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It’s not a good feeling to have been taken advantage of, and a scheme that’s so obvious in hindsight is even harder to admit to. If you date online, take precautions to protect yourself.
More than 12,500 people filed romance scam complaints with the FBI in 2015, losing more than 0 million to fraudsters. Here’s how it works: Romance scammers might persuade you to drain your bank accounts, max out your credit cards or even sell your home -- all to send them the cash. You could unwittingly become part of money laundering or drug trafficking schemes.
He had convinced them that he was a diplomat and that a US marine general had fallen in love with them, causing one woman to pawn jewelry, empty her life savings, sell her car, and take out loans to help this general move to the UK. In 2011, the Internet Crime Complaint Center estimated that the online dating scamming “industry” was worth over million, but it’s likely much higher than that, due to the difficulty of making a good estimate.
People are often ashamed to come forward and admit that they’ve been duped.
Anyone can be the target and victim of these scams—men, women, young, old, gay, straight, white, black, Asian, Hispanic… But the FBI states that women who are “over 40, divorced, widowed, and/or disabled” are prime targets for scammers.
If you fall into this category, be especially wary of people that you meet through dating websites.
Interestingly, the AARP says that men fall victim to these scams more often, but that women are more likely to report the scam.