I-Team: Local man pays high price in online dating scam - Fox 2 News Headlines

I-Team: Local man pays high price in online dating scam

Posted: Updated:

Online dating – it might be a natural for the younger set. But, for men and women who might be middle-aged and who didn't start dating that way, there's often a learning curve.

And, before you dive into the wide world of online dating, here's a cautionary tale from a brave, but embarrassed man who talked to FOX 5 I-Team's Dana Wolfe about the pitfalls of meeting a stranger online and trying to find love.

All of the red flags were there – all of them. But, Mark Terracina says he fell for a beautiful online stranger anyway. When this online encounter went South, Mark called the I-Team to make sure other people wouldn't be tricked in their online efforts to find true love.

Mark is recently divorced and looking for some romantic companionship in his life. Still, he says it's hard to start dating again.

So, he signed up for online dating.  And, early on, Mark read to be on the lookout for overseas love interests who were more likely interested in his wallet.

"Nigerian woman would ping and there were several ladies from Russia," Mark said.

But, despite being guarded, he still he managed to get caught in the web of a scam when he connected on Match.com with "Jessica Waterman."  Her appeal?  She said she lived about a mile from him.
 
"She gave me her address and said feel free to go check it out," Mark said.

He said he didn't check out Jessica's address right away.

"Not initially because I felt like someone that was gonna give me that much information up front, I probably didn't need to be as on guard," he said.

She also worked some love letter magic on Mark.
 
"She put three songs together that basically touched my heart."

And, then this online relationship touched his wallet. His local love interest said she was actually out of the country starting up a new antiques import business.

"She presented me with a question and that was, ‘Would you help me with some funds because I'm here in the Philippines, didn't realize it was going to be this much to get my goods shipped.'"

And, Mark did. He sent her $900. If only he had checked out Match.com's warning to be on the lookout for "Claims of ... traveling, living or working abroad." Then, Jessica's business trip to the Philippines would have sent up a red flag.
 
Still, he paid even though her problems persisted.
 
Mark said, "So, after that hurdle was cleared, or so I thought, she tried to tell me that her plane ticket was somehow invalidated."
 
Another $1,400.  Again, too bad Mark hadn't seen this Web site warning users to be aware of someone who "Asks you for money."  He even waited for her at the airport, but she missed her flight -- an accident.
 
Mark said, "She survived the bus accident, but she needed surgery."

The surgery would cost $1,800. Finally, he put Cupid's arrow back in its quiver. No more. He ended up spending about $2,300 to date a woman he never actually met.

Mark says he's bruised. Embarrassed. And taking a break now from online dating. But, slowly he's starting to laugh again and might be ready to love again.
 
Mark says he didn't report his troubling tale to Match.com or even the police. He said he thinks he should have known better. So, he called the FOX 5 I-Team to remind people who are pursuing love online to not make some of the same mistakes he did.

  • I-Team Story ArchiveMore>>

  • Get Financially Fit: A Step-By-Step Plan

    Get Financially Fit: A Step-By-Step Plan

    Monday, April 14 2014 9:15 AM EDT2014-04-14 13:15:13 GMT
    April is Financial Literacy Month, so it's time to think about getting financially fit.  Let's start with two questions. Do you know how much you spend each month?  How much of your check should you save?
    April is Financial Literacy Month, so it's time to think about getting financially fit.  Let's start with two questions:  Do you know how much you spend each month?  How much of your check should you save?
  • FOX 5 I-Team

    DON'T MISS: Tax Deductions and Credits

    DON'T MISS: Tax Deductions and Credits

    Friday, April 11 2014 8:48 AM EDT2014-04-11 12:48:55 GMT
    Let's finish up our tax time filing tips that we've offered this season with a quick look at deductions and credits too many folks forget.
    Let's finish up our tax time filing tips that we've offered this season with a quick look at deductions and credits too many folks forget.
  • 'Call for Action' Success

    'Call for Action' Success

    Wednesday, April 9 2014 1:47 PM EDT2014-04-09 17:47:22 GMT
    A Fox 5 viewer got frustrated after the county tore up his yard then left the mess.  So, he turned to our "Call for Action" team for help.  And he got it.  This viewer says for months on end he had to
    A Fox 5 viewer got frustrated after the county tore up his yard then left the mess.  So, he turned to our "Call for Action" team for help.  And he got it. 
  • Contact the FOX 5 I-Team

    * denotes required fields

    We're sorry, but only one entry is allowed per person.
    Thank you for your continued interest.

    Thanks for contacting FOX 5.  To reach our newsroom by phone, please call (404) 898-0100.

  • Good Day ArchiveMore>>

  • What's Happening: 2014 Atlanta Steeplechase

    What's Happening: 2014 Atlanta Steeplechase

    Wednesday, April 16 2014 10:03 AM EDT2014-04-16 14:03:02 GMT
    Photos by Mike Soto Photos by Mike Soto
    One of the most exciting horse races in Georgia happens this Saturday at Kingston Downs.
    One of the most exciting horse races in Georgia happens this Saturday at Kingston Downs.
  • Good Day Atlanta

    Stress-Free Travel

    Stress-Free Travel

    Wednesday, April 16 2014 9:44 AM EDT2014-04-16 13:44:27 GMT
    After a particularly long and nasty winter, spring has finally sprung and folks are planning and taking long-awaited vacations. How do you breeze through the terminal and to your gate stress-free?
    After a particularly long and nasty winter, spring has finally sprung and folks are planning and taking long-awaited vacations. How do you breeze through the terminal and to your gate stress-free?
  • Good Day Atlanta

    Back Home with The Neelys

    Back Home with The Neelys

    Wednesday, April 16 2014 9:40 AM EDT2014-04-16 13:40:13 GMT
    The third cookbook from Food Network superstars Pat and Gina Neely brings us back to the basics of good ol' southern family cooking
    The third cookbook from Food Network superstars Pat and Gina Neely brings us back to the basics of good ol' southern family cooking
Powered by WorldNow

WJBK-TV | Fox 2
16550 West Nine Mile Rd.
Southfield, MI 48075

Main Station: (248) 557-2000
Newsroom: (248) 552-5103

Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Ad Choices