DALLAS -- Emily Thompson was enamored with the soldier she met on the dating site Match.com in March.
"I definitely was falling in love," she said.
But it all fell apart when the Dallas businesswoman learned their love was a scam that cost her more than $130,000.
His name, on the profile, was Robert Parker. Tuesday, we heard from two more North Texas women who also texted with him.
"I was shocked," said one woman, after she saw our first story on the scam Monday night. "I’d been sent the same pictures that she had been sent."
But Parker is not real, as they discovered that when he started asking for money.
But the man in the photos is real, and he's a victim too.
"I’m trying my best to live a nice average normal suburban life," he told us via Skype from his home on Tuesday.
He’s an Army reservist living in Illinois, whose name we’re not sharing since his family has sacrificed enough of its privacy over the last few years.
"The pictures came from Afghanistan in 2011 and 2012," he said. "Our battalion created a Facebook page to let our family and friends up to date with what we’re doing, where we’re at."
He says someone saved them and keeps using them on several dating sites. He hears from a scorned fake lover every two to three months. It should be a surprise that it puts stress on his family.
"When, you know, a wife gets text messages or Facebook messages from a random woman saying 'I saw this on Match.com... those are definitely the most rough," he said.
He says he’s contacted police and the dating sites, but for every profile taken down, there’s another that pops up. So he’s asking daters to ignore him, if you see him.
"You need to know that if you get contacted, and it seems fishy, it probably is," he said.
It’ll make for one less heart he’ll have broken, without even knowing.
We reached out to Match.com for a statement regarding these stories and fighting fraud. They sent WFAA this statement:
We are deeply saddened to hear about these crimes, and our thoughts go out to the victims.
At Match, the safety and well-being of our community is a top priority, and we take the issue of fraud very seriously. We understand that sophisticated criminals prey on individuals in every corner of the web, and we diligently address it on the site and app, tracking, monitoring and working to prevent fraud every step of the way using technology that identifies possible fraudulent behavior such as unusual communication patterns and suspicious photos and profiles. Unfortunately, in cases such as these, criminals encourage users to communicate off of Match’s platform as quickly as possible, giving us limited visibility into their behavior.
However, while reprehensible, financial fraud can still be prevented. We work to constantly educate our members throughout their Match experience, with safety tips, when members are communicating with each other, and with a mandatory pledge to never give out any financial information to anyone over the internet. As long as our members follow our safety tips, these kinds of things cannot happen.
We encourage all daters to review our tips for dating safely here.
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