scammer,
it was the classic story, you know, she met this guy on a dating sight, they
quickly switched to text, it was a guy who happened to be across the country,
he traveled a lot, and it really hit all the markers of the classic romance
scam, but this friend followed the warning signs, could not break through, and
so you know we were in the position trying to advise this woman, you know, what
she could share with her you know the friend that was being victimized, and
ultimately we were able to connect her with our Fraud Watch Network Helpline.
And so, what's nice about that is we have trained volunteers who actually make
outgoing calls too, so they were able to call just to try to be an outside
source because sometimes you know people don't want to hear it from their
friends and family.

[00:27:48] HOST: So, no
matter how much you might like somebody from their photo, or their messages, or
their texts, you know, as Frank said, if you’re not going to have coffee with
somebody, then don't send them money. Like, you know, if you haven't done that
yet, you know there's no reason to share money with them.

[00:28:04] Jen Beam:
It's a very good point.

[00:27:59] HOST: Jen
Beam with the Fraud Watch Network. Thanks, as always, for your valuable advice.
Where can people find the Facebook page?

[00:28:12] Jen Beam:
They can find it at Facebook.com/fraudwatchnetwork.

[00:28:15] HOST:
Alright, Jen, thanks a lot.

[00:28:16] Jen Beam: Thanks,
Will.

[00:28:18] HOST:
Alright, stay safe out there. Don't click on any links you don't know. Don't
pick up that phone if you don't know the phone number, and I'll be back next
with AARP's Fraud Watch Network. Ambassador Frank Abagnale.

[00:28:29] Frank
Abagnale: Thank you.

[00:28:30] HOST: Thanks
a lot.

[00:28:27] HOST: For
more information and resources on how to protect yourself from becoming a victim
of a scam, visit AARP's Fraud Watch Network website,
AARP.org/fraudwatchnetwork.

[00:28:41] HOST:
Alright, many thanks to our producers Julie Getz and Brook Ellis; our audio
engineer, Julio Gonzales, and of course, my cohost Frank Abagnale. For The Perfect
Scam, I'm Will Johnson. Be sure to subscribe, download, rate, and of course,
please like our podcast on Apple Podcast or wherever you find your favorite
podcasts.

END OF TRANSCRIPT

Next Episode:

Episode 11: Dan Goldstein - A Scammer Tells All

We pull back the curtain on call centers and learn about the rise and fall of one call center employee who scammed victims daily.

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