Leslie Ly is a college student from China who thought she was talking to a man from Houston, TX named Micheal Sean Rocha. He messaged her on Instagram in April of 2020 claiming that he wanted to get to know her but instead duped her out of money. While he portrayed himself as being a grown man with a son, Leslie was 22-years-old at the time with no job since she was a full-time college student. Her life was so good that it was almost too good to be true because it was. She was actually getting scammed by a romance scammer and had no idea until it was too late.
Why Didn’t She Suspect He Was a Romance Scammer at First?
She was out with dinner with her friends and just got back to her place. She then became bored and started scrolling Instagram, when she saw she received a message from a random guy. She was happy being single and wasn’t looking to date but decided to respond to him anyways 2-3 days after receiving the message, thinking immediately that it might be a romance scammer.
However, she quickly dismissed this thought because when she read about romance scams, she read that older women are usually the ones that fall for them. Because she was only 22-years-old, she put her guard down thinking that a romance scammer wouldn’t be interested in her.
How Did the Romance Scammer Win Leslie’s Heart?
Their first messages included him sending her his photos and then telling her about himself. He also sent her photos of his son, including one where the son was playing in the snow. He was good at talking to women and had a son, which won Leslie over right away. This was the first relationship she had ever been in, so she quickly believed in what he was telling her.
He was progressing the relationship very quickly with his kind words and flirty phrases in order to gain trust with her, and it was working. He was also extremely passionate with how he talked to Leslie and the words he would say, which made her fall for him harder. She wanted to learn more about his background because she knew nothing about being in the US Marine Corps, so she researched it online to get more information.
When Did He Ask Leslie for Money the First Time?
One day she decided to go to the store and was texting the scammer as she was out and about. The scammer asked her what she was doing, and she responded that she was at the store. He then replied, “you forgot to message me because I told you already that when you go to the store you need to message me.”
She then asked him, “Why?”
He then asked her to buy iTunes gift cards for him because his son was bored, and he uses them to purchase games and music for him. She thought that getting him $5o worth of iTunes gift cards wasn’t a big deal and that his son needed to be entertained, so she did what she was asked to do, even though she had only been talking to him for a few days.
She asked him how she can go about getting US iTunes gift cards for him, and he sent her a link so she can purchase them. She wishes now that she would’ve said no, but she’s not good at rejecting others and didn’t think that $50 was a big deal.
How Did Leslie Figure Out He’s a Romance Scammer?
Michael told her that his aunt was ill and needed surgery. Because she cared about him and had major feelings for him, Leslie sent him 100 pounds to help pay for his aunt’s surgery. She didn’t think he was lying to her because he motivated her to trust him and the relationship. This was a form of manipulating her into sending him money, even though he was a grown man and she was in her early 20s.
The people in Leslie’s life started to tell her that they thought he was a romance scammer. Because she was freaked out by their accusations, she decided to message him about their claims. He then got really mad and said, “why would a stranger accuse your boyfriend of being a scammer,” and asked, “how the hell am I trying to scam you or be a scam to you?” He then told her not to listen to herself. She replied back that she did defend him, but just wanted to let him know what they were saying.
She thought that scammers were like mice, where if you point them out they would just run away from you. However, this scammer reacted differently than she expected him to, so it shocked her. She says it’s a good lesson for her to learn that scammers are always changing their tricks. They learn from their victims and update their tricks accordingly based on what their victims know.
A romance scam can happen to ANYONE regardless of if you have a job or not, and regardless of how old you are. If you fall for their schemes, they will continue to talk to you until they drain your bank account. If anyone messages you on a social media platform and flirts with you randomly, this is a major red flag that they are most likely a scammer.
Social Catfish is Here to Help You!
If you think you’re dealing with a romance scammer or have had your pictures stolen, Social Catfish is here to help you!
If you want to be a part of our next YouTube video or blog post and share your story, now is your chance. You can educate the audience about what you have gone through and make sure no one else goes through the same thing. All you need to do is email ShareMyStory@socialcatfish.com, and we will get back to you with more details.
You can also reverse search any information you have on the cargo scammer to see who it is you’ve really been talking to. If you have their name, email address, phone number, social media username, or image you can search it up in our search bar to see if there is more information on the suspected romance scammer you are talking to.