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  • Writer's pictureDetained in Dubai

Detained in Dubai: The Scammer’s Gold Mine — People Search —

Updated: Aug 6, 2023

On the morning of October 4, 2021, our story prospector’s phone screen lit up with a Gmail notification. It was from a woman named Yvette who was desperately calling out for help.

Yvette was desperately seeking the team’s help, she provided a crucial piece of information, a piece that would allow the team to begin the investigation of Charles Landry’s Florida Driver’s License.

Yevette’s message detailed her relationship with an army commando who was stationed on a top-secret mission in Bagdad. She said that she already sent Charles $9,000 for an armored escort to Dubai, where Charles was detained for carrying gold that he was given as a “Gift” from the locals. Charles told Yevette that he would need an additional $75,000 to get out of prison.

Yvette provided the team with a picture of Charles’s driver’s license.

With this piece of information, we could hand it over to our search specialist and the investigation into Yvette’s mystery man could begin. After our specialist examined the driver’s license, we noticed a few things that were out of place.

The Biggest red flag was that the signature didn’t match the name on the license.

This mismatch of information was enough for our team to go further into our investigation. We brought Yvette in for a Pre-interview to hear her story and see if the information was adding up.

The investigation begins

When Yvette entered the chat room, her kind and sympathetic demeanor were immediately on display. She told us she is a widowed nurse, who met her husband online more than 23 years ago, so she was no stranger to the world of online dating.


Being kind and sympathetic are two of the best traits in a person. They are something that you should look for in any relationship. But unfortunately, these characteristics leave you vulnerable to scams. Scammers exploit a psychological trait called agreeableness. People who are agreeable have a hard time saying no, especially to someone they love. This piece of information we tucked this piece of information away for later.

We could see that Yvette was torn. She was excited by Charles’s persona. He was an ultra-masculine, protective commando figure. Off in Baghdad fighting a secret war out of the view of the media and social pundits. He was the ultimate version of a man in her eyes. Yet something about it just didn’t add up.

Red flags

We took a step back to learn about Yvette’s life. In our initial conversation, we saw a few red flags that make victims vulnerable to these scams.

  1. Widows — Scammers look for people in vulnerable groups. People who have been involved in traumatic events in the recent past provide an opportunity for them to become their source of relief. Yvette is a twice-widowed woman.

  2. She has dated online before in the past, and it led to a 20-year marriage that lasted until her husband’s death. This experience has made her idealistic to a degree that left her vulnerable.

The picture becomes more clear

In our first interview with Yvette, we got two leads that could help us understand the story on a deeper level.

The first contact was Radha Stirling, a lawyer based out of London. She specializes in getting westerners out of prison in Dubai when they are wrongfully detained. Her position has put her on the front lines in the war against these scams. Radha regularly sees people losing millions of dollars from these exact types of situations.

She gave us insights into Yvette’s case as well as informed us about how stopping this billion-dollar international scam industry is going on her end. Dealing with a potentially corrupt system that is facilitating these scams isn’t helping her help these victims, but that hasn’t stopped her from pushing on.

As we were conducting the interview, the situation intensified. Yvette was distraught. Every day, Charles was texting her from his dark and cold jail cell. Alone, hungry, and contemplating suicide. Yevette was on the verge of sending him $75,000. Our search specialist was able to talk her out of it just long enough for us to gather enough information to close this case. Radha let us know that Charles could not possibly be sitting in a jail in Dubai. There could be no case number found at the US embassy, and none of the legal aspects of his story made any sense. Although Dubai’s legal system was not squeaky clean, it certainly was not holding a US special forces soldier hostage and texting his terrified significant other for Ransome. While part of the team was focusing on interviewing leads, the other part was using our custom search tools to find out the truth about Charles Landry. A break in the Case While running an analysis of the photos of Charles that Yvette sent us, we found information that made it obvious that the story that Charles was telling could not possibly be so. We finally had enough information to tell Yvette the hard news. That without a shadow of a doubt “Charles Landry” was an alias. His story about being a commando is a lie, and the $9,000 she sent him for an armored escort was probably pocketed and split inside of a criminal organization.

The Conclusion When we sat down to deliver the news, Yvette wasn’t shocked. She was destroyed. Victims of these scams often have suspicions. The guy or girl is just too charming, too good-looking, and the stories are too exciting to be true. Yvette said she just wanted so badly for James to be real. It’s often as if these scammers are so good at what they do that they hypnotize their victims. They put them in some sort of trance-like state that creates this strange state of mind where one-half of them knows that the stories are all lies and the person they’re talking to is a fraud. And the other half so desperately craves the romance and excitement that that person provides for them that it overpowers the suspicions half. The hopelessly optimistic half quiets the suspicions long enough to do things that it knows will eventually cause them great pain. But caught in the gravity of the scammer’s made-up character, and intoxicated by their fabricated confessions of love, the victim is willing to suspend disbelief until it’s too late and they have nothing left. Run Your Own Investigations All of the tools that the Social Catfish team uses to find out the truth about these cases are available on If you or a loved one is talking to someone online, Use our tools to verify the information they are giving you to make sure they are who they say they are. Run a reverse image search. Just upload an image, and our system will search the hidden layers of the internet to find the truth.

Originally published at on November 10, 2021.


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