Dear diary: outing the fakes

Dear diary

29th May 2018 20:15

These images were some of the photos that were used in a romance scam.  The man featured in these pictures is a real person, by the name of Per Gunnar Dahl.  There is no suggestion that he has any connection whatsoever to this scam, and is an innocent party.  From what I have been able to determine, Mr Dahl has a prominent profile in Norway and this is most likely how he has come to the attention of the scammers.

 

 

It is likely that email, Telegram and mobile numbers will be changed, but here is a reminder of those details:

Name used Sigvard Aloisio Torvald, Siggy, Sig
Email s.torvald@outlook.com
Telegram user name @Sigggy
Mobile number +16 0422 77 488
Dating site username Looking4vikingman

Unfortunately, real numbers can be disguised and so I do not know where this scammer is located.

I would ordinarily seek permission to use the images, however, I have been unable to make contact with the real Per Gunnar Dahl.  It is important, I believe, to share these pictures to warn other women.

The copyright for the images remains with Per Gunnar Dahl.

 

Dear Diary: So it did happen again!

Dear Diary

27th May 2018 23:23 

Just as well I am too stingy to part with my cash.  I now have incontrovertible proof that the man (or should I say men) I have been interacting with for the last 5 months is fake!

If you come across a Sigvard Aloisio Torvald then beware – even typing his name feels difficult and wrong as that name is so familiar to me.  This person also uses Looking4Vikingman as a username on dating websites and I came across him on Zoosk.  I know that he also has a profile on Naturalfriends.co.uk although he doesn’t have an image on that one.  He said that he came off Zoosk after we “met” but may actually simply have blocked me so that I could no longer see his profile.  The email he goes by is s.torvald@outlook.com.  He purported to be Norwegian living in Canada and relocating to the UK.  He uses Telegram instant messenger service with the user name @Sigggy and the mobile number he uses is +16 0422 77 488.  Unfortunately it is all too easy to disguise a number these days to look as though it is coming from any country of a scammer’s choosing.

I won’t share the profile pictures here as these are of a real person, and so far I have not found any evidence of multiple profiles using the images.  If you do come across a man with this name though, please do contact me and send me a picture.  I can let you know if it is the same man and also recommend that you do a google reverse image search.  Unfortunately for me, this did not throw up a concern early on when I did this but when I used it again today, I got a hit

Make no mistake, this is big business to these people and they keep going as they do make many millions out of it.  It is organised crime and very slick.

Early on, he even sent me a copy of his passport, which I found particularly strange.  I was already aware though, that a fake passport had been used in one of the #FakeThomas scams and so I was cautious about that.  Never completely trust pictures of identification documents that are sent to you.  The only foolproof is to see that person stood in front of you.

That is all I have to say on the matter, dear diary.  Suffice to say .. I’m off dating permanently!

Later, (maybe)

Carol xOxO

Dear Diary: Letting go of past hurts

Dear Diary

22nd May 2018

Well, it has certainly been a tumultuous few weeks since I panicked and called fake on my distance-paramour.  What was interesting for me to experience, was the effect it had on me.  I have talked previously about the role of the amygdala in creating giddy feelings of “being in love” due to a cascade of hormones reacting to gratifying stimuli.  With the removal of said stimuli, the feelings of giddiness and happiness disappear in a relatively short time (albeit replaced with other emotions: shock, anger, disbelief).  This did not happen.  Instead, my body was flooded with stress hormones as I tried to make sense of what I believed had happened, whilst at the same time being riddled with doubt that I had accused him, yet again, of something that he was not guilty of.

It is evident that in the time that we had been chatting, texting, messaging and calling, a bond had developed.  One that we both wanted to explore in the real world when he got to the UK.  I make no apologies for caving in to his persistent attention, as I do firmly believe that you either have to be “in” something or not.  It is not possible to dangle one foot outside of the circle and expect that your heart’s desire will be fulfilled.  I did attempt to do this in the beginning, adamant as I was that I was not going to form an emotional bond with a man so far away and definitely not with one I had yet to meet.  I continued to navigate the trickiness of dating online, and earlier in the year I did have a number of dates.

I wasn’t so much trying to keep my options open, but rather I was trying to be sensible about the blossoming relationship with the guy I had never met.  There came a point though, where I had to be in it or ditch it.  There was something about this man that I did not want to – could not in fact – turn my back on.  Sure, he is definitely not my type, and hey, he can be a little intense.  But after a while that is what I came to really value about him.  He is a man who speaks his mind, who talks about his emotions, who shares his plans.  What women wouldn’t want a man that seemed to be an open book?

I have to admit, the last few weeks have been a bit of a struggle.  I did not want to, nor did I feel I could, lament to family and friends about the loss of a relationship that many people would not consider existed in the first place.  Thank goodness for one friend though, who has quite literally been my rock and listened patiently without judgement or well meaning opinion, and let me decompress about the situation.  Not only that, this friend turned detective to reach out to him.

What she subsequently shared with me hit me square in the face.  Not only does he not hate me for yet again bailing on him amidst accusations of fakery, he is seemingly attempting to take ownership of “his error”.  I think he is still quite bewildered and beyond shocked that I could consider him to be fake – but he is mature enough to understand that we all have different viewpoints about any given situation (largely shaped by our past experiences).  It had occurred to me that his mindset at the time of the misguided request was not focusing on how I would receive the request in light of my unfortunate experience, but that things were going well between us, we were planning to meet soon and he was under the wire with regards to his project.  What he shared with my friend echoed this as loud as a pin drop bouncing around a canyon.

So, dear diary, it seems that I was wrong.  Again.  It also seems as though we have a stalemate.  There is an old proverb:

only time will tell

I’ve never been the most patient of people – but that is something I am going to have to embrace for the time being.  What the future holds for this distance-connection is in the lap of the gods.  There is little communication between us at the moment, and I have no desire to return to the intensity pre-fake-gate.  What this situation has done, though, has rebooted the connection to one of “we don’t really know each other” rather than the misguided “you are my world”.  Until such time as I can grab this man at the airport and say:

hello, nice to meet you

that, dear diary, will have to do for now.

If providence smiles on me and there is a future for two strangers who decided they wanted to take a chance on each other – then so be it.

Later,

Carol XoXo

Dear diary: The truth is I will never know

Dear Diary

11th May, 2018

I have talked at length about the role of the amygdala, and how it is excited when stimuli activates it.  I also talked about how, once the stimuli is no longer present, the feelings go away; and that this is the mechanism by which we can feel as though we are in love with someone we have not met.

So why do I feel so sad?  Why does it feel as though there is a physical pain in my chest?  Is it because 4 months down the line, the feelings had become a habit?  It is a well known phenomenon that habits take 21 days to form.  Or is it because I have blown it with a good man?

The sad truth of the matter is that I will never know.  Yes, I am sure I could have handled what happened differently – but to be honest, if the exact circumstances were presented to me again I would have drawn the same assumptions and conclusions – wouldn’t you?  The fact that he may not see it that way is his problem rather than mine.  Ok – so it has caused me a problem – but hey …life goes on.  Right?

I don’t want to become stuck with this.  Is it just me or is there a pathetic irony that the one person that you want to speak to is the one person that you are no longer connected to?  I’m not good at keeping silent when I have something on my mind.  The last thing I want to do is cause further hurt to the other person involved in this sorry saga.  This is drama.  I am creating drama.  I don’t want drama in my life.  I don’t want to be that person causing drama.

So yesterday I took the unprecedented step of deleting our texts, messages and emails.  I removed his number from my phone.  Ok, so I wrote it down and secreted it somewhere that I won’t come across it unless I purposely decide to do so.  I owe it to myself and to him to leave it untouched.

I didn’t share much about my blossoming “relationship” with the people in my life.  Not least because scepticism is a mood killer, but also, because well meaning opinions can lead to disagreements.

So what now?  How do I move on as quickly as possible from the hurt and disappointment?  For that is surely what I have to do as I cannot expect him to forgive me for a third time.  I have decided to let serendipity take the reigns.

Did I make a mistake in not trusting him?  The truth is I will never know.

If love is meant for me, it can come find me as I can no longer put myself through the dilemmas, disappointments and damage that can be online dating.  Yes, I know it works for some.  I am just not one of them.  So, serendipity it is!

Later

Carol xoxo

 

Embrace life – don’t waste a second

embrace life 2

 

Take the time today to do exactly what you want to rather than what is expected of you.  If that means doing absolutely NOTHING, then enjoy!  Making the most of every moment is not about the rush rush rush, sometimes it is about slowing down and appreciating the small things.   Along the way, if you are able to share a small kindness with someone who needs it then do so – sometimes all it takes is a friendly smile to brighten someone’s day.

#SundayThoughts #SundayMotivation

WOW …life goes on

Dear Diary 

Dear diary, I have deleted the image showing the name and picture of the man that I came to believe was fake.  In a moment of clarity ….ok well, I think I will keep that to myself.  I have no wish to cause him any harm.  I am not convinced he is a fake … if he is not, he is incredibly stupid.

4th May 2018

So it has been a struggle the last few days to come to terms with how things have played out with my would-be-distant-paramour.  I knew I had made a HUGE mistake, the problem was … I did not know whether that was in trusting him in the first place or not trusting him.  Not knowing was eating me up inside.

I sent him an email outlining exactly why I believed he fit the “profile”.  I suppose I did this because my heart did not want to believe it was true, and if I was wrong – I wanted him to understand why I was yet again accusing him.

The silence in response was deafening.  If there is one thing worse than not knowing, it is being ignored.  My problem is …if I don’t know 100%, then I have a tendency to pick at the scab to provoke a response.

This morning, I sent the above to him and then deleted the app that we had been exchanging messages on.  I had already deleted it, but as I was struggling with this – I reloaded it hoping to get some kind of acknowledgement from him.

This morning I did … although I no longer had the app, the message came via the browser on my phone.  The message exchange says it all.

IMAGE DELETED

 

In my earlier post I did not reveal his identity.  Even now, I am not entirely convinced that he is fake, and part of me wants to believe that he is saying it to enable me to move on.  Ha!  My critical friend on my shoulder is reminding me not to be such a fool.  I guess it is human nature to hold onto hope.

A last word for the person who took the time to comment on my last post – although I did not authorise it to be shown…. you are entitled to your opinion.  If sharing my story helps to warn other women then I choose to out the fakes.  I know who you are, because I recognise the name and email address.

You need to stop this obsession of catching fake profiles on dating sites.
You were conned. Get over it and get on with your life.

I suppose on one level it is hugely embarrassing to admit that I have been caught out again.  But then, all along I had my doubts – but I did not and will not let this stop me from looking for love.  It just won’t be with anyone that is not able to meet up quickly.

All that is left for me to say, is don’t give up on love.  Don’t let the fakes win.  And above all else, no matter how attached you become – if you haven’t met them – you cannot 100% trust them until you do.

Take care of yourselves, and be safe

Carol xoxo

 

 

Dear Diary: Could it really happen again?

Dear Diary

crying woman 1

1st May, 2018

As I sit in front of my laptop with a heavy heart and feeling sick to my stomach, I am not sure I want to share this with you.

Writing though, is a way for me to deal with uncomfortable issues that refuse to stop swirling through my mind, torturing and mocking me.   You see, dear diary, I think it happened again.

As those of you who have read with me before, you know the sorry tale about the Fake Thomas that duped me back in November of last year.  Once I got over the initial shock, I put my anger to good use and created this blog, my website and Facebook page and groups; all dedicated to warning other women about the perils of dating online.

I have not only put considerable time and effort into this awareness raising campaign, I have parted with hard cash.  I have spent literally hundreds (if not a thousand or so) on paid advertising.  Ironically, the majority to #Facebook who have a woefully inadequate approach to applying their community standards to clearly fake profiles.  I am hoping that the advent of the GDPR regulations will make some difference here – but social media giants have grown into such arrogant entities, I am not holding my breath on that one.  But I digress.

Back to the issue at hand

For those of you who have followed my story, you will know that I “met” a man that was living overseas and claimed to be planning to move to the UK.  You will also know that in the early days I was at the same time blasé and guarded.  I was adamant that I would not put myself in a position where history could repeat itself.  When my fears got the better of me I called out “fake” and metaphorically ran away.  Not once, dear diary, but twice.

So what hooked me back in?  It is difficult to say for certain, but I guess there were two things that influenced my return to the interaction.  Firstly, that he did not respond in a typically “fakerish” way.  He did not disappear.  He did not block me.  He also did not reach out to try to persuade me that I was wrong.  Over a few days, as I saw him updating pictures of his life I wondered if I had made a terrible mistake.

And that leads me to the second reason.  I have so much love in my heart to share with someone.   It is not that I need a relationship to define me – I don’t.  I think there are few of us that would disagree that finding a good relationship can be life enhancing.  And why not?  Why do I have to be the one that lives my life alone when all around me live theirs with a significant other?  But then, it is not about what others have.  It is simply about human connection and sharing the loving heart that I know beats inside me.

Not only that, when we subsequently spoke again, he shared that he was not angry with me – he was simply devastated that I believed he was a fake.  I guess that statement really pulled at my heartstrings.

So what went wrong?

Four months down the line, it felt as though we were in fairly smooth waters.  At the back of my mind, I was not going to truly believe in this until I could stand in front of him and look into his eyes.  After all … I am not gullible.  For those of you guffawing at that remark, let me explain why.  Online dating works.  Not for everyone – but it is the social norm these days.  It would not be the first relationship that developed across the ether and geographical distance.

After all, what creates a relationship?  Largely it is about choice – you choose to take the chance on someone.  You explore whether you share common goals and values.  Finally, you decide whether you really like this person and take the risk of trusting them.  Spending time with someone, whether it be in the same room, on the telephone, or on an internet chat service – bonds develop.

It was also the only option that the universe seemed to be allowing to unfold.  At the  beginning of the year I ventured on some real face to face dates.  You can read the back catalogue if you care to know how those went.

As for how I have ended up here, writing this miserable story – he shared so much with me.  I felt that I knew so much about his life, his hopes and his dreams.  And he had a plan.  From what he said, that plan included me.  I am still not sure whether this has been an elaborate ruse, or whether what he did stemmed from him believing that we were on this journey together and on this basis it was ok to ask for my help.

I have to say, I am pretty devastated.  Not because I may have been caught out again by a fake, as I am not convinced that he is (I am just not ready to believe that yet).  But because I had allowed myself to believe that I had finally found someone special to share my life with.

It is not only heartbreaking, it is bloody embarrassing.  I had started to share my  excitement with friends and family.  I have not spoken to anyone in my day to day world about what has happened.  It is too raw.  Sure, they may be aware of this blog, and they may pick it up and read it.  I’m ok with that.  I do not though, want anyone’s pity, well meaning opinions or any well intentioned advice.  I simply want to lick my wounds with dignity.

I made my choice – I decided to trust.  That it didn’t work out is unfortunate.  This will not beat me.  I do think though, that I am off dating for a while!

For those of you who haven’t guessed already, here is what pushed my buttons enough for me to walk way

Throughout the four months that I have been interacting with this guy, he had told me about a contract that he intended to bid for.  It was worth a lot of money, but he had to find 50% of the mobilisation costs, which was up from the typical 30%.  This amounted to some 1.2 million dollars.  He shared a lot of information with me, together with contract documents.  I did find this a bit strange – but hey everything looked legit.

He was short of a couple of hundred thousand .. and he told me that he had reached out to friends and family and that he had whittled the shortfall down to 67,000.   The other detail isn’t really relevant, as I am sure you get where this is going.

A few days ago, I received an email from him – full of woe, and saying that he felt terrible, but if his last ditch attempt at raising the additional funds failed – he might be asking me to help him out.  My return email was very clear – No.  Regardless of whether I had that kind of money or not, I would not give him money based on the fact that we had not actually met.

He apologised, and told me that he had spoken to his sister about my response, and she had told him in no uncertain terms that she understood my reaction.

Needless to say, the discomfort that I was feeling would not go away.  I had just started to settle down about it when  I received this message:

Hi sweetie, can you raise $2-3,000 for me?  I will refund.

It goes without saying, I have cut all ties.  I do not want to believe that someone could enter into a deception for 4 months, but I have to face facts.  I just don’t want to believe it.  Regardless – he is gone.

Later,

Carol xoxo

Revisiting some of my older blog posts, I came across this:

 

Who knows what the future holds for any of us – all I know is that sometimes you have to take a leap of faith and just jump off that safe bridge, and trust that whatever you find at the bottom – you can handle it; good, bad or indifferent.

leasp of faith

Beware of the fakes out there .. particularly using this picture!

This man’s image is used hundreds if not thousands of times by scammers trying to dupe women.

 

The #Fightback continues. Fake profiles are reported multiple times, sometimes we are lucky and they are removed first time they are reported, but more typical we have to report them again and again.

Kwabena Thomas has been a busy boy – I have just sent alerts to 19 women interacting with this particular fake profile. This is staggering. I can understand if a woman is approached on a dating website, but unless these women are being approached in Facebook groups, they must be accepting random friend’s requests.

Ladies, if you get a request from someone that you do not know, particularly if they are located in a different country, and you have no (real life) Facebook friends in common – BEWARE! PARTICULARLY if they are using the images of this man (who is real, legit, and happily married).

To read more and see the 100s of fake profiles using this man’s pictures take a look at the website and blog I created to warn women:

www.fakedatingdotcom.net
www.fakedating.blog

Or join the Facebook group Fightback Fakedatingdotcom Staysafe Online Dating

#Fakeprofilies #Scammers #Facebook