Were They Duped? Love Scams

January 24, 2013

Dawn says for the past seven months, she’s been dating "David," whom she met online, has given $30,000 to and has never seen in person — despite at least three attempts to do so. And, Lucy is afraid her son, Craig’s, former fiancée, “Jen,” might not be who she says she is. Will the truth be exposed?







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DawnA photo of the man Dawn believes is DavidHeatherTaniaGailCraig"Jen"Lucy

Dawn and "David"

Dawn says she met her boyfriend, David, on a dating website about seven months ago, but she has never met him in person. She says she’s attempted to meet him on three separate occasions, but each time, he had an excuse, and it never happened. Still, she says she feels deeply connected to him. "I believe he loves me, because I can’t believe somebody could write and say what he says to me and not mean it," she says.

She says David told her that he has a secret government job and is currently being held in a Turkish prison. She also confesses that she’s sent him money seven times, totaling about $30,000. “[The money] goes to somebody else who lives in Turkey, and he gets the money from them.” She says David promised her that he’d pay her back as soon as he returned to the United States and got everything "straightened out."

Dawn’s family believes she’s being scammed. “I don’t believe this David person even exists,” Dawn’s sister, Gail, says. “Dawn sent David every penny that she had in her savings account.”

“She believes him so much that she’s been brainwashed,” Dawn’s daughter, Tania, says.

“Shortly after their relationship began, my mom began to speak with [David’s] so-called daughter named Sandy,” Dawn’s daughter, Heather, says. “It was just some female participant who was agreeing to be a part of this scam, and once my mom wired the money, I’m sure she was probably paid for her part.”

“David’s doing typical things of Internet scammers, but I don’t want to let go of him,” Dawn admits. “I love David, and I want to be with David.” She continues, "If David walked in the room right now, I’d jump out of this chair, and run over, and give him a big hug, just because I would know he’s real."

Dr. Phil asks Dawn what she hopes to get out of her visit, and she responds, “Clarity.” He asks what she stands to lose if David does turn out to be a scam, and she says, “The $30,000, for sure; and my heart will break, but it will heal.” She adds that she still believes David is real.

Hear some of the love letters and pet names that Dawn says David wooed her with. Are they original?

Dr. Phil reads Dawn some of David’s emails to analyze his grammar. “I have a light brown hair and a blue eyes.”

Watch what happens when Dawn tries to call David several times. Will she get through?  Plus, Dawn’s sister, Gail, explains why she thinks David is a fraud.

Dr. Phil lists the typical ways that online dating scammers work and compares David’s red flags to the list. Plus, after some investigative work by Dr. Phil staff, is David really who he says he is?



“You were in love with being in love,” Dr. Phil tells Dawn.

Dawn admits that she knew the truth all along but didn’t want to believe it. She thanks her family for their concern and hugs her sister.



Craig and "Jen"

Craig, 25, says he met Jen online about five years ago, after he had completed Marine Corps boot camp, and that they shared a strong mental and emotional connection. He says their relationship fizzled for about three years, when he served in Iraq and Afghanistan, but picked up again in June 2012, after Jen sent him a Facebook message.

Craig’s mom, Lucy, says she wasn’t as excited as her son about the reconnection. “I said, ‘Oh, my God. Here we go again,’” Lucy says.

Craig says about five months later, he and Jen got engaged over the phone. “I posted it on Facebook, and my mom freaked out, because I’ve never met Jen face to face,” he says. He adds that whenever he tried to meet with Jen in person, she’d make up an excuse as to why she couldn’t.

Craig admits that he’s given Jen about $5,000 to $6,000 in the time that they’ve known each other. He says Jen told him she has leukemia and needs the money for treatments. “I gave Jen $400 a month, for three months, to pay for her chemotherapy,” Craig says. He says he also gave her money for a new cell phone, vehicle maintenance, cigarettes and food. “About a month ago, I sent Jen $500, and that was the last time I sent her any money.”

“He can’t understand the truth, and he really needs to snap out of this,” Lucy says about her son. “In the back of his mind, I know [Craig] knows it’s a scam. But his heart is so into it.”

“I never cared about the money,” Craig says. “It was more about [Jen’s] well-being and her happiness.” He adds, “If I knew Jen wasn’t real, it wouldn’t change my reasoning for giving her the money.”

“If this girl is real, I will go out and buy her a diamond ring myself, and get down on one knee, and ask her to marry him,” Lucy says.

Does Craig really believe Jen is real? “I got caught up in a moment of emotional vulnerability.”

Jen joins the show on the phone and answers the tough questions. Will she agree to finally meet Craig face to face?

“If something sounds too good to be true, look, it probably is,” Dr. Phil tells the audience in closing.


After the Show

After the show, Jen backed out of the face-to-face meeting with Craig.