BRYAN, Texas — Celia Kaminski, a woman located in Bryan, TX says that she was scammed out of $13,000 through a months-long online relationship.
Kaminski said the relationship started in June of 2022 when the scammer struck up a conversation about one of her interests that she had shared with her friends on social media.
“He was asking me about my art because I post about my artwork and that’s kind of how it all started," said Kaminski.
The man claimed he had a daughter and discussed his family more with Kaminski. Soon after, the relationship began to grow even more personal between the two.
“The middle of September…he told me he loved me... He got me to where I was saying that," said Kaminski.
After months of discussion, Kaminski eventually sent money to the scammer after he made multiple requests to her for assistance. However, Kaminski believed the man would eventually pay back the money she had provided.
“I loaned him the money supposedly to get home and then once he got home then he just kept asking me for this or for that," said Kaminski.
After months of discussion and small payments, Kaminski gave the scammer a total of $13,000. Eventually, she placed boundaries in their dynamic and refused to send any more money. The scammer then blocked all forms of contact between them.
Nicholas Molnar, a Licensed Clinic Social Worker in College Station, said that it's common for people to fall victim to scams based on the nature of the scammers and the information they're able to retrieve on those they're targeting.
“Predators are looking for their prey," said Molnar, "People know that this population can be very vulnerable".
Molnar added that the best way to proceed if you feel like the relationship is a scam is to be cautious about sharing sensitive information and to place boundaries if the person on the other end makes high demands.
“It just shows a lack of respect and therefore may also show that the reason they’re in this relationship is to get something from you," said Molnar.
Often scams can be tricky crimes to pursue if the person on the other end willingly gave their money to a known individual, but legal experts have encouraged victims in these situations to contact their local law enforcement for assistance.
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