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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 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.