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Old 05-20-2019, 01:45 PM
 
Location: Chicagoland
5,655 posts, read 8,664,295 times
Reputation: 6768

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I’m not sure if this is the correct forum for this, but I could use some advice...

Last night, my family/friends and I attended a dinner/concert with an acquaintance (let’s call him John). John is a retired musician (in his early-mid 70’s I think). I had met John through my kids’ music program about ten years ago, but had not seen him in a few years. I ran into John at an event a few weeks ago and asked him to the concert.

At dinner, John proceeded to tell us that “a lot has changed in his life.” He divorced his wife of 40 years and is estranged from her and his adult stepchildren. He joined a dating site for professionals (don’t know which one) and met a 30 y.o. Ukrainian professional ballet dancer.

John then took out his phone to show us what looked like a professional model picture of his young, hot, and beautiful Ukrainian girlfriend who he said was the love of his life. He said Ukrainian women “see men differently and look at the character and heart of a man.”

Needless to say, red flags went up. I think John is losing it.

John explained that “Olga” worked long hours as a professional ballerina to raise her daughter and that she was coming to America in August to marry him. He said she was working very hard on her English lessons and also on the travel Visa process, which “was very complicated.” I so wanted to ask him how much $ he had sent her, but I did not want to embarrass him at the table.

John also traveled to Kiev to meet Olga but he was very vague on his activities with her and states she “works a lot,” which makes me suspect he never even met her in Kiev. Also, he states that technology is “so bad in Ukraine it often takes 30 minutes for her to get/respond to his messages.” I suspect that time delay is due to the scammers cut/paste process...

Frankly, everyone at the table was embarrassed and didn’t really know what to say to John. I talked to my friends/family afterwards and some thought it was comical and did not see the risk, others thought it was a real woman trying to immigrate to the U.S....

However, I believe it is not a Ukrainian woman at all, but some guy behind a keyboard trying to gain access to John’s credit/bank account... I have a feeling John has already paid for “English lessons and Visa applications” and it will only get worse. And John is not a rich man, he is a retired musician on a fixed income...

I’m really worried about John and trying to figure out how to approach it, as I don’t know John very well but see that he is emotionally vulnerable and I feel sad for him. I also don’t think he has many friends/family so I cannot reach out to them.

I was going to call him today and tell him it’s a scam over the phone, but I fear he will refuse to believe me and then shut me out. I thought about asking him out for coffee to warn him, but again I fear he will not believe me as he seems very emotionally invested in this “woman.”

I also thought about calling a third party, like the local police or maybe a senior support group that can maybe help him address this.

How should I go about warning John, a guy I don’t really know that well, and show him he is a victim of a romance scam, without completely alienating him?

Last edited by GoCUBS1; 05-20-2019 at 02:06 PM..
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Old 05-20-2019, 02:07 PM
 
383 posts, read 87,216 times
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That is a 1,000% scam but he is not going to believe you. In fact, he would be insulted if you even brought it up and he will take it personally. People dont learn, they just have to go through it themself.



If you want to tell him, just be brief. Let him know it looks like a scam and leave it at that. He's a grown adult, let him blow his money away if he wants too.
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Old 05-20-2019, 02:13 PM
 
6,387 posts, read 5,429,313 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GoCUBS1 View Post

John then took out his phone to show us what looked like a professional model picture of his young, hot, and beautiful Ukrainian girlfriend who he said was the love of his life. He said Ukrainian women “see men differently and look at the character and heart of a man.”

Two possible ideas come to mind:

1. John is a fool, plain and simple. He's going to learn an expensive lesson, but only "Olga" can really teach it.
2. John is having a severe mental health crisis that is contributing a break with reality, and needs to seek medical help immediately.
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Old 05-20-2019, 02:22 PM
 
3,604 posts, read 1,643,583 times
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You can send him a few links to dr.phil episodes where he shows victims how the scams work and proves who is scamming them. Other than that I don’t know you will convince him, he will just rationalize your jealous, you don't understand, etc.
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Old 05-20-2019, 02:26 PM
 
Location: Chicagoland
5,655 posts, read 8,664,295 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mikefong123 View Post
That is a 1,000% scam but he is not going to believe you. In fact, he would be insulted if you even brought it up and he will take it personally. People dont learn, they just have to go through it themself.



If you want to tell him, just be brief. Let him know it looks like a scam and leave it at that. He's a grown adult, let him blow his money away if he wants too.
Thanks for the response... Others have also told me not to get involved - that heíll be offended by it. But I want to do the right thing and couldnít live with myself if this causes him to become homeless/financially destitute, etc. He is older and vulnerable. Iíll probably take your advice and keep it brief when I tell him. I thought about printing articles about Ukrainian romance scammers for him, but I donít think that would go over well.

I wonder if there are any legal authorities I can contact on this... Maybe the police could do a wellness check, but then he would know I ďturned him in.Ē Iím going to try to see if he belongs to a church, maybe I can call his pastor or another support group for him...
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Old 05-20-2019, 02:29 PM
 
Location: Chicagoland
5,655 posts, read 8,664,295 times
Reputation: 6768
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cantabridgienne View Post
Two possible ideas come to mind:

1. John is a fool, plain and simple. He's going to learn an expensive lesson, but only "Olga" can really teach it.
2. John is having a severe mental health crisis that is contributing a break with reality, and needs to seek medical help immediately.
#2... I think youíre right... I donít know who to call on this though... someone needs to intervene but he is estranged from his wife/family and doesnít have many friends that I know of...
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Old 05-20-2019, 02:35 PM
 
Location: Colorado (PA at heart)
8,916 posts, read 13,662,247 times
Reputation: 11560
Quote:
Originally Posted by mikefong123 View Post
That is a 1,000% scam but he is not going to believe you. In fact, he would be insulted if you even brought it up and he will take it personally. People dont learn, they just have to go through it themself.



If you want to tell him, just be brief. Let him know it looks like a scam and leave it at that. He's a grown adult, let him blow his money away if he wants too.
Yep. You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink. If you tell him it looks like a scam and he doesn't believe you, you've done what you can, and from there you'll have to let him figure it out on his own.
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Old 05-20-2019, 06:00 PM
 
Location: State of Transition
78,707 posts, read 70,554,766 times
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Yeah, a 30-year-old "Ukrainian" ballet dancer supposedly is in love with a 70-yr-old American geezer? How obvious can you get.


And btw, "Olga" isn't even a Ukrainian name. It's a Russian name. If he doesn't believe that it's a scam, you could drop that on him. Such a classic fake scenario; the guy behind the keyboard couldn't even bother to come up with a nationality-appropriate name.

Whats irritating, is that the mafia behind the screen is making off like bandits. I hate to see them get away with it.

Oh, and another thing; she's not coming over to get married. That's not how it works. US INS requires that John file a fiancee visa for her, while she's living over there. They really don't like it, if someone comes under one visa status, and switches status while they're in the US.

Also, Americansky visas aren't expensive (compared to whatever he's already sent). $200 or so. She would also need some pocket cash (US$) to show during her visa interview: $200 is usually enough. BUT, unless she has a child (by that age, most of them do), THEY WILL NOT GIVE A VISITOR'S VISA TO SOMEONE WHO'S SINGLE! That is US Embassy policy in Eastern Europe, unless someone has a very solid, high-status job, and even then.....it's doubtful. Also, the fact that a child hasn't been mentioned is further grounds for suspicion of fraud.

So, all the above is evidence it's a scam. You could tell John the visas don't cost much (it's NOT a complicated process), and besides, singles can't get one. Proof he's being taken advantage of.

Last edited by Ruth4Truth; 05-20-2019 at 06:15 PM..
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Old 05-20-2019, 06:03 PM
 
Location: State of Transition
78,707 posts, read 70,554,766 times
Reputation: 76653
Just curious, OP; do you have any mutual friends with John? I'm curious as to why he divorced his wife, and wrote off his kids. Or maybe they divorced him? I'm just wondering, if this was something that had been building (or unravelling) in the marriage for years, perhaps even decades, or if it might be a sign, along with this OLD obsession, of incipient dementia.

You're a good guy to be concerned.
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Old 05-20-2019, 06:12 PM
 
Location: Colorado (PA at heart)
8,916 posts, read 13,662,247 times
Reputation: 11560
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ruth4Truth View Post
Yeah, a 30-year-old "Ukrainian" ballet dancer supposedly is in love with a 70-yr-old American geezer? How obvious can you get.

And btw, "Olga" isn't even a Ukrainian name. It's a Russian name. If he doesn't believe that it's a scam, you could drop that on him. Such a classic fake scenario; the guy behind the keyboard couldn't even bother to come up with a nationality-appropriate name.
That doesn't necessarily mean anything. About 17% of Ukraine population is Russian - I'm sure there are lots of Russian names in Ukraine.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ukraine

Ethnic groups (2001[1])
77.8% Ukrainians
17.3% Russians
4.9% others/unspecified

Of course, it's still a scam, but not because of her name and likely pointing out that her name is Russian is not going to be the bombshell that blows the scam wide open and makes him realize it's a scam.
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