Women beware: con man is out of prison

When older singles date new people, one of the most important precautions they should follow is to trust their instincts. If they sense that something isn't right about the new person, there is a strong chance they're right.

But when people are lonely, and want to be in a relationship and loved, they tend to downplay those instincts by viewing potential partners through rose-colored glasses.

Susie, an educated woman with a successful career, admits she did just that. At 55, she met a man, 62, on Yahoo! Personals. Soon, she learned that his listed name was not his true name and his age was 66.

However, one can't blame Susie for initially being impressed. She said, "He is well educated (except he can't spell), charming and writes e-mails that are like love letters. He says he has a nice home and a yacht in Florida. He states he is a partner in two corporations: one in entertainment and one in construction. He treated me well, spent time getting to know my family, and even went to church with me. We made a lot of plans for the future together."

When Susie saw red flags at the beginning of the relationship, she still elected to proceed, albeit cautiously. But not cautiously enough, as she explained.

"The first time I let my guard down, he made his move. I had something at my house that had been broken for a long time and he knew someone who could fix it. I was going out of town on a business trip and this was the only time he could come fix my problem (should have been a huge red flag). I left him my house keys. This was the first time I had let him have access to my house.

"When I got back from my business trip, I checked my bank account online and saw three checks written that I did not recognize. I called my bank and figured out what was going on. He had my car that day because he was going to have it detailed for me. I called him and told him I was sick and to come get me. He came and got me and I went to my bank (I told him I needed to deposit a check) and while he sat in my car, I closed all of my accounts and did a fraud report."

Susie dropped him off at his home, and when got home, she called the police.

She said, "While the policeman was at my house, I called the man and told him I knew what he had done, and if he ever stepped foot on my property, I would have him arrested. I never told him I filed a police report because I did not want him to run. That night I had all of the locks changed on my house."

Susie said that most everything he told her was untrue. He didn't have a car or a job. Immediately after Susie ended the relationship, he was back on Yahoo! Personals.

Susie didn't hear anything from the police; she figured nothing would happen because it was a small crime.

She continued: "About 1 1/2 years later, I got a letter from the district attorney. The man had been arrested and was sentenced to 3 years in prison and 4 years probation. He only served 1 1/2 years and was supposed to start making victim's restitution to me 3 months after he got out. I haven't seen any of the money and don't care. The amount was not great; my bank put the money back in my account because they should not have cashed the checks."

Susie talked about the psychological effects: "It hurts to realize that I did not mean anything to him. I have been very embarrassed and angry at myself. Although the amount of money was not great, you cannot put a price tag on the hurt and suffering this man caused me."

She also posted her experience to the website: http://www.dontdatehimgirl.com, a social networking site for women with which I'm impressed.

Lessons learned from Susie's story:
  • A background check may have saved Susie from this ordeal
  • It's easy to blame the Internet. But what happened in Susie's case happened after they were together in person
  • When legally violated, file a police report
  • Check your bank and credit card statements often
  • Pay attention to red flags; trust your instincts. Don't allow loneliness to cloud your thinking

Women beware. This ex-con will strike again.

© 2010, Tom Blake

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Tom Blake is an expert on dating after 50. He has appeared twice on the "Today Show" and has written more than 500 columns on dating and relationships. His "Single Again" column appears in The Orange County Register in southern California, is read worldwide and is often featured on msn.com. He is a professional speaker. He spoke at the national AARP convention in San Diego in 2002, and in Chicago. His book, Middle Aged and Dating Again, is a humorous account of his first year of dating after his third divorce. His second book is Finding Love After 50: How to begin, where to go, what to do. His latest book is titled How 50 Couples Found Love after 50. To ask a question or receive Tom's free weekly column on middle-age dating and relationships by e-mail, click on www.findingloveafter50.com or E-Mail.

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