Below you will find a few letters received from members.

Letter 1

John, I have a gripe and need assistance. Can you please look into this for me. For a couple of weeks I have been chatting to a rather cute young guy from Russia. I know that at 68yrs I should have questioned why such a good looking young guy saw in an old geriatric like myself, but I suppose I let my heart run wild. I fell head over heals for him. He used to say some lovely things, he even said he loved me! Anyway, to cut a long story short he said his mother was ill and needed treatment. I am sure you know what followed and silly old me fell for it - I sent $800 over to him and you guessed it, I have not heard from him since. His username is (username witheld)..... Can you not stop this sort of scam? I can no longer find him onsite. What should or what can I do? BL

Letter 2
John, please warn other members. I recently been in contact with one of your members. I should have known when he first contacted me saying he would prefer to chat off site and did I have msn, also requesting my email address. But I was taken in by his looks, fit, muscular - a real dream boy! Anyway I went along with it and to cut a long story short after numerous love letters, offering his heart, soul and body. I said I would like him to visit me. He lived abroad and (silly me) I sent him some money to cover the costs. Well he did say he had lost his parents when young and was trying to look after his younger brother as well as work. Very gullible I know, for as soon as I had sent off the money order he requested I didn't hear from him again. This does not belong on Caffmos - do warn others! (name witheld)

Letter 3 - A Member's story!

Having easily fended off two attempted scams a year ago, I thought I was immune - not so. September 2005, a Ghanaian guy approached me, aged 28 in his profile. He was seeking help to find new accommodation. He was being thrown out of his shared room because his roommate said he was gay.

"U must help me!" was the urgent cry and I was sympathetic to a fellow gay in need.

He had explained that he was a student at Accra-Legon University, that he was an orphan, brought up in an orphanage. He had no financial support, other than Government loans, paid directly to the University. I sent him have a small sum of money to find another room. He went down with malaria, so I paid the hospital bill of L80 plus L20 for drugs and consultant’s fees. He remained in hospital for 8 days, and during that time, I was able to talk to him on his mobile each evening.

A new semester started. He asked for a large sum of money to open a Bank account and to pay off part of the loan from the Government. I had already requested an ID, which was not forthcoming, so I requested a reference from the University. He emailed me a university reference, but I still insisted on the original. He had also to give me his bank details, account No and branch address. What I got were totally false bank details, quite obvious to anyone with any sense. The alarm bells rang, and I phoned the number on the university document. It was a phoney number. I saw the light, and confronted him with the evidence. He tried to excuse himself, and then his phone was closed down, and that’s the last I ever hear of him. The university are still carrying out their own investigation.

This guy had lots of professional help - possibly a small gang ‘working’ the various gay sites to cream off whatever they could get.

How much did I loose? More than a year’s council tax payments. Add to that all the expenses of phone calls and faxes.

I let my heart rule my head, and missed several signs of danger. I had never heard of a scam like this one. It is so very easy to get defrauded, much easier than you would ever imagine. He used time and patience to work his way into my confidence.

I would qualify the scam warnings by Caffmos, and say that you don’t actually KNOW someone, until you have physically MET them, no matter how long you have known them on the internet - they can vanish into cyberspace, once they have your money. Be careful!
(name witheld)

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