OKLAHOMA CITY (NewsNation Now) — 2020 has been an isolating year for many and for some, finding love online during a pandemic seems impossible.
One Oklahoma woman said she felt like finding romantic connections during the pandemic felt few and far between. Dawn Main had just lost her job to coronavirus when she moved into a one bedroom apartment in Oklahoma City with her 20-year-old son Jacob.
“That was just really really hard, I mean losing my job and having no income,” said Main.
So when a LinkedIn notification lit up her phone on June 18, she eagerly opened the app.
“It was on a Saturday morning, I was going through the carwash actually,” said Main. “And I got a notification and he gave me some reviews on my LinkedIn account, and then I got an email from him.”
An email from a man named Lewis was in her email saying: “I think we’ve met before. I’ve attached my picture to see if you could recognize me. Kindly please let me know. With best regards, Lewis Thompson.”
He attached a picture of himself with his email.
He claimed to be Lewis Thompson—a Romanian man living in Beverly Hills who quickly courted her. He gave her love notes, promises of travel and adventure.
“He was my prince. I called him my prince. I said you’re my prince, everything that I’ve prayed for,” Main said. “He sent me pictures of his son Lucas, sent me pictures of what he did with his job. He said he was an underwater welder. And all of these pictures it was so real.”
For weeks the two exchanged photos, messages and even a few phone calls.
He claimed that welding had him on a job in the Mediterranean. But they planned to meet when he returned home.
“If he was going to come to Oklahoma and it was going to work out and he was going to marry me, I was going to go,” said Main.
The honeymoon phase came to a halt when Thompson broke the news that his oil rig had allegedly exploded, landing him bedridden in the hospital not only with injuries, but also COVID-19.
“As soon as I heard about the accident, I knew. My gut was like, oh no,” Main said. “It’s not real. It’s not real.”
Thompson claimed to be in desperate need of a ventilator with no way back to the United States.
“He sent me banking information, which was a routing number,” said Main. “And he was like I need you to get into this bank account for me. And he wanted me to transfer $60,000 from his bank account to my bank account to send to him so he could get a private flight home.”
Main realized that Thompson was trying to con her. She was convinced he was using her to wire him money from a real account belonging to someone else. Thankfully the only thing she lost was time.
Not everyone, however, is that fortunate. Just up the road near Main in Oklahoma City, Sarah Lesa said her elderly mother fell for a different crook with the exact same oil rig story.
“What started out as a Facebook friend request just quickly developed into him asking her for financial support,” said Lesa. “The thought of her being taken advantage of was heartbreaking.”
Lesa warned families to keep vulnerable loved ones on their radar. She said to look for changes in behavior, communication or even errands that might be out of the ordinary.