My dad is deep in a romance scam! HELP!

TLDR: My dad gave me his old i phone for a birthday gift and I found out hes been paying scammers for years.

Back story. My parents got divorced and my dad moved to a new state. fast forward, my dad has been dating Sandra for years now, and he has always made it seem she is just a town away from him and everything is going great. I supported this move because it made him happy to talk about her, but since he gives so much TMI, I am not interested in asking too many questions. The way he explained it, he has several GFs. He goes over for dinner and they have sex later. I truly thought this was all it was. My dad and I talk every other week on the phone, and he visits us regularly.

Suddenly, he is having to go over finances before he can visit, and is cancelling trips due to money problems. He is an adult, and still all there mentally, so I don’t even question these types of calls. Im broke, and my dad was a factory worker his whole life, not a lawyer, so money problems are just assumed. Then covid.. Anyway, his last visit, he brought up his new iphone 13, and wanted to give me his old iphone 10. He left the sim card in it, but all you really have to do is just swap em and it should work if the phone is unlocked.. Fortunately, his phone is locked, and swapping didnt work, so i got him to give me his passcode so i could get the IMEI number. A quick check of his email, because my dad is now in his 70s, and this is the result.

We have literally had face to face conversations about not paying people he hasn’t met, not paying anyone in gift cards, and, since I am into crypto, not paying anyone in crypto through email that he hasn’t met. He looked me in the eye and said he understood, and only uses the crypto to buy weed seeds. Cool, problem solved. Nope. He literally went home and paid them a week later with either option in more than one instance. 

Romance scam. My dad has been paying this account $600 – 800 and others close to “her” in google cards, and bitcoin every month for about 3 years now.  He believes they are married and he is packing his bags for Ghana as soon as the million dollar check arrives in his name. He has taken out loans to pay them, in hopes that his credit improves enough to take out another loan to pay them. This one is so scary, and he is caught in such a web this actually hurts more than financially.

I don’t give a fuck about the money. My dad is an extremely shy and sensitive person. He has also had an overwhelming life since his dad died when he was 5, or when he forged papers at 17 to join the army to go to Vietnam only to watch a friend get burned alive in front of him. When he feels he is being threatened, he resorts to explosive violent tempers in a heartbeat. When I told him about this being a scam, it was the first time he had ever hung up on me. It wasn’t the last. 

He has an established friendship with several accounts who speak with him multiple times a week, not including the gold scam he got roped into for 20k just 3 years ago.

Accounts included in this scam are

[[email protected]](mailto:[email protected])

[[email protected]](mailto:[email protected]) (who “died” of covid delivering a “$1 million” check to my dad that resulted in further bitcoin payments to..

[[email protected]](mailto:[email protected])

and

[[email protected]](mailto:[email protected])

Of course dad has to pay taxes up front to the tune of roughly 20k on this new check that he is required to pay before receiving, which he is about 12k paid up in bitcoin to

[[email protected]](mailto:[email protected])

My dad does not get along well with this account, as the internal revenue service boss wants to keep raising his rates, but its ok, his “good friend”

[[email protected]](mailto:[email protected])

and

[[email protected]](mailto:[email protected])

will deal with all the court orders and the internal revenue service boss and making any payments to the irs along with passing money off to his wife, sandra, who is constantly either falling ill and collapsing (and needing another google pay card or bitcoin payment) or falling into trouble with the police mans son who said bad things about her to the judge and is now in legal trouble..

how convenient.

Money aspect aside, my dad is now convinced he is married to this woman, and is literally waiting until his credit is just a little better a few months from now before packing up and moving to Ghana, West Africa, to be with his new family. They contact him every morning to see how hes doing and when he can have the next payment ready. My dad has sent them pictures of us, his real family. I have tried talking to my dad and I certainly apologized for snooping, I told him I loved him and I am only trying to help, but he is extremely upset with me and simply says he is angry and has to go and then hangs up. This is only the second attempt, so hopefully it sinks in soon.

The first thing I did, since I have access to my dads email now, is block all the accounts that were trying to contact him and I have been actively deleting them when they arrive in the spam box. They are catching on, but gmail has a chat feature that my dad is still able to contact the sandra account on, and is still talking with her. For some reason, I have blocked that, but it didnt work.. I have asked him if he has ever received any official IRS letter with the official IRS seal, and I can now see that he has emailed asking for one from one of the accounts I have just blocked. I sent him the official Ghana IRS website with a phone number to call, which I am hoping he will do tomorrow. What else can I do? These people are a THREAT and I would welcome any help/advice at this point.

* I am currently working 60+ hours a week, so if I am not able to reply right away, please dont be mad, Im just very busy these days. Thank you.


The content was posted by Antique-Lead-8116 on 2021-11-12 03:00:22 via reddit

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9 Comments

  1. Aunty_Fascist says:

    Scammers in Ghana tend to be cafe boys. Your dad is talking to some young man who is leading him by the nose.

    You can’t get married over the internet. It’s not legal and your dad isn’t married. No governmental body anywhere in the world uses Gmail, either.

    I think at this point you might want to make a report to the FBI about the scammer, maybe that will get your dad’s attention.

    If he goes to Ghana he risks being abducted for ransom or even killed, it’s happened before.

    Show him this sub, maybe he’ll take it more seriously coming from us. Probably not, but it couldn’t hurt.

    Also, there is an article on Social Catfish that discusses Nigerian romance scams, which are similar, maybe read it together with him: https://socialcatfish.com/blog/nigerian-romance-scams/

    There are lots of other articles on Social Catfish about online dating and romance scams.

    Here is an article to show him about a woman who was held hostage for a year in Nigeria over a romance scam: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-53390397

    Article about cafe boys: https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-02-11/ghana-meet-the-scammers/10785676?nw=0

  2. Admirable_Nothing says:

    One of my close friends had his Dad get caught in one of these and was sending thousands of dollars regulary to his GF in Jamaica that he thinks is a Sr VP at Publisher’s Clearing House. Dad has accumulated some money over the years so it was likely getting worse. Dad is 93. First my friend got Senior Legal Services in Dad’s state involved but since Dad was happy to move the money to his “GF” they couldn’t do a thing. What finally worked was a threat of a court conservatorship. That got Dad to the negotiating table and he agreed to do an Irrevocable Trust for his own benefit with my friend as trustee. The deal is that he would get all his living expenses paid by the trust plus $1000/month spending money from the trust. He also demanded and got $50,000/year for 4 years in spending money. After the first two years when this money also went to the scammer, this past January Dad actually told my friend not to send the money. So maybe he is waking up to the scam although his $1000/month still goes to Jamaica. This is a say situation to find yourself in. Good luck.

  3. Break his phone, cancel the internet, hack his accounts . Ir convince him to manage his bank. He won’t be able to send morr money.

  4. nicolemalone says:

    I really feel like this would be super helpful to watch: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JAXv3SC9d7Y

    (This comes from the daughter of a woman who suffered horrible schizophrenic delusions before her death in 2018. I’ve had to come a long way to make peace with the fact that none of it was my responsibility).

  5. teratical says:

    Great advice already given; I just wanted to say that you are a good son/daughter for trying! This is so hard with parents who are blinded by scammers who are adept at tricking them. Keep up the good fight and keep trying to get through to him. Someday down the road he will (hopefully) thank you for not giving up in the face of his blowback!

  6. EasygoingPants says:

    OP. I am going through the same thing as you, but I’m a little further in the process.

    First, I would have a heart to heart with your father and try to convince him to be willing to see a therapist.

    Second, if your father is 100% there getting a POA is near impossible in my experience. The best you can do is tipping off his bank and trying to get him banned on all money order/wire platforms (moneygram/western union). If he’s using crypto to send money you won’t be able to do anything.

    Third, do not lend him any money or allow him to be around any of your valuables.

    I’ve been dealing with this all of 2021 and have made steps forward in some areas and steps back in others. The main concern is getting your father’s mental health addressed because no sane and healthy person would fall for these obvious scams.

    It’s gonna be a long uphill battle. If he’s this deep already he will likely never believe whatever evidence you find that proves it’s a scam. But it doesn’t hurt. Just make sure you aren’t pushing him away or else he will go further into the scammers arms and will isolate.

  7. Antique-Lead-8116 says:

    Thank you all for the tips and support. If I could smash his phone I would in a heartbeat. He lives 12 hrs away currently. I believe I hit a mark with him and asking about getting any official IRS letters. I had to find the IRS in Ghana, and email their support team with my dad in the loop. I said nothing about the scam in that email, however, I did send another one to the IRS in Ghana stating my concerns and asking to contact my dad. I can see this is working for now. He is still in contact with the wife account, which I think is ok for now since it is something he has been doing for years now AND I can monitor the flow of the conversation.. She is collapsing and needs medicine and of course rent is due and Uncle can only pay half and is being arrested by the police for not paying rent… My dad is holding his ground though. He is saying he needs to see official documentation first before making any more payments, which is an awesome sign. One small step at a time. Thank you again for making me see that not all of this can be fixed with a blunt statement.

    Meanwhile, my brother is archiving all the scam emails he can in his account, he is contacting him daily with facetime and grandkids, I have contacted the FBI, and the next step is to start drilling in to my dad actually how much people in Ghana make on a yearly basis. From my quick research at [https://www.averagesalarysurvey.com/ghana](https://www.averagesalarysurvey.com/ghana), the typical salary is only 7k a year, and averages around 20k. Hopefully he will see how much money he is actually paying them and say enough is enough.

    I also saw a phone number.. I wont list it, because I definitely gave that to the FBI as well, but it was a Pittsburgh area code. This was off one of the “lawyer” scam accounts and was displaying a bitcoin payment window. Any thoughts?

  8. Okay, this may seem extreme, but hear me out. You CAN call the non-emergency police number in his town and request a welfare check. Tell them that your dad is a victim of a romance scam.

    I work for a Fortune 100 company in gift card fraud prevention. When we find someone is likely the victim of a romance scam (suspicious activity in a store, buying thousands in GCs every month, won’t listen to anyone that tells them they are a victim, etc), we have called for a welfare check. Depending on how deep in he is, it may or may not work.

  9. liquidmica says:

    Call your dad’s bank, best to call the branch manger at a branch near him and tell them what you discovered about your dad. They won’t be able to share any info with you about your dad’s accounts, but if they are doing their job correctly your call will prompt the bank to investigate the activity on your dad’s accounts and his accounts will likely be closed by the bank. This could be the final straw that wakes him up to the reality that this is a scam.

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