Friday, October 21, 2011

Scammer Michael Dami Brown

I have just been scammed. Am so embarrassed and feel so foolish but want to share my story with your readers so they are not scammed too!


The name he gives is Michael Dami Brown, from Mechanicsville Virginia. Email is Gives US number as 804- 442-6221 ( when I called, it has fast busy tone or get recording saying number not available right now. When I tried to call via Skype credit, it kept saying the number not available. I just assumed it was a fault at my end). He’s supposably 46 years old widower that only now has the courage to get on with his life. He’s a petroleum engineer with 14 year old daughter Sandra who lives in the UK ( London, or Scotland) with maternal grandma since wife died 5 years previously. He says he visits her every 2 months( appearance of jet setting lifestyle). Says has 2 cars, a Chevrolet Cruz and Honda Pilot( both of which are newer release models within last few years).
He is working on a contract that takes him to UK after which he was going to bring Sandra to come visit me ( I live in Asia). While there, he gives number as +44 7045720390. ( NB +44 is UK country code, but ‘70’ is a personal number which can be redirected to another number even outside country, calls to this number are very expensive, whereas the redirected calls are cheaper and service provider pockets the difference. I have lost USD55 because of one 20 minute call!). He says can’t fulfil the contract as the terms are no good and has to go to Nigeria to get the oil at the prices he wants. And he mentions that he is concerned re the security there and has to hire security for the week – any bet, that he is going to email me telling me he has been robbed, or having trouble accessing his money to pay for security? Something that involves either me sending him money, or cashing a legitimate check for him that was scammed off someone else. This is the final red flag for me. I have blacklisted his email address from my account, though he still has my gmail account details- I want to see what story he spins next. I feel like I’ve been emotionally assaulted but am grateful that I am not in love with him (I have to thank my God and Saviour Jesus for protecting my heart, there was something stopping me from falling in love with this guy). Now I just feel a bit stupid and foolish for not heeding the red flags sooner.

I paid for a profile on a matrimonial website ( although one can also have a free profile) and he sent an expression of interest. His profile didn’t have photo. I accepted interest as we seemed to have a lot of similarities from the profile and I gave him my gmail account address ( not my regular account). He sent me 2 photos – one a close up and one a full length shot with his first email. The photos didn’t look like models or were unnaturally posed but could well have been downloaded off someone’s social networking profile? I’ve included them below as well as a photo he sent me several days later.

Two discrepancies that I ignored to my peril:
1) 1. He said he had been ‘widowed’ for a couple of years and then in a later email said his wife died 5 years ago ( and I didn’t want to ask details via email, trying to be sensitive, silly me)
2) 2. He told me his daughter is currently living with her grandma from her mother’s end in London because she was asking a lot of questions and needed a mother’s advice. He said he went to visit her every 2 months. But in a more recent email, he tells me he is in Scotland to execute a contract. And that he was spending the weekend with his daughter in Aberdeen.
These discrepancies weren’t obvious to me at the time, only now as I reread his emails.
I asked him to Skype me and he said he wasn’t good at online things and could we just chat on Yahoo Live Chat instead ( another red flag – if he knows how to download and install Yahoo Chat, it’s just as easy to install Skype! And he was obviously savvy enough to get a profile online on the matrimonial website)
After about 3 emails, we had a Yahoo Live Chat conversation ( or attempted one anyway). The line was very bad so we ended up IM’ing most of the time though I did get to exchange a few words with him ( he had a credible American accent, I work with a bunch of Americans and I was fooled). It was during our 2nd IM conversation that he said he was definitely planning to come to where I live ( across the other side of the world) to see me. And he wanted to bring his daughter too. He said he was trying to get a contract finalised for the UK, then he would go over there to execute the contract then fly over to see me. Of course I was very flattered that he would spend all that money to come visit me so I think I was willing to overlook certain things.
By the end of the first week I had trusted him enough to give him my regular email account to email me ( moved off gmail)!
By the end of 2 weeks ( about 8 emails later) he was professing his undying love to me ( we hadn’t even really spoken to each other beyond a few words at this stage). I was wondering why he was thanking me for ‘shining the light of love on me’. I had never told him I loved him and it seemed that he had developed these feelings of love very quickly and also assumed I was in love with him when I never told him that.
Then a few days later he writes this email below which I am reprinting here to make it searchable for the future ( in response to one I had written saying I couldn’t reach him on the US number he had given as kept getting a message ‘this number is not available’, he didn’t actually respond to that). I have blanked out my first name below but he was writing to me as if I had his surname. I did ask him what his middle name was and what kind of car he drove and he answered those questions. If you Google Michael Dami Brown, you get a hit for Michael Dami Adegbuji on Facebook, a Nigerian man – red alert warnings right? BUT at this point I had only googled ‘Michael Brown Mechanicsville VA’ and while there was a few Michael Browns in the area ( incl one who was 60 and married), none were ‘my’ Michael. And the phone number seemed legit ( the area code was definitely for Mechanicsville VA). I even paid 10 euros on my credit card to buy 400 minutes of Skype Credit so I could call that landline phone using Skype – but Skype always said ‘the number is not currently available’ and I assumed it was a problem my end ( I didn’t even think to try calling any other US phone number just to see if it worked).

Hello xxx Brown,
How are you doing? Sorry i wasn't able to write you any sooner my love, been tripple busy honey. Hope everything is fine. Glad you are having a wonderful time there. My sunshine and my love, you are everything i dreamed of, you take my breathe away. My middle name is Dami, and i have 2 cars, a honda pilot and a Chevrolet Cruz.
Well I have been thinking about you all day and that has filled my face with smiles. Ever since I met you there has been no trace or doubt of feeling blue, rather it has been rejoicing and celebration all the time. Really we do learn everyday because love is a learning process and I have learnt a lot since you came into my life.
There were times i thought i could never fall in love again but you made me fall in love with you and not just that you offered a love that was true. My soul feels glad today because i have you, the feeling is so sweet because it is. I think my search is done and I dont have to look in the deepest corners or edges for love because you have given it to me. You have cleared the black clouds in my life and lightened up the darkness.
Even if I am not right there with you now , I want you to know you have my heart and it will always be yours. This is the moment I have long awaited in my life, the chance to fall in love again and I have it. It feels like I saw the vision . I am glad I found you.
Your heat will always be my resting place because I find comfort and peace in you. Nothing can hold me back from loving you, you are and will always be the angel in my head.
It felt like light shone on me when I thought about you today, there was a glow on my entire body and i could feel it , it was a bright light of your love make me glitter all over. I sat in a corner waiting patiently waiting on heaven to send me angel that would meet my heart desires and there you were, you showed up right in front of me as the answers to my prayers and made me quit my search. What good would it do to a man looking for silver when he has gold.
Now you have set a sweet sail on my heart and made my soul come afloat on a river of love. Though the tides keep rolling and the whirld winds blow my love for you will not change. I would do any thing just to see that my smile on your face because you have given me sweet love and fun all in one. I wonder who said love sucks, bring that person to me I will
give him/her a big knock on the head to get his/her mind right. Honey, please feel free to ask me anything. I'm all yours and yours alone

At this point ( reading about the ‘ bright light of your love make me glitter all over’ I was a bit concerned that Michael was getting a bit carried away as I had not professed my love to him. Also at this point, I felt that he might be in love with love or with the idea of who I was rather than the reality of me. SO I did warn him that I was only human and not to put me on a pedestal.
Perhaps warning bells should have gone off here. No one falls in love within 2 weeks to someone they never even met, and with whom they had only exchanged about 6 words during some attempted phone calls. When we tried Yahoo Live Chat, the voice quality was so poor that I suggested that we don’t use video for that call because it would compromise the quality even more ( I bet he was rejoicing that he got out of making an excuse why video wouldn’t work).
I was rationalising to myself that as a 46 year old widower, he knew what he wanted in a wife and therefore there was no reason to delay the inevitable. I know that after many failed relationships, I knew what I wanted in a man and in a relationship and Michael seemed to fill that criteria.
The weird thing is that 2 weeks after we ‘met’, a pastor from a church in Mechanicsville VA visited my church (I am on the other side of the world in the Asia Pacific region!) on the invitation of some friends from my church who had met him in Richmond VA while travelling there. It seemed such a co-incidence that I would be meeting someone from Michael’s hometown, though not from his church. I remarked on it in several emails that I was going to be attending a concert given by this pastor but he never responded to that comment or asked me how it went.
By this time I had told about 15 friends about Michael. One close friend was initially sceptical about the speed but in the end trusted my judgement. My other friends told me to guard my heart but were overall pretty pleased that I seemed to have found someone who was so enamoured of me that they were willing to overlook any discrepancies or at least rationalise it away like I did.
I think the overriding factor was that he has said that he would be coming for a visit within the next month. So we were just going to wait til we met him face to face to ask a bunch of questions and suss him out.
One thing I was hesitant about was that he said he was a member of AoG church and I had heard some things about what they believe which I didn’t think was Biblically based. ( Michael and I established we were both church attending Bible believing Christians.) Anyway I emailed him about it because I wanted to clarify that before he came over. He then emailed back and asked me to call him in Glasgow where he has just arrived. The phone number +44 704 572 0390. I NOW know after all my reading on another site that while 44 is definitely UK country code, the 70 prefix indicates a ‘personal number’ and is often redirected to a different number which could be outside the UK ( like in Africa!). Anyway I called him ( from a hotel phone as I happened to be staying in a hotel that week for a conference) and the 20 minute call cost me over US50!!!

I just assumed it was the hotel overcharging but now realise that the service provider probably charged high rates to the caller but the redirected number would have been cheaper and they pocket the difference. I realised that he was just echoing my opinion ( so it appeared we had no theological conflict) and I even asked him to pray for us which he did first, but the words resonated/were similar to something I had written in the past in an email to him). And he even had an American accent. Though I have many American friends and I even know what some Virginians sound like, I assumed Michael’s accent was just a variation of the southern accent. He was certainly charming and a smooth talker.
I am just grateful that while I was googling something a few days later, I came across a website on Nigerian dating scams. It made me sick to the stomach to think that I might have been scammed ( though I hadn’t really lost any money at that point except for that one phone call). What was worse is that Michael has photos of me outside my house and on the beach which I sent him ( and which could well be used to scam men, just as the photos I had received were obviously of some poor man whose photo had been used for these purposes).
I called ‘Michael’ again on Thursday( this time from my cell phone using VoIP and it was a short call) and asked him to Skype me on the weekend. I said I had some very important things to talk with him before he came over the following weekend (according to his proposed plans). He said he was very busy that weekend and all I said was that if he loved me, he would make it a point of finding time to download Skype, register as a user then to organise a time to Skype me.
As I had friended on FB that pastor from Mechanicsville, I sent him a message on Thursday and asked him to investigate based on what I thought I knew about Michael, and also gave him the phone number. The pastor reported that the phone number was giving a fast busy signal which might indicate a non operational number and that his level of sceptism just went up a notch, as did mine! I wonder if Michael realises by now( if he actually bothered to read all my emails) that I actually have a contact in Mechanicsville Va who can do some background checks.
Today I actually googled ‘dating scam michael brown’ and came across a site full of scams, many different photos, similar stories. Of course it all makes sense now.

On Saturday afternoon ( my time) he emails me ( I didn’t read this email til Sunday morning) to advise that he couldn’t get the contract prices he wanted and was recommended to travel to NIGERIA to get the oil. This was my final and very loud warning bell. I was immediately suspicious because of all the email bank account fraud involving Nigeria from many years ago. He says that he will finalise everything in 1 week and come to visit me, bringing ‘our baby Sandra’. But he also says he is concerned about the security over there and has to hire security – which sounds to me like he is setting the scene so that he can later claim he was robbed maybe or have some other disaster befall him where he will need me to send him money or have me cash a check for him ( legitimate check scammed from someone else).
I am thankful that since this all started I have really felt God working on protecting my heart and reminding me that only He is my true Beloved and to not get too distracted by a future with Michael. I have been flattered by Michael’s attentions and the idea that this successful jet setting engineer wanted me for his wife ( and that his daughter was willing to accept me too- according to him – I had never had any contact with her in any form). BUT I was also waiting til he got here and actually proposed with a ring, before I started planning a wedding. And although I said ‘I love you’ on a couple of emails, I was really only responding to his declarations of love because really I didn’t know this man well enough to be in love with him. And the handsome face and toned body I am smitten with is someone I don’t even know. The words sound formulaic now and as if it’s from a website of love letter samples.
I am totally embarrassed to have been taken in like this. I can only be grateful that he hadn’t yet asked for money and that I hadn’t yet lost my heart to him. I want to write and record this because I want it to be known so that other women don’t fall prey to him in the future.

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