I just wanted to share my eHarmony experience with the world so that unsuspecting single women can be alert to this kind of dating scam. This scam was pretty smooth…to an extent. It didn’t work on me but I don’t want anyone to fall for it.
Here’s the story. I was a member of eHarmony and was matched to a nice man with similar interests, etc. We went through the eHarmony process and eventually started open communication on our own. We communicated through email, yahoo messenger, and later by phone. This process took months. He said he lived in Tampa and had a little boy. His wife had died tragically during childbirth. This man claimed to be a vet who worked as an independent contractor for the World Animal Health Organisation. He had just recently moved to Tampa he said. He said he was Greek but went to college in England. I live on a farm and know a lot about animal health, plus I am scientist currently working in the health care industry. I am educated and somewhat bright.
He was a very sweet guy…sent some nice pictures of himself and his son, said all the right things, wrote a lot–he played his part well. I was skeptical though for the following reasons: he began most of his correspondence when he was “out of the country on assignments”. The first “job” he spoke of was in England. I asked about his son and school and he said that he hired tutors wherever he went to educate his child during these trips because he couldn’t stand to be without him. I thought this odd since that would be extremely expensive and a difficult way to raise a child. How would this child receive credit for his education from multiple countries? hmmmm; next for a person with an advanced education it seemed his English, spelling, writing, etc. were quite poor. Now we all get sloppy during instant messaging and emailing but this was worse than expected; when asked about his job specifics he was vague–the connection would be lost, he didn’t answer or his answers were kind of “off”. I have a farm with horses, chickens, cats and dogs, I know a lot about animal health and had some questions for him and his answers were not as expected. I also received vague information on the organization he worked for; he said he had his main residence in London, England…was still in the process of getting set up in Tampa Florida.
Suddenly, he had a job in Nigeria– vaccinating an endangered species of peacock? The “reserve” was just outside of Lagos…scam city. He was charming and very attentive. Talked a good game. Claimed to be in love with me (how you can be in love with someone you never met over the internet, I’ll never know). Wanted to give me the world. Too good to be true. He even started to call. Once from England and then from Nigeria. He had somewhat of an English accent mixed with something else…the connections were always bad and he was difficult to understand. It was hard to hold a conversation. That and the time difference… we mostly stuck to email and chatting. He did make it more realistic by having a child talking and laughing in the background during one of his calls (his “son”). I wasn’t entirely convinced he was real but it he had me going to an extent. I wanted very much for him to be real. He asked me to send him something personal so he “could feel closer to me”. He wanted my iPod filled with all my favorite music or a digital camera so he could share his experiences with me (he can afford tutors but not a digital camera???. He gave me the hotel “address” to send the package too. It was a PO Box. I sent a package. It contained a little gift I had made (nothing of value) and a handwritten letter. He kept asking me what I had sent and I said it was a surprise–surprise sucker, nothing of value here.
The Nigerian thing bothered me. I started surfing the net and read about all the scams. His project seemed to take weeks. He had every excuse. He never gave much detail. I waited for the “big emergency” to come up that would lead him to ask me for money. I hoped it wasn’t true but I knew it was going to happen.
After nearly a month it happened. He claimed to have made medical mistake administering the vaccine to the rare birds. He said he made a dosage error. I asked him the specifics and sadly he didn’t know enough to answer my questions correctly. I know a lot about vaccines and birds. He claimed about 150 birds became ill because of his error and he was panicked because his career was at stake. He said he talked the reserve workers into staying quiet about this while he “contacted someone in China to request a medication that would make them better.” At this point, it was a huge joke but I kept up my side to see where it went. So sure enough, he kept quiet for a few days to make me worry a little, then told me he had sent almost all his cash to China for this medication–which much to our relief saved all of the fictional birds! Amazing! Now, however, he was broke. He had almost no money. He saved his career and reputation but he was in trouble. Couldn’t pay his hotel bills, food, transportation…what a mess. He at first claimed there were no banks (Lagos is a huge city–the commercial/industrial hub of Nigeria EVEN my bank has a branch there!) I pointed out that that couldn’t be true and then he broke down and “confessed” to me that he didn’t have any freed up cash in his London account…all of his money was in stocks and bonds! REALLY? I WAS SHOCKED! Even his credit card was no good…he had it canceled because of illegal activity (probably his). He said he didn’t have time to get a new one and besides he said “I’m in a third world country, no one takes credit cards here”. Wow, in a city of that size? Horrible. BTW, the hotel he gave me didn’t check out right. The address he gave didn’t match the address on the internet and it wasn’t in the right area of Nigeria. What could I do? He then asked for a “loan”. I told him at first I couldn’t pay but later decided I wanted to get as much info as I could from him so I could post it on every web site I could find. So I wrote a sweet letter saying I was so worried for him that I asked to borrow the money from a family member and wanted to get it to him as soon as possible. What did I need to do? He wrote back and ask for $1000 to be wired via Western Union (sound familar?). I claimed I was worried about that (gee no banks but we have Western Union hmmm)and would feel more comfortable sending the money directly to the hotel– what was that address and phone number? A phony address was given but not a phone number. He “couldn’t find it and would have to give it to me later.” I insisted that I needed it to properly send the package. Then he said “he was going to be too busy with lectures and meetings to keep a watch for it at the hotel and that I maybe should just send it to his driver (a man he has known only for a month?)” I argued that was unwise but then later asked for that name and address. I’m waiting for that to be emailed. He wanted to know when the money would be sent. I said in a few days. Then connection was lost again and I couldn’t finish my conversation. I’m not sure I’ll hear back from him now. I think he knew I was on to him. Anyway, here is what he has given me so far. I’ll bet he has 10 other women going on this same story as we speak!
Damon A. Basinas
Age: 41 birth date 08/12/67
Son: Milo birth date 08/10/2000
Cell Phone: 234-803-347-4079
136 Gilbourne Road
Plumstead, London SE18 7NX
Nigerian PO Box 3537
Apapa, Lago Nigeria
WhiteLeaf Hotel & Suites
14 Devon Drive
Ikeja, Engu Lagos Nigeria
(this isn’t the hotel address)
Western Union site:
I have pictures too of some good looking man with a cute kid. Says he was educated at Yorke (should be spelled York) University, England. Says he has three dogs and a place in Tampa Florida. Wife died in childbirth. Mother raised him on her own in Greece. Mother died of breast cancer in 1995. He moved to England for school in 1985. It just goes on.
So everyone, be careful! Don’t EVER send money. I will post an update if he gets back to me with any more info. but I doubt I’ll hear from him. I was duped to an extent but don’t feel bad because I didn’t fall for it or lose any money. He was a great actor but just not good enough. The only thing I lost was a little time and energy. I’m know others weren’t so lucky. I’m off now to post this EVERYWHERE I can LOL.
If you are looking for real relationships online, here are some good resources on how to make it happen!