Updated: December 9, 2012 6:31AM
The holidays are next month, so it’s not too soon to start thinking about the perfect and perfectly awful gifts we give.
Which brings us to Doug. He treated a woman he was really interested in to champagne after she treated him to tickets to Music of the Baroque on Christmas. In addition, he gave her a few beautifully wrapped little gifts. She gave him? Pears. He never saw her again.
I thought he’d been harsh and guessed she’d probably spent $100 on the tickets. I wondered if he’d be willing to give her a second chance.
HOLLY: Dating less than two months? A whole bunch of beautiful little beautiful gifts? Even if the gifts were small and didn’t cost much, you came on too strong, pal. You freaked the woman out. She probably thought she dodged a bullet when it was over.
EUDICE: Cheryl, it seems both you and Doug missed the point of her last minute gift. She probably chose pears to show she considered them a “pair.” She’s lucky he decided she was not for him. He seems very shallow and insecure.
And now, let’s give Doug the last word ...
This happened well over 20 years ago! Tickets were nowhere near $100, and she went every year. If she didn’t go with me, she’d have gone with somebody else. The bottle of champagne cost more than the tickets. Second chance? Not a chance.
Mara recently met a man on Match.com who didn’t waste much time before asking her to send him $1500. She wondered who she should contact. Here’s what you had to say ...
TERENCE: Using the phone and Internet to solicit funds in this manner is illegal.
Mara should forward everything to the FBI and let them take over. She should also contact to suspend his account. It’s terrible that people attempt to prey on any weakness they can find. Imagine how many people were in her situation and swallowed the hook. (To report a scam, head to www.fbi.com where there is a “Scams and Safety” tab at the top. Click on that and then click on “Report Internet Crime.” There is an online form to complete.)
LAURA: Her state attorney general would be the first stop. If they’re not the right people, they can direct her. The Internet is kind of tricky in terms of jurisdiction because, while you might be in Montana, he might be in Texas, and the information might be routed through a server in Jamaica.
However, her state AG should have a consumer fraud prevention taskforce and her story should fit their parameters nicely.
HELEN: Mara, have you talked with someone in your local police department? They’re usually the best starting place. And even if John has moved on in cyberspace, it does help to report these, so please do. Too few people do. The victims are generally too embarrassed.
PATSY: The same thing happened to my friend Marlene more than once on Match.com. Like Mara, she’s not easily fooled, and she doesn’t have the extra cash to send in any case.
DAISY: John sounds like a real pro. If he never actually met Mara, it would be pretty hard to get any kind of conviction. His perfect defense, even if caught, is, “It wasn’t me.” The best advice for anybody doing Internet dating is just to be careful.
Have you been the victim of a relationship scam? Send your tale, along with your questions, problems and rants to firstname.lastname@example.org.