Smalley agreed, and over the next two weeks, she cashed two 0 money orders and sent along the funds. 'My whole world had fallen apart' "The bank told me I was responsible for that money. Smalley shared her version of events with in the hopes that others might not fall for the same trickery.
Then, Richie was ready to leave the country, but needed money to deal with a visa problem. I had to pay them ,700, which was everything I had," she said. "Never in my wildest dreams would I have ever known that this is all a part of an elaborate online scam. agencies have issued warnings on the scams, also known as "419" or "advance-fee" frauds.
"There is a system of discrimination in place in Japan now by which the value of a man is measured by how many gifts of chocolate he receives from women." Traditionally, women give men gifts on St Valentine's Day in Japan, while men are expected to return the favour on "White Day", on March 14, an occasion dreamed up by Japan's confectionery industry in 1978 to boost sales.
Mr Watanabe – wearing a white helmet and a crocheted pink scarf to disguise the lower part of his face – is indignant at the injustice of a social convention that is promoted by chocolate companies for their own benefit, and at Japanese for swallowing it.
Richie said he was from Milford, Mass., but that he was out of the country on a big construction job.
He was helping build a stadium in Nigeria, he said. I had no qualms whatsoever cashing (the money orders)," Smalley said.
When Theresa Smalley received a note from Richie last January asking if she wanted to chat, she was flattered. The two began exchanging e-mails, friendly at first, but quickly swelling in intensity and passion.
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Speaking to The Telegraph ahead of the march, Makoto Watanabe, chairman of Kakuhido, claimed the group is not opposed to romance but is standing up against the companies and social convention that expect gifts to be lavished on St Valentine's Day.
"They have made relationships solely about money," he said.
The protest march was organised by a group called Kakuhido, which translates roughly as the Revolutionary Alliance of Men that Women Find Unattractive.
It was billed as a demonstration against the commercialisation of February 14 by men who are unable to find a partner.