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Victims—predominantly older widowed or divorced women targeted by criminal groups usually from Nigeria—are, for the most part, computer literate and educated. And con artists know exactly how to exploit that vulnerability because potential victims freely post details about their lives and personalities on dating and social media sites.
Trolling for victims online “is like throwing a fishing line,” said Special Agent Christine Beining, a veteran financial fraud investigator in the FBI’s Houston Division who has seen a substantial increase in the number of romance scam cases.
“The Internet makes this type of crime easy because you can pretend to be anybody you want to be.
You can be anywhere in the world and victimize people,” she said.
While online dating sites work hard to eliminate scammers from their sites, unfortunately some continue to be very deceptive and get past the fraud checks so it is important to be aware of what a potential scammer might attempt to do.
If you’ve ever been tempted to try online dating, you’re not alone. Online dating scams range from minor white lies to outright thievery.
The standard scam story then starts to unfold as your online date suddenly has some sort of emergency in Nigeria or Ghana.