CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - Long distance internet love turned out to be love lost for Anne Robb.
“The last thing he said to me was, ‘What good are you if you can’t give me any money?,’" she said.
She lost $12,000 to the man she thought loved her.
Instead, he was preying on her generosity, pocketing the money she was entrusting him to spend on a charity and on his mounting medical bills.
She opened up to 19 Investigates, in hopes that her story could help someone else.
We partnered with the Cuyahoga County Scam Squad to tell this two-part story.
“I really liked him, and I thought, ‘Oh I’m going to do it anyway. It’s going to be OK,’ and it wasn’t OK,” she said.
Then, amazingly, a few weeks later, another curious man was sliding into her email message box.
“He said he was a pastor, and he knew I had been scammed. He said he had been praying for me and all this stuff,” Robb said.
Luckily, this time, she knew she had to check him out.
“He wasn’t who he said he was,” she discovered. “He was another scammer.”
To this day Robb isn’t exactly sure who tried to scam her a second time.
Was it the first guy all over again, a partner in crime, or someone totally unrelated?
She’s just glad she didn’t fall for it again.
Unfortunately, others do.
Sheryl Harris, with the Cuyahoga County Department of Consumer Affairs, says scammers often come back and try to hit a victim while their down.
“It’s called a re-loader scam,” she said.
She’s received reports from victims that sent money to someone claiming to be another victim. They said they were gathering money to hire an attorney to sue the original romance scammer.
“Lawyers don’t work that way,” Harris said. “They don’t just say you get a pool of money together.”
Harris says re-loader scams can happen in any type of scam. However, after they’re especially damaging in cases involving love.
Robb gets by each day though knowing the scammers didn’t have something personal against her.
"It’s not you that they’re doing it for,” she said. “They’re doing it for themselves. They’re purely selfish people.”
Still, it doesn't feel good.
If you believe you’re a victim of a romance scam, you can report it to the Ohio Attorney General’s Office.
If you live in Cuyahoga County, the county’s department of consumer affairs would also like to hear from you. They can be reached at 216-443-7035.