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Prince Charming Behind Bars: Part 2

As the scammer's tactics intensified, see how investigators took him down

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Full Transcript

[00:00:01] Will Johnson: This week on AARP - The Perfect Scam.

[00:00:03] Amy Nofziger: I think romance scams are definitely at the top of the list as a big bad scam. These scammers are not going for a thousand bucks here and there, they're going for the big guns. They're going for hundreds of thousands of dollars.

[00:00:13] Adam Latham: We continue to get complaints from them, and so certainly it's a top 10 scam.


[00:00:19] Will Johnson: Welcome back to AARP - The Perfect Scam. I'm Will Johnson, here once again with AARP's Fraud Watch Network Ambassador, Frank Abagnale. Frank, welcome back.

[00:00:27] Frank Abagnale: Thanks, glad to be here.

[00:00:28] Will Johnson: We're talking once again about romance scams and we will have part 2 of our story about a South African romance scam mastermind. This story is about a man with a romance scam and possibly a ring of people scamming women, but men get caught in this all the time too.

[00:00:45] Frank Abagnale: Yes. And there's a lot to it then with these romance scams. Some people think well it's all about me just sending somebody money and they rip me off for a bunch of money but there's people sending people gifts, electronics. There's people who end up doing things maybe on camera then they're later they're extorted for money saying if you don't give me the money, I'm going to show these pictures to your family members and your friends. There's all other angles, just not just I'm out to have somebody send me some money.

[00:01:14] Will Johnson: All right, well let's find out what happens with Sara and hundreds of other women who were caught up in an international romance scam.

[00:01:22] Will Johnson: Last week we introduced you to Sara, the Southern Illinois mother of two who meets a man named Elias online claiming to be from Illinois but working for the army, a spy stationed in the Black Hills of Africa. He is none of the above. His real name is Ilumsa Sunmola, and he's the ringleader of a South African group scamming women like Sara. Amy Nofziger is Director of Victim Support with AARP's Fraud Watch Network.

[00:01:48] Amy Nofziger: They can create whatever personality they want. If they find out that you're a religious person, then they're a religious person. If they find out you're a sports person, then they're a sports person. They'll use whatever they can based on any information that you have given them because they have asked you questions or even if you have it on your dating profile, it says right there that you love eating out, well they love eating out. But then they can also find information on your Facebook page.

[00:02:13] Will Johnson: Sara herself is divorced, doing her best to get back in the dating life after being the victim of an armed robbery 10 years earlier. Adam Latham with the US Postal Service says it's a familiar story to him now, but at the time it was the first romance scam he'd experienced. He learned quickly how the scammer would operate to keep bringing in money.

[00:02:32] Adam Latham: It was just one excuse after another. After that first $1000 came in, Ilumsa knew that he had a good victim that would probably keep sending him money as long as he made up good excuses.

[00:02:43] Will Johnson: Sunmola was following a familiar routine in the world of romance scams. Routine that creates visions of love and companionship, even marriage for some victims.

[00:02:52] Amy Nofziger: People are losing hundreds of thousands of dollars, but the thing even more important that they're losing, they're losing their dream. They're losing the dream that they have created with this person, that this person has promised them, and we heard that from a lot of victims. It's, it's not so much the money, it's the fact that they thought that this was the person they were going to spend the rest of their life with.

[00:03:15] Will Johnson: Elias, as we known to Sara, instructed her to send money to Ilumsa Sunmola. Someone who could then get the money to Elias. As we already know, that's the scammer's real name. Elias and Sunmola are one in the same. Sara, of course, is not the only victim Sunmola is scamming. There are numerous women investigators reach out to eventually. Sara is identified as Jane Doe #6. Last week we told you about Jane Doe #1.

[00:03:40] Adam Latham: So in the case of Jane Doe #1, he started using fraudulent credit card numbers that he had obtained through other methods. He's a multi-faceted criminal. He's, he's doing this romance scam, but he's also committing credit card fraud. He's stealing credit card numbers, he's buying them on the black market, so he's using these illegal credit card numbers that he has obtained and ordering iPads, Apple products, laptop computers, a variety of high end merchandise and he's using these fraudulently obtained credit card numbers to purchase them online, and he's having them shipped to Jane Doe #1's house.

[00:04:17] Will Johnson: Latham says he would then instruct Jane Doe #1 to mail the goods to him in Africa.

[00:04:22] Adam Latham: He also cons her into using her own credit card to go in and buy high end Apple products at Best Buy stores. So not only is he having her send cash to him and reship the stolen merchandise, he's having her go deeply into debt on her credit cards by going into Best Buy, purchasing more high end electronics, and shipping those to him as well. She's a, she's putting herself more and more in debt the longer that she is having this relationship with him.

[00:04:54] Will Johnson: In April of 2012 four or five months into all this, deep in debt, Jane Doe goes to the authorities.

[00:05:00] Adam Latham: She finally realized that he's taking advantage of me and I have no more money to give. So that's why she finally cut it off.

[00:05:08] Will Johnson: The amount of money that she lost in the scam, about $90,000, led her to file for bankruptcy. Sunmola just moves on to other victims.

[00:05:16] Adam Latham: It's a business for him. He, he um, completes business with one business partner if you want to call it. I call it a victim, and then he grooms other victims at the time, same time, so he always has a line of women um, that he’s grooming so that he can eventually use the same scheme of, of telling them there's emergencies.

[00:05:34] Will Johnson: Amy Nofziger with the Fraud Watch Network knows that organizations like Sunmola's that operate romance scams are costing us millions.

[00:05:41] Amy Nofziger: FBI said in 2017, it was the highest dollar amount loss of any scams reported, and it was in the millions but I'm going to guess it's even in the billions because of the underreporting of it. It's definitely brainwashing, it's manipulation, it's, it's lying, it's crime, it's anything that you want to describe it. These people have no intention of ever meeting you, ever being a part of your life. They are just saying what you need to hear so you will send them whatever it is.

[00:06:14] Will Johnson: However you want to describe what was going on in Sara's mind, she was fully hooked at this point. And Sunmola and his crew in South Africa knew every trick in the book.


[00:06:23] Will Johnson: You'll remember that along the way, Elias or Sunmola had convinced Sara to get a webcam so they could talk. This is where the story gets extremely personal, but Sara is willing to tell us what happened.

[00:06:34] Sara: I don't want nobody like to judge me, but he, he got me to do, he wanted to see what I looked like and stuff in intimate a little bit like, and so he wanted me to do something on webcam and I, I did it, and all that, and then in turn later on he ended up using it against me to try to get, keep me giving him, him money. And he told me that he had videos of it, and that he would send it off to amateur like videos or something or another, like that, and that he had all these contacts in New York that was ready to buy them, and...

[00:07:21] Will Johnson: So he was extorting you.

[00:07:22] Sara: Yes, and he was like, I know your mom and dad's got money, you know, and blah, blah, blah.

[00:07:27] Will Johnson: He really got ugly.

[00:07:28] Sara: It got ugly.

[00:07:30] Will Johnson: How did you get through all that? What, what...

[00:07:32] Sara: I ended up opening up to my mom and I, I told her what, what all was going on.

[00:07:38] Will Johnson: Sara's mom decided enough was enough. They went to the FBI.

[00:07:42] Sara: When I was at the FBI place, they said that there were so many of those type of frauds going on to actually find those people was like almost impossible.

[00:07:52] Will Johnson: It's like a needle in a haystack.

[00:07:54] Sara: Right.


[00:07:55] Will Johnson: But as it turns out, US Postal Inspector, Adam Latham and his team were getting closer to that needle. Jane Doe #1's story had lit a fire and they were honing in on the scam. In fact, it was Sunmola's arrogance that provided the first big break.

[00:08:10] Adam Latham: What we eventually realized is that he was a real, real Nigerian citizen, that was his real name. He really did live in South Africa, so that was one of the surprises to us in the investigation that, that this guy was not trying to hide who he was. He was conning people um, out in the open.

[00:08:28] Will Johnson: Investigators went to work using his real name. They followed a digital trail.

[00:08:33] Adam Latham: We got a search warrant for the contents of 15 Yahoo email addresses that we knew he was using.

[00:08:40] Will Johnson: As they pour through these Yahoo emails, it dawns on Adam and the team of investigators that Sunmola isn't operating alone or even as part of a scam ring. He is the man in charge.

[00:08:52] Adam Latham: He was ordering people to conduct this scam, so again, it was maybe a little bit of a luck that we kind of stumbled upon the actual ringleader.

[00:09:02] Will Johnson: With thousands of pages of evidence, they were able to identify and reach out to victims. Among them, Sara. Latham meets with Sara at her home and tells her she's not alone.

[00:09:11] Sara: That's where I found out there was, it wasn't just me, it was like a lot of women. I mean it was like millions of dollars he has taken.

[00:09:21] Adam Latham: Like some of the other victims, she was a little bit embarrassed about talking to us, so we had to make her feel at ease. We had to tell her that other victims had already come forward and talked to us, that we wanted to help her, that it wasn't her fault. So it's a little bit, the first 5 or 10 minutes is, is trying to make her comfortable in, in the interview session.

[00:09:39] Amy Nofziger: That is so important to make the, the victims feel comfortable. Um, you know that's great that that was what Sara heard in, in her meetings because that's what she needed to hear, because she had probably realized at this point that, that she had, she's over, right? This person isn't falling in love with her, this person isn't marrying her, and she's scared and she's alone. So for her to hear that, that's crucial. And that's one of the things that we say to family members all the time; when you are speaking with your loved one about the situation, talk to them in a calm tone. You know, yelling doesn't work. Yelling brings up defenses and builds walls.

[00:10:21] Adam Latham: Ilumsa had treated her very cruelly

in that he had um, extorted her for money. So um, that was kind of the first um, time that we, we saw the deviousness or the evil that, that was in his, in his psyche, I guess.

[00:10:40] Will Johnson: More victims were located. More interviews, more heartbreaking stories and shame.

[00:10:45] Adam Latham: Yeah, we identified probably at least 100 uh, female victims that were, that sent money to Ilumsa. A large portion of them, I would say 50% didn't respond to our attempts to contact them by phone or mail, because out of embarrassment or any, whatever other factors. They just didn't respond to us. But we identified uh, 40 or 50 that did lose money and did respond to us.

[00:11:14] Will Johnson: Out of the 100 or so they identified, they estimated close to half a million dollars had been sent overseas. Latham and his team used a small handful of the most robust cases to charge Sunmola with mail fraud, wire fraud, conspiracy, and extortion, but actually finding and arresting Sunmola wasn't going to be easy.

[00:11:32] Adam Latham: Yeah, normally if, if you charge somebody in the US you go out, you round up your fellow agents, you knock on their doors and you arrest them. But with somebody in another country, um, like I said, we can't just go over there and arrest him, we have to do surveillance, we have to uh gather intelligence about where he is.

[00:11:51] Will Johnson: They made contact with the South African police service, and the search for Sunmola turned into an international hunt. Latham and his team were still monitoring Sunmola's Yahoo email account, and they were able to tell that he was still scamming victims, but they're also clued into anything else he's emailing to his contacts.

[00:12:06] Adam Latham: In one of the emails we saw that he had booked travel from South Africa to London, so we had intelligence from that email that he was in London.

[00:12:17] Will Johnson: Latham reaches out to Scotland Yard. They monitor Sunmola's return flight plans to South Africa and they show up at the airport.

[00:12:24] Adam Latham: On the day that he was to return to South Africa, Johannesburg, they arrested him as he was boarding his flight at Heathrow Airport in London.

[00:12:33] Will Johnson: Sunmola's arrogance, using his own name, traveling outside of South Africa, it all paid off for investigators. They had him in custody. The next step was to bring him back to the US. Sunmola gets a lawyer and fights extradition, but eventually gives up.

[00:12:48] Adam Latham: The bottom line is, he waived his extradition at one point, and eventually said, okay, I give up. I will come back to the US and face charges.

[00:12:57] Will Johnson: US Marshals flew to London, picked him up, and brought him back to Southern Illinois. After years of investigation, Adam Latham is able to share the news with the victims.

[00:13:05] Adam Latham: A key moment, we thought that we finally had some good news for our victims, we were able to call up and tell them that this person that had tormented them and ruined their lives was finally back in custody here, and was not going to go free anymore, so it was a, it was a, a very good moment.

[00:13:22] Will Johnson: In February 2016, the case finally went to trial.

[00:13:25] Adam Latham: Day 2, we had several Jane Doe's testify. The several Jane Does that testified, I think really did a number on Ilumsa Sunmola at the trial. It was really devastating testimony that they gave.

[00:13:38] Will Johnson: On the morning of Day 3, Sunmola's attorney announced that he would plead guilty.

[00:13:42] Adam Latham: The judge questioned him very carefully to make sure that he understood what he was doing, that he, he, that he wanted to do it. And so basically it ended.

[00:13:51] Will Johnson: Sunmola was eventually sentenced to 27 years. But for Sara and other victims, the damage was done. Not just the money, but the impact on their lives and their relationships.

[00:14:01] Sara: And I, it definitely changes your life forever. Um, I have a real problem with trusting people. I don't really believe anything anybody really says until like I know like the facts.

[00:14:20] Sara's Mom: And he ruined a lot of women's lives. I thank the Lord every day that they caught that guy, because he won't be able to do it to anybody else for a long time.

[00:14:31] Will Johnson: You know, another aspect of this that's heartbreaking is that she thought she had someone again after going through, you know, a marriage that didn't work out and getting back into the dating world.

[00:14:43] Sara's Mom: Right. Right, she thought she found her Prince Charming, and he was going to send her an engagement ring, 'cause he wanted to get married as soon as he got back to Mascoutah.

[00:14:56] Will Johnson: And he, he wasn't a Prince Charming at all.

[00:14:58] Sara's Mom: He was a shyster. He's a fast talker, the devil in disguise, I believe.

[00:15:05] Will Johnson: So who exactly is this man Ilumsa Sunmola? From what investigators learned, he was educated and came from a well to do family. Adam Latham.

[00:15:14] Adam Latham: Yeah, Ilumsa Sunmola grew up in Nigeria during a time where the fraud scams kind of um, really got out of control. From the, what we call the 419 scams where you get an email that says, um, we have a prince that uh has a bunch of money that needs uh removal from Nigeria. Can you help us out? Those are, those have been going on forever. But he, he grew up in this uh, this, the fraud culture in Nigeria. It translated with him when he moved to South Africa. He was maybe trying to do some legitimate work in the IT, in the computer field. But I think this culture of easy money that he grew up with in Nigeria um, just led him astray um, in, in South Africa. He was a, a 30 something year old man, 35 or so um, like I said he was very, he was educated. Spoke um, very good English. The, the fact that he extorted Jane Doe #6 like, like he did meant to me and the prosecutors that there was something in his [00:16:15] head that, that isn't quite there. I don't, we don't have any, we don't know the psychological background of what happened maybe in his childhood. From all that we learned he had a decent childhood so but certainly something uh happened to him to cause him to go a little bit evil in my opinion with this.

[00:16:33] Will Johnson: Whatever led him astray, he reaped the rewards of his crime until he was caught.

[00:16:38] Adam Latham: We learned that he had four houses there. So he had uh multiple um, high end automobiles. Uh, we uh, in the Yahoo search warrant, we found pictures of his, I think 35th birthday party. It was a, a big bash. There were scantily clad women, there was champagne, a lot of booze, a very, looked like maybe 50 or 100 people at a party for him, so he was certainly living a high uh lifestyle; multiple residences, uh fancy cars, a fancy party, so it really fit in with uh the Nigerian fraud culture that we had learned about through other means.

[00:17:19] Will Johnson: By coming forward and speaking up, Sara made a bold decision and protected others from Sunmola's scam. As Amy Nofziger with the Fraud Watch Network says, coming forward is critical when it comes to stopping scammers.

[00:17:31] Amy Nofziger: Romance scams are highly underreported which is crazy when you think about how many calls we get from people who are caught up in them, or we get calls from family members who are struggling with a loved one who is involved in a romance scam and they're not quite understanding that they're a victim in this scam, and they think that the family isn't supporting them or caring for them. So it's definitely a big problem and these, these cases, these scams, these are some of the hardest.

[00:18:06] Will Johnson: By speaking up in court, Sara found a voice she didn't know she had.

[00:18:09] Sara: I don't really like to like do public speaking or anything like that, but for some reason I found courage that day to do it.

[00:18:17] Will Johnson: Do you remember what you said?

[00:18:18] Sara: I just looked straight at him and I just, I said I just can't believe that you would do this to people and change our lives like you have. And I just told him, I don't understand how you can live with yourself knowing what you've done. And that you seem like a very bright person, you know, with knowing a lot about computers and different things like that, and I don't understand why you wouldn't have used your abilities to do something legal and that just to make money.

[00:18:55] Will Johnson: Nathan Stump, the Assistant U.S. Attorney working on the legal team prosecuting Sunmola will never forget the victims he's talked to.

[00:19:02] Nathan Stump: You know what, what this guy and his ring of confederates did to hundreds of women around the country, was um, something that I've heard described a number of times as like akin to mental rape.

[00:19:16] Will Johnson: It's a harsh term. There's a lot of words and terms and phrases one can use when thinking about romance scams. Think about it like this though. You might have had relationships over your life that didn't work out for one reason or another, but they were all real. For these victims, there was never anything real about it. It was all built on a lie. The financial and emotional distress can wreak havoc.

[00:19:39] Amy Nofziger: They start to question their own ability to, to think cognitively. They think, again, I'm embarrassed because I created this dream with someone I've never met before? And it's really hard to break that down, but what I always say to people and what the team always says to people is, you are a victim of a crime.

[00:20:00] Will Johnson: If there's a silver lining in all this, Sara is dating again. Despite all she's been through, she's learning to trust someone again.

[00:20:07] Sara's Mom: So she's taking it very, very slow. They've been dating for two years.

[00:20:13] Will Johnson: And it's in person, it's not online.

[00:20:15] Sara's Mom: Right, right.

[00:20:17] Will Johnson: Nathan Stump says he knows people who have found love online, he wouldn't tell anybody not to try it, but he does have some advice.

[00:20:25] Nathan Stump: So one of the red flags I think in our case was um, even though the person on the other end was willing to send some pictures, they usually were not willing to get on a webcam with the accessibility of smart phone apps that way you can do video calls so easily now, it doesn't really make any sense if the person on the other end doesn't want to be on video, I think that's got to be considered a red flag. And then just how quickly the relationship escalates from an initial contact to professions of undying love, and uh, the suggestion that the two are soulmates and that they should get married. I think that when you, whenever you're dealing with someone on the internet, you just have to be on guard and watch out for that, and don't, don't fall so fast. Be skeptical.

[00:21:10] Will Johnson: And a final note on the story of Ilumsa Sunmola, or fun fact as Nathan Stump calls it.

[00:21:15] Nathan Stump: So somebody asked me to tell them where is he being housed right now? So according to the Bureau of Prison's website, he's down in Louisiana. The fun fact is his release date is Valentine's Day 2038.

[00:21:28] Will Johnson: But while Sunmola sits behind bars there are legions of scammers out there cooking up the next romance scam. They're hard at work right now finding victims, grooming them, sending chocolates and teddy bears. The best thing you can do if you've been a victim or think you might be caught up in a romance scam, is to speak up.

[00:21:46] Amy Nofziger: If you are in a relationship with, with someone that you might think is a scammer, stop communicating with them. Stop communicating with them if you're on a dating app or a dating site. Report them so they can take that profile picture down. Report it to, to whomever you feel comfortable reporting it to. Report it to the FBI, report it to the Fraud Watch Network Helpline, your local police department, but just report it, because when you report it, then you're helping other people.


[00:22:18] Will Johnson: And I'm back with AARP's Fraud Watch Network Ambassador, Frank Abagnale. Frank, in the first part of this story last week, we, we learned that she, she did go to the FBI and report it, um, and maybe she didn't get the reaction she wanted. They, they told her, look, you can't do this. You know, it's clearly a scam. But they have to have a certain level where they, they feel like this is worth investigating?

[00:22:41] Frank Abagnale: Some things people don't know about the FBI is the FBI has benchmarks so they normally, they only have 13,000 FBI agents, and of course they're dealing with all kinds of things from terrorism to white collar crime to drugs.

[00:22:53] Will Johnson: Not just romance scams.

[00:22:54] Frank Abagnale: Yeah, political corruption, fraud, you name it. They basically have to look at all of these crimes and, and as, what, how much money's actually been lost and the only time you really get their attention is when they realize that you're not the only victim, that there are a lot of victims, and that's why it's so important even when I say to people, just report it, they may not do anything but report it because it does go into a file which eventually goes to a clearing house, where all the DOJ keeps all of these complaints, and then they start to analyze them with data analytics and start to realize, whoa, this must be one individual or a group of individuals hitting a number of people, and then it gets their attention. So a lot of times know they can't just jump on every person that walks in and says, I lost $30,000, or I lost $35,000 and especially as we talked about before, since most of the perpetrators are overseas in a foreign country some like Russia, some like China, India, where it's very difficult to even find [00:23:54] them no less prosecute them, so this was an exceptional case where the guy used his real name.

[00:24:00] Will Johnson: Let's talk about that. Is that at all common, that somebody would use either a real name, either a first name or a last name or both?

[00:24:05] Frank Abagnale: What I find is people who use aliases, and this has gone on for a long time, is that the fact that they keep some part of their real name. So even myself, I was Frank Monjo, Frank St. John. Frank Williams.

[00:24:18] Will Johnson: Where did you get St. John? Those are made up?

[00:24:20] Frank Abagnale: I just made up those names, but always Frank. Always Frank.

[00:24:23] Will Johnson: But you kept the first name, always Frank.

[00:24:24] Frank Abagnale: And if sometimes people keep their middle name or some part of their last name, I think this is that psychological thing, I don't want to lose my identity completely, so they keep some part of it, so that's always a common thread when it comes to people using aliases.

[00:24:38] Will Johnson: I might be Will Montclair or something like that.

[00:24:39] Frank Abagnale: Right, exactly.

[00:24:40] Will Johnson: And, and so I would imagine also if you, if you were Frank, then if somebody yelled out your name or said your name, at least you'd still respond to that name.

[00:24:48] Frank Abagnale: Right, it's hard to keep up with a lot of uh, phony names and what, who am I today and yeah so on.

[00:24:54] Will Johnson: That's a good point. All right, so he used his real name, as you're saying, maybe not that uncommon. The fact that he used his first and last maybe a little less so, also the fact that he was caught and the fact that uh we were able to work with you know the police in the United States and, and other authorities, were able to work with South African authorities, and then find him in London is pretty astounding. I mean there are a lot of internet scams and frauds where you can cut it off, you can stop sending money, but it's pretty hard to identify who's on the other end of it.

[00:25:23] Frank Abagnale: Yeah, and again, I have to think that it was because there were so many people, plus the dollar amount, you know, that he had stolen got the attention law enforcement, and that's when they will go do something a--, about it, and take the manpower to catch the person or investigate the crime. Uh, so sometimes it takes that, and that's why, again, I state that it's so important for people not to take the attitude, well I'm not going to report anything, they're not going to do anything about it. You report it because you want to compile to make sure that there's not other victims that that person's doing the same thing to other individuals as well.

[00:25:57] Will Johnson: A few points I want to make before we, before we go. One is that is a part of this story that we want to bring to everyone's attention and make sure it's clearly a red flag is that often scammers will say they might be in the military, like in this story, an Army officer. Being in the military could be a red flag. It isn't necessarily, it doesn't mean you couldn't find online romance with someone in the military. It happens all the time, but it could be a red flag. Something else we'd like to point out and add that if you think you could possibly have a family member and maybe you're even the kid of a parent who's involved in a romance scam, but someone who's involved in a romance scam, and it's tough to talk to them about, one thing you can do is go to, print off the romance scam's tip sheet, and put it in front of your mom or dad. It might not be the magic bullet, but it's going to perhaps help move that conversation along if it's too awkward to have in person. [00:26:57] And just one more note, we want to underscore, highlight, make clear that these romances scams are sophisticated scams, it's important for victims to speak out and for families and others to recognize romance scams like this one is a horrible crime, and not something people fall for, given the sophistication of the scam.

[00:27:18] Will Johnson: All right, Frank, as always, thank you for your thoughts, your stories, your expertise, and we'll, we'll have you back next week. We have a, an astounding Medicare fraud story that will blow you away, or maybe not you, but certainly our listeners.

[00:27:32] Will Johnson: If you or someone you know has been the victim of a fraud or scam, call AARP's Fraud Watch Network Helpline at 877-908-6360. As always, thanks to my team of scambusters; producers Julie Getz and Brook Ellis. Our audio engineer, Julio Gonzales. And of course, my cohost, Frank Abagnale. Be sure to find us on Apple podcast or wherever you listen to podcasts. For The Perfect Scam, I'm Will Johnson. 


Single mother Sara is growing suspicious of the man she met online. He claims to be an Army major stationed in South Africa, but Sara’s family worries she’s being scammed. Meanwhile, another woman approaches law enforcement to report that she’s been swindled out of thousands of dollars by the same man in a romance scam.

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  1. Open the Google Play Music app, search for the show title and select it from the list of results.
  2. Once on the show page, click the "Subscribe" button to have new episodes sent to your phone or tablet for free.
  3. Click the name of an episode from the list below to listen

    Smart Speakers (Amazon Echo or Google Home)
  1. To play podcasts on your Amazon Echo smart speaker, ask the following: "Alexa, ask TuneIn to play The Perfect Scam podcast" OR "Alexa, play The Perfect Scam podcast on TuneIn"
  2. To play podcasts on your Google Home smart speaker, ask the following: "Hey Google, Play The Perfect Scam podcast"

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Have you seen this scam?

  • Call the AARP Fraud Watch Network Helpline at 877-908-3360 or report it with the AARP Scam Tracking Map.  
  • Get Watchdog Alerts for tips on avoiding such scams.