Dr Phil: Internet Romance Scam Artists
Dr Phil talked with Dawn, who may have been the victim of an online dating scam, and her family, who is concerned that she has been taken in by a con artist. What do people need to watch for with Internet romance scams?
Dr Phil: Turkish Prison Dating Scam
Dr Phil producers were on hand when Dawn tried to call David, who was allegedly in a Turkish prison, where he had tried to commit suicide after cocaine was planted in his luggage at the airport. That is already a remarkable story.
“Usually it’ll ring twice and then go to busy, and then I have to call him back again," Dawn explained. She said she sometimes calls him dozens of times every day because she loves hearing his voice.
Dr Phil: Drug Running Dating Scams
The next day, Dawn tried again to call David. This is very sad to watch. She did finally get in touch with someone who claimed to be a Turkish inspector detaining her online boyfriend, David.
Back on the set, Dr Phil tried to maintain an impartial tone, despite his clear skepticism. Dawn tried to rationalize which law enforcement officers might be answering his phone and why. She is not entirely certain whether he is running drugs.
Dr Phil: Catfish Internet Scams
Gail, Dawn’s sister, chimed in to point out that when Dawn got a phone call from a doctor claiming that he could not be released from the hospital unless Dawn paid his bill. They have this lady hosed, and it’s gross. This is exactly why I am afraid to watch that MTV show, Catfish.
Dawn and Gail sparred about the soap opera timeline in which David’s every day seems to be embroiled. Daughter Heather said once she learned her mother was giving money to David, she tried to intervene but was rebuffed.
Dr Phil: Online Dating Scams For Money
Dawn’s employer actually laid her off when she discovered what Dawn was doing with her money. The day before the show taping, David’s lawyer sent him paperwork to transfer $4.5 million into her account, which is another scam tactic.
She admitted that the money has not come through. Gail had questions about his financial dealings, and it did seem like David had an excuse for everything. Dr Phil and the family all agree that the picture Dawn has is probably not David.
Dr Phil: How To Spot Internet Romance Scams
Here are some red flags to watch for if you think you are in an online dating scam.
- Professionals working overseas
- Building a relationship with the victim
- Quick or sudden declarations of love
- Creating stories to elicit money
- Bad grammar and spelling
- Reliance on instant messaging
- Plagiarized poetry or love letters
- Few concrete details about life or work
- Fake photos
- Interest in webcam chats
- Ask for emergency funds to be wired
- Ask for money to visit you
- Ask victim to handle banking in the US
- Ask for passwords and personal information
- Pretend to be online dating victims
- Pretend to be law enforcement personnel
In Dawn’s case, all but two of these elements were satisfied. Dr Phil explained that scammers in Nigeria and other countries work to scam and exploit dozens of victims at the same time.
Dr Phil: Internet Predators
Dawn said that she understands this is probably a scam, but she said she does not want to get her heart broken and is afraid to learn the real truth. What does Dr Phil have up his sleeve to help Dawn get an answer?