/Beware: Romance on the Internet

Beware: Romance on the Internet

If you are single,  elderly,  live on your own but are comfortable with all social media platforms, then watch out for the darker side, because there are enough hoods out there who are planning to cheat you of all the possible money you may have tucked away somewhere. 

This is a personal experience narrated to me by a friend  who was too embarrassed   to write it herself . Even now she kicks herself  virtually  for falling for the oldest game in the world. So while she dictates  I am writing this on her behalf.

She admits, “I was alone, feeling lonely and vulnerable on a cold March morning. I had been getting this friend request on FB from a pilot in British Airways. I had been putting it off  for a  long time but  I guess I had conned myself  that I had nothing to lose. So I ‘accepted’ his friend request.

He had a profile on Facebook which showed him in the uniform of a captain in British Airways. In hind sight I’m sure that must have been a fake—a tech savvy person can do  many tricks we are not aware of

‘It was nice chatting with him. His was not  a  typical British accent , but appeared to be more from the Eastern European/Russian   areas. He told me all about his family and from there I got  a ‘fact’ that he has a Russian mother. Within a week  he started calling me on my Whats App number. By then we had established  our ages—he was 28 and I was 62

One day he tells me that he has developed ‘feelings ‘ for me.

What kind of feelings I asked?

 I want to make love to you, I want to marry you.

My reaction, You must be mad. People don’t marry  with such large differences in ages.

His answer,  You have not heard of Emmanuel Macron, the French President? His wife is 40 years older than  him.  I will take you to Paris  to meet him just for that.’

I brushed him off  and kept quiet. The next day he wanted a phone kiss and I disconnected the phone

I did not take his calls  for the next two days. The third day he called up at an odd hour  and I  said Hello

He was agitated like a very young lover, Babe where are you ? I’m going mad calling you. What is the matter why don’t you talk to me?

He had never  got around to calling me by my name—that should have rung a bell then!

 I told him in no uncertain terms that I was not the kind of person to indulge in phone sex and that I do not like the idea.  So please don’t call me anymore! I dont like having to deal with this.

Profuse apologies  and repeats of “it wont happen again. And please don’t cut me off.”

At that moment in time, I was vunerable and accepted his apology . After all it was flattering to have a ‘young friend’ who would call me every  evening and we would speak   for hours. He would tell me about all the places he was travelling to—exotic far off locations I had only  seen in brochures.

 Then one day:

“Im being sent to Ecuador for some training program so I will be out for 3 months. I have been out shopping and I have picked up some jewellery and some clothes for you. I will be leaving later  tonight. At Heathrow, I have booked your parcel for you – it should reach you in a day or two.”

Oh Wow! My young friend means business, he is sending me a gift parcel! I was very excited! Very childish but I was always excited  to get a gift—- I had been starved of this kind of gesture of affection!

 The next day I get a call:

‘We are calling from ______, we have a parcel for you from London. You have to pay $500 as duty for the contents listed here.’

 I balked,  ‘Who has sent it?’

‘One Mr  H__ A___’( my friend on the web)

‘Please call me back after half an hour’

I called  up  H— and asked him if that was his idea to send me a ‘gift’ ? That I pay duty on it?  If you want me to  accept your gift, please pay the duty yourself.

How can you do this to me? I love you so much you cannot accept a gift from me?

Did I ask you for this?

No

Then why should I pay for it? I don’t even know what is in it?

There is some gold jewellery and some clothes for you

No thank you I don’t want it .

He disconnected and  a little later the guy from Delhi(??)  called and I told him  that I was not paying Rs 40,000! He could return the gift(if there was one at all??)  to the sender

One week later the newspaper carried a story on how some small towns in Croatia and other Eastern European countries  have become the hub of scams like these.

 Phew ! Im glad I saved myself and my money!

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Shyamola Khanna

The first one in her orthodox Bong family to marry a Punju fighter pilot, Shyamola Khanna has never had a day’s regret, except for the fact that her dear husband of 36 years did not live to see the day her book came out. He would have been proud. From teaching kids in schools across the country, she made a tentative foray into writing lifestyle and soon acquired quite a professional level—she has been published in all the mainline newspapers and magazines. She continues to write for magazines and is now a volunteer teacher at the AOC centre and at the Denver School for the Blind where she helps kids with English.