Scammers Preying on Widows

It never fails to amaze me how so many women (and some men) fall for scammers.  Whether it’s an elderly person who gets a call from an unknown person saying his grandson is in jail and needs bail money (sometimes the caller even pretends to be the grandson), or a middle-aged woman being told that if she doesn’t use a credit card right now to pay past due income taxes that a sheriff will come to her home within the next hour to take her to jail (another jail threat); or a real estate rental scam; or of course the well-known Nigerian scams… it blows my mind that anyone would fall for this stuff.

Unfortunately a big one is the so-called “sweetheart scam”, which preys on lonely widows and widowers, and sometimes bilking them out of lots of money.

I’ve taught classes on the various scams, and have a blog that addresses them as well. Most of the attempted scams we encountered were either because of my husband’s property management company, or our antique shop.

I kept one guy going for weeks.  (Here’s the blog on that one: 
https://storiesofentitlement.wordpress.com/2016/08/05/danger-will-robinson-a-repost-from-our-heritage-collectibles-blog/

The scammer texted me saying he wanted to purchase a $250 item from my antique shop but was going to send me a check for $1750 (which he did), and that the extra money was for me to pay “his crew” who would come pick it up. Of course, depositing that “check”, which I knew was fraudulent – and my bank agreed – would have minimally cost me a bounced check fee… and could have been worse.

He would text and ask, “Have you deposited the check yet?” and I’d respond with a pissy attitude such as,  “I told you I was busy; I’ll get to it when I can” or “Not until your bank verifies the funds; I’m here at my bank right now if you will just have your bank call mine”. 

Finally I got bored with it all. And stopped responding to him. (Every one of his texts and mine are in my blog, so people can see how I played him.)

The sweetheart scam has to be among the worst. I’ve known several people who have fallen for them, sometimes even to the point of flying out to meet the guy.  One person says she barely escaped after he kept her locked in a hotel room.  Another lost a lot of money.

The hallmarks of a sweetheart scam are as follows:

1) The guy comes on too fast, professing his love almost immediately… often with poor English and absurdly flowery phrases.
2) He pushes his victim into professing her love too quickly, as well.
3) He says he’s either out of the country for his job, working on an oil rig, or wanting to leave his country where there’s the constant threat of being killed.
4) Soon he starts asking for money, because he can’t cash his paycheck (he’s on an oil rig), or he because he needs the money to help a sick child or family member, or whatever.
5) If you don’t send the money right away, he ups the ante with “You don’t really love me” or “I need it so we can be together forever”.

Please, please, please don’t fall for this stuff.  Widows and widowers are frequent targets because we’re often lonely and devastated by our loss.

Please be aware that you are NOT the only person this scammer is playing.  It’s his full-time “job”… if he’s scamming you, then he’s also working another mark.  Probably a dozen or more.

If it seems too good to be true; if someone comes on too fast, too soon; if you have to question whether it’s for real or not… THINK ABOUT IT! Better yet, don’t think. Just immediately block, delete, whatever you have to do. And don’t look back.

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For more information about The Grief Warrior Project – soon to be a drop-in and counseling center for those affected by suicide and/or suicidal thoughts, please click on the picture or link, or go to https://warrior-project.org.

The Grief Warrior Project is in the process of becoming a warm, welcoming drop-in center for those living with extreme emotional and/or physical pain coupled with hopelessness, and a resource for families and friends fearing for the life of, or grieving the loss of, the person they love so much.

We are accepting blogs and articles written on topics relevant to suicide, hopelessness, grief, and similar topics.  Please contact Linda at LSnyder@regroupbiz.com or warriorprojectmaine@gmail.com.

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In memory of my beloved husband John Kelly Snyder… 20 Sept 1956 – 21 Oct 2016.

My Johnny was a true warrior, fighting demons no one else could see.  I thought he was the strongest man in the world, and perhaps he was, but tragically, the demons got the better of him.

The name of this project is in no way intended to be reflective of, or piggy back off, Wounded Warriors which serves those military personnel wounded after September 11, 20o1.  Like too many others, John was a warrior long before then.

Fair winds and following seas, Husband.

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We now have a group on Facebook to help find resources, support and ideas for getting The Warrior Project off the ground.  You can find us there at https://www.facebook.com/groups/thewarriorproject/

Follow us on Twitter!  @WarriorProjME.

We’re also on MeetUp; search Lewiston Grief Support MeetUp.

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The Warrior Project is NOT an emergency program or service.

In the event of a crisis, please call 911

In the United States, other numbers to call include:
Maine Crisis Hotline:
1-888-568-1112
National Suicide Prevention Hotline:
800-273-8255
Veterans Suicide Hotline:
800-273-8255
Domestic Violence Hotline:
800-799-7233

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John and I owned both a small antiques shop and a used bookstore in Lewiston, Maine. After John died, I didn’t know what I wanted to do with the two shops – they take up a huge amount of time, and weren’t yet covering their own costs.  After John died in October of 2016, the shops were barely open during the critical holiday sales season; I couldn’t stand being in them because we had such dreams for the future.

But Johnny loved his little bookstore (Heritage Books, Maps & Ephemera) and the goal was that he would one day “retire” into running the two shops.  So I’ve committed to keeping them open, although Heritage Collectibles is now Heritage Collectibles, Books & Maps as I’ve combined those two businesses.  However, they’ve been downsized considerably as I’ve reduced the floor space at 189 Main Street by half, and relocated inventory to other shops, to reduce my workload.

All of the profits from those two businesses (after expenses, of course!) will go to support The Warrior Project.  If you are so inclined, please consider checking out our little store or buying from our booths at the shops listed below, knowing that your purchase will help fund this critically needed suicide prevention drop in center.

Locations:

189B Main Street, Lewiston ME.  (Entrance through the back of the building, off Park Street.)
As of Thanksgiving of 2017, Heritage Collectibles has closed its 189 Main Street storefront, and is in the process of moving most of the antique & furniture inventory to other shops (see below).  We are keeping what had previously been the furniture gallery section of the shop, however and will use that to house Heritage Collectibles, Books & Maps…. it will primarily offer books, maps, records & ephemera.  We’d love it if you would follow our blogs!  (Our Heritage Books & Maps blog isn’t presently as active as the Heritage Collectibles one.)
 https://heritagecollectiblesmaine.com https://heritagebooksandmaps.com

This will also be the location of The Grief Warrior support groups and eventual drop in center.

Our other locations:

Oxford – The Undercover Antique Mall, 960 Main Street.   (207) 539-4149.
We have some great, less expensive inventory for you to check out at the Undercover Antique Mall, seven days a week from 9:00 am – 5:00 pm!  We’re in booth #56.

Scarborough – The Southern Maine Indoor Flea Market, 578 U S Route 1.  (207) 229-4263.  Looking for cookbooks and kitchen-related items?  Check out our small space (#99) at the Southern Maine Indoor Flea Market, seven days a week from 9:00 am – 5:00 pm!

Waterville –  Hathaway Mill Antique Mall, 10 Water St.   (207) 877-0250 
We now have a space (Booth #23) in the brand spanking new Hathaway Mill Antique Mall!  Here you’ll find only items produced in or before 1965.

Westbrook – The Den of Antiquities, 1399 Bridgton Rd.  (207) 650-3007.
Just ask for us by name, or by booth 56!  The Den of Antiquities is a wonderful antique shop with loads of great items, including our own!  Please come check us out, Tuesdays through Sundays, 9:00 am – 5:00 pm.

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