Romance Scams and Proxy Marriages
The most difficult part of my business as facilitator of Legal USA Proxy Marriages is when I get calls from people who are victims of Romance Scams and Internet Predators.
The typical conversation with the caller is the following:
Mary: “Is this the place that arranges proxy marriages?”
Sam: “Yes we do. In order to give you the correct information, I first need to clarify your specific situation. Let’s start with where do you reside and where does your fiancé or partner reside?”
Mary: “I live in North Carolina and he lives in Africa. He’s a Major in the Military serving in Afghanistan.”
Sam: “Have you ever met him in person face to face?”
Mary: “No, not yet, but we have been talking over the internet for 3 months.”
Sam: “After 3 months, are you ready to tie the knot with this person without ever meeting him in person?”
Mary: “I think so, we are like soul mates and love one another very much.”
Are you really ready to marry this person who you have never met in person, based upon what he has told you over the internet?
Sam: “Do you know anything about this person?”
Mary: “Yes, I know he is a high ranking officer serving in Afghanistan.”
Sam: “If I may ask you a question. Are you really ready to marry this person who you have never met in person, based upon what he has told you over the internet?”
Mary: “I know it sounds crazy, but he has sent me pictures of himself dressed in his military uniform.”
Sam: “How do you know that these pictures are truly of this person and not someone else?”
Mary: “(pause) Well, I really don’t know but I believe him.”
Sam: “Do you have any suspicions or uneasiness about your friend?”
Mary: “Well, all of my friends think that I am crazy to jump into something so fast without ever meeting him. I just love him so much! He told me that the Military can arrange a Proxy Marriage for both of us over there.”
The Military does not arrange proxy marriages.
Sam: “The Military does not arrange proxy marriages.”
Mary: “Are you sure? He told me that the paperwork is expensive, and he doesn’t have access to his funds. He then asked me if I could send him $500 in the meantime until his funds become available.”
Sam: “Did he ask you to send him the money by either Western Union or a Money Gram?”
Mary: (surprised) “How did you know that?”
Sam: “I get calls several times a week from people in similar situations asking me for information about proxy marriages and my opinion. From what you have told me, this has all of the indications of a Romance Scam.”
Mary: “Oh My God!! I feel so stupid.”
Sam: “You are not stupid. Many lonely people who go on the various dating sites become victims of this scam. My advice is not to send him any more money. These predators use sophisticated methods of persuasion to get you to believe that they truly love you, and play on this to get your money. If you allow them, they will get you to empty your bank account. Once you tell him that you don’t have any more money and hold firm he will disappear.”
Mary: “Thank you Sam. You have opened my eyes.”
This typical conversation with some variations has been repeated to me over and over again by the innocent victims and potential victims of Romance Scams.
With so many major crimes happening everywhere today in the US and with limited budgets, it is no wonder that the Romance Scams are not a priority for Law Enforcement Agencies.
Given these facts it is basically up to each individual to protect themselves.
Here are some Tips and Red Flags to look out for:
- If it sounds too good to be true, it is really too good to be true!
- Ask tough questions about things that you make you feel uneasy.
- Never, never send any money via Western Union or Money Gram to any stranger you have met on the dating sites but have never met in person, even though you want this to be real so much. This is difficult when you feel in your heart that your soul mate has come down from heaven. Think with your head and not the heart.
- Consult with professionals, friends and concerned family members and listen to their thoughts.
Hopefully, you will wake up from your dreams, and disconnect from these predators.