Welcome to a new and interesting Love on the Line TV Conversation.
This time I have the pleasure to introduce to you Patricia Meister, from Bundaberg, Australia who is a great example of a person who had a positive outlook in a dare situation. Namely, she is a victim of fraud, of a Romance Scam to be exact. Though her experience, she has suffered a substantial loss of money but that is not the most important part in this conversation. She has lost a lover, someone, who she thought was nearing what could be a soulmate, forever. It feels like death, losing someone you trusted to a scam. It is a huge betrayal.
Luckily, Patricia has taken a positive approach to her own recovery and is doing everything to get on top of her disappointment. She has done everything possible to educate herself and others: joined support groups, both face-to-face like the QLD Police Fraud Prevention Group and also many Online groups which can be found on Facebook, especially through the RomanceScamsNow.com
I was privileged to drive up to Bundaberg and have this conversation with her. She told me the story of her complex scamming experience. Afterwards, we discussed romancing, recovery strategies and possible happy endings.
You can find this Love on the Line TV Conversation in two parts from my YouTube Channel:
And if you want to also read it. Here is the transcript of our conversation. Both part 1 & 2
Please enjoy and remember to subscribe to my YouTube channel, so that you do not miss our other conversations. You can also follow me on my blog to make sure you receive every story. Also check my Website for news, like the Love on the Line South East QLD Book Tour continuing on Tuesday September the 13th at Logan Hyberdome Library at 10 am.
Here is the script:
LOVE ON THE LINE TV CONVERSATIONS WITH PATRICIA MEISTER
E: Welcome to Love on the Line TV Conversations. This is a special conversations from up state QLD in Bundaberg. In this winter sun shine, which is a little bit on our face, actually. And, I am here talking with Patricia Meister.
I am very honored to have you talking with me and thank you and welcome Patricia.
P: Thank you. I am honored to have you speak to me as well.
E: It is so interesting how we met, isn’t it?
P: It is, indeed
E: and we met through the QLD Police Recovery Group
P: Yes, that’s where we met.
E: And it is, in my opinion, quite interesting, how sometimes when you have been scammed like this. I mean like have. We’ve been survivors of scamming. You actually make new very, very interesting friends. Don’t you?
P: It’s opened a whole new door for me, in terms of meeting new people. So, in that way, it’s been a really positive thing. There is a positive thing.
E: Yes, and there are thing that are happening. It’s online. You had bought my book before. And I was really, really intrigued when you told me this is how you met that group. And there was another person there as well who said oh, they had listened to Love on the Line TV Conversations and that’s how they found the group. So, we might as well say that this group meets every second Sunday of the month at the Qld Police Headquarters. So, if you happen to be listening to us or looking at us. Then, here are two people you find who have actually found this group through meeting and reading books.
E: Well. Tell me about your story. It is quite complex and we actually counted about ten scams. So, I’ll give it to you. Tell me.
P: My story is complex. I did actually, by accident, come across my scammer online. He groomed me for probably a good four weeks before he really started to ask me for any money. In that time, he romanced me. He gave me music. He gave me poetry. He spent a lot of time priming me, if you like. And so, the first request for money was actually not a huge amount. He had supposedly entered Malaysia with a large amount of money and had his goods confiscated by emigration.
E: I see
P: Then after series of events trying to get the goods back. The first request was for living expenses because his credit card supposedly didn’t work in Malaysia. So, the first request for money was round about $600. And, even though it felt wrong to me, I went ahead and I did that transfer. And that was the first transfer I made to Malaysia. It was probably the beginning of a series of events that lead me on an incredible fantasy journey that ended up relieving me off a large sum of money, in the end.
The second request came to get the goods out of emigration and then after that money was sent, which was quite sizable sum. The next amount of money was then because the goods then went to the head man of emigration. So, there was another large amount of money required, there. Then at that time the money was supposed to be deposited back to me. However, it never happened because the bank was funny about the amount of money. So, the next step was that we would send it by diplomatic courier. So, the diplomatic courier then delivered this supposed consignment of money. It was very professional and I, I couldn’t pick that it was fake. It had its own tracking menu. It had tracking sheets that I could access. However, then the money went to the courier company which then supposedly, the money then went to the Kuala Lumbar Airport where it was held up because, we then required an exit clearance fee.
E: Oh right. And a large one.
P: That was a large one. That was around about $25000. So, after that amount of money was paid, I was then told that to make it completely safe to come back here, we would then require a Diplomatic Red Stamp. So that was another amount of money, of course.
And, all the while now, I was starting to be very concerned about this consignment in that he had sent me an application form from Malaysian internal affairs that he had filled out with the address listed as the address of my business. And by that time I was so far in that it was very hard to get out because in my mind I had a consignment of money siting at Kuala Lumbar Airport that was listing me as a recipient. However, there was no consignment as we found out in the end.
But, it then sort of led into a Red Stamp situation where that was more money. So, then, finally, the money was acquired to get this Red Stamp and the consignment supposedly was on its way to Australia. And then I had a tracking sheet telling me that the consignment was in New Zealand and then there was another tacking sheet to tell me it was now at the Melbourne Airport.
At the same time, I got a SMS message from supposed diplomat with an Australian phone number, telling me that the consignment had now been held up at the Melbourne Airport and required an entry clearance fee of another $25000. So, at this stage, I guess, I was still believing that this was a reality, though I was starting to think: ‘OMG, so many stories. How can there be so many dramas?’ And you know, money was getting harder to get, by this stage.
E: And what was the thing that tipped it over?
P: The tipping it over in terms of me realising that I’d been scammed?
P: Well. I got the entry clearance money together. That week my scammer was supposed to be coming back here. We were also supposed to be doing Skype that week. And he was supposed to be picking up the entry clearance money from the bank that morning, to deliver it to the courier company and book his flights. End of story.
P: Well, of course that never happened. And I got a phone call at work, on that Monday afternoon and I had a rather, shall we say, unpleasant… He was an Asian man. And, he then said to me that my scammer had been involved in a very serious car accident with his lawyer.
P: Of course, the lawyer was the main player in this scam all the time. The lawyer was the one that he dealt with emigration. The lawyer was the one, whose bank account I was supposed to be paying into. At the end it did appear that the lawyer was a Malaysian woman who worked with telecommunications. And, that was what I found, when I Googled that name which was a very unusual name.
Anyway, he was supposed to be in a critical condition. And all the while I was then getting emails from a so called Wellness Clinic. And being that I have a background in Medical Science, I started to sort of think to myself that if you are in a critical car accident, you are going to be in intensive care in a major hospital in Kuala Lumbar and I would not be getting an email from a wellness medical clinic with an Outlook email address. So, my son actually alerted me. He said: ‘Mom, there is no Wellness Medical Clinic in Kuala Lumbar.’ And he directed me to an embassy sight: US Embassy in Malaysia. And so, I went there and had a look and OMG, there was my story.
P: You know. Almost. It was business man working overseas. He was a widowe. Scammers have incredibly bad luck.
E: I just wanted to ask you what really tipped you over. We counted now about nine different kinds of scams, which were one after the other, which your scammer, you know, tried on you and actually was quite successful. So, what was the tenth one that actually tipped it over?
P: It was the car accident. It was just one too many stories and I had read about people getting scammed because of accidents occurring and because of medical reasons. So, that really rang a bell for me. I wasn’t so savvy about the courier company and consignment and the confiscation of goods by emigration. I really was unaware of those kinds of scams but I had heard about the medical. And I used to keep thinking to myself, ‘well I haven’t had medical issue yet. So, when that happened, it just rang a huge bell with me. At that moment when I got that phone call from the Wellness Clinic, so called, I thought: ‘well, he is going to be in the major hospital, anyway. I would have a doctor phoning me.’
P: I wouldn’t have some incognito person giving me a ring. And, at that moment, I just kind of. I think, my heart just dropped to my shoes and I just though ‘OMG, I’ve been scammed’.
E: Yeah and by the time you counted the money, you had nearly lost a six figure sum, already.
E: So, it is quite a wakeup call. Is it?
P: It was a wakeup call. It was like. Actually, for the day. I couldn’t even finish my day at work. I was just OMG, you know.
E: Hmm. You also said you confronted your scammer?
P: Yeah, I did.
After the accident. You know the scam didn’t end there, because then they did try and hit me up for medical expenses. And by that time, wow, I was just out of money. So, then whilst he was supposedly in hospital, I then got hit up by the courier company for another $25000 for the entry fee which I refused to pay. They had then threatened they were going to hand the consignment into the Australian authorities.
And, I end up getting legal advice on that actually. My lawyer told me that I’d been scammed and there was no consignment, so ‘don’t pay any more money’.
E: Yeah, it’s quite interesting how long time. it went on for a quite a long time, six months you say?
P: Yeah, six to eight months
E: Now, what I am very interested of course is the romancing. You said before that you liked my book because it was positive and I remember that because my son told me that, you know, ‘block him out, do all that, but remember the romancing’ and it was such a wonderful high. And I’ve heard you talking about it, too. And I think that we have there the common link that how on earth, you know, it is possible for a scammer to just crab your brain so much. So, what were your feelings about that?
P: I think that he groomed me very well. He found out as much as he could about me. I was at the time of my life where I was probably missing something in my life. And I was working very long hours. So, I didn’t really get out and about and socialise a lot. And, I’d never really gone online for anything like that and so. It sort of happened by accident in my life, really. It had its positives and negatives and I think that the thing I will say is that he was very polished. He was very educated man. He was incredible good with his grooming and his romancing. And he, I guess they tell you what you want to hear.
E: It hit every nerve?
P: It did and as you have said it in your book that it releases endorphins in your brain and they are basically the feel good hormones. And I think, for couple of months, until the money issue became a big issue for me. For the first few months of the scam, it became almost like an addiction.
P: His words of love. The beautiful music he would send, the poetry he would send. He really awakened a side of my personality that I had thought had died.
E: Yeah, I think that there is quite a lot of women who feel the same. This is what I would also say, that it woke up me into this world and I suddenly realised how strong this kind of thing is when you are getting your hormones and you are getting this high. And it is very much like a romance books. When you now read what he said, do you think that it is very much like from a romance book you read before?
P: Oh yes. When I do read back over it, I sometimes think: ‘OMG. How on earth did you ever get to the point that you did with this, because?’ But then when I read back over it and I think, well, he just made me feel like I was the most precious thing, ever.
E: Yes, I read some of the text messages what you got and I must say that, you know, they are very nice and very polished. And I would, even as, like an outsider, when I would read, I would like: ‘oooh, aah’. ‘That’s what he said to you’. That is true. I also had some of the very similar, like you know: ‘I never find anyone like you. You are the best and I love you so much’. And this was like you know, again and again and again in the text messages. And you had lots of emails. Oh no, no, they were not emails, they were on Facebook
P: I had and incredible amount of time put out for me. I wasn’t and easy snare, to be honest. I questioned everything. All the time. And he would come back with this incredible romancing and of course. When the money was there, the romancing would just become more and more intense.
E: Of course
P: There would be more music sent and more poetry sent and more dialog. And sometimes he would then want to be online with me, you know, not just once a day but twice a day.
E: Yes, to make sure that everything went well. Did you have some mess ups with sending things, like I did?
P: Initially, the bank security phoned me and more or less asked me how I had met this man, because it was out of character with my banking history, to be sending money overseas. And, they actually did say to me that they were problems with sending money to Malaysia and that they actually thought that I was being scammed. And I chose to ignore their warnings.
And the interesting thing was that right through the middle of it all, where the amounts were much higher that I was sending. They didn’t really question those. But they questioned the very first transfer and the last one. And they phoned me twice over the last one and said: ‘are you definitely sure you want to send this money and I said: ‘yes’. And, you know, even at that time, I was kind of starting to feel that things weren’t right.
E: Yes, I understand completely. But then he has tried to come back again. A few times and more romancing.
P: The downpour of romance, and songs and the poetry was intensified on the second round. And, it was, I guess, because I haven’t taken a bait this time.
I hadn’t heard of him. He just fell off the side of the cliff, if you like and I was just left dangling there without the ledge to stand on. The phone number I’d been using in Malaysia was no longer working. The contact through Facebook stopped and virtually I did send him an email, at that stage, telling him that I knew he scammed me. And, I knew it didn’t bunch because it didn’t come back. So, I pretty much just sort of thought: ‘Well, I made a mistake. I financially almost kind of ruined myself’. Though I did keep my head to a degree with that and I didn’t let him take everything from me.
P: But, he took enough to put me in dire straits for a short period of time. And I was lucky because I did have support systems around me that sort of helped me to get through that time, because it was a pretty devastating time for me. And, all of a sudden, it was like a withdrawal from all, because he just disappeared.
E: Yes, and then he comes back and asked for more.
P: The first real contact that I had back with him was about four weeks later. And I had a message sent to me: ‘Hello honey. It’s not what you think.’
So, then he followed through with that story. He always built a story out of a story. And he was so good at doing that. The next story was that he had been contacted by the FBI that I was quite correct in assuming that the courier company was fake and crooked. That the FBI had confiscated the consignment.
E: This was, like, also in the end, there was an identity theft with the FBI. That’s right? They wanted to have your IDs and even your passport?
E: How about recovery, then? What kind of recovery strategy you have now? Because, now, you are now at the stage where you know it is a scam but you are still a little bit into it. He is trying to get back to you and trying to involve your brain and your emotions into it. So, what know of recovery strategy are you thinking to do now?
P: Well, I have had to learn that I have to completely block everything, to do with him. So that I will then not have any contact whatsoever. Or he cannot contact me. And once I’ve actually achieved that goal, then, I will be able to move forwards a lot better, I Think, in my life. I’ve been very lucky with my recovery because I do have a business and my work that I really enjoy doing. And I do get to talk to people all the time, every day. So, I do have social contact there. And, I also have a number of different projects that I’d like to pursue.
E: I know that for me, writing my book distanced myself from the scammer and I had something else to think about and then, in that way I sort of lost the contact. And even the will to in any way be interested in him. And you have lots of lovely things happening.
P: Yes, and I think that the will to be interested does go at the time when you discover that you’ve been scammed, because it is such a huge betrayal of the trust. But on the other hand, as we talked about before, it is a type of addiction that you have. And so, you really need to fill that void.
E: That’s right. And you do have background in this.
P: You need to fill that with something different in your life. And for me, it’s opened up a whole lot of new direction for me that I could follow. And that’s been a really positive thing for me as well. So, I have managed to put together a tribute in the art gallery here for my mother’s talents as a dress designer in the 1940s and that’s something that I have wanted to do since she in 1999. So, that did occupy a lot of my time
E: Yes, and lots of possibilities there, too. I’ve seen the designs and they are fabulous.
P: There’s a lots of opportunities there to market these things in very productive fashion. And then, of course, I would really like to write a book on the experience but it is going to take some time. And I need to be a little bit distanced from it to really I think write it in a way that really is going to be appropriate.
E: Yes, you can join in our conversation in Happy Ending on how to rewrite your story which we are going to start here and have even eCourses and stuff like that, which are like according to what I had. What was my strategy in my book. You are very welcome to be part of that.
P: Yeah. I do find that it’s a bit raw now still. To go back and read over the dialog and think: ‘OMG and think: how did you ever? What were you thinking?’
E: What were you thinking? What did you have in mind? How did you imagined your happy ending would be?
P: My happy ending was. I guess. I’d had found this most wonderful man, who was going to be my soulmate forever and that we walk off into the sunset together.
E: Yeah, like today.
P: Which, of course, is not reality based. Real life is not full of romancing and fantasy journeys, is it?
E: No, it’s not a romance book. I think that romance books are a real exaggeration but they do get your brain and they get your endorphins going. So, at least some of that should be. We should be able to have right in our lives, I recon. Yeah, so, hopefully, we’ll find the new somebody who would be.
P: Yeah. Hopefully, you never know what’s round the corner. And, I guess, maybe there is, sort of, you know, someone out there, that I’ve yet to find.
E: Well, thank you very much for coming and thank you very much for talking to me.
P: Yeah. Thank You.
E: (to the audience) You’ve been watching the Love on the Line TV Conversations special edition with Elina Juusola and Patricia Meister. And this is in Bundaberg. Please subscribe so that you won’t miss any other of our conversation. And have a wonderful week. Thank you so much for listening and watching.
Both: Thank You J