Scam Artists and How to Avoid Them

I recently met a woman who had a strange story to tell and a warning for everyone who will listen. I am passing it along to my readers in the hope it may save someone else from what happened to her.

“I wasn’t well at the time and had believed the quack who told me that I was dying. We had lived in a duplex, in Nevada, and a new couple named Brian and Gina had moved in next door. Brian and Gina had adorable twin daughters, then three years old. They seemed like such a nice little family, I befriended them, much to my family’s concern. Before very long, Gina was complaining to me about her husband being out of work and how they would lose their home if they couldn’t pay the bills.” The woman explained this all too common scenario which is typical in a scam involving an unwell and obviously caring individual.

She began telling of how she got hooked in. This too is common: A con artist when he/she has found their target often wait to make a move until they know for certain that the individual is genuinely concerned and willing to go out on a limb for them.

“I managed to get our local casino/restaurant, interested in hiring her, and with a friends help (via phone calls) to have them ready to hire her. She put in the application but never followed through. Needless to say, someone else got the job. Brian wasn’t interested in working since his DUI cost him the job of Fire Fighter.”

The woman expressed some concern as to the demeanors of the two scam artists where her husband was involved as the two cowardly perpetrators put on an elaborate show of compassion far beyond their normal behaviors.

“My husband is a long haul trucker and only gets home once a month, so he wasn’t aware of everything that was going on. But when he was home, Gina would cook breakfast for us and Brian would visit with him, being very friendly.”

The moment of the biggest pay off that most thieves only dream about came during this time, making it a harsh lesson to have learned.

“My mother had died and when her estate settled, I received a large inheritance. I gambled some of it, trying to find some way to make lots of money so my husband, Don, wouldn’t be left broke when the doctor’s prediction came true and I died. There was a large sum left however.”

At this point, they had seen an opportunity to swoop in for the kill. Wasting no time at all the plot was devised and was rapidly being executed without the old woman even knowing it.

“Gina and Brian managed to con me out of money from Don’s checks so they could ‘feed’ their adorable twins and not wind up homeless. They offered to do all the housework for me and many other favors during the next few months, slowly endearing themselves to him and me. My friends were skeptical, but I ignored him because I felt as if they didn’t know them the way I didâÂ?¦ after all what kind of monsters would use children as a weapon to steal from another human being?”

It is a sad fact that some of the worst scam artists will use whatever it takes to get money they didn’t earn from people they feel are easily manipulated. Yes, some of the most cowardly individuals will even have children to make it easier to be successful in their career as a professional fraud.

“In June, they got another dog (I always called him Toe Muncher because he would bite my feet when he was little.) After the landlady had forbidden us to have any more animals, they got Toe Muncher just to aggravate her. My old dog had never bothered anyone, but that didn’t matter. Someone complained about him taking a dump in someone else’s yard (I believe now it was Gina) and the judge fined me, in spite of the fact that I could prove he wasn’t the one who did it. He wasn’t the only big dog in the neighborhood, and there were no fences. So, when the landlady came screaming in my face about my old dog and the new puppy, I did just what Gina expected me to do. I told her we’d be moving.”

The set-up is often subtle for scam artists to make their move. They don’t want to call too much attention to the fact and so it is usually done with much secrecy and has something to do with making the victim feel as though they do not have control.

“The two had decided to approach us with a roommate situation, saying that I needed care and said that it would be a good thing if we moved in together so that they could repay us for all the kindness we had shown them. They had found a house for us outside town (by several miles) and rented it with my money. When the second batch of inheritance came through, I put Gina on my account at the bank just as she had requested as sometimes I was unable to write checks because I suffer from muscular dystrophyâÂ?¦ so she said not to worry, she would handle the bill paying, etc. I thought she was like a daughter to me and my own daughter lived in another state, expressing her concerns frequently about the way these two had suddenly moved right into our lives. When my husband came home, Gina would find a few moments to chat with him and tell him that I was gambling all his money away instead of speaking the truth about how I was supporting her and her family with his pay checks.”

This is usually when the perpetrators will start driving nails into the targets relationships and shifting blame off of them so that they can make their move to seal the fate of the victim. This case was no different.

“We moved into the new house on July 1st, and then the troubles slowly started. I wasn’t allowed to smoke in my private bedroom or anywhere else in the house I was paying for. Gina decided that the yard wasn’t good enough for the kids and told me we could get it fixed up so it would be ‘safe’ for them. With her badgering, I put a redwood deck on the house and a fenced yard with automatic sprinklers and a full lawn. She talked me into paying a year in advance on the rent and utilities because we were buying the place and it would help when the following July came and the down payment was due.”

When her dear friend Thom moved to another state, they had their chance. It must have seemed like a miracle for them. Thom’s dad had been a frequent guest in her home and then “their home”. He had babysat the twins many times. Once Thom was gone, however, they decided that his dad was the next to go so that their victim would be completely alone for what they had planned.

“Thom’s dad had gotten a DUI and had served his time many, many years beforeâÂ?¦ Well, Gina and Brian decided that the way they would “out” him was to say that they didn’t want “criminals” around their innocent children. He was no longer allowed to be on the property. He was my only safety net.”

This bogus claim was perfect except of course for the fact the Brian too had the same record on his own past. But, this didn’t stop them from doing it anyway.

“They prevented me from receiving phone calls from anyone else that might stand up for me. My friend Barbara was also alienated because of their manipulations. So they very effectively isolated me from anyone who might take my side. Brian even called the police when my daughter told him not to hurt me or she would see him and Gina prosecuted.”

Making sure that the victim is a prisoner in their own home is absolutely necessary for the end attack, as most con artists have to feel as though there are no plausible threats and secure enough within their tactics up to this point that they are confident in their success.

“My husband finally offered Brian a job driving truck with him. He didn’t know about the DUI that would keep him from getting the job, and offered to train him. He took Brian with him when he left that time and it was understood that Brian would start repaying all the money they owed us when he started getting paid. Within a week or less, Brian began showing his true colors to my husband and started making idle threats in an odd fashion until he became nervous and confronted BrianâÂ?¦ Then in a sadistic way Brian told him that he’d always wanted to shoot someone to watch them bleed. My husband then said it wasn’t a good idea to threaten him. At the next stop, Brian called Gina and had her pick him up, saying that Don had been the one threatening.”

The next step in this nasty little plan of manipulation is usually to eliminate the credibility of all those still involve in the situation.

“When Brian came home, things got worse. Although apologies for the “misunderstanding” surfaced I still felt uncomfortable and my husband had to finish his run before we could decide what to do. Gina had a job for about a week, but quit when she realized that a job meant work. Brian made no further effort to find employment. Gina had then come up with a “business plan” for a brothel and promised to repay us as soon as the “plan” sold and since she made it known that she had already made the arrangements and her signature was all that was needed to withdraw the money I had no choice at all. It was clear that she had taken the money already.”

The woman went on to explain the abuse that was taking place in her isolated state.

“Meanwhile, although I paid for all the groceries, I was only permitted to eat what and when Gina allowed. She would sit in the living room and watch television while I fixed lunch for her kids. She would then complain if I was hungry too and made a sandwich for myself. Their dog, Toe Muncher, would attack me every day or two and rip chunks of skin from my arms (She still has the scars) but they thought it was funny and did nothing to train their dog not to attack me.”

More of the sick nature and rude behaviors shone through this wall of lies� and more and more this victim was terrified and alone.

“I was sick from hunger and the illness that was thought to be terminal, so I stayed in my room most of the time. Brian and Gina would wake me up at all hours of the day and night and scream at me for everything they could think of. Being sick and alone, I didn’t know what to do. I finally told them that Don and I would get a place of our own so that they could have this house and they, in return, could pay a years rent for us as we had done for this house. She agreed.”

“Then they forbade my husband to come on their property. After, they claimed that my husband had threatened Brian. Yes, I said THEIR PROPERTY. Unbeknownst to me, they had skillfully taken my name off everything and told the landlords that they were supporting me and what a terrible burden I was. The only bills that were still in my name were the phone bills and they lied about having paid them.”

Complete control had set in and all witnesses as to the facts had been strategically eliminated from the equation.

“They monitored my e mails and phone calls and prevented me from having any visitors. Don was coming in one day and I went to town to meet him. I left my dog with them because I didn’t want him to have to sit in the hot car while we had breakfast and looked for another house. We got a motel room that afternoon and I called to see if I could come get some of my clothes without a battle. Brian told me the police were looking for me and that they had a warrant. So, in confusion I called the police and they came right over to serve me with an eviction notice. Brian and Gina had filled out the notice as soon as the courthouse opened and gotten the landlords to agree. We’d been evicted – -I did the only thing I could do and called all the utility companies to have them shut off. That’s when I discovered that Gina had gotten everything put into her nameâÂ?¦ All but the phone. So I had it shut off. “

This was what the whole thing leads up, to control over everything and all within some degree of the law.

“During the next two months, we finally managed to get some of our belongings (those that she would allow us to keep) and had to do it under police escort. I wasn’t allowed on the property, even to get my dog, and they sent him to the pound, saying he was a chicken killer and should be put to sleep. We managed to rescue him just short of the killing room. They took all our paper work and managed to cause us a huge amount of trouble by stealing our identities. Gina also emptied everything out of the bank account, saying she had “rolled it over.” She took my money and opened a new account in her name and I had no rights to it.”

This common fraudulent action is usually tolerated by cowardly scam artists like these who can obviously manipulate ignorant law enforcement who don’t feel like doing their jobsâÂ?¦ which is why most cases happen in small towns.

“The County District Attorney wasn’t interested in prosecuting them and the police made my life miserable. Brian and Gina accused me of being drunk all the time and used it as their excuse for everything they did, never mentioning the vast amounts of hard liquor they consumed while leaving their children unattended and in danger. They were severe alcoholics and had arrest records to prove it.”

The woman gave her final statements while obviously still hurt by the horrid nature the scum of society and the grief they had caused her.

“Time has marched along and I wonder who they are using now. I believed all the stories they told about people who had done them wrong, but now I know they were the ones doing it. There’s nothing I can do about what they did to me, but I can offer a few tips to keep it from happening to someone else.”

How to Avoid a Con Artist� Tip # 1:
Be careful of who you trust. Even people with small children can be bad news.

How to Avoid a Con Artist� Tip #2:
If those who really love you don’t trust someone, listen to them.

How to Avoid a Con Artist� Tip#3:
If they offer services for money, make sure you have it in writing.

How to Avoid a Con Artist� Tip #4:
Never put anyone else’s name on your bank account.

How to Avoid a Con Artist� Tip#5:
Make sure that what is supposed to be in your name really is.

How to Avoid a Con Artist� Tip#6:
Don’t let anyone alienate you from your friends. They can save your life in a pinch. And they make good witnesses.

“Don’t let what happened to me happen to you. Be cautious and watchful. If something doesn’t seem right, run it by someone you trust and ask advice.”

So, with all of this knowledge filling your minds I hope you will learn from this example and not get trapped in this type of disgusting display of greed and hate.

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