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How a Widow Overcame a Devastating Romance Scam

In part 2 of this podcast, Kate realizes her "fiancee" is a fraud and opens up to family about the ordeal

Episode 98 - Widow Overcomes Romance Scam

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After anxiously waiting for her fiancé, Tony, to arrive at the airport, Kate Kleinert is shocked when she receives a call from his attorney, who says that Tony has been arrested on a drug charge. He tells Kate that he’ll need $20,000 to bail Tony out of jail. Out of money and insisting that she be allowed to visit the man she expects to marry, Kate begins to suspect something is off, especially when Tony makes odd requests for more payments. Brokenhearted, Kate leans on her sisters and finds the courage to heal. 

Quote graphic episode 98

AARP

(MUSIC SEGUE)

[00:00:01] Bob: Last week on The Perfect Scam.

[00:00:02] He told me that when Tony reached for his bag on the carousel in the baggage claim area, that two FBI agents stepped up and arrested him.

[00:00:12] Bob: So the phone call comes in and, and they, they explain that he's been arrested and, and what do they ask you to do?

[00:00:17] Uh, get $20,000.

(MUSIC SEGUE)

[00:00:21] Bob: Welcome back to The Perfect Scam. I'm your host, Bob Sullivan. This is a two-part episode. If you haven't listened to the first part yet, you should go do that now.

(MUSIC SEGUE)

[00:00:33] Bob: To remind you where we are, Kate Kleinert is sitting home alone after waiting up all night in a black dress with a now warm bottle of champagne waiting for her online lover, Tony, her fiancé, to arrive from the airport. He never shows. Instead, a call comes in the morning from someone who tells her that Tony has been arrested at the airport and she needs to find $20,000 to get him out of jail. Kate had planned to introduce Tony to her family as a surprise during their holiday party, but suddenly, everything is up in the air, and Kate doesn't know what to do. She does know that she doesn't have $20,000. Kate, a widow, has been living pretty modestly since her husband died of cancer, and she's already sent Tony $39,000 during the past few months. She has almost nothing left. The caller tries to convince Kate to take out a loan on her home, or to ask her family for the money. She tells him she doesn't have any more cash. We pick up the story there.

[00:01:40] Kate Kleinert: Tony continued to call me five or six times a day. He said that the UN had demanded he, he have privileges.

[00:01:49] Bob: It is a confusing time. Kate is surprised that Tony can call her. It makes her wonder, but at the same time, she was in touch with his kids. She'd bought them Christmas gifts, and on Christmas Day, she even writes to them to say they would all be together soon. But whenever Tony calls, Kate just keeps telling him, she can't get the money. That she was sorry, but she has no way to help him. But Tony persists.

[00:02:19] Kate Kleinert: But Tony continued to call me, begging me, crying, please get me out of here, or send me a card. Can you get me another card, because then I could get better food.

[00:02:30] Bob: That doesn't quite sound right to Kate. Can an inmate use a gift card to get better food in prison? Right about now a dark sensation starts to creep into Kate's mind that maybe things are not what they seem to be. So she takes a risk the next time she talks to the lawyer.

[00:02:50] Kate Kleinert: So I asked, it was then a few days before Christmas, so I asked the lawyer if I could see Tony for Christmas. That was the best I could do. I couldn't come up with the $20,000, but I wanted to see him, so he wasn't alone. That's when he told me he had been transferred, the FBI had transferred him from Philadelphia to Oklahoma of all places, and when I asked why, he said there, because of crowding in the prison in Philadelphia. Well, that doesn't make any sense either. So I, I finally had to face the fact that this might not be what I thought it was going to be.

[00:03:30] Bob: But when she tries to confront her fiancé with her questions, it seems like he'll do anything to avoid them.

[00:03:37] Kate Kleinert: When I would do that, when I would push the issue that I didn't think, and I'd say, "Please, do not take me down this road if this isn't real. Please don't do this to me." And, and he would either threaten suicide or cry, which was his way of just stopping the conversation.

[00:03:55] Bob: Sure. So you didn't push, but then one day, how, how did it finally come to a head?

[00:04:00] Kate Kleinert: When the money continued to be such an issue, and he wanted me, then he wanted me to go to different businesses and tell them that if they could lend me $20,000, he would pay them back $40,000. Well there, there is no way I was doing that. And I thought he's just pushing here to get something more out of me. Um, can I go to, to my church and ask for money? Can I go to my family, tell them I'm, I'm getting into a business deal, and I just need some cash. Well, I don't do something like that with my family. I would not have gone to them and just casually said I need $20,000, but I'm not going to tell you why. You know, um, so then I, I cried a lot, realizing that the dream was over, and it just wasn't going to be the way I wanted. And I stopped answering his phone calls. But the messages, the text--, the, I guess they're email or text messages on the Hangout got, "Why are you doing this to me? Why are you abandoning me? I want to spend my life with you."

[00:05:14] Bob: As the calendar turns to 2021, and the dark COVID winter progresses, Tony still persists, and Kate learns how to ignore his messages. But there is one more phone call.

[00:05:29] Kate Kleinert: I must say I picked it up sometime late in January, and I kept bugging him asking him where he was. And he finally said he was in um, Jordan. And I said, "And how did you get to Jordan?" And he said, "Well they had to let me out to, to try and raise this money." And I said, "It doesn't work that way. You can't, you can't be released from prison so you can go earn your bail." But then he told me he sold my engagement ring and made bail, and now he was in Jordan. So not, you know, it, it all was crumbling at that point, so.

[00:06:08] Bob: And that's the last time you talked to him?

[00:06:11] Kate Kleinert: Yes. Yeah. He continued to send me messages and has continued to call me through Hangout, but I haven't responded.

[00:06:20] Bob: It's a very dark time. Kate has to deal with the financial challenge of losing almost all her money. And real Tony or not, she has to mourn the loss of a real love she felt, and a real future she had planned for.

[00:06:36] Kate Kleinert: And um, it just was very easy to, to believe what he was saying. And even with, I mean $39,000 to some people would be life-ending, to someone else it would be uh, not that bad. To me, it's very difficult to lose that kind of money because it's all that I had, but the worst part of this is the loss of that dream.

[00:07:03] Bob: And for perhaps the first time in her life, Kate had to face the loss of a dream all alone. Remember, her relationship with Tony had been a secret, even her three sisters, the ones she'd want to be in a foxhole with, well they don't know anything about it.

[00:07:22] Kate Kleinert: Well, what made it especially difficult for me is that I had not told my family about him, so I am grieving over losing my fiancé, if you will, losing this new home we were going to live in, and being mother to these two kids, um, it was Christmas Day and, and I could not share that with anyone. Now we were not getting together for the first time because of the pandemic, which was good, because I didn't have to face anyone, but the, the grief was overpowering that I thought so much that this was going to happen, and even I, I bought those kids Christmas presents, um, I sent them messages on Christmas Day saying, "Whenever the four of us were able to be together in our new home, that's when we would celebrate Christmas um, so just don't worry about being alone today. We'll be together soon," and et cetera, et cetera, but the, the harder of sitting here alone on Christmas Day just was such a loss and not being able to tell anybody about it was devastating. By Christmas Day I was truly out of money, truly. And I've never been at that point in my life before. Not, not that devastatingly broke. My checking, savings, the rest of my husband's life insurance was gone, and half of my retirement fund is gone.

[00:09:16] Bob: God. And at that point, you're sort of, well first of all, the thing that a lot of folks don't understand is, is if, even if the relationship was fake, the grief is very real.

[00:09:27] Kate Kleinert: Oh, absolutely. Absolutely.

[00:09:29] Bob: So you, you lost, I mean a fiancé might as well have died.

[00:09:33] Kate Kleinert: Yes, exactly.

[00:09:35] Bob: But in this case, you don't even get the comfort of friends and family to understand what's going on.

[00:09:40] Kate Kleinert: Yeah, right. Right.

[00:09:42] Bob: At rock bottom, Kate can't feel more isolated, more lonely. She stumbles through the COVID 2021 winter alone. She keeps hiding this dark story from everyone, even her sisters. But the kindness of a new boss, Kate had picked up part-time work to help make ends meet doing publicity for a local author, and well, that's where our story takes a remarkable turn.

[00:10:10] Bob: Who was the first person you were able to talk to about this?

[00:10:13] Kate Kleinert: The author, Kelly Long, who um, she kept saying to me, I just feel like you're hiding something, not hiding it from me, but you're hiding something that is really hurting you and you don't want to share. And so I finally told her.

[00:10:30] Bob: But Kelly could tell something was wrong, something was...

[00:10:33] Kate Kleinert: Yes. Yeah, she knew me well enough that she knew I was very sad. She kept saying, "You're so sad, and if you don't want to tell me, that's fine, but if you want to share it, you know, I'm here for you." And I did.

[00:10:45] Bob: Kate's boss slowly persuades her to tell her sisters, to lean on them. It's unthinkable at first. How do you tell such a story? But Kate hatches a plan. A plan inspired by all those pandemic family Zoom gatherings thanks to her boss.

[00:11:04] Kate Kleinert: She has been phenomenally supportive, and finally convinced me I need to tell, I needed to tell my sisters. And that was very difficult, but I thought it was, I couldn’t for a while, but then I felt like I could manage it, and I scheduled a Zoom for the three of them and myself, and I thought I had said to them, "I need to talk to you, I need to tell you what's been going on," and I thought I said, "It's not medical, it's not physical. I'm not sick or anything." I thought I said that. Well apparently, I only said that in my head, because they were...

[00:11:48] Bob: So they all thought you were dying or something.

[00:11:50] Kate Kleinert: Yes, yes, they all were upset that I had had a bad diagnosis or something. But I felt even worse when I found that out that I hadn't put their mind at ease.

[00:12:01] Bob: The meeting invitation actually scared Susan, Kate's sister.

[00:12:04] Susan Huber: I initially thought well she, she put in the Zoom invitation that she had something important that she wanted to tell us, and I immediately thought that she was sick, that something had happened with her health, uh and I believe that's what my other two sisters thought also, that she was going to tell us that she had some, some problem that we were unaware of.

[00:12:26] Bob: And, and probably very serious if it required a Zoom meeting.

[00:12:28] Susan Huber: Serious, exactly. Exactly.

[00:12:32] Bob: Were you, uh, were you at work or what, do you remember where you were when you got the email or the invite?

[00:12:35] Susan Huber: Just at home. Um, and I think I remember calling my other two sisters and saying, "What's up?" And we kind of had a, an agreement amongst the three of us that Kate was probably ill.

[00:12:52] Bob: And how far in the future was the meeting?

[00:12:56] Susan Huber: It, there wasn't much time between the invitation and the meeting. The invitation probably came at the, the beginning of the week before, and the meeting was on a Sunday because one of my sisters is still working, so we usually Zoom on Sunday afternoons. Um...

[00:13:11] Bob: But that meant you had to wait a week to find out?

[00:13:13] Susan Huber: Uh-hmm, yes. Just thinking of the, the worst scenario. Um, I knew it must be something serious if she was going to share it this way. You know, usually there's phone calls when there's, there's something that we need to share, but um, I knew something was up. But I thought, okay, I just have to wait until, till the meeting because I didn't want to call her and put her on the spot because she obviously wanted to talk to all of us together.

[00:13:41] Bob: Sunday arrives, and as the meeting begins, Kate lays out the ground rules and jumps right into the story.

[00:13:49] Susan Huber: We just all signed on and we were, were just on the screen, and, and Kate said that we wanted to tell us something, and could we just let her get it out and not ask questions or anything, so we just all sat quietly while she told the story.

[00:14:07] Bob: Um, so but when she starts speaking, um, when in the first 30 seconds you don't hear cancer, hospital, doctor, any of those things. So what was your first reaction there?

[00:14:19] Susan Huber: Well, I think I was glad that I knew she was okay, health-wise. But I was just aghast. I, I mean I don't think I could believe it at first. I kept thinking this, this can't be real. And I think that was the universal reaction of my other two sisters was, this just can't have happened. Not to Kate.

[00:14:39] Bob: And, and as she unfurled this tale for you, did it take half an hour, an hour? How long did it take?

[00:14:44] Susan Huber: Um, probably not that long. I would say maybe 15 or 20 minutes till she got it all out. Um, she had trouble speaking during some of it. She was emotional. Um, I know when I was listening to it, I just kept thinking, don't react, don't react, 'cause we were all looking at each other. My older sister said she kept watching me because she said my eyes were just getting bigger and bigger on the screen, which I didn't realize I was doing that, but um, I think we just listened until she got finished.

[00:15:20] Bob: Kate is terrified of what their reaction will be. But she wants to tell the tale all at once, sort of press conference style so all her sisters hear the same thing from her.

[00:15:31] Kate Kleinert: I had actually made myself an outline, because I wanted to tell the story chronologically, and get it all out without any interruptions and I even, you know, I laughed and said there would be a question and answer period afterwards, but I need to get this out. And of course, you know, my voice was shaking, and I got through, through my list.

[00:15:57] Bob: When Kate is finished, there is stunned silence for what feels like an eternity, but then...

[00:16:06] Susan Huber: She finished, and she waited for one of us to say something. And our youngest sister said, "Kate, you're so courageous to share this with us." And then it came to me, and I said to her, "Kate, I'm proud of you. I'm proud of you for reaching out to us, um, we, we need to focus on your well-being, not what happened. I mean it's horrible what happened, but we need to focus on your well-being and how we can go into the future." And none of us were blaming her for what happened.

[00:16:45] Bob: The support is overwhelming.

[00:16:48] Kate Kleinert: And they all said they were proud of me. Which absolutely floored me. So what are you proud of? Look what I've done. I've lost all my money. How can you be proud? But they were proud that I had the courage to step forward and tell them about it.

[00:17:05] Bob: Wow, that's amazing.

[00:17:08] Kate Kleinert: It is. It is, and more comforting than I can even explain. Not what I expected.

[00:17:15] Bob: Not what she expected maybe, but just what she needed, the love and support of her family.

[00:17:23] Bob: And was she relieved; I mean how, how did she react?

[00:17:26] Susan Huber: She sort of um, she, she was sort of leaning on her desk and her computer, and I could see her just sort of the air sort of came out of, or the tension, I want to say, came out of her. She just, you could tell that she was so relieved that she started to cry. Um, she just kept saying, I can't believe that's what you're saying. Because she had all of this guilt and um, thought we were all going to be disappointed in her, and you know, all the things that you go through, I guess when that happens to you. And we weren't there, like I said, we focused on Kate, what, how are you doing today? How are you going to be doing tomorrow, and what can we do? What can, what resources can we help you with? What can we do?

[00:18:18] Bob: Susan was crushed to think about the burden her sister had to carry all by herself through the darkest of winters.

[00:18:26] Susan Huber: I, I can't imagine what, what she went through when this started back, I guess it was November, and then she was alone all through Christmas. I, my heart just breaks thinking of her by herself with this burden, and she wouldn't share it with us. But I think she was so devastated by the whole thing that she had to kind of get herself a little more together before she wanted to share it. I, I don't know. I, I'm saying that's what she was thinking, but I'm not sure that's what she was thinking, but I, I, my heart just breaks for her. I, I can't believe that I was 30 minutes away and I wasn't there to help her. Kate and I have talked just this past week, and I said to her, I think it was a perfect storm for her. Um, the whole year of isolation with COVID, um, Kate is lonely, I know that. She terribly misses her husband and that connection that she had with him. And somehow this, this just happened to her. And I, I don't know if we'll ever know any more to it than that.

[00:19:34] Bob: So this idea of getting the family together over Zoom to share the story, did it work? Would Kate recommend it?

[00:19:42] Kate Kleinert: Actually I would. Um, it, it's better than telling the story three different times to each sister, you know, in a, in a personal phone call. It's, if the pandemic hadn't been on, I probably would have scheduled a, a luncheon or something, you know where I could have told them in person, but it, there's always the, the problem if I'm on the phone with one sister and hang up, and I call the second sister, then the first sister's going to call the third one and say, have you heard what's going on?

[00:20:16] Bob: (laugh) News travels fast, yes.

[00:20:19] Kate Kleinert: Yes, I didn't want anybody hearing it, you know, without me being the one to tell it. And they all heard the exact same thing. They all had different questions, so they were answered where each one heard them, and I just thought it was the easiest way, that way we were, we were seeing each other on the Zoom, it was the closest we could be during the pandemic.

[00:20:44] Bob: Susan thought the Zoom was great too.

[00:20:46] Susan Huber: It's funny, I, I talked with one of my sisters about that a little while ago, and I think it, you'd have to know our family, because when phone, when we get on phone calls, uh with each other, sometimes it can be an hour. Um, you know, there's so much to share and we just, we talk about everything under the sun. And I think if Kate had to do that three times, she would have been totally exhausted and just so emotionally upset. This way, with the Zoom, she was hearing, we were all hearing it the same way, we were all hearing the questions back and forth, we were seeing expressions on people's faces, and I, I know I didn't care for it so much the day it happened, but I think in hindsight it probably, for the four of us, it was the best way to share it.

[00:21:40] Bob: I have to say, it makes so much sense to me, just personally, I, I hate feeling, even with all the best intentions of everyone involved, I hate feeling gossiped about. You know, and so if I, if I knew maybe some of my family or friends were discussing this when I wasn't there, you know, I would feel weird about that, and...

[00:21:59] Susan Huber: Exactly.

[00:22:00] Bob: And so uh I mean it, it sounds intimidating, it's almost like a press conference. Um, but I, it's, it's, I think it's so beautiful, and it, and it lets everybody, uh, you know, they all, you all know the same things, and you're all on the same page.

[00:22:13] Susan Huber: Exactly. And, and you could hear the questions, you know, you were probably thinking the questions, but another sister asked it. And you heard Kate's response. And um, I think Kate needed that. Because she wasn't 100% sure how we were all going to react.

[00:22:32] Bob: So Kate is now relieved of facing her burden alone. But there is the real life practical problem. She's out of money.

[00:22:42] Susan Huber: Well, um, she sort of presented such a bleak picture of, you know, all her money was gone. Um, Kate lives in a very old house, she's got to take care of it. Um, she's got to have money to eat, to fill her car with gas, uh, all of those things, and I think we just wondered what was going to happen. And then she shared with us that she had applied for a reverse mortgage on the house, which was fine. Um, that she had decided that was how she was going to try to fix some of this. Uh, we made suggestions about, you know, looking for jobs, um, what skills did she have that maybe she could get paid for, that type of thing, and we did some brainstorming there.

[00:23:34] Bob: So, what is next for Kate, and what happened when she tried to call law enforcement for help with her situation? We'll get to that in a moment. But first, I'd like to bring in Debbie Deem, a long-time victim's rights advocate who spent many years with the FBI helping romance scam victims make sense of their situations. She's now an independent consultant. She says Kate's story is sadly very typical.

[00:24:02] Debbie Deem: Well I would say that it fits first of all just the, the classic kind of story that happens in these romance scams. Um, the tactics that are used are very common. The targeting and recruitment, um, kind of the seduction or love bombing, making them feel wanted, these intense emotions, isolating her, getting her off of um, you know, the friend request from Facebook onto Google Hangouts which is one of the most kind of notorious um, that and What's App to kind of get people on. Um, they're, the, the small financial requests that's asked for first, especially using the child, um, this imaginary child, because what that appears to Kate, is oh, this is a very caring father, um, and you know, look, look how nice he is and all. So it's, it's all tools to, to manipulate Kate into believing that this guy is real and is this wonderful person, and this ideal image that nobody in real life could probably live up to. I think most people don't see the extent where um, she gets money, doesn't show up at the airport, and I've had people go three, four times to the airport to pick someone up, but there's always a problem.

[00:25:13] Bob: Debbie has three rules for anyone who wants to help someone they love who might be in the middle of a situation like this.

[00:25:20] Debbie Deem: So basically my three rules or guidance is, number one, you've got to start where the victim is. If they're not identifying as a victim, you've got to start and respect where they're at from that. And the second rule in that is that um, one-time interventions don't work when you're really, really dealing with a crime victim. Actually it's taken them probably weeks or months or even years to get involved with this to the extent that they are, and you can expect that it's going to take at least weeks maybe to get out of it. And the third part of that is what are you going to find to replace that behavior, that relationship, that dream, that, that need for hope, or that reason that that perpetrator has given them from their life, what are you going to find to replace that with? And that's the toughest thing for, I think, all of us, whether it's professionals or family members or friends, to deal with, is just helping them deal with that loss and what to replace it with.

[00:26:11] Bob: In case someone's listening to this, and they say, oh, you know, my mom, my father, my, my brother is in the middle of this situation. What, what could they do to help?

[00:26:20] Debbie Deem: I think there's several things. Number one, again, start where they are. Um, one of the things that I found helpful in some situations is that people sometimes will listen to, first of all, video stories, so if you can find video stories that correlate pretty closely to what, you know, your loved one has gone through, and can get them to look at that, that's a lot easier than, than reading something. Um, the second thing would be, I often make like, I take a piece of paper and I'll just put a cross it in half, like a big cross, and I'll kind of put, let's, let's talk about, let's say the scammer's name, um, you know, the scammer's name is Bob, all right. So we have Bob's promises kept and promises made. And then we have you, as a victim, Debbie, promises made and promises kept. And I just have them list, you know, and I say, you don't even have to do this around me, but let's list all the promises that Bob made to you, and let's list the ones that he's kept versus the ones that you've made and the ones that you've kept. What you're trying to do is just open up that little sense of doubt and work with that.

[00:27:22] Bob: Debbie also thinks it's important for people to realize how much potential material they might be giving away to criminals by posting personal information online. Those details can really help a scammer craft a story that sounds believable to victims, especially avoid mentioning if you are divorced or a widow, Debbie said.

[00:27:43] Debbie Deem: If you leave your Facebook kind of um profile open, and have information, saying you're recently divorced or uh widowed, that can be a target for you. You know, if you're playing Words With Friends or Scrabble, or you're on the dating sites and your profile indicates that you have that, that as your background, um, you can, you can probably assume that you're going to be targeted by a lot of these scammers to do that. So it's really important, you know, to, to make yourself less accessible, especially in, if you are in an emotionally vulnerable part of time in your life.

[00:28:14] Bob: Kate is still in an emotionally vulnerable part of her life, but she knows now she doesn't have to face it alone. Her sisters have helped her take care of the house, and she's got a new job.

[00:28:27] Kate Kleinert: I am working for an answering service, so my secretarial skills are being put to use, being able to deal with people, angry people, happy people, whatever on the phone. And um, I'm going through training, but once that's over I will be able to work from home, which is good. It's a very busy job. They have over 200 clients. So no sooner does one call end that the next one is coming in, so it's very busy, and but I enjoy it. I enjoy it, and it's providing me with some income.

[00:29:00] Bob: Unfortunately, when she called law enforcement, she didn't get much help from them.

[00:29:05] Kate Kleinert: I did call the police. I called the local police, I called the state police, and the FBI. Local police didn't respond. State police, a woman officer answered, and I was relieved. I thought this is going to be so much easier telling a female what happened. And she said to me, "Why did you call us?" Exactly like that. I was dumbfounded. She said, "There's no crime here. You gave this money to him willingly."

[00:29:40] Bob: God, that's just so terrible

[00:29:43] Kate Kleinert: So I hung up and cried, you know, and I thought well, that's the end of that, but then I was encouraged to call the FBI.

[00:29:51] Bob: She did file a report with the FBI, and we know from other stories on The Perfect Scam that those reports can make a difference in the long run. Still, not every law enforcement agency is well trained to deal with these kinds of online scams. But now, Kate wants to help people with that kind of training. She plans to do public speaking about her story, and she's come up with a rule of thumb I really like.

[00:30:18] Kate Kleinert: If your gut it telling you, even if it's just 2% of your gut is telling you there's something wrong here, listen to it. Listen to it. And investigate it. And ask someone else to investigate it. Get a young person in your life to run these things for you, um, with the person's name and phone number and pictures and what have you. Check it out, because these people are so good at what they're doing, and they are very patient. Unlike Americans who want everything yesterday, they are willing to spend as much time as possible to build up this relationship to where you trust them, to where you start loving them. So get someone in your life that you trust that can run this stuff for you.

[00:31:17] Bob: I like, I'm going to start calling it Kate's 2% Rule. I like that a lot.

[00:31:21] Kate Kleinert: (laugh) That might work. It might work.

[00:31:25] Bob: One thing that probably won't work if Kate's next boyfriend asks to borrow money from her.

[00:31:31] Kate Kleinert: But actually I think more if I were to date anyone now, and I'm still not looking for it, God help the man who even asks me for a quarter.

[00:31:41] Bob: (laugh)

[00:31:42] Kate Kleinert: I will level him where he stands.

[00:31:45] Bob: (laugh) And if he gets up and says, thank you, then you know you've got the right man. (chuckling)

[00:31:53] Kate Kleinert: It ain't happening to this chick again, I'll tell you that.

[00:31:56] Bob: And there is one thing Kate wants to tell other people who have been through an experience like hers.

[00:32:01] Kate Kleinert: When I, I did call the AARP Fraud Line and spoke to someone who said to me, which I tell everyone, "That hammer that's in your hand, the one that you're hitting yourself over the head with, it's time to put it down." And I think that's very good advice for people who have been through this and still somehow think it's their fault.

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[00:32:36] Bob: If you have been targeted by a scam or fraud, you are not alone. Call the AARP Fraud Watch Network Helpline at 877-908-3360. Their trained fraud specialists can provide you with free support and guidance on what to do next. Thank you to our team of scambusters; Executive Producer, Julie Getz; Producer, Brook Ellis; Associate Producer and Researcher, Megan DeMagnus; and, of course, our Audio Engineer, Julio Gonzalez. Be sure to find us on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you listen to podcasts. For AARP's The Perfect Scam, I'm Bob Sullivan.

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END OF TRANSCRIPT

The Perfect ScamSM is a project of the AARP Fraud Watch Network, which equips consumers like you with the knowledge to give you power over scams.

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