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 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.