“When he asked me for the money... I knew it was over’: USPIS warns romance scams on the rise

“When he asked me for the money... I knew it was over’: USPIS warns romance scams on the rise

CHESTERFIELD, Va. (WWBT) - There are plenty of fish in the sea, but many of those fish aren’t out to steal your heart, just your money especially online. That’s was the case for Jennifer Pool at she thought she found a match on a popular dating website.

“He came across as genuine and caring and thoughtful,” Pool said.

Pool was convinced the man on the other end of popular dating website was the real deal after find researching more about his history online, but it was when he convinced her to leave the dating site that the conversation quickly moved from tales of happily ever after to pleas for money.

“He was going out of town for a while and then had a big personal crisis and said will you help me out and wire transfer money so that we can get my family member back to the states, Pool said. “He did ask me for $300,000 and that’s a lot of money.”

Pool says the would have come from an insurance policy from her family’s cabin she lost in the California wildfires last September. After weeks of messaging back and forth, Pool became more certain that this man was trying to scam her.

“I really wanted it to believe him I really wanted with all my heart for him to be real, but when he asked me for the money, I knew it wasn’t, I knew it was over,” Pool said. “The worst thing that I did was ignore those red flags because they were right there from the start.”

The United States Postal Inspectors say that because of the pandemic more people than ever looking for love online are falling for these scams.

“In the last couple of months we have definitely seen an uptick in these online romance schemes,” Postal Inspector Michael Romano said. “They start using some pressure tactics of I want to come to be with you, but I’m going to need some money to make that happen.

Romano says the man assuming this romancer’s identity was nothing but a shameless scammer likely overseas.

“What we saw in those messages is what we routinely see. These scammers will try anything and everything,” Romano said.

The postal inspectors say following these tips can help you avoid being falling victim to the scammer’s tactics:

  • Never send money to someone you met online
  • Ask specific questions about details given in a profile
  • Keep your personal and financial information private

“Once that wire is completed and they pull that money out it’s very difficult to get that money back,” Romano said.

That’s why Jennifer is telling her story to warn others to them from losing more than their hearts.

“I’m not the only one who’s experienced these types of scammers, they’re out there and it’s a matter of when it happens not if,” Pool said.

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