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Sociopaths and money

Con man lies about Iraq injuries to get government benefits and a free house

In this video, Brandon Blackstone gives his heartfelt testimonial about his devastating injuries in Iraq, and how a charitable organization helped him recover. Problem is, he’s lying.

Brandon Blackstone, 35, of Arlington, Texas, pleaded guilty of lying about injuries sustained in Iraq so that he could bilk the government and charities out of hundreds of thousands of dollars. Blackstone did serve as a Marine in Iraq, but he was not injured in a humvee that hit an improvised explosive device, as he claimed.

Blackstone co-opted the story of Casey Owens, who suffered terrible injuries in an explosion, including losing his legs. Owens eventually committed suicide because of his ordeal.

Blackstone, in the meantime, enrolled in a program to help soldiers deal with the “invisible wounds of war,” like PTSD. Blackstone was such a success that the foundation videotaped his testimonial and posted it on its website.


Love scam: Woman targets 92-year-old man, marries him, drains his money

Aloysius Mack, 92, of Schaumburg, Illinois, visited the same McDonalds restaurant every morning for coffee. One day, Sophie Miller sat down across the table from him.

He thought he found love. She found a bank account.

Miller got Mack to pay $80,000 for a laundromat business, $40,000 for a van, got on his bank account and tried to get his home.

In another case from Cook County, Illinois, 79-year-old Benita Manalo married her caretaker, Phil Cantillas, who was 28 years younger. He took $65,000 from her.

The Cook County public guardian said that as baby boomers age, the love scam problem will likely get worse.

Fake “love scam” drains 92-year-old man’s savings, on CBSNews.com.

Singapore launches TV commercials and hotline to fight scams

Officials unveil a new anti-scam hotline and TV commercial in Singapore. (Photo: SPF)

Officials unveil a new anti-scam hotline and TV commercial in Singapore. (Photo: SPF)

Scammers are running amok all over the world, but at least in Singapore, authorities are trying to educate people not to fall for them.

In Singapore, victims are losing S$120,000 a day. So the National Crime Prevention Council and the Singapore Police Force have launched a new anti-scam hotline. They are promoting it with television commercials featuring a local celebrity.

The commercial makes three simple points:

  • Do not panic
  • Do not believe the scammers
  • Do not give in to their demands

I’d like to see other countries educating their citizens as well. Click the link below to see a video report and parts of the commercial.

New hotline launched in fight against scammers, on ChannelNewsAsia.com.

Retirees: Beware of Internet love scams and computer repair scams

 

Grandmother using laptop_150x225Editor’s note: Lovefraud received the following email from a retired woman who hopes to warn others about the dangers she encountered on the Internet.

In the past, my only contact with psychopaths was in the psychiatric penitentiary where I worked as the librarian, but lately I have been meeting a number of them on the Internet. Most of them approached me through Skype, although several contacted me via other sources.

If some of your readers do not really realize it yet, if approached by a general in the US Army, or any officer in the Army, or captain of a ship, or a doctor in the Middle East for UN or whatever, who is lonely and wants to befriend you, then loves you – DON’T FALL FOR IT!

I have had about 30 generals (using the name and picture of real generals, active or retired) contact me. They are ALL scammers.

British con man, 26, scams £250,000, flees to South America and blows the money on a ‘champagne lifestyle’

Con artist Marcus Elliott, 26 (Derby Telegraph SWNS)

Con artist Marcus Elliott, 26 (Derby Telegraph SWNS)

This is perhaps the most brazen con artist story I’ve seen in awhile. Marcus Elliot, 26, of Lincolnshire, England, leased shipping containers, promising to pay the monthly rental, and then sold them on eBay.

He scammed a total of £250,000, fled to South America with a hooker, and blew the money on expensive cigars, a Playboy membership, and a speedboat — which he crashed.

He was convicted and sentenced to almost four years in prison.

It’s like a bad movie script — except that the people he scammed got hurt.

Fraudster, 26, conned businesses and the public out of £250,000 before fleeing to South America to live a ‘Champagne lifestyle’ with his prostitute girlfriend, on DailyMail.co.uk.

 

He asked me for money — then another woman messaged me and said he was using her for money

Spath TalesEditor’s note: Lovefraud received the following email from a reader whom we’ll call “Agatha.”

I started to talk to a male friend I was connected to on Facebook after I had a tough break up. He said he reached out to me because he had just gone through similar and thought he could help.

After a few weeks we started to flirt with each other. I did at first, then he went full blown. Within a week of this talk, he admitted he loved me. I did think it was soon but I felt the same.

Then he said he wanted to marry me, possibly have a child, grow old together. Said we were life partners.

I went to visit him and spent a three-day weekend with him, and he had his two young sons for the days of that weekend. So I got to know them.

Malaysian officials urge love scam victims to make police reports

In Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Ms. Chua was convinced that the man she befriended on Facebook was a pilot for China Airlines. He told her he was sending her a package containing U.S. dollars — but first he needed a deposit just over $900 in Malaysian currency. Needless to say, the money was gone.

The woman appeared at a press conference with Michael Chong, Public Complaints Bureau Chief. “She didn’t lose much money because we saved her,” Chong said.

“I urge the victims to make police reports,” Chong said.

Love scammers are operating internationally, so officials should be working to educate people about these financial predators all around the world. At least officials in Asia are trying.

The heavy price of false love, on FreeMalaysiaToday.com.

Banks in Singapore train employees to spot romance scams

Malaysian-Ringgit-375x150A flustered elderly woman walked into an OCBC bank branch in Singapore. Her “friend” was in trouble in Malaysia, and she wanted to send him money.

The woman knew her “friend” from the Internet. His bank details didn’t match his name. And if he was locked up by the police, how was he able to call the woman?

The bank customer service representative, Kristie Chiang, spent hours talking to the woman, trying to convince her that the request for money was a scam. Finally, the woman agreed to file a report with the police.

According to another employee, the bank continually trains them to watch out for romance scams, which is a massive problem in Asia.

Conflicting bank details raise alarm of love scam, on tnp.sg.

 

A reader’s proposal for a con artist database

con manEditor’s note: The following proposal was submitted by a Lovefraud reader whom we’ll call “Francine.”

I wrote a letter to my congressperson about proposing a national database, where someone can find out if a person has scammed others. As you know and other scams victims to do also, or will find out, there is little you can do criminally. I hope by posting by posting this on your forum, other members/victims will write to THEIR legislator and perhaps ONE of them will propose legislation. I know my local congressperson will NOT.

I was scammed out of thousands of dollars, and while it may be more emotionally satisfying to beat the crap out of him, not only is it illegal and unbecoming, it will do nothing to prevent this from happening to others, which is my best revenge.

Consumer studies professor learns her identity was stolen by her own mother

Dr. Axton Betz-Hamilton

Dr. Axton Betz-Hamilton

Axton Betz-Hamilton, an assistant professor of consumer studies at Eastern Illinoiz University, had battled her own identity theft for 16 years. In 2012, she won an award for her work, and her mother stood smiling next to her as she accepted the honor.

Then, when her mother died, Axton learned that her mother was the one who stole her identity when she was 11 years old.

Axton says her mother was a low-grade psychopath.

My mom stole my identity when I was just 11 years old, on NYPost.com.