Valley Seniors targeted in dating scam
For a successful career woman like Jae, there is little time to date. But, she says that changed when she joined the dating site Senior People Meet, where she met Allan Dyer. The connection was instant, she said. The handsome, widowed father of two opened up online and Jae was smitten.
"He sent me pictures of his mother, his daughters," said Jae, who lives in the Valley and asked we not use her real name.
The virtual relationship developed quickly with tender e-mails and love notes. The couple talked on the phone, texted and exchanged e-mails daily.
"There were thousands of texts, e-mails, phone calls, every day," Jae explained.
That took place over three months, and the two still had never actually met in person.
"It was decided he would come here to the Valley. And it was at about that point that he was to come here and we were to meet each other, his mother had a heart attack and he had to go to England to be with her," she said.
Jae said that as soon as Dyer's mother recovered, instead of coming to the Valley, he flew straight to Africa. He had told her he was setting up retail stores and would be gone about three months.
Then, Dyer's requests for money started.
"He arrived and contacted me and he was a little panicky," said Jae. "He said, 'It's an underdeveloped country. The arrangements I made to use my credit cards are not going to work. And I have about $200,000 worth of equipment at the dock.'"
Jae was reluctant at first to send money.
"It was this real desperation," Jae said. "And, of course, it was always about us and our future."
It was that future together that she had come to dream about, so she doled out the cash. She wouldn't say exactly how much, but she said it was more than $50,000 over the course of three months.
Jae said authorities are now investigating the possible scam.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the Valley, another senior who had used Senior People Meet was becoming suspicious of her suitors.
"I was reading the profiles and in some of the responses, it was almost as if the same person were writing them." said the feisty senior who asked that we call her only Laural. "The wording was almost the same. They all seemed to be widowed, have a young child or teenage child they were raising and their wife had been tragically killed."
Laural -- being the suspicious type she is -- contacted the website.
"I took the names of all the people I had printed out that I was suspicious of, and I wrote to the company on the e-mail address on the site and told them something was not right," Laural said. "These people were either fishing or possibly thinking about making a scam."
But the form response she got from the website was very similar to the form response Jae got after she contacted the online dating site.
"Be a little detective," Laural said. "Who's to say you're not going to meet the love of your life, but make darn sure it's an honest person."
Anyone with information about the person who referred to as Allan Dyer or who recognizes any of the pictures in the accompanying slide show is asked to email reporter Tammy Leitner.
Copyright 2011 by KPHO.com. All rights reserved.