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SCARS|RSN™ Special Report: The Victim Trap
Scam Victims Believe So Strongly In The Scam That They Are Willing To Go To Africa
Traveling To Meet Your Scammers Can Literally Be A Death Sentence!
Sadly, this is the darkest side of the romance scam addiction – traveling to Africa and losing everything, in some cases even their lives. Also, it tends to affect seniors 10 to 1 more than any other age group.
So many Americans, Canadians, Australians, New Zealanders, English, and others live in such a bubble of civilization that they have little actual awareness of how dangerous the world really is. It’s one thing if you are an experienced international business person, or a tourist heading to a resort destination, but something else entirely if you simply go on your own to meet an imaginary person in a country you don’t know. However, scam victims by definition go to visit criminals in the various destination countries believing they are going to see their soul mate.
Countless men and women have traveled to countries in Africa – Ghana, Nigeria, and others – to visit their fake fantasy loves to meet, or to rescue, or to marry them. It sounds like a dream come true, but in fact, in most cases, it is a nightmare.
My Love Come Visit Me
What are the real-world scenarios that befall these victims of delusion when they arrive in countries like Ghana or Nigeria?
Amazingly there are NO GOVERNMENT ESTIMATES of how many victims travel to Africa (or elsewhere) to meet their scammers. SCARS estimates are that as many as 29,000 victims a year engage in travel to meet their online romance scammer.
Scenario One: Nothing Happens
Thousands have traveled every year to the supposed location of their fake romance and have found nothing. After all, they only know what the scammer has told them. Perhaps they sent money via Western Union or MoneyGram which does not provide an address – they can walk into any Ghanaian Western Union but that is not going to get them anywhere. If there was a Bank Wire Transfer then they might visit that bank, but confidential banking information will not be given out. Of course, they may visit the local police and they will be only too happy to help for a small fee. In the end, the victim finds no one, because the scammers do not want the hassles of dealing with a foreigner – these are the more professional gangs or cartels. They let the victim exhaust their time and money, and then go home. Of course, there may be a new story waiting for them when they return asking for more money, sometimes not.
Scenario Two: Pay For Play
Still more victims who travel to their scammer’s location are unable to find them, but local “investigators” are only too happy to track down their love for them. This is another scam that the victim falls for, usually costing a few thousands of dollars overall. The investigator takes the victim on a total tour of “potential” locations for the scammer occupying days in the process, dragging the victim through the worst parts of that country on a “snipe hunt” to find their fake lover. In the end, the victim goes home broke with no clue that they have been played again.
Scenario Three: Gambian Marriage Scam
Hundred of victims each year go to Africa to marry. They made contact online and they head to meet and marry their new love. Most of these are women meeting men, but it happens the other way around too. We have detailed the dangers of this fool’s errand several times, however, it can result in the victim being held in the country forced to provide for the new spouse. The “family” will hold the passport of the victim until there is no money left, or in the case of pension (social security) recipients, they just continue to bleed them month in and month out until they finally get wise and go to their embassy. SCARS is aware of hundreds of these cases, but no real governmental estimates exist since the vast majority of these victims do not talk after they finally get home.
Scenario Four: Kidnapping / Hostages
Throughout the third-world kidnapping of foreign visitors is a constant risk. Our own Chairman avoided kidnapping when traveling in the Philippines twice. It is simply part of the landscape in so many countries, but if you are romance scam victim in denial you are going to literally walk right up to your kidnappers! What could be easier? It is estimated that there are anywhere from a couple of thousand foreigners kidnapped a year to as many as 100,000 per year in places like Africa, the Philippines, Latin America, etc. And the lure of the opposite sex is a primary draw pulling the victim into where the kidnappers want them!
Two South Africans, Held Captive In A Forest Hideout In Nigeria, Freed
Abuja – Two South Africans kidnapped in Nigeria were released on Saturday, police said, in the latest abduction targeting foreigners.
“Police put pressure on the suspected kidnappers using a police helicopter,” police spokesperson Jimoh Moshood said in a statement.
Thomas Arnold Pearce and Hendrik Gideon were seized from a mining site in Maidaro, in Kaduna State, on January 23 and held captive in a forest hideout. Their case was not made public at the time.
It comes a week after two Americans and two Canadians were released after being kidnapped in the same state during a business trip. Two of their police escorts were shot dead in that ambush near Jere, on the road from the town of Kafanchan to the state capital of Abuja.
Kidnapping hot spot
Kidnapping has long been a problem in Nigeria’s southern states, where high-profile individuals, including the families of prominent politicians, are regularly seized. But as the economy has stalled in recent years, the crime began creeping north. A crackdown on cattle rustling has been blamed for rising numbers of abductions in the north, with criminals turning to kidnapping.
The Kaduna-Abuja road is notoriously unsafe. It is an approximately two-and-a-half hour journey by car through villages and past tracts of fields and forests.
Safety on the route came under intense scrutiny last year when the federal government announced the closure of the capital’s only airport for essential runway repairs. Many foreign missions and companies advised staff to limit their travel during the closure period, as all domestic and some international flights were switched to Kaduna.
Kidnapping, like scamming is just another big business in the criminal world in these countries and any victim that believes they can just walk in without serious risk is delusional.
Scenario Five: Mule Flipping
Numerous scam victims have traveled to meet their fake fiancee only to be pulled into doing a favor for the scammers, such as carrying a package or gift to another location. Many scam