MIAMI – Imagine looking for love, but losing everything.
Diane Standish, a once wealthy woman, said she was played by a slick online lover she met through match.com.
"I've talked to a million people who said they met people on E-Harmony, on Match, and they're happily married, and so I didn't have any reason to question it," Standish said.
Standish said the man she fell in love with claimed to be a divorced German CEO, working on a California construction project.
"Hi Diane. This is Jerry. Can you please call me right back so we can talk please?" the man said in one voicemail.
But his phone calls, from several different numbers, always focused on a need for money.
"It was mostly lawyer fees, bail money," Standish said.
It turns out Standish had been cat-fished.
"I went through my bank statements, and it was $270,000," Standish said.
The con man used photos of Flamur Gashi, a former Albanian ambassador, to create a fake profile.
"I never thought I could fall in love with somebody over the telephone but for some reason he just said the right things to me," Standish said.
A paper trail of bank records led police to an email in South Africa, but there the trail goes cold.
"He could be anyone, anywhere, I have no clue," Standish said.
The website Scamalytics keeps a blacklist of con artists who use false pictures and the website "romance scams" compiles lists of email addresses used by swindlers.