Amy thought she had met the man of her dreams when she started chatting with Brian online. Their connection started over conversations on Facebook; he lived in California and she was based on the East Coast. Over the course of a month, they formed a strong, romantic bond, one Amy, a 45-year-old veterinarian from Philadelphia, looked forward to exploring when Brian booked a trip to see her.
“He sent her confirmation on his hotel and ticket. And then the week before he was scheduled to arrive, he told her that he’s having problems with his business,” says relationship coach and matchmaker Kristi D. Price. Her client (whose name has been changed) gave her permission to share this story. “He says he needs around $4,300 to get the deal done, and will she please give him the money.”
Shocked by his request, Amy rightfully told him no.
“He said that he totally understood. He moves his supposed visit to the following weekend. And that week, he still can’t get this business done. Now he just needs $2000 and tells her, ‘I need this money.’ At first, she thought maybe he’s just down on his luck. Now she was thinking, how could I have not seen this coming?”
After Amy declined again to send the cash, “he told her if you really loved me and cared about me, you’d really send me the money because that shows your true commitment to me and our relationship,” Kristi reveals. They hadn’t even met yet. But after lengthy talks and Skype conversations, “you feel like you’re in a relationship, even when you’re not.”
“A lot of women would have sent the money. This is a real problem. After talking for so long, you feel like you can trust him and you’ve developed feelings that seem real. But we know once he got the money, he would have never shown up.”
Kristi explains that Amy had conducted background checks on Brian (named also changed). And nothing – where he lived, that he was a widower and no criminal record globally – came up suspicious. Even with the proper vetting, emotions can cloud some telltale signs.
“You’re talking daily for hours on end, as they did, and he was always around to talk, whenever she wanted to,” Kristi explains. Which should have been a red flag that he has way too much time on his hands. “When you’re doing a long-distance relationship, you should only talk two or three times a week max, until you can finally meet in person,” Kristi advises. The constant attention clouded Amy’s judgment that this guy was a con artist and a womanizer.
Amy has little legal ramifications over what happened since no money exchanged hands. But she is taking action. “She’s considering putting his name out there – on scammer and womanizer websites you can put up people’s pictures and their names,” Kristi says. It’s a great way to take back control, and warn other women to his game (to date, Brian has blocked Amy from his Facebook page and contact). “His ways be out there, just in case someone else has this same issue.”
The moral of the story? “Never give anyone money, unless you’re in a truly long-term committed relationship,” Kristi advises. “If someone asks you for money in the first three to six months, run.”
Although real life, this sounds like an episode of Bravo's new show, Imposters, which premieres Tuesday, February 7 at 10/9c, and follows Maddie (Inbar Lavi), a beautiful con artist who seduces her targets and then robs them of everything, leaving without a trace.
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