Recently Tristar was hired by a woman entering her senior years who was looking for love on a popular online dating service. She was contacted by a man who said he was from South Carolina and was traveling on business in Africa and was expecting to return soon. They struck up a friendship online that seemed to be going well. Although they had not spoken by phone, he said all the right things in his emails and she was thinking she had found a really special person.

After a few weeks the man emailed saying he had been robbed in Nigeria and needed money to return to the States. He requested that she wire him several thousand dollars. She was suspicious, so she asked him to give her information confirming his identity, which he provided to her. He told her he lived in South Carolina, provided his home address, gave her the name of his business and even provided her with some information about some property that he owned in California.

The woman did a little checking on her own and the information seemed to check out. However since she had never spoken to him, she was a little reluctant and it was at this point that she contacted Tristar. She told us all the facts, including that it involved a man in Nigeria. We told her that was almost certainly a scam and advised her to stop all communication. However she was so sure that this was the real thing she insisted that we conduct an investigation into the man from South Carolina.

We agreed to take the case but insisted that she not do anything until she actually had a conversation with the man and until we had conducted some inquiries. Our background investigation revealed that there was such a man in South Carolina and that he had owned the business he referred to at one time. However the real property information in California did not check out. We continued research and attempted to determine where the individual currently was.

In the mean time after her insistence, the client received a call from the man in Nigeria. It turned out he spoke very little English and could only talk to her for three minutes. Incredibly the client was still not convinced that he was a fraud and pressed us to keep up our efforts. Eventually we were able to determine that the man in South Carolina actually had his identity stolen by a Nigerian scam artist.

We relayed the information to the client who really couldn’t believe she was being scammed. She reluctantly agreed to break off all communication with the man. A short time after she did so she received a call from a florist who told her that someone from Nigeria had tried to buy flowers for her with a fraudulent credit card. She was told the Nigeria had also tried to buy flowers for four other women. Incredibly the notes on the cards with the flowers were the same for all the women. It was only at this point that the client finally became convinced that she had been a victim of a Nigerian scam!

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Bruce Robertson

Bruce Robertson is a private investigator and founder of Tristar Investigation, California’s premiere detective agency. Bruce is also a media commentator for the investigation industry, featured in the New York Times, CNN, History Channel, MSNBC, Los Angeles Times and many more. You can find him on Google+ LinkedIn and YouTube.