One danger of online dating is the person you are chatting with may not be who they claim, which turned out to be the case for a woman named Susan Rizzo.
“I sent the money because after two months of communicating I felt I was developing a relationship that felt real,” she said during a recent interview with NBC 6.
Rizzo told the outlet about her financial loss and experience on a dating site with a man who shared a handsome picture in June and called himself Nicholas Shawn Wells Edwards.
However, the outlet was unable to determine if the photograph was legitimate or if his name was real.
The United States Secret Service website said romance scams were typically initiated online and often targeted vulnerable individuals.
According to Rizzo, the man told her he worked as a U.S. Army officer or contractor with the troops in Afghanistan.
The two spoke over the phone and also planned to attend a wedding for one of Rizzo’s family members.
In a message August 14, Rizzo wrote, “I feel my life is in limbo while waiting for your safe return,” to which he responded, “A lot didn’t go as planned … a lot of decision making amongst most of the special ops soldiers.”
Minutes later he said, “Except there’s a problem about my return because there’s a provision to it that needs me to handle my own private flight arrangement.”
Rizzo said the man eventually told her he spent all his money getting out of Afghanistan and was in the Middle East but needed money to travel to her in Florida.
She followed the man’s directions and transferred $25,000 to his bank account.
“I sent the money feeling it was right based on where we were at,” Rizzo noted. “Monetarily I lost $25,000.”
She grew suspicious when he asked for $300,000 in regard to a business deal for them. Rizzo took the funds out but stopped when she realized what was happening.
“I don’t want this to happen to somebody else and if there’s a way for me to get my money back that would be wonderful. I definitely can’t afford to throw that to the wind,” Rizzo stated.
NBC 6 reported Wednesday it looked into the instructions the man sent to Rizzo, and found the address listed was for a townhouse in Atlanta.
“Georgia records show the name for the company on the instructions comes back to the same residence. The bank is just about ten minutes from the townhouse,” the outlet said.
Rizzo has been in contact with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and planned to speak with the Fort Lauderdale Police regarding her experience.