From the desk of Kristen Justis, Director of Marketing and Client Relations
DANGERS OF ONLINE DATING FOR ALL GENERATIONSPART THREE – THE PROFESSIONAL
In previous postings in this series, I have discussed a widower and a divorcé who were victims of online dating scams. Many believe online dating scams only occur when victims do not meet the perpetrator in person and when the perpetrator lives out of the country. This is far from the truth. Lauth Investigations International, Inc. has handled several cases of scam and fraud in relation to online dating sites. Many of these relationships have been in person, long term, and heading towards marriage. The scammers are committed to their end goal and they stay the course of the scam for months, even years.
The following Lauth Investigations fraud case focuses on a professional woman in her mid-thirties. We hear of the cases often where the victims are older, retired, or just plain lonely. Lauth Investigations has found young, successful professionals are just as prone to falling victim to these scams.
The Professional Woman
Julia works for a Fortune 500 company in downtown Indianapolis. She owns her home, drives a nice car and has a hefty 401k. Julia has a multitude of friends she spends her time with including traveling often. One of her friends announces she is now engaged. Julia is in her mid-thirties and eventually wants to be married with children someday. The engagement announces gets her thinking how she would like to meet someone. In that moment, she decides to join an online dating website. Managing an online profile would be an easier way to meet someone instead of leaving it to chance, especially with her busy lifestyle.
Julia begins receiving a lot of interest from various men. She meets a few of them for coffee; however, there was no chemistry. Finally, she begins receiving email communication from Scott, a professional man within downtown Indianapolis who travels often. They communicate for a few weeks and they really get to know each other. After feeling extremely connected, they decide to meet.
Scott and Julia meet for dinner. It was an immediate connection. Julia enjoyed everything about Scott and the relationship begins. Although Scott is out of town quite often for his job, they spend all their free time together. Julia finds herself waiting at home for Scott instead of spending her time with her friends. Months pass by and the relationship begins to get extremely serious. Julia is in love.
The love Julia feels for Scott grows to the point she is ready to be married. She only focuses on him and their time together, until the holidays roll around. Julia understands Scott’s job is a lot of traveling; however, he is out of town over Thanksgiving, then he must go out of town for Christmas and finally New Years Eve. Julia begins to question what kind of job makes you travel and miss Christmas with your loved ones.
The questions start to rush inside Julia. She realizes Scott never has her over to his house, he only stays at her house. He takes a lot of calls while he is with her and he always walks out of the room for these calls. He has canceled a lot of dates with her at the last minute for “work”. Julia thinks back over the year with Scott and she realizes, he has never invited her to work event, she hasn’t met his family, and he has slowly alienated her from her friends and her family.
Julia reached out to Lauth Investigations International, Inc. for a simple background check on Scott. She began to fear he may be married. Even in the initial phone call to Lauth Investigations, Julia was questioning her decision to hire a private investigator as she felt guilty for not trusting Scott. Finally, she realized it is better to be knowledgeable instead of continuing blindly further into deepening this relationship.
The beginning of the investigation, Lauth Investigation’s private investigators found Scott was not married; however, he did not work where he claimed. It was found Scott was unemployed. Further investigating into his background, investigators discovered a long list of criminal activity including Identity Theft, Fraud, Tax Evasion, and Forgery. Julia was advised of our findings and she requested to know more. Surveillance and interviews of his past relations begin.
Rather quickly, investigators discovered Scott was a professional scam artist. He dates and marries women eventually taking their money and/or identity. He had opened credit cards under these victim’s names, he married some of these victims and when he divorces them, he is entitled to a portion of their retirement and checking accounts. Scott was a career criminal.
Had Julia not decided to hire Lauth Investigations International, Inc. to investigate Scott’s background, she would have been just another victim in his long line of scams. Julia was lucky as the scam hadn’t reached the money exchange or theft phase. Julia confronted Scott and she has never heard from him again.
Hiring a private investigator when beginning to date someone new seems deceptive and costly; however, it is better to go in with your eyes wide open. Be proactive and spend some money up front before the scammers take your money and your pride on the back end. Julia has since hired Lauth Investigations to complete background checks on two potentially new boyfriends over the past couple of years. She saw how close she was to becoming a victim and refuses to be in that situation ever again.
Be Proactive Not Reactive