You live with someone for 50 years. You do everything with them. Eat, sleep, cry, laugh, suffer. Then one day, you’re alone. Just thinking about that void can take your breath away. Now imagine someone steps into that void and manages to …ease the pain, just a little. Anyone would follow that lead. Even if it meant doing something…out of the ordinary.
I spent the past few weeks talking to people — and families — in this awful place. People suffering in terrible pain who’ve fallen for online romance scams. You might know I’ve been writing about this topic for a long time, ever since Barb Sluppluck set up what I believe was the first support group for romance scams.
Unfortunately, this is a problem that’s only getting worse. The FBI says there were $500 million in losses last year — that’s a staggering amount, enough to buy a professional sports franchise. Just in Idaho, 100 people reported losing more than $1 million to online lover scams. Obviously, the loneliness and isolation brought on by Covid-19 has played a part, but this problem has roots that run much deeper.
I really hope you’ll listen to today’s podcast — the first of a two-part segment — because for the first time, I’m able to paint a really intimate portrait of the people who fall for these kinds of scams. When I’m done, I hope you’ll never again think, “How could this happen?” Like my first guest, people get caught up in the fever of love and there’s just no talking them out of it. The daughter we speak to in part one is beside herself; she’s tried everything, but her mom is still sending every last penny she has to an imaginary lover half-way around the world.
But in part two, I’ll offer a rare glimpse at a moment when a loving family is able to break that fever. It’s a moment I’m very proud to share, and I think it’s really important for anyone trying to free someone they love from a romance scam. Next week, listen to how son Ben breaks the fever of his mom, Debbie, with patience and love. I hope your trust in humanity will be restored, just a bit by listening. You’ll also have a roadmap for dealing with this issue in your family.
Listen to today’s podcast by clicking on this link, or clicking the play button below.