Beware of online dating scams - Local news, weather, sports Savannah | WSAV On Your Side

Beware of online dating scams

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DUNEDIN, FL -

If you are looking for love, there are a lot of different dating Website's where you can post your profile.  However, not everyone on those sites is being honest.

49 year old Mary Bruck of Dunedin had done some on line dating before and had success.  This time she decided to try the religion-based website www.ChristianMingle.com.  Bruck says: "God is a big part of my life, so I' de rather try someone who is more interested in religion and God and following God's laws, so I tried that one."

It didn't take long for Bruck to start conversing with a man who identified himself as Jack Donald Taylor.  They first chatted through the Christian Mingle website and then started talking by phone five or six times a day.

Bruck says Taylor spoke with an accent and told her he was from Denmark but had lived in the United States for 37 years.  Taylor told her he was currently working out of the country on an oil rig off of Scotland as an Engineer.

About a month into their whirlwind online romance Bruck says there was no question about where things were headed.  They were going to get married.  Which is why Bruck didn't flinch when Taylor asked to borrow some money.  "It was $2,000 which I didn't think was any big deal. Here's where the red flag should have come up, I went to Western Union, they wouldn't do it."

So, Taylor asked Bruck to instead deposit the money in his secretary's account.  This was a pattern that would repeat until Bruck had loaned Taylor a total of $23,000 dollars over a one month period.  Money she had recently inherited after her father died.

Taylor said he needed to borrow money from Bruck to transfer his own inheritance to her.  Which he claimed was $4.5 million pounds or roughly $7 million dollars.

According to the documents Taylor provided, a non-citizen tax fee of $15,000 dollars would enable the British government to unhold the transaction and allow Bruck access to the large sum of money.

The documents, however, were riddled with spelling and grammatical errors, which, perhaps should have been another red flag for Bruck.

But Bruck says she never got suspicious. She didn't second guess herself until Taylor stood her up, not once but twice, at Tampa International Airport Easter weekend. "I went there and I waited and I waited and the flight came in and I waited and I waited and I waited. Then, on the ride home, I called him and he didn't answer and I never heard from him again."

Bruck filed a report with the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office and also contacted Eight on Your Side.  "I want some justice.  It's embarrassing to be on TV showing my face, telling people I'm so stupid that I gave this money out. In the same regard, I hope somebody doesn't get caught up like I did."

Christian Mingle.com released this statement: "The safety and security of our members is our top priority and we take any reported concerns from our users very seriously. We have extensive safeguards in place to protect members, identify questionable profiles and eliminate attempted fraudulent activity within our communities. In addition to our proprietary, automated tools, we have experts manually review all profile content and photos to ensure the highest possible level of safety and privacy for our communities."

"We also require all new members who join ChristianMingle to pledge not to send money to anyone they meet online. If members notice any red flags, we ask them to report their concerns to our Customer Care team immediately."

 

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