Number 2 of the Scams of Christmas: Holiday Heartbreakers

A Misteltoed Madam admits "It’s a Put Up Job" in this 1955 pinup by artist Gil Elvgren

As the holidays roll in, some people get lonely. With our emotions out of control, online dating scams are one of the easiest cons to fall for. Just last month, and not that long after having attended a presentation on how to avoid scams and cons, I heard from a guy in North San Diego County I'll call Frank, who went to an online dating site. One of the profiles he found was for a gorgeous woman who went by the name of “Teri.”

Frank responded to Teri’s inquiry on the website and received a reply the next day. “Thanks so much for the interest! you sound really like a nice man with a good and loving heart of kind, care and honesty..I am so sorry for the late reply… open attachment for my pictures…Distance is not a problem for me….. because i am ready to relocate with my right man…….”

The email described Teri’s background, the fact that she was on a business trip in China, her desire to establish a friendship before a serious relationship, and reiterated her concern about finding an honest man several times.

Fully taken in by his luck in finding such an open and seemingly honest woman—and who doesn't want a little extra holiday sparkle—Frank proposed that they get together upon Teri’s return from China.

That’s when the bad news came with Teri’s next email. “Thanks for your respond……Well i have bad trip in China right now.. …..This is my first time i will be visit China….I have a check of $86,000 here with me.. i try to get it cash….. but the bank here told me that, they don't accept that.” She also asked Frank for $900 for travel expenses to return to LA. She promised…really, really promised, to pay him back when he picked her up at the airport.

Thank goodness Frank wised up at this point, realizing he’d been played. Probably by a guy who bore little resemblance to the gorgeous blonde Frank thought he’d be meeting. With any luck at all, “Teri” is still waiting for a ride at LAX.

Last, and certainly least, on this 12 Scams of Christmas list are the Santa Letter swindlers. Who would stoop so low?

Leading image via

Terry Ambrose writes the McKenna mystery series set in Hawaii. They're filled with snark, scams, and trouble in paradise.

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