I was caught in an online romance scam in 2012 and lost over AU$260,000.
When I investigated scams, I realised that it was not personal. That scammers are professional fraudsters deliberately targeting people and manipulating them emotionally to part with their money. They (teams of them) profess love, make promises, and take as much money as they can get with no thought of the consequences to you. Its all an act! I learned that they are to blame, not me.
This enabled me to move beyond shame, and to speak out. I have been able to regain my self respect through this, and have
- Started a support group, meeting via Meet-up, in Melbourne
- Written a book, Love over Money (not published)
- Done numerous TV, radio, newspaper and magazine stories (photo used here is from a Herald Sun article from March 14). See my page on Media Activity
- Become an Ambassador for ACORN (Australian Cybercrime Online Reporting Network)
- Started and regularly write my blog, Romance Scam Survivor
- Do public speaking on romance scams and shame
This also means I help other to prevent scams, or recover from scams. In doing all of this I have grounded and centred myself, and I grow from strength to strength. I have become a Survivor!