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Romance scammers work by setting up fake profiles on dating sites and social media.
Candace wired him the small sum without hesitation – but when he contacted her a few weeks later saying he needed a much bigger sum to pay legal bills, she realized she was being scammed.Unfortunately, they couldn’t meet in person because he was studying overseas, but they talked and texted every day.Then one day Eric called in a panic, saying his passport had been stolen.The scammers admit that the romance started out as a con job, but claims that they’ve fallen in love with the victim.Then they use their emotional hold over the victim to lure them into helping them with their crimes – sometimes even turning them into accomplices in other scams.According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), online romance or confidence scams are a fast-growing type of Internet crime.
More than 14,500 Americans fell victim to this kind of scam in 2016, up from fewer than 6,000 in 2014.
The victims are often happy to pay because they think helping out their love interest will make it easier for them to finally meet in person.
Instead, the scammer continues to string the victim along with more requests for money, sometimes keeping up the fraud for years.
When the victim finally wises up – or runs out of money – the scammer disappears.
In a few cases, the scam continues even after the victim catches on.
Her whole relationship with Eric was a scheme to get money out of her.