Dr Phil: Online Dating Deception
Have today’s guests been victims of online dating scams? Dr Phil opened the show by sharing a seemingly loving statement about someone who is happy and affectionate toward a partner. Dr Phil said this letter was written to his guest, Dawn, from her boyfriend David, whom she has never met.
David said he has a secret government job, and the audience was already tittering. It gets better: he is in a Turkish prison and has also been in a foreign hospital during the course of their seven-month relationship.
Later in the show, Dr Phil would introduce Craig, who has not yet met his online girlfriend, Jen. Are these people getting duped? Dr Phil and his team have been digging for answers.
Dr Phil: Online Dating Scams
Dawn said she met David on the Match.com dating website. She never intended to pursue a relationship after her divorce, but now she believes that she is in love. She said she believes he is real because of the loving and tender words he writes to her.
Gail, her sister, thinks that Dawn is being scammed and David does not exist. Dawn has never met him in person, despite three false starts. She said she would be delighted to finally meet him in person.
Dr Phil: Romance Brainwashing
Tania, Dawn’s daughter, thinks this is a form of brainwashing, and given that Dawn has given “David” $30,000 over the last seven months, I am inclined to agree, but I am trying to keep an open mind and a straight face.
Heather, another of Dawn’s daughters, said she took this money from her savings. It is transferred to Turkey via Western Union. Gail said these loans cleaned her out, but Dawn is hopeful that David will pay her back when he gets everything sorted out.
Dr Phil: Government Agent Dating Scam
David claimed he is a secret agent for the US government and cannot reveal details about his personal life. His travails over the past seven months have included planted cocaine, taxes, seizures, car accidents, arrest, and much more.
Dawn’s family is convinced that David is a scam artist. But Dawn believes in the story because she has begun to keep in contact with Sandy, David’s supposed 12-year-old daughter.
Dr Phil: Internet Scammers
“David’s doing typical things of Internet scammers, but I didn’t want to let go of him,” Dawn said. “I love David and I want to be with David.”
I don’t know whether to laugh or cry for this woman. Dawn wanted clarity, but Dr Phil told her right away that he cannot say whether David actually exists. I guess my conservative upbringing is to blame, but I think even if I were the victim of an Internet romance scam, I would draw the line at going on TV to defend it.
Dr Phil: Internet Fraud & Heartbreak
What does Dawn have to lose if it turns out David is a fraud? Of course there is the money, but more than that, him being fake would break her heart. She also wanted to prove to her family that he is real.
Dawn said that if David does exist, she is excited for the great life they could have together. She was about to get a talking to from Dr Phil.
Dr Phil: Internet Romance Pet Names
Dr Phil made a list of the dozens of treacly pet names David has used in love letters to Dawn, which she admits drew her in. In his third email to Dawn, David wrote what Dr Phil admitted was a touching and seemingly heartfelt letter. Take a look for yourself.
“He’s real good with writing,” Dawn admitted. But Dr Phil had his producer search for part of the content of her love letter. It was found in hundreds of places around the Internet. OK, time out–they cut to a reaction shot of Dr Phil’s wife in the audience, who was all, “Oh no!” Come on, Robin. This is bogus.
Dr Phil: Secret Government Agent Dating Scam
Heather, Dawn’s daughter, said it is ridiculous that he claims to be employed in a secret capacity by the US government. Dr Phil said there are a plethora of online scams that originate from the Middle East; apparently Dr Phil has seen Dateline before.
He went on to point out the grammatical errors and inconsistencies that popped up in David’s correspondence. Hearing it read out loud underscored for Dawn that he might not have the best command of the English language, despite his supposed and plagiarized eloquence.
Dr Phil: Middle Eastern Online Scams
Daughter Heather said she and her family used to read the letters and point these errors out to her mother. Dr Phil did them one better: the syntax can be traced to a Middle Eastern manner of speaking.
Dawn basically agreed that the letters sound fake when Dr Phil reads them. I am sad for this lady, because the Internet is full of scam artists, and who doesn’t want to believe in love? The real question here is, how do we address the Internet illiteracy that makes people susceptible to this?