After a few times chatting with Steve.Riccardo on Yahoo IM, I was suspicious that he was not really "Steve.Riccardo" and was truly one of those scammers from another country. Then I read one of Ripoff Report profiles and the stories are similar enough to confirm that this "guy" really is a scammer.
It starts off that his wife has died of cancer after being married for 14 blissful years. He's alone in the United States (which he frequently refers to as the state) with no other family and very few friends. He is an importer/exporter of gold and must leave for Ghana for several weeks for business. He safely arrives in Ghana, but his laptop is suddenly not working and he has no one else to ask, except me (of course), to buy him a laptop immediately and send it off to him.
When asked for his credit card information, he denies having any active credit card while traveling abroad because his credit card has been compromised and he pays for all of his travels costs prior to departure. I do not buy him the "common laptop" as he describes it. He becomes very angry and accuses my of not having trust for him. He expresses that he cannot be with someone who does not trust him. I do not hear from him for a few days, but then he's back, telling me how very much I mean to him and how he misses me.
Steve.Riccardo's profile then mysteriously disappears from Match.com. He states this is because he has met me and is so happy to be taking me away from match.com. He expresses his love for me within a week. I am his princess... his angel.
After our initial email through Match.com, he suggests I add him to my Yahoo messenger so that we can communicate more directly. I notice that he communicates with me at very odd hours. He states this is due to his business hours in Ghana. By my clock, he's communicating with me at 2:30 a.m., Ghana time. One time, I call him at this time when he should be sleeping, but I hear all kinds of noises in the background and he states he is out (in this foreign country he was terrified to visit alone and says that he misses me terribly, he is very alone, and is very sad that I am not with him).
When asked about his grammar and spelling, he advises that he was educated and raised in Italy. He was financially ripped off by his evil Uncle and finally moved to "the state" to start his own business (which, of course, is not official). I also notice that he uses an inordinate amount of emoticons. He sends me an email about "a dream" he has had about me. It is sexy and romantic. Interestingly, the email is very well written with no spelling or grammar errors. Hmmm....
His pictures are quite handsome. He really does not look Italian so I just chalk that up in the back of my mind with the other inconsistencies. I finally speak with him on the telephone and his accent is nothing close to Italian. I then ask for pictures from Ghana of the mine he is visiting on business. He tells me that he will buy a digital camera just so he can send me pictures. He sends four pictures which I later find on google images of the Obuasi gold mine. When I ask him about this, he retracts his comment about buying the digital camera and states that I obviously misunderstood him.
I ask him where he lives in Las Vegas. He provides the name of a street that does exist. However, when I check the Assessor's website, there is no owner of any home on that street. After pressing him on this matter, he informs that he lives 1.7 miles from that street and how furious he is that I am now checking on him. He gives me a new street name... and surprise, surprise, he does not own any home on that street either. He becomes more angry that I am not trusting him and he will not be with any woman who does not have trust. He tells me he will talk these things over once he is back in "the state." I surprise him by agreeing and telling him that it is best that we don't chat any further because I no longer believe he is a "real person."
A couple of days go by and I receive more IM's from Steve.Riccardo... but he is now Steve_Riccardo. I tell him that I must verify that he is real and request that a photo be taken of him standing outside of his hotel in Ghana. Well...the photo never arrives. He provides several unconvincing reasons for not sending the photo.
I read a very similar Ripoff Report and am fully satisfied that this is a typical fact pattern of an internet scammer. Ladies... beware!!!
Las Vegas, Nevada