If I look back at the circumstances around how I got caught in a scam there are a number of things I can identify that made me particularly vulnerable.
The biggest thing is I felt ready, ready to connect, ready for a new relationship, ready to find someone special.
I had just moved interstate, back to the city where I grew up. I had not lived in Melbourne for 45 years, having left when I was 17 to go away to study at university. I had been back to visit of course, as all of my family except my Mum lived in and around Melbourne, but not lived here. So it was a big step.
I’m the sort of person who once they decide on something, I get myself organised and it happens. This was the case with the interstate move as well. I had been down for a couple of visits, doing job interviews, looking at houses, and on the last day of my old contract had a new job lined up to go to. I took a house unseen. I packed up everything, and moved, and it all went smoothly.
All of this meant that I felt good about myself. I thought, why not find someone to explore Victoria with. I wanted companionship. I had seen many other couples around me, often together for many years and still enjoying each other’s company, travelling around the world together. I wanted that togetherness for myself as well.
As I wrote in my book (Love over Money, still to be published ) I was ready. Being ready means you are open, in a state of anticipation and expectation. This is what makes you vulnerable as it is easy for those with ulterior motives to get their hooks in to us.
This combined with lack experience of online dating and the dangers meant I approached it expecting people to be truthful and honest, especially when they say they are. Scammers often say they are truthful and honest, and that they are looking for someone like this as they have been hurt in the past by people who have let them down.
In reality it is all a lie, but it is hard to detect that at the beginning. Scammers seem sincere, normal, keen to connect to the right person, and match that in us. And I responded normally, out of that open space, not understanding that it is all an act, a well tried script, a lie…