Chapter 5 – Stephen Feldman and Frank McKnee

Here I was, talking to two men at the same time. This was interesting. Really, very interesting. This had never happened to me before. Having conversations with two different men. I did not let either man know that I was talking to the other.

Stephen and I had long, interesting conversations. He was a contractor who was working on an oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico. Geez. I just cannot believe I kept talking to this person. Steven had a son who was overseas somewhere with his mother. I can’t remember exactly where but Stephen was trying to get his son into the United States with friends who were in Texas. He said his ex wife was not a fit mother and was willingly giving up the son to Stephen. I just kept listening to the stories and thinking, really, now? But I was getting pulled in. He kept promising that as soon as he was able, he would come to see me.

At the same time, I was having long conversations with Frank. He would call me at different times of the day. He was an artist and he did send pictures of his work. He was very talented and I told him he should keep painting. He did portrait work and he said he would paint a picture of me.

There were so many times I wanted to end it with both men. They both had distinct accents that I could not quite place. Eastern European, I thought. But both men just wanted to talk. Just wanted to get to know me and for me to get to know them. I was bewildered and did not know what to think. They did not talk about love or money or needing anything. Just wanted to talk. They kept making promises to see me as soon as they could. What could be the harm in that?

Lots. Neither one could meet me over coffee soon. It was always business trips, finish the contract, or under pressure to work. Frank’s father had died and left the business to Frank. So he needed to go to England, of all places, to sort through the details. Frank also had a daughter who lived in New York. The daughter had a daughter who visited Frank on occasion. He actually sent pictures of the granddaughter.  As I said previously, he recorded a song that he sang and sent it to me. I could see pictures and what appeared to be normal furnishings in a house in the background.

All of these conversations were happening not just over one or two weeks but two to three months. No talk about having or being in a desperate situation. Both men let me know they were well off. Not exactly how much but in general terms. Good, I thought. I’m not getting suckered in, I thought. Both men seemed to show genuine concern for me.

As time went on, I thought these men might actually be real. Stephen claimed to own a house in Texas. He also mentioned the city which I cannot now remember. Frank claimed to own a house in Miami, Florida. I googled both names and did not come up with anything. I tried to google addresses and houses but still came up with nothing. Also, when I googled their phone numbers, both were VoIP numbers with no name attached. That should have given me the best reason to block their phone numbers and have nothing more to do with them.

But I couldn’t do that. I kept answering their phone calls. I kept talking to both of them, and I was trying to decide between the two of them. Ladies and gentlemen, these things never end up well. But having a hopeful heart, I kept pressing on. More in Chapter 6.

 

Chapter 4 – Stephen and Frank

Yes, there is a chapter 4. Chapter 5 too. Probably Chapter 6. Unfortunately. You would think I would catch on and just leave it all alone. But after the ex’s comments and everything that I had heard through the years, I did hope that there was someone for me.

I did go out on a couple of dates. Dating is difficult after so many years of being married. Although, dating as a teenager and young woman was hard. Back in the 70s, everyone knew that going on a date with a guy meant that at the end of the night, you treated the guy back. You know. I just wasn’t willing to do that because I was a really shy teenager. Then when I started dating again, I still had those same thoughts. I just wasn’t willing to be a part of that.

I stayed with Christian Mingle. Bad idea but I was determined. Kept sending hellos to various men. I also tried out a couple other online dating sites. On one of them, I met several local men which was encouraging and actually met them over dinner. But, then one man who was in a city close to me suggested to meet for coffee. Great, I thought. Until he said that after the coffee if I was willing to go to his place. You see, he had strong sexual cravings and needed sex at least twice per day and if I was good with that.

You can imagine how quickly I ended that. It was as if my phone had thrown up on me. All I said was no and goodbye. I did not meet with him for coffee. I was debating about reporting him to customer service. But this was not Christian Mingle and, obviously, too many people would regard this as normal American male lustiness. I, obviously, was not a normal lusty female.

Then one day, I had emails from two men. Frank and Stephen. Interesting. Frank McKnee was dark haired and quite an attractive man. He was an entrepreneur and an artist who did paintings. He lived in Florida. Great. Stephen Feldman was blonde and drop dead gorgeous. Robert Redford is just so-so beside Stephen. But, get this, Stephen was a contractor for oil rigs and was currently working on an oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico. He was out there until the project ended.

You know the expression, do as I say, not as I do? I just cannot believe I let myself continue with these two men. What was the possibility of meeting up for coffee with either Frank or Stephen? Zip when they apparently were con men. Why, oh why, was I so gullible and why did I keep talking to them? But I did. I thought, I know better. I will just chat with them and know this for what it was.

Except for a couple of things. I chatted with both men for a good month and during that time, neither one asked for money. In fact, Frank recorded himself singing a song for me. Frank also sent me pictures of his paintings. He was a really good artist. Stephen was so freaking handsome that I just wanted to keep chatting with him.

I am warning everyone, it was just the beginning. As is with all con artists, some just want to get the hook into you as deeply as possible so that you won’t be able to say no. If anyone thinks you can fall in love over emails and a phone line, please rethink that. Do not let yourself fall in love until you are actually face to face. I am so hoping to save you from the heartache of having your heart broken, and losing money in the process. I can safely say, more in Chapter 5.

 

 

Chapter 3 – Online Dating

Daniel was quite the con artist. I blocked his phone number. I was frustrated. Really? I thought to myself. Is this all there is? I also made certain to notify the administrators at Christian Mingle about Daniel Steiner.

Another way to know when you are dealing with a con artist is by the phone number. If they aren’t registered with a recognizable cell phone company, then you can be 99.99% certain that they are somewhere overseas. They will always be with a VoIP (voice internet Provider). Also, do a bing or google search on their name. Chances are extremely high that you will not find them anywhere.  Now that I am out of this online dating scene, I am pretty good at telling everyone the don’ts. Wish I would have listened to myself after Daniel.

But, no, I plugged onwards with Christian Mingle. I was determined to find that man. Or was I just angry over what my ex had told me? Or was I wondering if there was any man for me? Could it be that I believed that I was not good enough? That I did not deserve anything? After living with a man for over thirty years who let me know that I wasn’t good enough, I probably believed that.

I spent quite a few nights looking through the available men. I kept updating my information. I kept changing my introduction. I kept changing who I might be interested in. It seemed that any man that I might be interested in, was already busy chatting, with someone else. If I sent a wave, I might get a wave back but nothing else.

Then a man sent me a wave and wanted to chat. He looked interesting. I cannot remember the name. We chatted for a long time. He designed jewelry. He had a house in Raleigh and one in California. When I asked about meeting for coffee, don’tcha know he suddenly had to fly out to California to take care of business. A huge sigh from me. Sure. So I ended that one.

But he kept wanting to chat. He had all kinds of interesting things to say. I chatted back, knowing this would not go anywhere. This went on for quite some time. He kept talking about his house out in California. He kept saying he had to settle “things” in California before he could get back to Raleigh. Surprisingly, he never talked about how beautiful I was or that he was falling in love with me (typical with con artists). He also never once asked for money. I think I did google him and did find jewelry made by him but there were never any pictures attached. So finding his name was a good thing.

We did keep chatting but then I found Frank and Stephen. Or rather, they found me. To be continued in Chapter 4.

Chapter 2 – Online Dating Scams

There I was. The first person to approach me was a through and through con. For all I know, it could have been a woman on the other end as I discovered later. The thing I was told was never give out your personal email to anyone on these dating sites.

So, there I am, looking through the matches I was given. I was wondering why so many people were busy chatting with others. I could not get a chat started with anyone. What was wrong with me? Was my bio not good enough or interesting? Was my picture not good? Was I too old?

Finally a man named Daniel started chatting with me. He was a contractor who lived in Florida. Florida? Don’t ever start anything with someone who doesn’t live in the same state. My mistake. I was intrigued. He was a very handsome man.

We started talking on the phone. A wonderful, deep voice with an accent. East European. Why was I being sucked in? I should have stopped. I should have said, thanks but no thanks. But I was sucked in by his promise of love and romance. Too much. Too fast. This went on for approximately one week. Just as I thought we would be meeting somewhere for coffee, he had to suddenly fly to Dubai on business. Warning lights! Flashing! Loud beeps! My brain heard them but not my heart.

We kept talking for another week or two. He was very romantic. He would call every morning, promising all kinds of wonderful, tempting things. I was being sucked in deeper and deeper. I knew better but after so many years of not being wanted or complimented, this was wonderful.

This is the typical format for these con artists. They first talk about love and promises and what they want to do once we finally meet. You are romanced right off your feet. Then comes the con.

One afternoon, I get a phone call from Daniel who is frantic. He had been driving back to the hotel late at night and a child ran out onto the street and he hit the child. The child was taken to the hospital and Daniel was taken to jail. Daniel needed bail money and didn’t know what to do as they had taken his wallet and passport.

I should have said good luck to you and hung up. But no. I was stupid and thought I was in love with Daniel. Many phone calls happened and Daniel finally asked for the bail money. I can’t remember how much he said he needed but I told him I didn’t have the money. Many more phone calls happened until I just said, I don’t have it and I wouldn’t send it. Suddenly, all phone calls stopped. Thank goodness because if I had been pushed one more time, I just might have sent that money. That is how desperate I was for love. Stupid me.

This is the typical scenario of all con artists. Let me tell you, older women who are divorced or widowed are quickly targeted. They know that older women who are on online dating sites, are a little desperate for love. For some reason, whatever smarts we have, go out the window when we are given the picture of a handsome man and then sweet talked. I was smart with the first bum and became suddenly dumb with the second one.

This is not the end of my story. There are more which I will share. I am writing these blogs in the hopes of saving you from being scammed. I did post Daniel’s picture on several places with the headline, “Do you know this man?” One woman messaged me and I told her my story. She was so grateful because he had approached her and she thought his story was fishy. She ended it with him right away. I hope I am able to save more.

 

The Pitfalls of Online Dating

It seems like so many couples I now know have met over online dating. When I ask them which service, ninety percent say with match.com. It feels like with today’s busy lifestyles, more and more people are resorting to this service. However, my experiences with online dating were horrible. If I can save even one woman or man from the pitfalls, I will be happy.

I had been in a horrible marriage for thirty two years. I was verbally abused, controlled and manipulated. I was made to feel worthless. I finally found the courage to break free. While we were separated, I was told by my ex that he would give me one year to come to my senses, then after that he would start dating. During that time, there was never one moment where he tried to take me out for coffee or dinner to just talk. During that year, I began to breathe. I did not think for one minute that I wanted to start dating or even look at another man. I needed time to be able to breathe and try to heal.

However, after one year, my ex calls me to tell me that he had gone to a dating service. He said he had roughly twenty women lined up to meet him. He picked out three potentials, then managed to settle with one woman. After the conversation, I hung up the phone and decided that I did not need to talk to him ever again. Like what happened to seeing if there is an attraction? What about trying to find that person that will connect with you?

Then I realized that I just wasn’t good enough. No man has ever, or would ever, look at me. I mean, my ex never complimented me. Never said I looked good. Never said anything positive about me. So it must be me, right? I would be alone for the rest of my life. When all I ever wanted was a man who loved me for me.

I searched out online dating websites and the first one I went to was ChristianMingle.com. At that time, I could sign up for free. However, your access was limited so I signed up for a monthly account. I was pretty active and I tried to fill out my details as much as possible. I mean, I thought I was safe on a Christian based dating site. I set out details for men that I would be interested in.

Got some bites pretty quickly. The first one was a sergeant in the US Military who was divorced. He wanted to know my personal email. Big mistake. Don’t give that out to anyone ever. There is an email account with the dating website where you can send and receive emails and you can do online chats. I didn’t give my email address out for this guy because I was wondering about him being in the military. Apparently, he was in Saudi Arabia.

I googled his name and it did come up. The news article that I found was maybe six months old. The article definitely said he was married with one son. During our emails, he said his son had died and he was divorced. I asked him how long he was divorced. I told him I found a news article from six months ago which said he was married. He ranted, actually ranted, about how news reporters were getting their facts all messed up and they lied about everything.

I had a friend and her husband who were living with me at the time, He was in the army perhaps fifteen to twenty years ago. He told me that when a person is on tour, you cannot participate in online dating sites. Especially when you are on tour. I asked this sergeant about what he was doing in Saudi Arabia. He suddenly shut down and said he had to go out on watch, or some other thing.

I admit it that I did try to mess with the guy as I knew he was a con artist. Every time he contacted me, I would ask questions that I knew he wouldn’t be able to answer. I found a number of articles on this sergeant and I would ask him things about the article, which this dumb bum couldn’t answer. Finally, I had enough and told him I would be reporting him to the website and said better luck next time. He ranted something fierce but I cut him off. I reported him and they quickly closed his account down.

This dummie was easy to figure out. Unfortunately, this was not the last experience with a con man. I had quite a few that I will share with you in the next blog. As I said, if I can save one person from doing some of the stupid things I did, I will be grateful.