Steve Vig - Oil Rig Engineer
by Sharon Henson
I joined POF in mid November, which was my first time on a dating site. Shortly after joining, I got a message from a man named Steve. He said I had pretty eyes or something like that. One of his profile pictures had him with a yellow helicopter behind him.
Trying to be funny, I asked him if that was his helicopter. We messaged a few times, then he asked me if I would be willing to leave the dating site to see if we had a connection and where it might lead us. I found him attractive and thought why not. He was from Victorville, CA, just one state away from me. We exchanged phone numbers and soon we were texting a lot.
I found out that he was preparing a presentation to a oil company for a job on a oil rig in the UK as a private drilling contractor. I encouraged his project and soon he was flying to DC to meet with the company. He, of course, got the job and was soon on his way to the UK. He had mentioned maybe meeting or video chatting before he left California, at that point though, I was more comfortable just texting.
I struggle a bit with my weight and thought if he got the job in the UK then I would be able to lose some weight before we met. I looked forward to his text messages. When ever I got one it seemed to brighten my day. He started calling me babe, which I liked, as no one had ever called me babe. We continued to text for a while even after he got to the oil rig but roaming charges were high for him so soon he secured a landline and he had me install WhatsApp on my phone.
I did and we were soon communicating on there. Eventually, I asked him if he would just call me. He did one night as I was leaving a local grocery store. I sat in my car and talked to him for quite a while. He had a bit of a accent which he told me was Swedish. He was born in California but his mother was Swedish so he lived in Sweden for a big part of his life.
I was so hooked, even at that point. I love accents and with the pictures that I had of him, I knew that I was going to fall in love. So we texted when he wasn't at work and talked when he woke in the morning which was usually around 10:00 p.m. here in Oregon because his time was 8 hours ahead of my time. He would send me emails asking me how I felt about family and if I thought that an online relationship was a true relationship.
He asked me how I felt about cheating, was it cheating if it was just a online relationship. We both felt that even a online relationship was a true relationship. It seemed we wanted the same things. Christmas and New Years was hard because the app we were using to communicate didn't staff on the holidays so it took forever to get messages through.
By this point, I was missing him and we had already said that we loved each other. It felt like it was meant to be. I felt he was an answer to a prayer that I had made long ago that God had not answered. Things were going well until right after New Years.
That was the first time he asked me for money. He told me that his 'stuffs' from the job he had before this one was in Iraq and he had left two boxes in storage and the storage time was set to expire. He asked if he could have the boxes sent to me. I would have to fill out some sort of certificate to have beneficiary transferred to me so it could be delivered to me.
I have never really been out of the U.S. so I didn't know how things worked in other countries. I thought, ok, I will have some of his belongings here and he will come get them, we will be together. Then of course the other shoe dropped.
He then asked me if I could pay the shipping costs because he didn't have any money. I was so depressed because I was starting to have doubts and maybe I was being taken. I did some research and couldn't find much on his name or phone number but I was already in love with him at this point.
I won't go in to how much money was sent, but I did a bank transfer and was given a date the boxes were suppose to be delivered to my house. Well, the day that they should have been delivered, I got a email from the shipping company, KDR Security Services in the UK, that I would need to fly to ATL in Georgia to pick up the boxes and pay the non-inspection fee.
I said I am not flying anywhere and I'm not paying anymore money. I paid a lot of money to have the boxes delivered to my address by a secured shipping company. I was told the non-inspection fee was $22,500. Steve told me that he did not want me flying any where, he was adamant. I told him I can't, I don't have the money to fly
any where and I don't have that kind of money for the fees.
He told me that one of the boxes had a safe deposit box of sorts in it that he gave me a code to and that it had his money from his last job in it, in cash, a lot of cash. He said when I get the box, I can enter the code and get back all the money that I had spent getting his 'stuffs' and to pay off a ex-boyfriend who I was paying off a car loan to that he didn't want me having anymore contact with and to buy a new bed for us, stuff for a house that we would be getting when he finished this new job.
I was really suspicious now. I read up on scams and found that scammers sometimes use unsuspecting women to money launder money that they have collected from scamming other women or that they would ask you to open up bank accounts with the money. I was scared. We argued a lot and I was to the point where I didn't care if he sent me messages or not.
I would delete the messaging app only to miss him and reinstall it. He then tells me that if he can pay half of the $22,500 by a certain date it will keep the package from being scanned until we can get the rest of the money, how much can I come up with? I told him maybe $3000. He said he had a friend who would wire $10,000 (even supplied me with a copy, forged I'm sure, of a wire transfer from Bank of America) and expected me to wire the other $3000 by the end of the day that Friday.
He said he was getting his first installment pay and his ticket to come to Oregon to be with me that following Monday. He said he would be going to London to cash this check and could pay the rest of the money for the fee on the boxes. He also told me that he would be able to video chat with me, something we had not been able to do because of regulations on oil rigs about cellphone cameras being used while drilling is going on.
Anyway, I didn't make the payment on Friday. I told him that I would wait until Monday. He then of course was very angry and got the high blood pressure he got every time I disagreed with him, making it impossible for him to do his job. He got over it though and asked me to please send the money on my lunch break Monday. I told him that I would but really I had no intention of doing so.
That weekend I got in touch with a local FBI agent and told him my concerns about the possibility of a shipment with a large amount of cash in it, that he had not declared, addressed to me, sitting in a Georgia airport. The agent came to my work on Monday and collected names, email address, phone numbers, names of people I had already wired money to and the name of the person I was expected to wire more money to.
In the end, I am heart broken but also relieved that the man in the pictures, that I have attached, the man I feel that I have fallen in love with, is not the man I was talking to at all.
I was a victim of a dating scam.
How could it be that the first time I go on a dating site, I am a victim of a scam? I didn't feel that this was possible but here I was, out money and my heart and soul given to a handsome man in pictures sent by my real scammer, a man that I will never know, who is also a victim, and I don't even know his name. I hope by sharing his pictures on here, and I have also shared them on Facebook, and will share on other sites, that maybe someone will recognize him, he has very distinctive tattoos that maybe someone will recognize and let him know that his image is being used to capture lonely women's hearts and their money.
If I can save just one woman from falling for his image, as I did, thinking he is who she is talking to, maybe I can save her from the shame and embarrassment that I am going through, and maybe I can get some of my dignity back. If I can find out who the man is and let him know too, then maybe even more of my self respect will return.
Please if you can, if it is allowed, share his image with as many as possible. I am a victim of a dating scam, some of it is my own fault because I was gullible enough to believe all of the loving words of my true scammer because I was just so lonely. The man in the pictures is also a victim of a dating scam and probably doesn't even know it.
My name is Sharon E. Henson and I live in Springfield, Oregon. I am on Facebook under that name. Thank you for taking the time to read my story.
This site was a God send in letting me share my story and somehow ease some of the pain I am going through.