Friday, July 15, 2011

Client Q&A: Send money to Nigerian prince?

I talk to so many clients every day who are eager to find true love. They are wonderful people with open hearts who just want to share their lives with someone special. Unfortunately, sometimes they're so eager to fall in love that the rational part of their minds takes a vacation. That's when I'm particularly glad that they contact me first before doing anything rash. The question below might seem like an extreme case, but I heard something very much like this recently. As always, details are changed to protect confidentiality.

Dear Louise Helene:
Please help me! I'm desperately in love with a wonderful man and the best part is that he's a Nigerian prince! Can you imagine? Ever since I was a little girl I've dreamed about being a princess in a fairy tale, and now my dreams are about to come true! Except for one little problem. He's trapped in Nigeria and needs $3000 so he can fly to America and we can be married. You see, rebels have taken over the Nigerian government and thrown him and his family out of the royal palace. They've even frozen all their bank accounts, so he can't buy a plane ticket.

You might be skeptical about him, and believe me, I was at first, too. We met over the internet and even though we've never seen each other in person, we've emailed every day for two months. He's sent me pictures of himself and he's tall, dark, and handsome, just like a prince should be. He even sent me a picture from when his family was still leading the government, and he was wearing a sash across his chest, just like you see on royals and diplomats in the movies. This man is the real thing!

Please tell me what to do. I love this man and can't stand to think that he's a political prisoner in his own home, but $3000 is a lot of money. None of my family or friends will lend it to me because they say this is a scam. What do you think? How can I help him?

Dody in Dallas

Dear Dody:
I'm very sorry to tell you this, but I think you should block Prince Charming's email address and not respond to him anymore. Sadly, this story sounds too much like a spam email that's been sent to millions of people around the world. The unfortunate truth is that there are a lot of people out there who want to take advantage of others. I strongly feel that this man is one of them.

You are a kind, loving person who can't stand to see someone else in pain, so you want to help him. But please understand that this man isn't really in pain. He's not telling the truth about his situation. He's not in danger. And he's not a prince.

One piece of advice that I often give my clients is to listen to their family and friends. Sure, sometimes one of them can get a false impression about your new boyfriend, but if everyone you talk to tells you the same thing, you should take it seriously. While you might be temporarily blinded by love or desire, those closest to you probably aren't, so they have valuable advice to share.

When love really does come for you - and I feel it will - you will know it. And it won't cost you $3000.

Blessings to all,
Louise Helene

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