Consumer Watch: Woman warning about internet scam on Facebook dating site

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WHAS11.com

Posted on July 15, 2009 at 6:00 PM

Updated Thursday, Oct 15 at 3:49 PM

(WHAS11) - This Consumer Watch introduces us to a Louisville woman who was looking for love in all the wrong places. A scam artist sought her out on a free internet dating service on the popular social networking site, Facebook.

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Jackie Franklin was in search of a man. What she found was the latest twist on the oldest trick in the book. Although a romantic at heart, Franklin is heady enough to smell a rat. She called WHAS11 because she's worried other women are getting burned.

Jackie's problem started on the computer on Facebook.com, when she came across a free dating site named date-pad. Her picture and information was presented for suitors and scammers alike.

"I talked to the Secret Service about this and they said the scheme is coming out of Nigeria and that there's a lot of woman who do fall for this," said Franklin.

A guy presenting himself as Michael Allen from Lexington sent Jackie pictures claiming he's interested in a relationship. "Michael" moved the conversation to instant messaging and they wrote back and forth for a week and a half. The guy claimed to be a widower in Africa on business with his only son.

"He sent me an email in the middle of the night saying he had to rush his 9-year-old son to the hospital and it's just him and his son left and if his son doesn't have this surgery he might die," says Franklin.

The guy wanted $2,700 dollars wired through Western Union. It's the old Nigerian scam. The Secret Service told Jackie it's tough to enforce.

"They had been over there several years ago to try to stop this but the Nigerian government wouldn't work with them because it's bringing money into their country and they need the money to survive," says Franklin.

Jackie then moved the conversation back to email so she could keep records and she played along as the guy got more and more desperate. Franklin even offered to fly to Africa to help, fully aware that her knight in shining armor was really a toad.

Needless to say Franklin did not send the money and she's no longer using date-pad on Facebook.

Jackie Franklin even contacted the four men in Lexington who go by the name of Michael Allen. She wanted to inform them that someone in Nigeria could be stealing their identity.

If you have a consumer problem you'd like us to look into send an e-mail to consumerwatch@whas11.com.

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