Thursday, December 15, 2011

Above All: Anonymity

Just a note tonight about anonymity in our chat room and in the email group.  For those of you who may hesitate to join us because you don't want your name "out there" or your story published all over the internet, there are a couple of ways to make sure your privacy is maintained.

1.  In the chat room, create a username that has no relationship to who you really are.  Do not log in with your email address.  The chat room is NOT connected with Yahoo in anyway and you do not need to use an email address to login.  You also do not need a password to login to the chat room.  Although it is possible for anyone in the chat room to copy what you might say, it is highly unlikely.  In any case, as long as you are using a created username, it remains totally anonymous.  There are no transcripts kept on any conversations in the chat room.  There is no membership requirement to be part of the chat room.  When you login to the chat, your IP address and your general location will show to the moderators only, but your name and address and email address is not known to anyone but you. There is no public membership listing in the chat room and just because you logged in one time does not put you on a list of any kind.  Once you have been there awhile, at your option, you may choose to email us at which allows us to verify your IP address.  At this point we will put you on our verified user list which only the moderators can see.  This option is totally up to you but will allow you full use of the chat room features.  It is also used as a safety method of identifying for new people who are regular verified users as well as letting the regulars know who is new and needs assistance. 
2.  The Yahoo email group is connected with Yahoo, obviously.  Therefore, if you want to keep who you are there anonymous, it is suggested that you also create a new Yahoo email before joining the group.  Our email group is a private group and therefore your emails you send in are not available through searching any search engine online.  Some groups you might join are not private, but are public which means everything posted there is available online in searches.  However, this will not happen with our email group.  Anonymity is of utmost importance to all of us and we believe the freedom to be able to say what we need to say to heal is more important than letting what is said be seen to outsiders as well as possibly to scammers.  Only the name of our email group is public.  Membership lists and posts are not public. This means that only members can see the membership list and posts.  The email group is also set so that no one may join without first sending a request to join.  Once your request has been approved, only then will you be able to post an email to the forum.

That being said, if anyone joins either the chat room or the email group and does not create a username or email address that is not associated with their real name, other users there will be able to see the information you allow to be seen because of your choice you made when you logged in. While your anonymity and privacy is important to us, it is your responsibility to make sure that you protect yourself to the best of your ability.  Creating a username and email address following our suggestions is the best way you can do that.

  Joining the email group is not a requirement to be part of the chat room and joining the chat room is not a requirement to be part of the email group.  You are free to pick either or both.  We realize that individual preferences are important and this is why we offer both options.  Whichever choice you make, we are glad you found us.  We will do the best we can to help you deal with what has happened to you and help you heal.

One final point.  If you choose to join the email group, please take note on the registration/account section you are asked to choose how you wish to receive the emails.  There are four options available.  You can choose to receive individual emails, or the daily digest which compacts several emails into one daily email, or you can choose special notices which will send you only specific emails, or finally you can select webview only.  This final option means you will receive no emails at all from the group, but you are still a member of the group.  You can read all emails, respond, or post new emails directly from the email group website which is located at

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Christmas Already?!

It is that time of year again! Time to decorate, fight the crowds in the shopping malls, make sure all your Christmas cards are sent out, etc. The list goes on and on. However for Christmas some people are lonely and frustrated. They don't have any family or friends to celebrate with and they can't wait for it to be all over. They are vulnerable and unhappy and they turn to the internet for solace and comfort.

Too often people go on networking sites such as Facebook and My Space as well as dating sites in hopes of finding someone who is lonely too. they pray they will find the man or woman of their dreams to make their holiday brighter. Unfortunately, they often meet the wrong person, a scammer, and before you know it they are caught up in an internet romance scam! 

It is so easy to fall for all the promises and the sweet talk, the" I really want to be with you for Christmas" talk and that is just what they want to hear. The person thinks that finally they have found what they need to make their Christmas more bearable and joyous.

As hard as it is to be alone for Christmas, is it worth it to find that this man or woman that has contacted you is not who they appear to be and is just trying to get your money? Is it worth the heartache when they don't show up at the airport like they promised when you sent them the money for a ticket?!

Please be very careful this holiday season that you don't fall into this type of trap. That's just what it is, a trap, and it is far worse than anything you can imagine. Watch for all the red flags, the poor grammar, the saying "I love you" way too fast, trying to get you on a messenger off the dating site or networking site, the little things that they don't know about the place they are supposed to be from when you question them. These are a few of the things to watch out for.

if you feel that you or anyone you know is falling into this trap, please help them to get help. There are a number of places to go for help, our site being one of them: Scams Of The Heart Here you will find people that have been through this same type of experience and will give you all the information you need and the compassion and support you need.

Above all please stay safe and have a Blessed and Joyous Christmas.


Josh Holloway, Robert Sean Leonard, Kieffer Sutherland

It has come to my attention today that another actor's photo is being used in romance scams. More than a year ago when I was still using the dating sites, a scammer contacted me using a photo of the actor Kieffer Sutherland. I never watched the television show 24 but I did recognize the actor, having seen him in many movies over the years. Because I recognized the photo, I knew the profile was fake and did not make further contact.
In the past couple of weeks I have seen posted on another scam reporting site that Robert Sean Leonard, who portrays the character of Wilson on the television show HOUSE has also had his photo stolen and used in romance scams. Now today I see posted that the same thing has happened with photos of Josh Holloway who portrayed the character of Sawyer on the television show LOST.
Please when you see a profile that interests you, do a "save image as" and take that photo to Tin Eye.
Tin Eye is a website that will check photos you plug into their site and show you where else those photos have appeared online. This means that if you are looking at a celebrity, or possibly a model photo on a dating profile, you will be able to find out that the photo is not the person represented in the dating site profile. In other words, this is a very quick and easy way to let you know right up front that the profile was created by a romance scammer.
When you find a celebrity of any type in the profile photo at an online dating site or social network (and that social network is not the official website for that celebrity) you can be sure that photo was stolen and being used by a scammer. When you find profile photos that look "too good to be true", or too posed, it is most likely a model photo stolen from a professional modeling agency. It seems more and more the scammers are using television and movie actor photos for profile pictures.
Be aware! Be vigilant! Don't let a romance scam happen to you. If you can't get past the profile photo, there is no need to go further into the profile, and there is no need to make contact, or continue contact if already started.