Debby Montgomery Johnson Turning Fraud and Heartbreak Into Inspiration

by Ari Schonbrun

Debby Montgomery Johnson Turning Fraud and Heartbreak Into Inspiration

Summary:

Debby Montgomery Johnson accomplished women she was a paralegal, she had served in the air force as an intelligent officer who suddenly lost her husband. She was faced with the burden of grief and the task of running his business. She wanted to start dating but wasn’t sure how to start she turned to online dating. She fell in love with a man with whom she had months of long conversations, she met his family and friends online and through that time sent him money. She would discover that the man she thought she was talking to wasn’t the same person. She had been the victim of a fraud. She describes how it all happened, the bricks she faced in getting over the heartbreak, and the financial loss. How she listened to the whispers and turned this terrible experience into a way to help others who have gone through a similar experience and to prevent others from going through the same thing. She explains how common it is and how to prevent it from happening to you or someone you love. It is an important and interesting story you won’t want to miss!

Episode Transcription:

Intro plays

Ari: Welcome to whispers and bricks. My name is Ari Schonbrun¬† I’m your hosts. My guest today is Debbie Debbie Montgomery Johnson. Debbie is a very, very interesting person, you’re going to find her story fascinating. And I have a feeling that she will be touching a few of your lives as I’m sure some of you have, have experienced what she has experienced. But let me get started. Debbie Montgomery Johnson is a woman on a mission. She’s a victim advocate and the founder of the woman behind the smile, Inc. She’s a number one best selling author, international speaker, entrepreneur, and podcast host. In her book, the woman behind the smile. She shares her personal experience experience with a love that turned into betrayal and financial disaster. And she removes the mask of shame and shows others how to do the same. Originally from Vermont and a graduate of the Phillips Exeter Academy and the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill. Debbie’s the president of benfold complete.com, a vitamin supplement company that provides an alternative remedy for the pain of neuropathy. Debbie’s background is diverse from working as a paralegal and senior brand manager to being a US Air Force Intelligence Officer serving at the Pentagon, the Defense Intelligence Agency and in Germany. Debbie is appeared on the Dr. Oz Show CBS This Morning did Mel Robbins show, the Tamron Hall Show, CBS channel 12 NBC Channel Five, man The list goes on and on. In addition to being featured in the Palm Beach post, she is regularly called upon by reporters for expert commentary about relationship fraud. Debbie is just like you and me. She’s on a mission to live an authentic, joyful life as the woman with the smile rather than behind it. Please help me welcome Debbie Montgomery Johnson.

Debby: Thank you so much for having me, Aaron, I’m really excited to be here.

Ari: Thank you so much. I’m so happy that you’re here that you’ve agreed to come on my show. And we’re very, very excited. I know my audience is very excited about this. So let’s get down to it. As you know, the name of this podcast is whispers and bricks, the whispers of those voices telling you what the right thing to do is and represents the good in life. The bricks represent the bad things that we go through in life. Now we all know that life has its ups and downs. And there isn’t a person on earth, who at some point in time in their lifetime, hasn’t had a brick or many bricks for that matter thrown at them. Now, in your book, the woman behind the smile, you talk about a personal experience with a love that turned into betrayal and financial disaster. That must have been one heck of a brick that was thrown at you. Can you tell us a little bit about that?

Debby: Yeah, actually, it was something that came from another brick, which was the most devastating for me. And that was the sudden death of my husband of almost 26 years. And Lou died while actually i He was in fairly good, healthy, he had some diabetes, hence the company that he started. And so he had, he had gone away on a Wednesday afternoon just traveling to the west coast of Florida to get his car, you know, racecar to get that tuned up for a big race in Miami. And he left on Wednesday, I did what I would normally do give him a hug and a kiss, you know, kicked him out the door. And the next morning, I got a phone call from my son that said mom, dad just died. And I’m coming home to take care of everything. So that was a huge break for me. My house fell down at that point I wasn’t expecting looted to to die the next day. And it just threw me for a loop. And that changed my life forever.

Ari: Oh, my. I did. I did not know that. Yeah, that is Wow, wow. Well, I need a minute. I need a minute to you know, absorb that. And it’s so I don’t want to say funny, obviously. But it’s it’s so ironic that the same thing almost happened to me when I left my house on 911 All right. Thinking was going to be a regular day. And when I got home I realized that I very possibly could have gotten to work that day and not come home as 650 and my friends and co workers you know, never came home on that day. It was, you know, it was a wake up call. So for me, it was a huge wake up call, you know, and I was happy I survived for you. I mean, I can’t imagine the devastation. You know, out of the blue, I’m so sorry.

Debby: I don’t know why I didn’t bring that up before because that’s that’s actually what catapulted me into this next chapter of my life. Because at that point, I had to figure out how to run his company. I mean, I had my own job, and but his, his company for the family company paid all the bills, I was just getting insurance at my at my job. So my life at that point turned into 20 hours of working, I mean, I would go to bed at midnight and not sleep well, because it was first time in my life and 26 years, I was by myself. And that was the only time I could really let my emotions out. And I got mad at Luke for dying, and I was mad at God, I was mad at everything. But I couldn’t show that to the world. Because I was I had to be in control. I was always, you know, a control person. And so, six months into that, I had a pretty good handle on on how to run the business at that point only because I, with all my training, I knew the resources that I had, and I went to them I called people and said, You gotta help me out. And six months in, my girlfriends looked at me and said, You know what, you’ve got to get a life, you got to get a life beyond work. And to them that meant dating. And of course, all the anxiety of being a dating as a teenager came flooding back into my mind as I got to do it. I’m 52 years old, I don’t know how to date I haven’t had I haven’t had to date 26 years. And so they said, we’ll try online dating because it’s safe. I could do it from the safety of my office, which our company was an internet based company. So I spent a lot of time at home, in my office by myself. And I wasn’t ready for a physical relationship. But I was ready to have a friend or someone that companion or someone I could talk to about the company and about Lou dying and, and that’s what happened, my friends got me into into online dating, and I went to a faith based safe site. And the rest is history. So it was an interesting and interesting challenge for me because I was I didn’t fit into groups anymore. And I had this discussion with somebody yesterday when a spouse leaves or your spouse dies, you’re now not part of the family group at church you’re not part of, I didn’t want to be part of the widows group. I hated that word. I wasn’t really single. But all those things come up when you have to get a new bank account or you have to change things. And it was tough. So the online dating thing, it took me back to when I was 16. Because although this is funny, you’ll you would appreciate this, the men between 55 and 65 When I was looking at their profiles, and again, this was in 2010. So we didn’t have all the apps on the phone it was dating sites as looking at these pictures and the guys are showing up and wife beater T shirts, hanging on motorcycles with other girls something I’m this is the kind of guys I want. And sorry, I was a little worried about. Lou is a brilliant guy. He was an Air Force officer. He was just brilliant, tall, good looking. And, and I really had high expectations. So when I was getting these emails from guys who couldn’t write any better than a fifth grader, I’m like, Oh, this isn’t gonna work until I got this really nice email or message on the site. From a gentleman. He was from London. He had his PhD he was a widower. Just the kind of guy for you, well, international businessman that could be kind of fun. And his name was Dr. Eric Cole. And Eric and I spun up this friendship on the dating site. And he was actually in Houston at the time. He was an international contractor, he he worked for a company that brokered hardwood trees. And turned out that I had investments in trees in Costa Rica at the time, which he didn’t know about. But that company kind of rang true. And sorry about that. One thing I didn’t anticipate was the UPS man.

But anyway, um, Eric and I spun up this relationship but he took me off the website, because he was leaving from Houston to go overseas and he wanted to be able to instant message me kind of, and he did that on Yahoo chat, which I didn’t know anything about Yahoo chat, but I became quite expert at it as I thought, and it was fun because he could ping me in the middle of the night he was in Malaysia. He was in India he was on the he was in the Far East. And we get online and we’d be instant messaging each other for hours. It was an extraordinary relationship via internet and but typing because I never did see him in person. I never did see him on Skype. He said he didn’t have the availability You know, I’ve done a lot of traveling in my life, but I’ve never been to the Far East. So what he said he couldn’t get on the Skype because of internet issues. I had to believe him. I had no other reason not to know, everybody I knew that had met a spouse or with a significant other and online dating had a had a marvelous experience, including my mother, whose best friend married a man that she’d met online, something safe. It’s all good to go. Wow. His story? Yeah. So Eric, and I had this online relationship for two years, he, I was helping him with his company. And that’s where my big heart, you know, I’m one of those Damn Yankees where I don’t give money away to just anybody. But I do feel I would do almost anything for family. And quite quickly, Eric became part of my family, you know, we’ve talked so much about about Lou Diamond about the kids. And he became a therapist in a way where we were able to just get through some of the experiences, we have years. And the interesting thing is, you know, he was by himself, but he had his lawyer, and I got to know his lawyer, I got to know his sister and his son all through instant messaging. So they were creating this family. That was kind of my alternative family, because the only I have four kids, but the only one left at home at the time was my 15 year old. And he was very busy with school and football, that kind of stuff to Eric and his family became my family. And when he started asking me to help him, I’m thinking, initially, I was a little bit skeptical, because the very first first thing he asked me to do is send a check in for one of his friends to get onto the dating site. And this was early on, and it was like 4040, or $50. I don’t really remember the exact amount, but I sent a check to the dating site, because I’m thinking, Ah, there weren’t a lot of really good looking guys really good solid guys on the website. So let’s get some more on there thinking I’m helping him out, right. That’s not a good thing. Because that validates that that guy’s profile on the dating site. Now, I learned a lot since then. And then other after that, it began, Eric started asking me for things that might help his business and the only reason I was helping us, the sooner that he could get home, the sooner we could start our relationship in person. So I kept thinking, just help him finish this up. It’s you know, the first thing was $2,500. Just send it to him, Get it, get it over with and he’ll be home before Christmas. And it it didn’t happen. So you look done, Barry.

Ari: I am I am. I’m just

Debby: it’s not a funny thing. Because it happens all the time.

Ari: No, I’m, I don’t think it’s funny at all. I just, you know what? I look at you, okay, you’re an accomplished woman. You’re smart, you have a great family. You got you know, you got a you run your husband’s business right after he dies, you learn the business, you run the business. Alright, you’re obviously not a slouch, okay. And then, you know, I would never in a million years, you know, think that, you know, a person like you can get, excuse me, but but get taken, you know, and that’s, and that’s, you know, and this is something that our my audience, you know, they really need to hear this because, you know, as you said, you know, people get taken every single day, but I never knew anybody personally, that actually did. You always hear the stories, but I never really so. Please continue.

Debby: Well, that’s where the whispers part of this show comes because so many people that have been taken and become victims to scammers are very reluctant to speak about it, because of the victim blame that they get. And and that happened to me. Fortunately, not my family, but a lot of victims who I you know, after a while become survivors, they’re very careful. And they usually don’t want to tell anybody, especially their family, because most family are thinking, Oh, that was really stupid. Have you want to do that? Well, it’s got no, it’s got nothing to do with how smart we are, how educated, how well financed we are it has to do with our heart. And the way the scammers there’s a psychology of a scam and they’re very professional on it. They are not these guys that are sitting around cafes in Nigeria. They are college educated, well financed, trained in universities in around the world, but particularly in Nigeria, and they know what they’re doing. It’s a matter of numbers. They don’t need a million dollars out of one person they need $250 out of a million people. And they are very good at it. It’s billions and billions of dollars in their underground economy. So it happens to doctors, lawyers, professors, all sorts of business people. I mean, I talked There’s so many people now that this has happened to who will never tell anybody. And that’s the problem here is that they’ll never recover from it because they’re hiding it. And it’s going to eat them up from the inside out. And that’s true at any kind of grief. I mean, I really didn’t grieve Lou, my husband died, I didn’t have a chance to really do it. Because I got involved in this. And even though I’ve got 4000 pages journal, which I kept throughout those two years, it cost me a lot of time and a lot of money. And I’m a good therapist probably could have done it for a lot less. But I didn’t, I didn’t know that I didn’t want therapists either. You know, I grew up in New England and thinking, we’re so self sufficient. No one talks about mental health. No one talks about grief and no one talks about these things. And it’s so important, especially now, because the scammers have not gone on vacation because of the pandemic, if anything, the rise in scams, not just relationship scams, all sorts of financial fraud has skyrocketed in the last year and a half. And people are trying to grab a hold of it, but they can’t because, uh, well, it’s never gonna happen to me, you know, instead of thinking, I don’t need to hear about it. And like you, you don’t think you know, anybody that has happened to you, but I bet you do. They just have never said it. Wow. And so I became kind of the poster child for that. And, and it was okay, once I got rid of once I forgave myself for it, that was the toughest thing was forgiving myself, for being what I considered so vulnerable. I wasn’t naive, necessarily, although I never anticipated being taken, I’d never heard about it. And that’s why it’s so important for me to speak up because it can happen to anybody. And I think you and I talked about it, I when I talk to people now I never say You know, it’s going to happen to you. Because it may not and I hope it doesn’t. But it could happen to your mother, it could happen to your daughter, it could happen to your best friend. And if they don’t feel comfortable telling you about it, they’re going to suffer from the inside. And it’s tough thing to do, because nobody wants to be taken by somebody, but most people get taken by members of their family. So the scammers know that and they become part of your family part of your group. And that’s where you get stuck in.

Ari: Wow. Wow. So all in it. You don’t have to answer the question if you don’t want to. But all in I mean, what was how much did he take you for?

Debby Oh, I’ll tell you because it’s an extraordinary number. It was $1,080,762. Now I hear that back. Yes. Suck like, Well, how could you do that?

Ari: 1,080,000 $80,762 762. You got it down to the dollar?

Debby: Oh, yeah. Well, I’ve said it so many times. And you know, the first time I wrote it down, I had records, I have meticulous records. I unbelievable writings and records during that two year period of time, thank goodness. But it wasn’t immediate. It was over two years. And it started small. And that’s what they do. They start small. And then it gets bigger and bigger. And then the emotions take over. Because it’s like just one more transfer. And I’ll get him here one morning, it’ll be over. And then you get so far in it’s like, oh my gosh, if I leave now I’ve already lost all of this. So one more. One more. Right. So honestly, I don’t know. Well, I obviously didn’t have unlimited resources. And this one, this is a very important thing. If you have someone that you’re that a family member or someone you’re trying to help, you will find the money you will find what you can I sold jewelry, I sold investments, I sold my retirement accounts, which I kept telling him I have to get it back within a certain period of time where I’m going to have penalties on that. I mean, I’m did everything I could short of my my engagement ring, which I did pawn but I got it back. I even got my parents involved. And this is the hardest part for me is that at the end, towards the end, it got very desperate. We were so close to getting Eric home. And we got stuck in a customs thing. And I needed $100,000. And I asked my parents I’m the only girl I have three brothers. I love my parents to death. I knew, you know, they were retired. And I was like you guys, if you can lend this to me, we’ll finish up we’ll pay you back soon with good interest. And although my dad was initially kind of like, Oh, he’s like, it’s been two years. It’s gotta be real. It’s been here for two years. And when when I found out that it was a scam, and we’ll talk about that because that’s important to the one thing that I wanted was the return of the money to my parents. I can deal with my loss. But my heart just broke for what I did to my parents, but they are my greatest supporters. They came right over it’s like the day Lou died. He died on the west coast of Florida. 30 minutes from where my people slimmed down. They were the ones that went over and took care of everything. Wow. So when this happened, it was like Lou dying. But now I was part of it. And that was the worst part. And so they came right over. And they were with me, when I went to the FBI, they’ve been with me for the last year, you know, 10 years. They’ve been my greatest supporters and I have paid them back. And I, even though financially, I paid them back emotionally until I was able to buy them a house a couple of months ago, I finally said, I’m done. I have satisfied myself in paying them back, and giving them a safe place right now. But that was the worst part because they do the scammers do get you to, to reach out, if you run out of money, they get you to, you know, ask your friends ask your business associates, it’s like, oh, it’s just an incredible web that they weave. And and it’s very sad.

Ari: So let me ask you something. Okay. When you at some point in time, obviously, you know, when you put a halt to the whole thing, you realize that the whole thing was a scam. At some point you didn’t? Well, I mean, at some point, you you put an end to it.

Debby: This is what happened with me, which rarely happens to anybody else. He came online on September 10 2010 1112 2012, September 10. I remember today before 911. And he asked me how I felt about forgiveness, He was typing. So for hours, we talked about forgiveness. And we’ve had many spiritual experiences through the year, the two years. And so I told him that and then we get disconnected. Then he came back, and he said, let’s talk about this again. And I finally said, Eric, what have I done? What a lot, what have I done? Why do I Why are we talking about forgiveness? He says, Deb, I have to know that you can forgive me because I have something to tell you. And it’s going to hurt you. I’m thinking, I don’t want to hear that. He said I have a confession to make. And I’ve got to be honest, I heard that once during my marriage, and it wasn’t a very good thing. So when Eric said he had a confession to make, I’m thinking, oh my gosh, you’re sick, something’s wrong. He said, No, I have to tell you, this is all been a scam. And at that point, I’m thinking, No way. I said, How could you scam me for two years? I know you and your family and Peter and this and that? No, not that. I’m like, Where’s my money? And I said, now you have to prove it to me, I think you’re lying to me have to prove it. So on Yahoo chat, little did I know there’s a camera. And he was able to come on live. So I’m sitting here looking at my two screens of my handsome Brit. And on this live little square, you know, little camera pops up this dark hair and dark eyes, dark skinned young man with a big smile on his face. And his name is Joseph. And I thought I was gonna die. But I got a face to the story. And in an instant, this was God’s gift to me. In an instant, my heart was separated from my mind and my brain. My logic, I took a picture of him that’s in my book, I’ve one picture of the real guy. And at that point of thing, well, I can catch him. You know, I’m an Intel officer, I watch enough TV, I can go to the FBI, we can catch them, keep them engaged, keep them engaged. And I did because he wanted to keep this thing going. And I’m thinking, Are you out of your mind? Because is it because I’m young and black? And I’m thinking maybe yes, no. Dole a million dollars from me. And I said, if you’ve just been honest and said you needed help, I’m a really nice person, I want to help you, but not to the tune of a million dollars. And you have just ripped out my heart. And you know, he’s sitting. I’m so grateful that he that he did confess like that, because most scammers don’t. And most of the victims that I work with have no closure. It’s like the De Leeuw died and went away. I never saw him again. And so if Eric had just left, then I really would have thought he died. And I don’t think I could have gone through that again. And that’s what a lot of women and men are dealing with. There’s no closure. So at least for me, I got the face, I got the voice. I got everything in a package, and I’ve got it in my book. But I found out later on that from the FBI the next day that unless I had him here in the United States, there was nothing I could do.

And that’s when I really shut down because my father and my my sons and my one of my husband’s best friends, they were all ready to fly to Lagos, Nigeria, take this guy out. But there’s nothing we can do. And that’s a toughy and that’s why the scammers get so they can get really angry and aggressive towards the end because they’re sitting across the pond and they know nothing can happen to him. And that’s why my spreading my message like we have to we have to let people know what’s going on before they get involved. Because once you become involved, it’s the scammers have you within a week or two. They’ve got you and they know how to reel you in and they just pull on your heartstrings and you’re I mean I was willing to give up a lot of money, which I would never have done. But it was a perfect storm. For me, I was at a very vulnerable plot point emotionally after Lou died. And I really just wanted a friend I wanted someone I could talk to. And I, like I said, 4000 pages of texting and notes and stuff that I put in my journal thinking that would be a family history became somewhat of evidence that could never be used. But it’s been used for the media in the last, you know, six years, because when I’ve been interviewed, they want to see what he’s saying, What did he say? How did he say it? And it was very clearly written, it wasn’t, you know, jumbled up that you hear bad language or bad grammar, he was very articulate in his writing. And, and it was, you know, I, I look back now, and I think, how could I have been duped. But I believe that things happen for a reason. And that’s pretty Pollyanna. But I was on an interview once and a woman up in Indiana said, Deb, if you believe in God, which I do, she said, this happened because he needed to speak up. And I’m like, You know what, once I released the emotions of it all, and I got the book out, and I got my story up, I’m thinking, my mission now is to help one person not get taken. And that’s why I’m doing this. So thank you for helping,

Ari: I gotta tell you, you know, when I started speaking about my experience, on 911, and you know, at the end of the day, you know, I kept telling my story over and over again. And it took about eight months until it finally sunk in the magnitude of what had happened, and how, you know, the only answer that I had was God was looking out for me, I tried all different types of answers as to why we’re, and the only answer I can come up with is God, it was God who was looking out for me. And at that point, it became very, very important to me to keep telling my story, so that other people should understand, you know, about, you know, that there is a God out there, and that he’s watching over all of us. And it became very, very important to me to keep telling my story. And besides the fact that I don’t want people to forget that, you know, that we, that we were attacked, and that, you know, they you know, they tried to hit us in our, you know, literally in our wallets, right, which hurts more than anything else most times. So to hear you tell your story and to say, You know what happened to you, because you were willing to go out and tell your story, I feel the same way. And that, you know, the reason that I survived was because God gave me this gift of gab, where I can go out and tell my story, you know, and not be afraid to stand up in front of an audience of 1000 people or two and a half 1000 people and tell my story, I don’t have that, that, you know, that fear of public speaking. So I always look back. And I say that’s the because when people asked me, Why do you think you survived? And I said, that’s why I think I survived. And I think, you know, are you at the other end of the spectrum? Why were you taken, you would take him because you could get up and tell your story and make people understand that, hey, it’s bad out there. Here, you know, here’s how you can, you know, his is what you should learn so that you don’t get taken. Alright, and that you, you know, we all need to spread this word that, you know, there are scammers out there. And it’s not what you think, you know, it’s as you said, it was London guy, big businessman, international finance, you know, the nicest guy eloquent, you know, the whole nine yards, right? And at the end of the day, it’s all a facade. So that, that is just amazing. So, so now, what do you are you still running your husband’s company? Well, it’s not your company. You’re still running the company.

Debby: You know, it’s interesting, because for so many years, probably just tell like, last year, I kept thinking, this is loose company. And I changed the name it was been for teaming. dotnet. And people couldn’t say it. So I, I got past that, you know, survivor’s guilt. I’m like, I can’t change anything, because it’s loose legacy. Um, I changed the name to Benco complete a few years ago, I am running it. It’s an internet business. And it’s a valuable vitamin for people with neuropathy. So we have doctors that are that are using it and their practices I sell online, you know, through our through our website, but also to other vitamin supplement companies. And it’s something that I it was hard for me to to own it as my company because I do not have diabetes. I do not have neuropathy. But I’ve seen the value in people that it helps them and I’m thinking that’s why I’m doing this. That’s why I’m doing this because, again, it’s helping someone else. It’s not me helping someone else. And my father bless his heart, Doctor Jack, he’s 90 There’ll be 92 this year. dad works for me. He’s the voice of the company. He He’s the guy that people will call and have half an hour phone calls with. It’s amazing. It keeps him engaged. And it’s his way of protecting me. It’s an amazing experience working, especially with Father’s Day coming up.

Ari: Yeah, no, I hear I hear is your mom’s still alive.

Debby:¬† She is she is she’s 86. And I want her to be every other day. And so it’s a blessing that we’re able to get them a home just 10 minutes from me. So I can pop in and, and have a special relationship with them. Because they’ve been through this with me the whole thing. And so I run the company, but my passion is the the movement, the woman behind the smile, and also on the board of directors of an organization called scars, which is the Society of citizens against relationship scams, international nonprofit, we’re based out of Miami, and we deal with millions, millions of victims around the world and their families. Because there’s a lot of cybersecurity information out there. But nobody talks about the victims, and how and helping them get through it. And so it’s, it’s a passion project, we would love to get, you know, more money in it through Department of Justice and homeland security. Because it’s an international problem. And it’s it’s way beyond just the individual victim. But I’m there like you I speak out because I want that one woman that’s in a room that’s been through this to understand she’s not alone. And she’s willing to speak up now, because she knows she can hold my hand. What I’m there for.

Ari: That’s so true. Oh my god, you know what? You’re my new best friend.

Debby: Well, I haven’t thought about the relationships that we have, because of what happened. But yeah, I kept thinking that my scam ended the day before 911. And my life just crashed and burned on that day. But I didn’t let it stop me. But

Ari: you picked yourself up, okay, and you said, I am not going to give up on my dreams, I’m not going to give up on my passions. And I’m going to do I’m going to step up, and I’m gonna get out of this thing. And I’m going to move on. And that’s what you did. And that is just that gives so much energy so much, you know, strength to other people to say, Wow, if she can do it, you know, if she got hit with that kind of money. And she still she’s around today to talk about and she could still lose? Well, you know, I got I got hit for 10 grand, you know, what the heck is that? Nothing, you know, and I can move on as well. And that is so great. I am so happy that I met you. You have no idea. You’re my new best friend. Well, thank you so much. And now before we go, before we go, I just want to know is there anything you any any like words of advice or words of wisdom that you want to share with my audience?

Debby: Oh, my gosh, there’s so much First off, go to my website, the woman behind the smile, we have a lot of resources there on what to do. And basically, it’s big. This is what I say, beware and be aware. Just look at your social profiles, make sure that you’ve locked down your privacy settings so that people can’t get in. Don’t accept friend requests from people you don’t know. They even get into women’s groups and become friends of somebody. So now their mutual friend, and we’re so willing to just accept people as mutual friends. Do not believe the pictures you see online unless you bet them. You know, if you do a Google search on somebody, and nothing shows up, either they’re one of the ABCs which is like da CIA, FBI, DOJ, or they’re a scammer. So be really careful, because everybody’s got something out there about them. Google me, you’ll find everything. Okay? Just be careful. Just be careful and never send money to anybody, not even your family members on first shot.

Ari: Now, so again, just just if people want to get a hold of you, what’s

the best way to do that? A woman behind the smile.com the woman

behind the smile.com Okay, if

Debby: somebody and I will respond if somebody wants to write to me they’ve been a victim to this and they don’t know where to go right to Debbie de bb? Why, AT the woman behind the smile calm. I do write back personally. I can’t say that I’ve kept in touch with everybody because I’ve written to a lot of people, but I do want you to know that I’m the I can be the first stop and I can direct you to good resources.

AWow. Debbie, thanks so much for sharing your story. Good luck going forward. Keep up the good work. You’re doing phenomenal, phenomenal work and and, and the world is a better place because of it. How do you like that?

Debby:Thank you so much. Can I give one last bit of hope? Yeah, absolutely. If people always asked me this, they said did you find love again? And I have I actually got myself up months after the scam. I don’t know how I did this. And I was introduced to a gentleman Three friends, one was a matchmaker. And we’ve been married for five years. And he’s my special supporter and just biggest fan and so there is help. Just don’t shut down your hearts.

Ari: Wow, that is awesome. Let me ask you a question. Is this relationship like the mafia? In other words, I don’t know if you ever saw the Godfather, he says, give him a living. But don’t tell him anything about the family business?

Debby: No. My second date was CJ. He told me something very vulnerable about him. And and I told him the story and he said, you know, you have to speak up because he’s been through a lot of therapy and stuff and he said the only way for you to recover and get through this is to talk and then he sees it the more I talk, you can feel it I get so ginned up the more I talk, the better I feel the more energy there is. And and no, he’s my my biggest sweetheart and I’m very grateful he was a gift, you know, gift.

Ari: That’s great. So give us that. Give us that website. One more time. The smile, calm the woman by the smile, calm. And if anybody wants to get in touch with you, it is Debbie www.debbyatthewomenbehindthesmile.com

Debby: And I do have my Thursday show called stand up and speak up. Which comes right out of this, you know, just like yours. whispers and bricks. Yeah, stand up, speak up that we all have a story. And it’s amazing once you get it out how better you feel and because you know you’re helping somebody else.

Ari: Wow, that was that was that was awesome. You were listening to whispers and bricks and I’m your host I’ll be showing until next time listen to the whispers avoid the bricks and never ever give up on your dreams. Bye for now.

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