Right of Reply…

I felt moved to provide a ‘Right of Reply’ comment addressing the negative responses to a recent guest contributor blog posted on Starts at Sixty.  Its re-posted here.

100815_senior_woman_computerI recently wrote a blog about my scam experience which was posted on the Starts at Sixty website, which I have recently joined.  As with previous publications by me or others, there were many comments questioning “how could she be so stupid?”, “hasn’t she seen the warnings?”, “why doesn’t she join a club?”,  etc.  There were also positive and supportive comments, but I felt moved to provide a ‘Right of Reply’ comment addressing the negative ones. The following is copied from my comment (Comment No 199) on Starts at sixty.  I don’t know if it will be read by those who commented on the blog, but thought it was worth reposting here.

Firstly thank you to all of you who were supportive, or understanding of my situation. Sorry for those who have suffered in a similar way, or who have friends/family who have.

Secondly, I don’t appreciate being called stupid. You would not call someone who was burgled as stupid, and we have learnt not to call someone who was raped stupid. Please remember that I was caught by professional fraudsters who emotionally manipulated me into sending money. If you want to know more about how this works, check out my blog, especially the one on Taking the Brain.  http://romancescamsurvivor.org/2015/07/taking-the-brain/
How about calling the fraudsters criminals instead.

Picture .Andrew Tauber
Picture .Andrew Tauber

Many comments were about being lonely, and why not get a pet. I do have a cat, thank you, and he was certainly a god-send through the difficult times after the scam. I did not do this because I was lonely, having been alone for many years. However I did want companionship, and I was certainly vulnerable to someone’s loving attention. These are not the same. I had not seen previous warnings because I had never thought I would need them, never considered going onto a dating site.

All those news programs and warnings you have seen this year most
likely have had me in them. There are not many people willing to speak out about what has happened, but I am, so I have been in the press quite a bit – sorry if its getting a bit tedious for you. The latest figures show that romance scam is still the largest area of money lost to all types of scams, about $27 million across Australia last year. There is still a need to put warnings out there.

How could I give money to someone I had not met? In my mind at the time this was the person I was most intimate with, not a stranger. I was speaking to him many times a day. We had agreed to marry. Would you not help out your life partner if they were in need?

Why do I speak out? Because I will not let the shame of what happened shut me down and not be truthful about what happened. I know those calling me stupid, or sad, want me to do that, feel shame and shut up. I will not. Talking out lets me regain my self respect because I am truthful about what happened. This story is an authentic representation of what happened to me and I now know it is nothing to be ashamed of. Yes I made a mistake and did not see the red flags. I lost a lot of money as a consequence that I could not afford to lose. I still have not recovered from this loss, and maybe never will. I was caught and manipulated by expert and skilled fraudsters.

Victim Elie Wiesel Quote

I will not be put under a rock because of this. I have learned lessons from this that in speaking out I hope to pass on. I have moved from being a victim to a survivor. I will continue to speak out, educate others and stand up for those who have unwittingly become victims of these professional fraudsters
as I did.

Enough said!

Published by

Jan Marshall

I was the victim on an online romance scam in 2012. In 72 days I gave away all my money, over $260,000 though I did expect it to be returned to me. This blog shares my ongoing research and understanding about what happened to me, how I recovered, and the latest on romance scams.

7 thoughts on “Right of Reply…”

  1. A courageous and articulate response to the detractor(s) by Jan I think, and I wish to make some points.

    Mostly, the failure to understand how a person can “be so stupid …” as to get scammed is a simple manifestation of a common trait which is lack of empathy. Lack of empathy stems from the belief that people fall into simple categories;

    i.e. those who are gullible, and the majority who are not. Those of us who are normal, and those who are not. Those of us who are smart, and those who are not etc.

    The bulk of the populace, in a first world environment such as Australia, get by because there is a general understanding that most things are what they appear to be, and most people are relatively honest.

    The people who are scamming people on romance sites and others as well, range from freelance amateurs to consummate professionals. My own experience was with a world wide network of professional ‘actors’ and fraudsters who displayed the ability to hold the lie even in the face of overwhelming evidence against them. Their ability to maintain that their identities and stories are true, even in the face of proof, sets them apart from our normal experience. This is the key:

    It’s not about physical evidence, it’s about mind control. These people are sociopaths.

    One of the ways in which people survive in life is to maintain sufficient protection mechanisms to enable them to go about their daily lives without being too distracted by the problems and needs of those less fortunate. It’s a necessary thing for most of us.

    Make no mistake; those folk you encounter who are living in lane ways and bus shelters or on the footpath, as you walk to work in the CBD, are likely to be just as smart and capable as you are – sometimes more so. The thing that sets them apart is not necessarily any inherent inadequacy, but more likely something happened to them that didn’t happen to you. Before the internet, the most dangerous sociopath was your local car salesperson or door to door spruker. That’s all changed now.

  2. “I truly admire and stand with you in your continued concern for other individuals who may fall victim to a romance scam. It’s always been my opinion that others who categorically label others just haven’t had the compassion and empathy lessons in life. They usually live in a small world of their own and because they don’t expose themselves to new interests, they feel somewhat above those of us who allow ourselves to be vulnerable in the face of something we truly desire; e.g., love, connection and attachment. Your refusal to allow them to cow you speaks highly of your integrity and desire to transform the global culture in which we presently live.”
    This came via email from a friend…

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