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Really worried about friend in possible romance scam

(221 Posts)
SlumberingDormouse Sun 28-Jul-13 15:03:48

I've just heard something from a good friend that has really worried me and I would like to hear others' opinions.

A bit of background: My friend has been very lonely since her divorce in February (the marriage was, by her own admission, a disaster and only lasted a year). She has always been the sort of person who jumps into relationships.

The current situation: She has met someone on a dating site, whom she has been talking to for 3 months. He claims to be in the US army currently based abroad. She says that he must be genuine because they have spoken on webcam on Skype. However, to me that is not conclusive proof that he is legitimate. I am aware that scams involving fake US soldiers are very common.

What's really scaring me is that this man is coming to stay with my friend for a week very soon! She has never met him before! He claims to have a house nearby but 'doesn't want to be alone' so he's staying with my friend. This is after he supposedly returns from his last army placement to retire.

To me, there are a lot of red flags here. I think my friend is absolutely crazy and I am terrified for her safety - but she insists she is in love with this man and knows him well.

Any advice would be welcome please.

McBalls Sun 28-Jul-13 15:07:21

Terrified? Really?

SlumberingDormouse Sun 28-Jul-13 15:09:51

Yes. She's having a man whom she's never met before flying halfway across the world to stay in her home for a week while she goes to work. She is desperate for love and therefore vulnerable in my opinion.

Roshbegosh Sun 28-Jul-13 15:10:43

I would worry when she has to send him his air fare because of some drama or other.

LemonPeculiarJones Sun 28-Jul-13 15:11:16

That does sound very worrying. Can you talk to her about putting some boundaries in place?

Sounds like he's hinting that he'll be back for good from the army and wants to just cocklodge with her confused

SlumberingDormouse Sun 28-Jul-13 15:11:37

(a man whose identity my friend cannot verify as his work is so 'top secret' hmm)

LemonPeculiarJones Sun 28-Jul-13 15:12:12

Yes await the request for cash and then insist she deconstructs this infatuation.

SlumberingDormouse Sun 28-Jul-13 15:12:57

He is supposedly coming home for good. What I really don't understand is that he claims to own a house within 10 miles of my friend's flat - so why on earth can't they just go on a date first?!

bluehearted Sun 28-Jul-13 15:14:18

I know a friend who was in a "relationship" with an American soldier and he kept on saying he'd show up... Tomorrow... But then he'd be "sent away" then he'd push it back and he never showed up!! It might be similar for your friend. I'm afraid she won't listen to you... These men are very good at making women fall in love with them, she will believe everything he says but I would guess that he won't actually show up!

Is your friend in the US? If not then this does sound odd.

cozietoesie Sun 28-Jul-13 15:14:43

Here's a useful link for you/her. Are you in the States, OP? (If not, ask yourself why he would have a house in the UK.)

bluehearted Sun 28-Jul-13 15:16:28

Also, are you SURE she has spoken to him on Skype? My friend kept assuring us she had spoken to him on Skype but turned out in the end they never had! (I still reckon he was a 17 year old mucking about). Just a thought...

Roshbegosh Sun 28-Jul-13 15:16:42

I doubt he is in the US, is an American or is intending to come here. My guess is a guy in a Nigerian Internet cafe about to get a few hundred £ out of your friend. Just wait.

Roshbegosh Sun 28-Jul-13 15:21:08

Good link cozie. I would not be absolutely terrified for her physical safety but would warn her that it is a scam and he will ask for his fare or some other expense. The other thing is they gain your trust by transferring money to you and you then send to them in some other account but then your credit isn't cleared. Can't remember the exact details of that but people get fooled by a credit showing up in their account that is then removed.

FrequentFlyerRandomDent Sun 28-Jul-13 15:22:16

Have you told her?

De hs nothing to lose in removing investment, bank info and passports from her flat when he does come over. Better safe than sorry. Th can joke about it at their ruby wedding anniversary if it all goes well. But personally it sounds very dodgy.

My DH was in Iraq shortly after we met, and the security etc was high, but I had access to his flat, had met mates, etc.

SlumberingDormouse Sun 28-Jul-13 15:23:33

Hmm, that's what I was thinking. I suppose I had been thinking along the lines of worrying about this man actually turning up, but now I see it's equally likely he won't. I did think it very odd that he claims to be a US citizen with a house in the UK (where we are).

FrequentFlyerRandomDent Sun 28-Jul-13 15:23:44

There is nothing to lose... I meant to type.

meditrina Sun 28-Jul-13 15:26:09

Are you/she in US?

If so, then she needs to go and see this house - does it exist, and is it occupied?

If she's not in US, why does he have a house overseas and why? What nationalities does he hold? Does the house exist?

What does he do in the Army? Those in "top secret" work would never divulge this to a casual Internet acquaintance. At best, he's bigging up a routine job to sound good. At worst, he's a predatory fantasist.

Frankly, if she's hell bent on seeing him, you won't be able to stop her.

But can you persuade her to make a hotel booking for him? And does she have good neighbours she can run to if anything alarming happens if she does let him into her home?

mynameisslimshady Sun 28-Jul-13 15:26:40

Which site did they meet on? Are you 100% sure they have skyped?

bluehearted Sun 28-Jul-13 15:27:42

Slumbering - I can pretty much guarantee he won't show up! That link is good, forward it to her and then she has the facts. If she then decides to send the money he will no doubt as for, she did it fully aware of the facts.
This sounds very similar to my friend... I'm going to pm you!

bluehearted Sun 28-Jul-13 15:29:47

Mynameisslimshady - that's what I'm thinking about the Skype thing!

Roshbegosh Sun 28-Jul-13 15:31:53

I bet they haven't skyped too slimshady he may not be able to in his secret cave in Afghanistan where he is employed in his top level work. If they have skyped I stand by the Nigerian coffee shop whatever he says. I hope your friend can afford the sting.

FrequentFlyerRandomDent Sun 28-Jul-13 15:32:08

Incidentally, in our case, Skype was not allowed by military as unsecure comms when out. Comms were via blueys and e- blueys (military mail).

I hope she does listen. Poor her.

arsenaltilidie Sun 28-Jul-13 15:32:55

I'm 100% sure it's a scam!!

Why does he own a house nearby?
In the army on a 'top secret' assignment, what kind of agent goes around telling people on the Internet he's doing a top secret assignment.

Roshbegosh Sun 28-Jul-13 15:33:07

I would like to open a book on this 100 to 1 against him turning up.

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