Mom admitted ‘I knew I would end up dead’ in haunting final words before her body was found hundreds of miles from home | #DatingScams | #LoveScams | #RomanceScans

A WIDOW, who ended up dead, had sent her daughter a frightening final text where she admitted that she was living a double life with her scammer.

Laura Kowal was found dead in the Mississippi River in 2020 after being scammed by a man she met on and sending him $1.5 million.

A widow sent her daughter a haunting text message admitting that she was involved with her scammer and living a double lifeCredit: Courtesy of family
Laura Kowal was found dead in a river in 2020 after falling victim to a romance scam and sending a man $1.5 millionCredit: Courtesy of family
Laura’s daughter, Kelly Gowe, has shared her late mother’s storyCredit: CBS

She revealed her relationship and dark concerns to her daughter in a daunting final message.

“You were right in your judgment of me,” Laura wrote to her daughter, Kelly Gowe, according to CBS News.

“I’ve been living a double life this past year. It has left me broke and broken. Yes, it involves Frank, the man I met through online dating. I tried to stop this, many times, but I knew I would end up dead.”

On August 7, 2020, Kowal’s body was found near Canton, Missouri, which is almost four hours away from her home in Galena, Illinois, reported ABC affiliate WTVO. 

Her car was discovered almost 50 miles from her body.

Kowal had an online relationship with a man who called himself “Frank Borg” for more than a year, according to CBS News.

Borg allegedly used Kowal’s social media to create a connection and manipulate her into investing in his online trading company.

The scammer also spent months calling and emailing Kowal to gain her trust.

When she began to question Borg, he was allegedly able to convince her to help him scam other victims.

Her daughter recalled that her mom was always missing companionship in her life, which is what led her to be so trusting with Borg.

Documentary exposes horrific ‘Pig butchering’ online romance scam tactics

“She had all these buckets full in her life, my mom did,” Kelly Gowe told CBS News. 

“But there was this one bucket that was missing… and that was companionship … And that’s ultimately where we’re at now, is because of that.”

Kowal’s autopsy report ruled that she died by drowning, but some investigators believe it could have been a suicide.


US Justice Department and FBI officials have revealed stories like Kowal’s are more common than one may think.

In 2023, almost 70,000 people were victims of romance scams, according to a report by the Federal Trade Commission.

Reported losses were a massive $1.3 billion, and on average, victims lost $4,400.

However, many others are scared to come forward and the number could be much higher if they did.

Cyber expert’s advice on spotting a romance scam

A cyber expert with knowledge of romance scams spoke to The U.S. Sun and warned users of red flags to look out for. Roger Grimes, a defense evangelist at cyber-firm KnowBe4, listed 8 main questions to ask yourself:

  • Is the person trying to move you off the dating site to an unmonitored app?
  • Are they asking lots of questions before revealing info about themselves? This could be a bid to establish common ground and build trust.
  • Are they avoiding phone calls and video chats and coming up with excuses?
  • Do they say they travel a lot or that they’re not in the same country? This is often a lucrative part of the scam as they will need money.
  • Have they said they are traveling on a certain day and something unforeseen happens, so they need money to get there?
  • Do they ask for deep, dark secrets, or incriminating or nude photos? This could be used for blackmail further down the line.
  • Have they said they have been scammed before? This is sometimes a ploy to build trust and convince you that they’re not a scammer.
  • Do they have a sob story? Like their spouse died suddenly or left unfairly? Or they’ve been left with kids or massive bills to pay?

Read more here.

“They may be embarrassed that they have been victimized in this way,” said Arun Rao, who oversees the Consumer Protection Branch at the US Department of Justice.

“They may be ashamed. They may be afraid to tell their friends or family.” 

Many victims who don’t come forward turn to suicide, the FBI told CBS News.

“They shouldn’t feel embarrassed or ashamed,” Rao said.

“These are sophisticated fraudsters who are preying on the human desire for affection. For connection with another person. And they are manipulating [victims] … using sophisticated technology.”

Match Group CEO Bernard Kim defended the company after it was slammed for not protecting customers.

“We invest a tremendous amount of capital, and incredible talent on trust and safety. It is the first and foremost top priority for us as an organization,” Kim told CBS News.

He also said that the company has been able to stop 44 spam profiles per minute.

“We’re working really, really hard every single day to make sure that people are authentic. That’s the key to our platform,” Kim said.

Another woman fell victim to a romance scam losing $2.5 million and was forced to sell her home.

The U.S. Sun has reached out to Match Group for comment.

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