Up close to a flimflam man

They are out there. We know it. We hope we will be lucky enough to avoid them. But sometimes they come into our lives.

I encountered one up close last night. I met him online. Before you launch into “This is why dating sites are so dangerous,” I’ve met nearly 100 men this way and he’s the first that I’ve discovered has a history of scamming others.

His profile title is “Obama Senior Advisor Seeks Amazing Woman.” Who wouldn’t be drawn to that? Evidently, that’s part of his scheme. We talked by phone a few times and set a time to meet.

At dinner he was intelligent, charming, and conversant in Obama’s policies. He wasn’t much to look at so he apparently depends on his words to attract people. He sprinkled the conversation with “You’re beautiful,” “I want to take you to Prague, the most romantic city in the world,” “I want you to meet my son,” and other signs of intended long-term interest. He even said, “I’d love to take you to the White House for lunch. Would you like to meet the president?”

Listening with a jaded ear not getting sucked in, I knew enough to need corroborating evidence before I believed this possible, but far-fetched story. There were inconsistencies — including how would this frumpily dressed man fit in with a world-class team? But I had no idea his stories were more than just a man trying to make a favorable first impression. It was the beginning of a grifter’s wooing to extract funds from women.

I learned the truth by Googling him once I returned home, armed with his whole name — which I learned is an alias. I found several pages chocked full of complaints from both men and women stating he was a liar, manipulator, swindler, convicted fraud and scam artist, and has a practice of paying for business dealings by checks from closed accounts. He’d been fired from a number of jobs for fraud making stupid mistakes that made it easy to uncover his deception.

How do I know he’s using an alias? The complaint page included his alias and disclosed his real name with a link to a social networking site where he posted the same picture as his online profile.

But it gets worse. He is also accused of grabbing female members of a social group in a predatory fashion, which caused him to be expelled, and of aggravated sexual harassment.

Here are some of his typical lies:

  • He’s a cancer survivor (the cancer changes with the story)
  • Wife died of cancer 2 years ago
  • Is one of President Obama’s 5 inauguration speech writers, and was on staff for 2 years in the campaign and is still on staff
  • Was on the faculty at several colleges in Chicago and Boulder
  • Was an executive for the largest PR firm in the country
  • Is courted by top politicians to write speeches and create strategy for them
  • Is a film and art columnist so gets tickets to opening nights
  • Is the author of a forthcoming book

How do you protect yourself from a smooth-talking sociopath? It’s common sense that we sometimes don’t heed when faced with a practiced scammer:

  • Listen to uncommon stories with skepticism. Not that people can’t accomplish amazing things, but verify from independent sources before believing them.
  • Don’t fall easily for early sweet talking. If you haven’t heard it in a while, “You’re beautiful,” “I’m falling in like already,” “I’d love to see you again” are alluring. However, if said too often too early, they are signs that something is amiss as he barely knows you.
  • Guard your privacy, not giving much personal information about where you live, if you own or rent, or your financial situation.
  • Google him using various pieces of information he told you in case he’s using an alias.

Will you be able to avoid all scammers? No. but these tips will help you uncover some early. Try to balance healthy skepticism with being open. I know it’s hard, but there are people who have done amazing things. But don’t believe their stories until you’ve verified them from other sources.


Check HIm OutFor more ideas on how to find out about men before getting attached, download your copy of Check Him Out Before Going Out: Head Off Dud Dates.


6 responses to “Up close to a flimflam man”

  1. nysharon Avatar

    Maybe we should be getting full names before we meet them. This is creepy.

  2. Emily Booth Avatar
    Emily Booth

    I once received an email from a man at a dating website from his personal email address. The man’s email address contained his real name so I looked him up. He was a sex offender. His photo at the dating website was small and taken from a distance, no close up.

  3. Emily Booth Avatar
    Emily Booth

    Did the guy hit you up for $$?

  4. Dating Goddess Avatar

    Emily: No, he didn’t ask me for money. I’m now glad I didn’t offer to pay something for the bill as I often do on a first date — as he probably would have taken me up on it! He paid with cash, and now i’m wondering if it’s because he can’t qualify for a credit card or he was afraid the waiter would call him “Mr. (his real last nema)” from the credit card.

    Sharon: I thought I had his name from the fist time we talked so I Googled what I heard. But it was different than his alias name so now I’m thinking I either it wrong or he gave it to me wrong. I probably could have found him if I’d searched “Obama speechwriter” and his city. It shows that we have to be cautious in our quest for love.

  5. HackinBoo Avatar

    But he does sound like he could win a Tall Tales contest! Maybe he’s really from Bolder. I can believe he’s from Chicago. After all, it’s the Windy CIty. Sounds like he was blowing lots of smoke.

    Goddess, should men be weary of the female equivalent? What might she sound like? I knew a woman who could quote many book titles but seemed clueless about their contents. More a Ms. Superficiality. And another who told lots of white lies to others (and herself) but not BHALs.

  6. Dating Goddess Avatar


    I think both genders need to just listen for stuff that may sound over the top and not believe it until you have more evidence.

    I have friends who’ve done amazing things — Olympic athletes, scaled Mt. Everest, CEOs of major corporations — so there are high achievers out there. But in their personal lives, that’s not the first thing to come out of their mouth. In fact, you would never know from them that they had accomplished great things.

    So just proceed with caution and wait until their friends or coworkers can offer a different perspective.