How I Survived Fraud

This will be the most painful and difficult post I will ever write.  I pray this post will have a positive impact on my life and on the lives of many others. Regardless of the type of fraud or the monetary value lost, fraud hurts emotionally and financially.  Fraud does not discriminate.  It affects all ages, genders, races, nationalities, social and economic backgrounds. Whether it was $10, $100, $1,000, $10,000 or $100,000 – it is absolutely devastating.  The worst part is that in most cases it is not a criminal offense and not punishable by law.  It is a civil matter.

Merriam-Webster defines fraud as – 1a : deceit, trickery; specifically :  intentional perversion of truth in order to induce another to part with something of value or to surrender a legal right, b :  an act of deceiving or misrepresenting :  trickery  2a :  a person who is not what he or she pretends to be :  impostor; also :  one who defrauds :  cheat, b :  one that is not what it seems or is represented to be.

I read somewhere that by the year 2020 an estimated 1 in 8 families will be impacted by some type of fraud.  There is a lot of information available on how to detect and protect yourself from fraud.  This blog is about how to deal with it scammer-snakeafter you have been victimized.  I am by no means an expert on the subject.  I am a simply a woman who took a risk on love and trusted the wrong man.

When I found out that I had been the victim of internet romance fraud, I was absolutely crushed.  I have never felt so stupid, foolish, heartbroken and angry.  I am a well-educated, smart, successful woman.  How could I have been so stupid?  The answer is simple – an evil unscrupulous man who is a professional scammer spun a web to catch me, as he has done to dozens or hundreds of other women.  I am not stupid.  I am a victim of fraud from a professional crime ring.

Unfortunately, fraud negatively impacts a broader group than just the victims. None of us would have entered into these relationships if we knew it would hurt the people we love.   I didn’t say anything because I thought he would keep his promises and things would work out fine.  After I was in it, I felt trapped.  To my family, I am sorry I made such a poor choice with money.  To my family and friends, I apologize for lying to you. I ask for your forgiveness.  I thank you for your love and support during this nightmare.

To the friends and family of victims –  there is nothing that you could have done to stop this from happening.  If you respectfully expressed your concerns and loved them anyway, you did all you could.   Please do not think that if you threaten or bombard them with scammer information that it will change anything other than damage your relationship.  The victim will take the next step when they are ready and not a minute before.  Please do not ask how much money they lost because it’s not your business and it really doesn’t matter.  The financial harm is only a part of the damage.  When we are ready to talk, we will.  Healing takes time, everyone processes and grieves in their own way.  Please do not feel sorry for us or pity us.  Please do not be angry with us, there is nothing you can say that we haven’t already said to ourselves.  Please do not think less of us, we are the same person we were before this mess started except we are now heartbroken and lighter in the wallet.  The next time we meet, simply give us a nod and a friendly smile.  We will feel your concern and compassion.

shutterstock_303682856At least a dozen times, I searched for Gerrard’s name on the internet. There was no sign of him but also no sign of a scammer.  After 7 months, hundreds of hours invested in him and thousands of dollars later, I had to know the truth.  I hired an international search firm to run a background check on the information I was given. Five days later, my fears came true.  Everything Gerrard had given me as proof was fake.  I had been the victim of advance fee romance fraud.  Gerrard Hann Ulrich and his many emails were on the crime blacklist.  He also goes by Gerrard Car and Steven Pieters.

I was angry and posted on the websites Cheaterreport.com and Liarscheatersrus.com.  Once something is posted on these sites, you cannot remove it without hiring a company to scrub it.  After further thought, I was afraid of making him so mad that he would “spoof” as he called it and I would never get my money back.  I paid to have my comments scrubbed.   I spent the next few weeks “playing him” while doing everything I could to report him to the bank, police, government agencies, and dating sites.  Then the company I hired to scrub my scammer post asked me if I had posted again.  It was not me. The very courageous child of a woman who had taken her own life after being victimized by Gerrard had posted to one of these sites. As my heart broke for this family, I knew without a doubt this man is a liar, a thief and a scammer.

On the days when I am angry and doing something to try to warn others I feel much stronger.  There are moments when I am incredibly sad and feel defeated (like today I have cried several times).  It is OK to miss the man I thought he was, as long as I always come back to the truth – that man does not exist.  He only wanted me for my money and nothing more.  This unfortunate fact is the most painful part of this mess.  I often try to find humor in a difficult situation.  While bowling, I scored a 9 when I thought it should have been a strike.  Instead of saying “I was robbed”, I laughed and said “I was Gerrarded”.  It is OK to laugh.

I have asked God many times why did you allow this man in my life? Why did you allow him to steal from me and break my heart?  The same answer always comes to me – because I have the strength to admit I made a huge mistake, the courage to speak out, and the knowledge to go public with the information.  As embarrassed and ashamed as I am to tell my story,  I know that by helping others it will also help me to heal.

Gerrard messed with the wrong woman.   I have spent the past 2 months doing what I can to get the word out.  More than 1,000 women have viewed warning profiles created on several dating websites.  Eight other women have come forward after reading our posts on cheater and scammer sites.  Thank you to these courageous women!   We don’t know how many others have read the information but did not comment.  We hope you will help others by publicly sharing this post.  The next fraud victim could be one of your loved ones.  Please share, this is important!!!!

43136-i-am-a-survior-1To all victims of fraud (both women and men), please find our courage and strength to speak out loudly.  These scammers bank on the fact that we will be too embarrassed to tell anyone.  Often, they threaten to blackmail us by sending inappropriate photos to our family or work.  They may threaten to hurt us or our family.  It is more likely that this is just as a way to control us and to keep us quiet. Eventually every criminal makes a mistake and with enough evidence the authorities will find the clues needed to catch them.  The scammers win if we keep quiet.  Please be the voice they are afraid of.  Post their name (albeit probably fake), email address and most importantly photos and behaviors on all scamming sites and dating sites.  File report on federal Internet Crime Complaint Center.  Send name, address, bank account details to the bank where you transferred the money.  Send the details to the U.S. Consulate in the country you sent money to, to the [nationality] consulate in the U.S., the FBI, their local police, your local police, and their version of the IRS.  Make sure that someone you trust knows you are doing this.  Tell your family and friends, allow them to be your support.  This process is difficult and painful but it is necessary.

Then instead of dwelling on our mistakes in shameful silence, please make steps towards recovery. Seek professional help if needed.  Let’s focus on fixing the things that are broken within us that made us targets in the first place.   Above all, remember we are not to blame. These are professionals who targeted us.

If you believe in the power of prayer, please join me ….  “Lord, please bring healing and peace to all victims of fraud and our families, give us the courage to speak out, the power to forgive ourselves and those who trespassed against us, allow us to love and trust again.  Please bless us with financial favor to replace what was stolen from us.  Please punish these people who intentionally set out to harm us.  Please make a miracle out of our mess.  Thank you for your blessings.  In your name we pray, Amen.”

My fear is that some of you will think less of me, talk bad about me behind my back or to my face.  I fear that I may be denied job opportunities because I have come forward.  These are risks I am willing to take.  If my words have helped even one victim to feel better, one person to know how to deal with a loved one who has been or will be victimized, or stopped one person from making the same mistake I did, this was well worth it.

EVIL is LIVE spelled backwards. The way we beat the evil done to us is to live our life to the fullest!  As tears stream down my face,  I thankfully close this painful chapter in my life and look forward to writing the next one.

…… And life goes on.

Here is a link to information on my scammer:

https://liarscheatersrus.com/gerrard-hann-ulrich-gerrard.html

Here is the link to file an internet crime complaint:

https://www.ic3.gov/default.aspx

Here is a link to blogger from FTC, consumers can post on romance scammers:

https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/blog/faking-it-scammers-tricks-steal-your-heart-and-money?