Nigerian Scammer Cons Christian Mingle Lady Out Of $300,000. Let's All Get To Work, People
A 66-year-old California woman lost $300,000 when "God's Perfect Match" for her on a Christian dating site turned out to be a scammer. The unnamed woman could have lost another $200K, but became skeptical and called law enforcement before that wire transfer could be cashed. Santa Clara County Deputy District Attorney Cherie Bourland took the opportunity to remind people not to let the hope of finding wove, twue wove blind them to the fact that everyone on the internet is a dog:
“You get the love drug in you and you end up getting duped,” Bourland said.
There's a pretty good hook for a pop song in there we think. Hmmm... looped, cooped, stooped, pooped... Or not. In any case, we do hear that it's like oxygen: You get too much it gets you high, not enough and you're gonna die.
Christian Mingle (which, if you want your comments to not go to the spam filter, you should spell out as two words) advertises itself as a place where like-minded Christian persons can meet and pair up, telling prospective members that
Our deepest desire is to see our members grow in their relationship with Christ while living out their spiritual journeys.
They do clarify that their slogan, "Find God's Match for You™" is just advertising, because
while we in no way mean that Christian Mingle is the only place where one can find the person God has meant for them, we do believe Christian Mingle is a tool God can and has used to bring people together.
Then again, just in case God has a lawyer, the website also has a section on online safety and an all-caps disclaimer at the bottom of the page advising that
SPARK NETWORKS USA, LLC DOES NOT CONDUCT BACKGROUND CHECKS ON THE MEMBERS OR SUBSCRIBERS OF THIS WEBSITE. HOWEVER, THE SAFETY AND SECURITY OF OUR MEMBERS IS OUR TOP PRIORITY. WE URGE ALL MEMBERS TO FOLLOW OUR ONLINE SAFETY TIPS
As Jesus said, "Blessed is he who knows what 'Use at your own risk' means," and "There's a sucker born every minute" (Book of Barnum 3:26).
The website conveniently overlooks Jesus's condemnation of divorced people remarrying, because come on, that's so old-fashioned, although the San Jose woman, a divorcee, would never have used the website had they just been a little more pure on doctrine.
And so the woman truly believed that she had met a hard-working Irish fellow named “David Holmes,” who was working on an oil rig in the North Sea, and who sent her flowers, and a photo of a handsome fellow from the interwebs, and even talked on the phone with her, with no trace of a Nigerian accent, according to Bourland; later records searches indicate that the emails and Skype calls originated in Nigeria.
But first, the woman sent "David Holmes" $300,000 so he could start his own oil business, cleaning out her retirement account and also sending along funds from refinancing her home. People do dumb things when they're in love sometimes. And then she wired another $200,000 to a bank in Turkey, but got cold feet and went to the DA's office. Bourland's office was able to freeze the second transfer, but the first is probably unrecoverable. Turkish police arrested a man who came to pick up the cash, but he was only a go-between, not the scammer who initiated contact with the woman. Still, it's somewhat remarkable that they were able to recover even the funds that they did.
Christian Mingle's online safety tips do include a warning to "Never send money to someone you meet online," so they're covered. Besides, God moves in mysterious ways, don't you think?
Sort of makes us wish Flannery O'Connor were around to give this story the treatment it so obviously deserves.
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