No love story is more indicative of the 21st century than that of U.S. veteran Troy D. Turner and Judy Mezzatesta. This unforeseen Romeo and Juliet were brought together when the victim of a Facebook scam confronted the real person behind the scammer’s alias.
But despite their turbulent and unconventional meet cute, this modern-day couple is now engaged to be married.
For half a decade, U.S. veteran Troy D. Turner has fought to put an end to the scam in which an impersonator was using his name and photographs on a fake Facebook profile to elicit money from single, vulnerable women.
Judy Mezzatesta, two years into her “single” relationship status on Facebook, was one of the numerous women to stumble upon one of these false Facebook profiles. However for Mezzatesta, this scam had a twist ending.
Rightfully, Mezzatesta was hopeful about this mystery soldier.
Although she had learned to ignore strangers who sent her online messages after a slew of advances from unknown men on the Internet, she made an exception for this one.
The first message Mezzatesta received from “Master Sergeant Turn” was a detailed story about his service in the army and losing his wife.
Mezzatesta immediately sensed that something was fishy.
“He told me he needed money to get out [of the army,]” she said in an interview with Fox 12 Oregon. “When someone asks you for money, it raises a red flag.”
Upon researching, Mezzatesta discovered many “Troy D. Turns” and “Troy D. Turners” on Facebook — all claiming to be master sergeants in the military. And she quickly came to realize that it was all a scam.
The U.S. Military has coined it the “romance scam.”
In fact, this problem is so common that there is an entire Facebook page focused on warning the public about these impersonators.
The Stayton Police Department is currently investigating the open fraud case, however there is little that can be done when the scammers are located in foreign countries.
Numerous women from around the world have fallen victim to this manipulative crime and have come out of it bitter and forlorn. And for Turner, each case is more violating than the last.
“It’s like going into your house and finding everything has been taken. They do that with your emotions,” Turner said.
The real Turner eventually connected with Mezzatesta, and their relationship has flourished. “[But] as much as I hate this guy, I also got to thank him … for introducing my future wife to me,” he said.