I’ve been a long-time lurker and occasional commenter on posts for a long time, over five years now. Sadly, my posting of this confession is one that is incredibly sad and if you’re taking the time to read it and see exactly what has befallen me, I appreciate it very much – and no, I’m not writing this as a ‘sob story’ or an attempt to garner attention in a ‘woe-is’me’ fashion – I’m just trying to put this out there and ensure that people will be more vigilant than what I thought I was.
I really thought this whole scenario was too good to be true – and sadly, that adage of ‘If something is too good to be true, it usually is’ didn’t factor in until it was too late.
I’m under no illusions that 2020 was incredibly difficult for every single person on the planet.
For me, naturally it was no different. For the longest time, I considered myself asexual, as I simply had no interest I relationships. I live alone, was estranged from my brother and father, and my only closest relation was with my mother, who passed away in 2011 due to pancreatic cancer at only 58 years old. My mother’s side of the family were the only closest ones to me (my aunt. Uncle and cousin – but close really only in terms of geographical distance)
I consider myself to be a quiet and dutiful guy; I concede that I have Aspergers Syndrome but apart from that I am fairly boring – and I am perfectly fine admitting that about myself.
Before I get to what happened, please allow me to set the scene with a bit of backstory:
Like most people, I work full-time, but due to Covid (right at the start in 2020 around March) my hours were drastically reduced. I worked as a Data Analyst at a mailing house in Melbourne’s north. It was a tedious and miserable job, but there were a few conveniences that made a bit of a difference to me.
Eventually the hours and roster were done in a way where I would work for a week and then be forced to take Annual Leave. As time went on, it changed to being random rostered days on; maybe two days in a row working, then one off, then another one on, etc. Soon, people were being let go and I bemoaned my situation as I lived alone, wondering how I would pay my rent and keep my head above water.
My cousin reached out to me in April and asked how I was tracking with work. Things were going from bad to worse as every day I was unaware of how I would fare because the big bosses at the mailing house took every day as it came. I told this to my cousin, and he said he could help me with guaranteed full-time work at a food preparation factory. Sure, it was different work to what I was used to, but I was getting desperate. I attended interviews and impressed them enough to get the ball rolling to finally leave my dreary full-time job behind. It took the best part of two months, but I eventually handed in my letter of resignation and prepared to leave it all behind.
Unfortunately, the job that I was promised was not actually offered in the end due to the escalation of Covid-19 in Melbourne at the time. This meant the job was on a Casual basis, not Fulltime, as I was originally offered. I had to also sign up for JobSeeker as per the instructions from the government. I would do incredibly menial and back-breaking work in a terribly demoralizing environment. I wouldn’t find out my next shift until near the end of the current one and I would eventually need to see a physiotherapist as I injured my back and right forearm. Due to being a casual employee, I had no choice but to soldier on and undertake the shifts as I could not afford to miss a shift.
That is, until I stopped getting asked to come in. As I lived alone, I had to dip into my savings to pay the rent and utilities and survive until I could next work a shift. All the while, I lamented my decision to trust my cousin’s word and believed that I had made a terrible mistake. I even tried asking for my old job back but was summarily dismissed.
I was miserable, hurting financially and physically. Again, I’m under no illusions that many people had it much tougher, and I am sorry beyond belief that they have had to go through that. All I’m trying to do is tell my story and warn other people about
what could potentially happen.
After just under two and a half months of hardly any shifts from this place, I managed to secure casual employment with TNT at the airport, working in the Freight Handling department. It was an early morning shift, 3am to 11am every day, loading and unloading massive trucks.
Regardless, at TNT, I worked through my pain and even “celebrated” my 38th birthday (the 11th) whilst working at this place. I didn’t need to give notice to the place where my cousin had helped me work, I simply told the supervisor that I’d found something else.
On the 10th of August 2020, I was contacted on Imgur via the Chat Feature by someone called “Claire Nielsen”. She since changed her username to “WonderWoman543”, but the account has been inactive for quite some time.
She simply said, ‘Hello Seth’, to which I responded with ‘Hello Claire’. I thought nothing of it. I’d been contacted by other Imgurians before and thought it would go the same way – they’d initiate a Chat and I’d respond, with then perhaps the smallest of exchanges before they ultimately gave up – leaving me to be the one to carry it all the time.
However, she asked me how I was and thanked me for messaging her back, saying she was a new Imgurian and surfing the site and searching for friends. She said it was nice to connect with me on Imgur, so I indulged it a bit as I recuperated after a tiring shift at TNT.
We exchanged pleasantries that anyone else would surely do – where are you from in the world, how are you dealing with Covid, that sort of thing. The following day, I was surprised that she was actually still keeping up the Chat. Three days or so seemed to be the limit back then before whoever talked to me seemed to not give a crap and just disappear.
She asked if I was on Google Hangout for a “better chat”. I wasn’t aware of what it was, so she told me what it was like. She said you needed Gmail for it, but I didn’t have a Gmail account. She suggested I get one. I don’t know why I did it at the time, but I decided to do it and humour her by getting it. I guess I was lonelier than I let on.
Looking back, I can see that as Melbourne was gripped by lockdown and I had been benched by TNT (two places of employment within the space of a few months hardly giving me any work) I was at least comforted by someone and not as alone as I usually was – even if all “Claire” represented was lines of text in a chat app.
We began chatting in the Hangouts app in mid-August and it quickly escalated on her end to mine from friendly banter to what Scamwatch would deem a “Dating and Romance Scam” (but I was completely oblivious). She shared a picture of what I assumed was what she looked like in real time and didn’t think twice when it was clear that her photos never looked imperfect as the selfies that I took for her.
She used a lot of pet-names like ‘babe’ and ‘hun’ in a short amount of time to lower my guard, and as I’d been single for…well, ever – I stupidly and foolishly believed that this person calling herself “Tabetha Claire Nielsen” was actually:
– Someone who lived in Channelside, in Tampa, Florida
– Celebrating having turned 30 in July
– Divorced with a young son named “Tariq” (who lives with “Claire’s” mother)
– Of mixed heritage. British father with an American family while her mother is Cuban
– Working as a makeup artist and training to become a licensed cosmetologist
– Someone who enjoyed sports like soccer, MMA, NFL and more
– Well-travelled, having been to countries like Dubai, Chile, Morocco, France, Mexico and Italy
We seemingly chatted at every possible moment; she always had time for me, but I never twigged to the fact that whenever I asked her to show a picture of herself that it would take some time for her to show me. She also told me that her phone’s mouthpiece was faulty and that she regrettably couldn’t talk to me over the phone. I stupidly believed that.
At no point despite how great we were getting along was I interested in pursuing a relationship at all; as I mentioned, I essentially identify as asexual as I have simply never had the drive to pursue or chase a relationship of any sort. I’m too scared, as laughable as that sounds. I can actually recall my Aunt trying to “set me up” with someone when I was in my early twenties and I made up an excuse to get out of it as soon as I could.
However, “Claire’s” persistence wore me down – and she resorted to a fairly cheap tactic after only four days of chatting on Hangouts. She sent me a “nude” – nothing explicit, and not showing her face – just her lying tastefully on a bed with a caption ‘Feeling tired, gonna sleep soon’.
I didn’t know what to make of this. I froze and eventually thanked her for sending it but admitted I didn’t know what to say. She peppered me with sentimental and lovely messages, essentially saying how sweet and pure I was and how she was determined to ‘make me hers’.
She professed that she loved me on the 19th of August after only a week of knowing me. I was taken aback at first, but similarly felt overwhelming feelings for her – and truly believed that the person in the photos she sent was her. Before the end of August, she told me that she had to ask if she could borrow some money from me – $750USD, in fact (which equated to over $1,100AUD). She promised/assured/swore that she would pay me back as soon as she could, and that the money was for makeup kits for her cosmetology course. I balked and instantly refused, but she insisted constantly and kept swearing to God that she would pay me back with interest.
At first, I asked her if I could talk to her but again, she told me that her phone’s mouthpiece was faulty. I asked if we could FaceTime or equivalent, but she claimed that the camera was “screwy” on her end. I really should have realized then that something was amiss, as every instance of her proving herself without a shadow of a doubt would have been possible – but I was stupid, lonely and gullible, thinking that this woman could be the one to put an end to the point of view I had on relationships. She wore me down, sending me so many messages thanking me for being her ‘King’, her ‘Saviour’ and that she would absolutely pay me back without question. She gave me the PayPal address to send it to and I begrudgingly did it, dipping into my savings to do so.
She again thanked me consistently and promised endlessly that she would pay me back, with interest. As time wore on, there wasn’t a day where we didn’t chat. I eventually started calling her ‘babe’ and ‘hun’ and believed every word she said about paying me back. She began to up the ante and started calling me ‘the best man she’s ever known’ and that she wanted me to be the father of her unborn kids and that I was her future husband. I was drunk on her supposed “love”.
I was giddy, swept up in the sentiment of a budding relationship with someone I hadn’t even heard speak – and I foolishly believed that every time I asked her for a photo, and she came back with whatever she presented, that it was for me and my eyes only.
During September, she presented me with another proposition, and sadly I am paying for this for the rest of my life. She claimed that she wanted to secure a rental office space for her makeup business and needed a deposit to do so and didn’t want to miss out on it. She wrote an even lengthier spiel for it and needed even more money – as if me loaning her the biggest amount of money I’d ever lent anyone wasn’t enough.
This was in the thousands – $6,000 AUD to be exact – and she gave me every assurance and promise under the sun. I pushed back as much as I could, especially as it was so soon after the initial amount I loaned her, but her mood and temperament online became incredibly dour, as every topic we spoke about always came back to it.
I buckled, as she had become such an important part of my life in such a short time and I couldn’t see that I was in the same predicament that someone else would be in if I were watching it happen to them – as if my life was a movie and I was watching my reactions, shouting at the screen ‘Hey! Idiot! Can’t you see she’s scamming you?’ I was so oblivious. I truly believed that “Claire Nielsen” was my destiny.
I parted with that money and my heart sank as my savings shriveled. However, her sweet words and the prospect of “sexting” (of which I was unfamiliar) awakened a new sensation in me, and we exchanged erotic and sensual messages to each other as we “mastered our domains” (of which I am well and truly embarrassed, humiliated and dejected by)
I was surviving in my small unit on the JobSeeker allowance, the occasional shift at TNT and my savings. I honestly thought Claire would start paying me back in October, as she stated initially, but there was always an excuse with her – which I was forgiving of initially, but as time wore on, I became more worried, but didn’t dare bring it up with her, as she was prone to snapping at me.
The big revelation came after a few months when she revealed that when her father passed away, he left her a large inheritance that she could only obtain once she turned 30 years old. She had turned 30 in July, but apparently was waiting for the right man to tell so that she could “spend the rest of her life with that man – and that man is you, my wonderful husband.”
She also made a big deal of me not telling anyone about her. Seeing as I legitimately had no one to tell – I lived alone, had hardly any family and kept to myself anyway – I told her that wasn’t an issue. I should have known that this made it PERFECT for her to see me as a “mark”.
The inheritance was top-secret and organized by the Royal London Insurance Company – only “Claire’s” mother and her lawyers in England knew about it. The payout was said to be in the millions, as her father was apparently a wealthy businessman. I tried to be supportive, but it sounded so false. I asked for proof and was again, summarily snapped at for daring to question it.
To make matters worse, apparently for her to obtain this inheritance, she needed to go to the UK in person, sign the documents and then she would pay me half and open a new account to put the other half in – as she prepared to leave the US to live with me in Australia. Again, sounded too good to be true. I asked why the document couldn’t be sent via email or by post seeing as Covid had grounded flights, but she essentially ignored this question.
As far as I was concerned, I had loaned her a small fortune, had believed every word about her paying me back – but now she threw a massive spanner in the works saying she needed EVEN MORE MONEY to go the UK to get this done. It turned out that for her to pay me back, she needed the inheritance in the first place.
And like a stupid, moronic and heartsick puppy who desperately needed a change in his life and believed that an obviously-false inheritance and a woman claiming to move Heaven and Earth to live with me in Australia as my wife – I emptied more of my savings to see that she could do just that.
I sent her money to different PayPal accounts she told me but never sent me screenshots to prove that she got them – but, yet I had to do that to show her that I had done it. I would eventually stop doing that because of the fees and instead believed her when she said if I bought Google Play or Steam gift cards and told her the numbers on the back that it would help. I went to many different stores over several trips to do this for her – stupidly scoffing at the signs that said to be aware of scammers asking for exactly what I was doing. How could I have been so blind?
I spent way more money than I’m content to admit, because I’m so ashamed. Even now as I type this, my cheeks burn with embarrassment. I desperately wish I could turn back time to before she contacted me. My life has endured hit after hit and while I am not suicidal, it has crossed my mind several times since I’ve known her.
I feel that because I was a lonely, geeky and forever single guy and that my situation was different to most, that “Claire” actually truly loved me and that all the money that I was loaning her was legitimately going to secure her future – with me.
Eventually I refused to get her more Steam and Google Play cards because of how uncomfortable it made me. “Claire” agreed – and then asked me to download a cryptocurrency app called ‘Coinjar’ which would be much more beneficial, she said. Again, I stupidly agreed.
I recall one afternoon on a Saturday when I did a lengthy bike ride and once, I came home and got myself settled, I recorded a selfie video in my room, as a message to her because we couldn’t speak over the phone – and urging her to do the right thing by me. I had never done half of the things I had done in my life up to that point and was reliant on her now because I had essentially handicapped myself severely financially.
She responded with text, of course, and “assured” me (by way of the same rhetoric I’d heard before) but it wasn’t good enough. I asked her to do better by me, before correcting myself to demanding it because of the situation I was in. She promised she would do better.
I guess her way of avoiding actually doing that was to turn up the “naughty” meter, as we continued having “sexy times” as well, though her “efforts” left a lot to be desired, as she relied on using gifs of a pornographic nature instead of using erotic/sexy talk.
When I asked for photos of her in the nude she provided them, but when I questioned why her skin-tone was different (as I believed she looked more Latina than Caucasian) I began to worry even more.
By chance I discovered how to do Google Reverse Image Search and used a photo she had sent me. My world shattered into a million pieces as the photo revealed that it actually belonged to the Instagram of a Chilean model/journalist named ‘Jhendelyn Nunez’. This woman spoke Spanish exclusively, lived in Chile, had millions of followers and was incredibly stylish and attractive. There was no way in hell that she was actually a divorced single mother from Florida with a Caucasian name.
I asked “Claire” about this and she told me to calm down, offering me a truly pathetic and paltry reason as to why that had happened. According to her, she actually WAS Jhendelyn Nunez, but had changed her name to “Claire Nielsen” because APPARENTLY the Italian Mafia had (I am not making this up) put out a “hit”, as in an assassination attempt – on her. She had APPARENTLY modelled in Milan for an Italian company and the Mafia took exception to her for some reason, so she had to leave the modelling profession and go into beauty/makeup, along with changing her name and fleeing to Florida. She apologized unreservedly and told me she wanted to tell me sooner but begged me not to go on Jhendelyn’s Instagram account because APPARENTLY the Mafia were SOMEHOW monitoring who viewed it and would hack their phones.
As I suffer from anxiety and depression, this truly hit me hard – and if you’re still with me at this point, you would likely be like me and consider that woeful excuse as the biggest load of bullcrap you ever saw. That was when I felt lower than I ever had, because it was stunningly clear to me that despite the countless messages of love, affection and loving sentiment from her – she was nothing more than a scammer/catfisher/fraud/con-woman.
I ignored her messages for a day as I scoured Jhendelyn’s Instagram and sank lower with despair as I noted more half two dozen (which I cross-checked) photos that Jhendelyn had posted that “Claire” had passed off as her own when I had asked for them. I went as far back as 2016 and broke down as I saw a photo that Jhendelyn had uploaded in that year that “Claire” had sent me recently (around early-mid October 2020).
When I confronted her with that info, she lost her shit at me, becoming very angry straight away for doubting her and not believing her totally crap story. She claimed that “hackers” had control of Jhendelyn’s Instagram account and that every time I was on there, they were tracking me – and would then be able to track her and kill her.
Who honestly would believe that? Add to the fact that I couldn’t ever talk to her or even her mother (who she apparently visited often) she had made it so that every avenue for proof/reconciliation was convenient for her, but not for me. I tried to understand but it was impossible. She would become haughty and insist on talking about other stuff instead – and did more “naughty sexting” to throw me off the scent, so to speak.
She was still in fairly constant contact with me and avoided talk about money until it suited her. She told me consistently about her plans; going to the UK to sign the document and obtain the inheritance, to pay me back, to move to Melbourne with me, to buy a house, to have kids, to have her own makeup and cosmetics business – and it was all peppered with lovey-dovey talk about me being her ‘King’, how much she loved me, how much she appreciated me and how she couldn’t believe how lucky she was to find me.
I buckled and sent her more money via Coinjar as she told me that she had gotten some financial help as well from some friends of hers. However, as soon as my money made it to her (and again, she could not prove that she had it by way of a screenshot) she told me that her friend had “bailed on her” and she was still further away. I put my foot down and told her I couldn’t help her further – to which her defense was always the same – no one was helping her and that she promised me endlessly that she would refund me with interest – but of course, needed more money to be able to do so at all. Whichever way you looked at it, I was severely screwed.
We fought often once I had said that, and she even tried to call me to “prove” to me that she was who she said she was. For five agonizing minutes, all that could be heard was a very muffled and faint ‘Hello?’ being asked over and over again – on both ends, as I was saying it too. She claimed that her mouthpiece was faulty, and that she tried to call me – and because I at least HEARD her voice – despite the fact it wasn’t ACTUALLY a conversation at all – that SOMEHOW that “counted” as proof.
I outlined everything that she had done (I was keeping a journal and screenshotted so many things) and tried to reason with her, that if the roles were reversed, no one would believe my story. It didn’t work – she steadfastly refused to see anything from my perspective.
I had managed to move on from TNT by this point; I had finangled work at my old employer (the mailing house) but it was completely different work and I was there purely as a casual employee). 12-hour shifts, on my feet all day, hauling envelopes for a ballot mailing.
I was struggling; all I ate was toast with nothing on it. I drank water only and as I didn’t have a washing machine; I only did my laundry at the laundromat once all my clothes were dirty. I tried to stretch every dollar as much as I could for as long as I could.
My back was in constant pain, necessitating the need for a back brace. I also needed knee and wrist braces due to the constant lifting and heaving. I was tired all of the time and became even more depressed and anxious than I thought I ever could be. When I told her this, she gave me nothing but lip service, which depressed me further.
I hated my life. I hated that I was told constantly by this woman who apparently loved me more than she could bear had taken so much from me and couldn’t prove a single thing about it. It seemed to be alright for her to say ‘No’ to me but when she needed something, if I said ‘No’, I was the worst guy on the planet.
My run of bad luck continued as my car was written off in a bad fender-bender. While I wasn’t at fault and my car had been paid off years prior, I was in a really bad way financially, mentally and physically – and of course, couldn’t tell anyone any one as to the true reason why.
By Christmas 2020, I had used my payout money for a used car but had to leave my unit. Due to stupidly “loaning” my “supposed wife” most of the money I had, I could no longer afford to rent a unit on my own. I moved in with my Filipino aunt, who spoke broken English and barely tolerated me. She took me on because I was desperate and due to Covid, she had a spare room and could do with rent from me.
I had to share amenities with a few other Filipino people and my anxiety constantly wore me down. I updated “Claire” about this new development, and just like my car accident, was given mere lip service. However, she chided me for doing so, insisting that I should have loaned HER what I should have gotten so that this bogus UK thing could happen. I angrily told her that the timing wasn’t there and that I was furious that no one was helping me – and that all she could do was insist she was doing right by me without anything to actually prove it.
I was let go from my mailing house job for a second time as the work dried up, and I somehow survived on the JobSeeker allowance and little else. All the while, I looked for work, signing up with recruitment agencies who offered the world but delivered very little. Eventually, in late October, one of these places came through and I began work as a casual (no surprise there) at a print/manufacturing company on the afternoon shift.
By this time, the lovey-dovey stuff that I would say to “Claire” had pretty much come to a halt. I had stopped referring to her as ‘babe’ or ‘hun’ – or even her name, which I could not even be sure was actually “Claire” (hence why I’ve used quotation marks throughout this post) and the volume of our messages was reduced. She claimed that because I “refused” to help her she had to lean on other people to help her out (which she again could not actually prove). I angrily berated her for everything I had been through, bringing up airtight things that she could not refute, chief among them being why she needed money for a rental space for her business when she hadn’t even mentioned it at all. She blamed Covid.
She tried to initiate “sexy talk” again, but I wasn’t interested. I lost all the spark that I felt for her that way. Everything I brought up that had holes in whatever story she had spun, she either ignored or refuted without any evidence to back up her claim.
She even sent a photo of Jhendelyn Nunez holding up a notepad with a clearly-obvious Photoshopped handwritten scrawl saying ‘I love you Chris Reager’ (where ‘Chris Reager’ is a pseudonym for my real name) and it didn’t make an ounce of difference when I pointed out how fake it was.
She implored me that it was real, that the “phone conversation” we had was real (which, as I mentioned previously, was literally just five minutes of two people saying ‘Hello?’ over and over again over a bad connection)
She told me that a friend of hers who worked in the fashion business would be helping her out and if I could just help with $1000AUD, she would be on the next plane to the UK to “get what was rightfully ours”.
She claimed she had her bags packed and shared receipts from Royal London Insurance Company and the real estate where she got her office space. I queried the grammar on them (as there were glaring errors on them) but again, she got angry and said it wasn’t up to her to question it.
I even contacted Royal London Insurance Company myself and tried to get some answers from them to see if there was any chance “Claire” was actually telling the truth. Sadly, due to confidentiality, they could neither confirm nor deny – but from the tone of their emails, erred on the side of denial.
When I suggested she start a GoFundMe page or something like that because of her situation, she became hostile, as she misconstrued what I was suggesting as me labelling her as ‘poor’. When I pointed out that who else would borrow such a large amount of money from someone like me, she again ignored me – before starting a new trend: gaslighting me.
However, she sent me countless messages again assuring me she wouldn’t let me down, that she loved me so much, and that when she would come to Melbourne she would ‘make out with me and spank my ass’ at the airport for putting her through so much trouble (in a joking manner). I felt empty. I felt lost. So tragically lost.
I pleaded with her to understand just how badly my life had been affected by her in such a short amount of time, but she put it down to ‘tests from God’ and that ‘we are a team’ and could ‘get through anything’.
When I outlined every facet of what we had been through and that she was clearly a scammer, she surprisingly didn’t flip her lid at me – she just insisted that she wasn’t and sent a few photos of Jhendelyn Nunez that I was unable to find on her Instagram (or even using Reverse Image Search).
She reiterated her truly bizarre story again and swore to God, her kid and her mother that this would be the last time – and once she had it, would do “everything in her power” to be with me as she had promised countless times.
I very reluctantly sent her what she was after on the concrete proviso that her friend Caroline do the rest (which she had promised many times) and cursed myself as soon as I did it. I vividly remember looking at myself in the bathroom mirror at my aunt’s place, disgusted with what I saw looking back at me. How had I agreed to literally empty my entire life’s savings on someone who had nothing whatsoever to prove that she was who she said she was? Sadly, her friend Caroline let her down as well – but again, is that even true or was it just a ruse to get me to waste more money? I’ll let you be the judge.
“Claire” thanked me and tried again to be as intimate as we had been in the past, but I politely declined. She scoffed and tried again, but I was adamant that I was not in the mood and wanted her to come good for me, like she promised me endlessly. I reminded her as well that she hadn’t proved A SINGLE THING in more than six months and that my patience had all but run out.
She fired back with the same crap – the poorly mocked-up receipts, the obviously-Photoshopped photo and the “phone call” (which, as I mentioned, was in no way an ACTUAL phone call). When I shot them down, she gaslighted me, mocked me for being a virgin and went around in circles talking about how ‘we are so close’ to the inheritance.
I asked her repeatedly how she expected to pay me back if it WASN’T for the inheritance – and she avoided the question, leaving me on read for some time. The more I resisted against sending her more money, the more aggressive and hostile she became, even saying baseless things like accusing me of “finding someone else” and cheating on her – which never ever crossed my mind. Life became a nightmare and I hated myself for not being strong enough to have realized it earlier.
Less than a week went by, and she destroyed my world utterly when she revealed that she had APPARENTLY had to dip into the money that I had loaned her to help her son, who had pneumonia. She then had the temerity to ask me for an extra $3000 to make up the shortfall. I nearly blacked out from reading that. This woman was going to be the death of me. She held my money hostage and moved the goalposts every single time.
While I felt bad for her son initially, I asked if she could prove it (and again – I was the worst person on the planet). How dare I ask that. I was still reeling from what she had asked and was simply crushed.
When I logically explained that it was so convenient that as soon as I helped her again financially, something else came up, bringing us further back – she claimed that I wanted her son to die – when all I wanted was to know for sure that everything was legitimate and not that I was being scammed – because all I had was her word (which was now meaningless)
By now I was made full-time at my new job (and despite being a gruelling commute and a somewhat physical job in general) I enjoyed the atmosphere, the people I worked with and how varied the work was. It would be the only thing that I could derive any semblance of joy from.
“Claire” had pretty much given me the cold shoulder despite getting over the fact that I had so many doubts – and when I told her she ‘broke’ me – which was true, I felt that I was broken by her – she gaslighted me, telling me that “all she’s ever done is put me first and love me unconditionally”.
When I retorted that that didn’t actually tangibly amount to anything, she didn’t listen, and provided the examples of “proof” (which I shot down with ease) – but again, it didn’t matter to her. I changed tack and lost it, using profanity and calling her out as a scam, a thief, a liar, a heartless catfisher and everything else I could think of.
She insisted that everything she was doing (which, again, she could not prove ONE BIT) was “for us, and for our unborn kids” – as if that was a crutch for me somehow. I told her countless times, I had no interest in children whatsoever (that’s just me) and since knowing her and what she’d put me through, would never change on this because it had scarred me so terribly.
I steadfastly told her repeatedly that I was broke, broken, defeated, angry, depressed and every single bit of it was her fault. She gaslighted me again – but I stood up to it and again resorted to profanity and logic, poking holes in her flimsy ‘rebuttals’.
I reached out to the admin Sarah on Imgur earlier on when I first suspected something fishy, and received some encouraging replies, but I believe due to how “Claire” covered her tracks and effectively ‘brainwashed’ me with a Dating and Romance Scam, I believe I have no choice of recouping what I have lost.
I also contacted ScamWatch here in Australia and filled in as much detail as possible but their response, while professional and nice, did not leave me with any hope that I can regain anything.
To this day, “Claire” has strangely not blocked me on Hangouts – I have kept it only to check in with her occasionally to see if she has any remorse for what she has done to me. As evidenced by her history of behaviour, you can tell that she believes she is 100% free from blame.
As it is now the end of financial year for 2019-2020, I prepared to do my tax return. Unfortunately, the accountant had seen that I had made several BitCoin transactions and has asked me about it. This no doubt will lead to me having to tell him about “Claire” – and while he may have sympathy, I face the very real possibility of a large fine because I was not aware that doing such transactions impacted on my tax for the financial year.
I recently told “Claire” this and – you guessed it – paid me lip service and has ghosted me. I must now somehow believe that I can bounce back from what she has put me through, but reddit, it is truly devastating and nigh-on impossible.
I know that I carry much of the blame for what I have done to myself. No one forced me to talk to her. No one forced me to download Google Hangouts. I’m an adult and I made decisions based on the info I had at the time which I believed wholeheartedly because this person never left me alone long enough to take a step back and really take it all in.
I fell for it, hook, line and sinker.
It’s essentially at the point where I can never truly forgive myself for believing someone like her and thinking that love, intimacy and trust in a significant other was something that I was allowed to partake in. It’s sad, but it’s the truth. I now believe that everything that people take for granted like relationships, children – or even something as innocent as holding hands with a significant other – is not for me.
Every time “Claire” has asserted herself and implored me to think of all the things we promised to do together as a couple, or to think of our ‘unborn kids’ I simply cannot compute it anymore; she destroyed every shred of interest, happiness and contentment I had or would potentially have – as now I associate these seemingly normal things that people do with scams, lies, catfishing, fraud, deceit and gaslighting.
I have kept as many screenshots and info from my dealings with her as I can – I shared them on Imgur as well so people there could see the type of person she is (if she even is a ‘she’ – since reading up on scammers I have learned that sometimes men can pass themselves off as attractive women to con lonely men out of money)
If you are still with me at this point, I thank you and am sorry beyond belief if I rambled. I realise that if you read this with a clear and sharper mind than mine that with your outsider perspective you could clearly see how easily manipulated I was – but as I am essentially someone who really hasn’t ‘lived’ or had any life experience with the opposite sex, I stupidly, regrettably and foolishly believed her.
Obviously, I can spot a scam – but it was the fact that she took her time to wear me down – and wouldn’t leave me alone, so I essentially couldn’t have any other distractions than her – and during a strict Covid lockdown in Melbourne, no less.
Not making excuses, but just laying it all out there.
I reiterate that this is a not a sob story. It’s not a con, or tall tale, work of fiction or an attempt at sympathy from pretty much the only online community I belong to, besides Imgur.
I’m simply an anxious, depressed, lonely Australian guy with Aspergers who was taken advantage of on Imgur (financially and otherwise) and is wanting to share my story to warn others against the types of scammers and catfishers out there.
Thank you for taking the time to read my story. I really appreciate it.
TL;DR: Australian guy scammed on Imgur by a catfisher who used a ‘Dating and Romance Scam’ to woo him and coerced him into sending his life savings to her – and has essentially held his money hostage.
The content was posted by Chris_Reager on 2021-07-15 07:59:22 via reddit