I have added this page to make it easier to view female and male victims – they tend to be a little different,
If you would like to add your story here, please email it to me and let me know you would like it published.
For readers, remember, these are not my views, but the views of the victims, in their words. It took courage to share them here.
Stories alternate in colour to distinguish them. This page started late 2018.
Story 1: HE
I joined a website call match.com.au. I did my profile and within a day I had a reply from a woman calling herself Elizabeth Collins.
At first, we were just talking about anything. As time went along we got closer to each other. She made me feel good and happy so I just went with it. As the months went by I fell in love with her. She told me she was in Malaysia buying gold jewellery and the total value of the goods was AU$2.5 million. A while after she told me about her goods she said she needed some money to get the goods to Australia. It was $4,000. I thought that was not much I so I sent her the money. She said she would be on her way home.
In the next couple of days, she did not arrive home. She told me she needed some more money. I think it was another $2,000 for legal costs, so I sent them. Then she needed more, this time another $4,000 and I sent it by money gram. All transactions were done by money gram up to that time.
After I sent the last lot of money I get a message saying she was in a car accident while on the way to the airport and I said: “Bullshit, I hope she dies.”
Then someone sent me an email to say he was the doctor that treated her at the accident and that she was in a bad way. I said “I don’t care. I hope she dies.”
A couple of days later the so-called doctor rang me again and told me she had woken up. As she made a slow recovery she rang me a few times on the phone and spoke with me and convinced me everything was true.
A few weeks later she told me that she was trying to board a plane with the goods and they were taken by customs and she had to show the court that she owned the goods and that would cost $40,000. I sent that to her, like a real fool.
Then she told me she had given the goods to a shipping and security company as some people were after her goods. I fell for it. She needed another $20,000 as a deposit for the shipping and security company and I transferred it to a bank account she gave me. I still have all the banking details she has ever given me. Overall this time I paid $150,000 to her.
I made one more payment to the shipping and security company for $50,000. She told me once that was paid she would home and I believed her. She requested more as the shipping and security company need another $20,000 to ship the goods to Australia. I said I am not sending any more money. I will bring the money over to Malaysia and she agreed to meet me In Malaysia once I arrived.
She was not there when I arrived. I got a message telling me she would meet me at Melbourne airport when I got back.
She had booked a room for me and wanted me to meet the people from the shipping and security company. About 6:00 PM that evening I got a phone call from the so-called shipping and security company that someone was coming over to meet me. A woman came and met me she wanted me to give her the $20,000 I had brought with me. I said “No. I want to see the goods.” The lady made a phone call and said she was talking to her boss. After the call she said someone will pick me up at 9:00 am in the morning. No one came so I rang the shipping and security company and asked what going on. They told me they are busy and someone will pick me up at 1:00 PM in the afternoon.
I was picked up and taken to the industrial part of Malaysia, an area that had shipping containers around the place. We kept driving and stopped in front of a big high rise building. The lady who had met me at the hotel was waiting for me and took me up in the lift to where the shipping and security company office was. Now I think about it, when I was in the lift, where the floor numbers were there was a curtain around them and you could only see some of the numbers for the lift. I remember she moved the curtain to the side a push the button to the company floor.
Once on the floor, I was taken to a room a had coffee and cake. On the floor was a box which had in the gold, jewellery and US money in it. They showed me everything that was in the box and I said: “How do I know it is all real?” They give me US$200 and said I can go to any cash exchange centre and change it. I did this by myself and the money was real so I thought everything was good. I handed over the AU$20,000 and gave them my address for the goods to be shipped to. I was given a receipt for the $20k I paid and when everything was done, I was taken back down in the lift and the curtain was again moved to the side to press the floor button. Back down in the street the driver was waiting for me and took me back to the airport.
When I got back to Melbourne Airport the real fun started. I had the drugs dogs put on me but nothing was found so they took my bag and went through it. They found the paperwork I was given in Malaysia. They took my phone and went through it looking at all my emails in this matter and everyone was just looking at me. This really upset me and I just lost it. I asked them who wants to be the first one to come outside and I punch your fucken head in. I wanted to take them all on but one of the Border Security guards took me aside and had a talk with me. He took me out so I could have a smoke.
He talked with me for a while and said he knows I have been scammed over so well. I asked him to take me to Southern Cross Station so I could jump under a train but he calmed me down. He phoned my oldest daughter and told her what was going on. I stayed in a backpackers’ hostel for a couple of days and then came home to face the music. My family wanted nothing to do with me and I just felt like why am I here? After a few weeks, things started to get a bit better.
Once I got back to Melbourne there was no sign of Elizabeth Collins. I then got an email from the shipping and security company saying customs had stopped the goods saying we need to pay another $130,000. I said “Bullshit. We had been to court over customs before and been given the go-ahead to take the goods out of the country.” She asked me about my superannuation and I said: “I have enough in my superannuation to cover it but it will take 45 to 60 days to find out if I can get it.”
In the last couple of weeks, I have had phone calls from Malaysia saying I don’t need to pay the full $130,000, I only need to pay $40,000 and pay $50,000 but I said to him “$40k+$50k=$90k. What happened to the other $40k?” I did not get a reply. Last week I was told I only have to pay $20k up front now, so I asked him “Why is everyone so kind to me?”
Back to so-called Elizabeth Collins: She told me she could not meet me in Melbourne because she had been detained in Singapore as she has a company there and her manager ran away with the money for the company. Now she is being held responsible for it and is under house arrest in Singapore. What a load of shit. When we first started talking she told me she wanted to start up her own fashion label and that was why she bought the gold, jewellery and other goods to set herself up. She thinks I am going to send her the $40k she needs to get the goods home.
No way. She is getting no more out of me. If I ever get hold of her or any of them I believe I can set them up if I said I will bring the money over and pay it at the shipping and security company. If I go over my family have said they will have nothing to do with me so I better not.
I am attracting a copy of the documents the shipping and security company sent me for the $130,000. I know is fake because I have had it checked out by the Malaysian embassy. They told me on such document exists. I also had her passport checked out and it is fake. I have kept everything she has ever sent me. The photo of her and the little is the one that really got to me and to be honest it still does.
[This writer also sent photos of ‘Elizabeth Collins’. I have not included them here because they are stolen photos. JM]
This is my story of a stupid old man.
Story 2: DV
My story is not all that unlike others. I am a male I was scammed by a woman posing to be an army sergeant to come home soon. She sent pictures of her young beautiful self and yes I am a 61-year-old typical male. I have been through a recent break up and is recovering from that 15 year relationship . “Vunerable and never that lucky in love all my life. Already been treated for depression taking meds and going to group therapy weekly. But successfully employed for over 20 years, homeowner with some savings and retirement and everything I own paid for. So when this luscious sweet talking affectionate woman proposes to me I guess I went into some sort of zone. I sent a care package just cause I Liked her & she didn’t even ask for it. After that she told me she had an inheritance or $6 million in gold and diamond put away in the security company called VAS 24 and she had spent all her money hanging onto it making payments to the security company and needed help getting it shipped to the states for when she joined me and our happy future. She presented a certificate that looked official to me and I looked up the company online and they did exist. The gold & Diamonds would be need transferred to my name so i wired $1250 to have it put into a joint name. I am presented with a certificate of joint ownership of $6 million in gold and diamond.
It is going to cost $27,000 to have these goods ship it to my front doorstep. She tells me honey just cash a couple gold bars and pay your debt . So fool heartedly I go to the bank make a lien against my truck and boat for $27,000 and wire her the money. I receive notice that the gold & diamond are on the way. About a week later I get a notice that customs has held shipping up in New York in for Clarence taxes, fees & she say now I need 111,000 for The shipment to really make it to my front door. I am beside myself and she acts as if she is too although still declaring her deep love and blah blah blah for me. She says she will talk to her army commander and ask him if he can help. Her and Army commanders plan after talking to a banker friend is having me run around buying iPhones and Mac Pro book charging them to credit cards 5 of which after I gave over my identity this Commanders friend created. I am to ship them overseas for sales with the proceeds going back on credit cards to wire money to get this shipment to me so my love and money then come home and all debts paid. Well my last wire went out Nov. 9th , I realized I was scammed. 150,000 in debt. Most of which is credit card. So far in two weeks since I woke up from this zone this is what I have done;
Filed reports with
- Local law enforcement
- Joined a legal support membership
- Got an appointment w/attorney
- Cut off/blocked contact w/scammers
I cry everyday. Feel I can’t tell my family as they will add to the shame. Some days it is very hard to focus. The recommendation I’m getting is to declare bankruptcy. I live in Texas and from what I can tell unless the credit cards companies come at me real real hard I can keep my homesteader home , most of my things but will have to make a 682.00$ monthly payment for lien at bank. No credit for 10 years. And if I get real lucky the credit card debit would be released. Not sure on any of this but from reading and talking to people this is what I gather. It would be very difficult. Especially since on my job my income is about 40,000 yearly and I’m hanging by a thread for running my mouth. I’ve been written up several times and given a final warning if I am rude, aggressive or insulting one more time I’m fired. So I go to my group therapy weekly, take my meds, attend church weekly. Pray and write letters to God. I try to hope for some sort of do able future without so much suffering and isolation. Hope is not easy to have in the midst of this. But I know NO MONEY TO STRANGERS. Most days I go around with a big knot in my stomach until I can cry it all out. Then I feel better for a while until the fear, anger and shame return. This cycle repeats and I’m told it’s part of my healing. I’m anxious about seeing this attorney next week and hope his solutions are workable. If your a praying person reading this , I ask that you stop for 30 seconds and ask God to send me relief and help for as long as I need it to get through this horrible ordeal.
God bless. I hope this helps somebody. Write back. Thank you
Story 3: RDL
In December 2013 I received an email on a ‘ dating site ‘ that I was a member of, which I was not using and had not used it very much.
The email was from a woman calling herself Lisa Kuster and she said she was from Germany and was holidaying in Bondi, Sydney, with her aunt; a photograph was attached which I took to be of her, at the south end of Bondi Beach ( which I know very well as I have lived there ).
There was some brief correspondence and then she advised me that her mother in Germany was very ill and she had to return; the next correspondence ( all via email ) was with Lisa in, as she said, her home in Halle Saale in Saxony, Germany; she sent me more photos of her and her workplace in her mother’s supermarket.
I had lived in Germany and my second wife was from Germany so it could be said that ‘ I let my guard down ‘; I was inclined to trust the connection to Lisa K.
Over the period of early 2014 I sent some money to various addresses in Germany for various things like clothing and so on.
Later in 2014 after a lot of correspondence and increasing intimacy I asked and believed Lisa was agreeable to her coming here and us meeting and seeing if we were compatible and it was worth moving forward with a relationship; I was insistent that we had to meet and that there was no commitment until we both were clearly agreeable to a relationship.
I undertook some investigations with an Immigration Consultant with a view to understand what was involved in moving forward with a relationship.
Lisa had informed me that she was about 40 y/o and I was very conscious of the age difference; however, bearing in mind that I was of a firm view that if we did not work out then we could part as friends and move forward in life.
Lisa asked for money for airfares and visa which I sent; she also asked for other money for various things.
Later in 2014 after I had become very concerned over the amount of money I was sending Lisa said that she had access to gold and would bring that and reimburse me.
I sent money to pay for gold shipment and more money for airfares and visas.
Lisa was scheduled to arrive here in about March 2015 but did not show up.
I then heard that the gold had been intercepted in Cairo and the customs were demanding a considerable payment for its release.
I paid out a considerable amount of money to obtain the release of the gold and Lisa advised she was in Abu Dhabi negotiating the sale of the gold.
This went on for a long period, most of the rest of 2015 with me sending money for her accommodation and living and health issues.
At November/December 2015 I contacted Project Sunbird here ( now defunct ) and told them everything; I ceased contact with Lisa K.
In total I sent away over that two year period about A$300k, being about A$150k of savings and superannuation and A$150k in a reverse mortgage on my house.
What was done to me, as you know, was abuse, emotional, financial and without doubt physical wellbeing impact which I have been able to deal with, thankfully, although my financial future in retirement is now very much reduced to living off the pension.
These people exploit our vulnerabilities; in my case I had been divorced twice, was living alone ( I had had a number of fried relationships, not lasting ) and, in retrospect, I was obviously emotionally vulnerable.
It all took a long time, with a lot of apparent supporting documents sent to me which I had, somewhat reluctantly, accepted as genuine at the time; in retrospect, and after meeting with authorities and police, clearly fabricated and false.
In my own defence I have to say that during the whole of the time ( two years ) I consistently asked for evidence from Lisa K.
I think the trigger was that Lisa K. said to me many times she would reimburse me for what I had paid out; for what it is worth I have all ( or most ) of the emails between us.
I have had abuse and ‘ cutting off ‘ from friends, and brother and sister from all this.
The only support I have had was from Project Sunbird here ( now as I understand, defunct ) and also Cassandra Cross.
Story 4: RK
I’m 70, divorced, not lonely, have a good social life, family, friends, male and female. Got on Twitter 5 months ago mainly for news and politics. Got contacted by a young lady, “Hi handsome, how’s the weather down there, Hun”. Should have run, but was flattered. So the conversation started, she was 24, didn’t care about my age, father recently died, mother rejected her, living with an uncle. She didn’t work, just helped her uncle with his 6 year old son. Two days later she wanted to chat on Hangouts, did that. She represented herself as an abandoned young women. Asked about boyfriends and she said she hated men her own age because they were assholes. Her “boyfriend” devirginized her (her words) and then left her for a rich woman.
Always there were problems with her phone, couldn’t talk to me because of her phone, always out of minutes on her phone. I was not totally hooked yet. She asked me for help and to send her some iTunes cards, I didn’t have a clue on iTunes cards like I do now. She said she had a neighbor who loved her grandson and would pay her cash for the iTunes cards so her grandson could play on his iPad. So $150.00 later she got a new phone by using my money and trading her old one. I’m still acting naïve and stupid at this point.
After two months she told me her father left her an inheritance in cash and gold but it was in storage at a securities company and she had to get married and only her husband could claim it. I did not believe this for one second and broke off the relationship. After a few days, I actually missed her and the attention and contacted her again and she rarely mentioned the inheritance again. BTW at this point, I contacted the Attorney General. With the info she gave me, they could find no record of this company.
So now I’m in full alert mode. In 4 months, only one phone conversation which I immediately broke off because the person sounded with an accent, was definitely black and a deep voice. When I confronted my friend she said voices always sound different on Hangouts.
But yet, I still kept on and I do not know why. I desperately wanted this to be real, we talked sexual many times. EVERY text or chat from her ended with: Hun, dear, sweetness, babe, or my King.
I broke this off at Christmas, I feel stupid and ashamed but still think of her all the time, even though I know this is a scam. Christmas eve she asked me to send her $100 Western Union so she could get her hair and nails done to send me a nice picture. That was the straw that broke the camels back.
Every time I broke it off or threatened to terminate the relationship, she threatened to harm herself or suicide or to go “astray”. She was always very inquisitive about my finances, wanting details. She was always asking about my plans and whereabouts. I took this as attention. When I broke it off recently, her “uncle” emailed me, on how all she did was cry all day and that I was her life, etc. This email was in terrible grammar. This email was from someone or company that had a different name than the “uncle”. Finally constantly wanting pictures which I did a few times but stopped when she didn’t send me any or had excuses on why she couldnt.
I want to share it to maybe help others. I have told no one about this, this is my first step at healing by sharing this story.
Please do not think bad about me.
Will sign my real name,