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SCARSSCARS SCARS - Society of Citizens Against Relationship Scams Inc. A government registered crime victims' assistance & crime prevention nonprofit organization based in Miami, Florida, U.S.A. SCARS supports the victims of scams worldwide and through its partners in more than 60 countries around the world. Incorporated in 2015, its team has 30 years of continuous experience educating and supporting scam victims. Visit www.AgainstScams.org to learn more about SCARS.™ A Victim’s Story: Debby Montgomery
Courtesy of WPTV
Courtesy of CBS 4 Miami
The following is courtesy of Fox 29 TV:
A former Air Force intelligence officer trained to keep national secrets, a former bank executive trained to detect fraudFraud In law, fraud is intentional deception to secure unfair or unlawful gain (money or other assets), or to deprive a victim of a legal right. Fraud can violate civil law (e.g., a fraud victim may sue the fraud perpetrator to avoid the fraud or recover monetary compensation) or criminal law (e.g., a fraud perpetrator may be prosecuted and imprisoned by governmental authorities), or it may cause no loss of money, property, or legal right but still be an element of another civil or criminal wrong. The purpose of fraud may be monetary gain or other benefits, for example by obtaining a passport, travel document, or driver's license, or mortgage fraud, where the perpetrator may attempt to qualify for a mortgage by way of false statements. A fraud can also be a hoax, which is a distinct concept that involves deliberate deception without the intention of gain or of materially damaging or depriving a victim., and a former treasurer for Palm Beach County Schools: bullet points on a resume which tell part of Debby Montgomery’s story.
“I worked a lot with customers who had checks that were set to them. Turns out they were scammerScammer A Scammer or Fraudster is someone that engages in deception to obtain money or achieve another objective. They are criminals that attempt to deceive a victim into sending more or performing some other activity that benefits the scammer. checks,” said Montgomery with a grin, sitting in her Lake Worth home.
But there is a part of Montgomery’s story that is hidden from her Air Force medals, her binder of certificates and letters of praise.
“It is not what you know sometimes, but it is what your heart is telling you,” said Montgomery. “You can’t turn your heart off sometimes.”
At 54-years-old, Montgomery fell head over heels for a romance scamScam A Scam is a confidence trick - a crime - is an attempt to defraud a person or group after first gaining their trust through deception. Scams or confidence tricks exploit victims using their credulity, naïveté, compassion, vanity, irresponsibility, or greed and exploiting that. Researchers have defined confidence tricks as "a distinctive species of fraudulent conduct ... intending to further voluntary exchanges that are not mutually beneficial", as they "benefit con operators ('con men' - criminals) at the expense of their victims (the 'marks')". A scam is a crime even if no money was lost..
“It took over my life, you know?”
Alongside the awards, Montgomery has thousands of pages of love letters from a man she spent two years getting to know.
“It was wonderful. I thought I was keeping family history,” she said.
His name was Eric Cole, a British contractor who traveled the world brokering hardwood trees.
“It was fun. It was like I was 16 again, and my heart was just full of butterflies,” Montgomery said.
She never dreamed their love letters would later be at the heart of an FBIFBI FBI - Federal Bureau of Investigation The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is the domestic intelligence and security service of the United States and its principal federal law enforcement agency. Operating under the jurisdiction of the United States Department of Justice, the FBI is also a member of the U.S. Intelligence Community and reports to both the Attorney General and the Director of National Intelligence. A leading U.S. counter-terrorism, counterintelligence, and criminal investigative organization, the FBI has jurisdiction over violations of more than 200 categories of federal crimes, including financial fraud. investigation.
“A lot of things happened over two years as you can imagine, and I sent him a lot of money,” said Montgomery. “It was $1,080,762 dollars. That is a lot of money.”
If that number shocks you, consider this fact: Montgomery is not alone.
“That is not the first seven-figure loss that I have heard of,” said FBI Supervisory Special Agent Jason Manar.
According to the FBI, Americans lost more than $1.3 billion to scammers in 2016.
“It is very much like a business,” said Manar. “There are bigger operations that are almost call center like, where you have individuals in rows and lines of computer monitors that are doing nothing but sending out these messages in hopes for a response or reply.”
Lonely after her husband of 25 years suddenly died, Montgomery joined a faith-based dating site. She was quickly matched with Cole.
After weeks of living in e-harmony, Cole asked for help.
“It was maybe $40. It was not very much,” said Montgomery, remembering the details.
As her heart grew, so did the contractor’s request.
“I fell in love with the idea of this man,” said Montgomery, who noted the two talked on the phone occasionally but had yet to meet in person.
Dating appsApps Applications or Apps An application (software), commonly referred to as an ‘app’ is a program on a computer, tablet, mobile phone or device. Apps are designed for specific tasks, including checking the weather, accessing the internet, looking at photos, playing media, mobile banking, etc. Many apps can access the internet if needed and can be downloaded (used) either for a price or for free. Apps are a major point of vulnerability on all devices. Some are designed to be malicious, such as logging keystrokes or activity, and others can even transport malware. Always be careful about any app you are thinking about installing. and dating sites match you with strangers, but Contact 5 looked at the fine print often different popular dating companies. All of them included some legal statement which prevents you from suing or blamingBlaming Blame or Blaming is the act of censuring, holding responsible, making negative statements about an individual or group that their action or actions are socially or morally irresponsible, the opposite of praise. When someone is morally responsible for doing something wrong, their action is blameworthy. By contrast, when someone is morally responsible for doing something right, we may say that his or her action is praiseworthy. Blame imparts responsibility for an action or act, as in that they made a choice to perform that act or action. the company if one of your matches later scamsScams A Scam is a confidence trick - a crime - is an attempt to defraud a person or group after first gaining their trust through deception. Scams or confidence tricks exploit victims using their credulity, naïveté, compassion, vanity, irresponsibility, or greed and exploiting that. Researchers have defined confidence tricks as "a distinctive species of fraudulent conduct ... intending to further voluntary exchanges that are not mutually beneficial", as they "benefit con operators ('con men' - criminals) at the expense of their victims (the 'marks')". A scam is a crime even if no money was lost. you.
Also in the fine print? None of the sites we looked at run criminalCriminal A criminal is any person who through a decision or act engages in a crime. This can be complicated, as many people break laws unknowingly, however, in our context, it is a person who makes a decision to engage in unlawful acts or to place themselves with others who do this. A criminal always has the ability to decide not to break the law, or if they initially engage in crime to stop doing it, but instead continues. background checks on their users.
Two years and one million dollars later, Cole confessed: it was really just a scam. His name was Joseph and he lived in Nigeria.
“I put up a smile and pretended that everything was fine, but inside I was just dying,” said Montgomery. “I was hurting, I felt stupid, I felt used. I felt all those emotions that come up with being taken advantage of.”
Montgomery took her records to the FBI, but unless could Joseph to the U.S., he will probably never be prosecuted.
“I think there needs to be a lot more done to protect the profiles and to protect the people, you know, women like me,” said Montgomery.
Inspired to share her story to educate others, Montgomery wrote a book about her loss: The Woman Behind the Smile: Triumph Over the Ultimate Online Dating Betrayal.
Below is an excerpt from Montgomery’s book, a list of things she wishes she had known before she jumped into online dating:
Scammers usually use last names like Cole, Moore, Smith or Williams.
A scammer will say they are “God-fearing” and searching for “God-fearing” in a mate.
They claim they are honest and caring.
They immediately want to get off the website or app and move to another messaging resource like Yahoo chat.
Their grammar is inconsistent.
A scammer might give you a phone number, but it is typically a calling card or a call center; you can rarely get them on the phone.
The majority of scammers claim to have lost a spouse/child/parent in a horrific accident. They also might claim a loved one is sick or in the hospital.
Presented In The Public Interest – Source: http://www.wflx.com/story/37499055/aimed-at-the-heart-the-biz-of-romance-scams
A SCARS Division
Miami Florida U.S.A.
TAGS: A Victims Story, American Scam Victim, Debby Montgomery, English Scammer, Fake Businessman, Fox 29 TV, Nigerian Scammer, ScamTV
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FAQ: How Do You Properly Report Scammers?
It is essential that law enforcement knows about scams & scammers, even though there is nothing (in most cases) that they can do.
Always report scams involving money lost or where you received money to:
- Local Police – ask them to take an “informational” police report – say you need it for your insurance
- Your National Police or FBI (www.IC3.gov »)
- The SCARS|CDN™ Cybercriminal Data Network – Worldwide Reporting Network HERE » or on www.Anyscam.com »
This helps your government understand the problem, and allows law enforcement to add scammers on watch lists worldwide.
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