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Romance SCAMS

Scammers target dating websites, singles columns, and social networking sites, just to name a few, to search for victims.  They create fake profiles, usually by stealing other people's identities from the internet, e.g. a U.S. soldier.  Victims are often over 40 years old and perhaps divorced, widowed, elderly or disabled.  Anyone can be at risk.

Romances develop very quickly and some declare their love after a matter of a few days.  They desperately want to see the victim really soon.  They use emotions to draw the victims in, often talking about trust and commitment and instant love.  Some scammers use poetry, flowers and other gifts to reel in their victims, declaring the entire time their 'undying love'.

After the trust is established, the scammer then suddenly has an urgent need for money.  For example:

  • They've arranged to visit you but need money to pay travel costs, visa costs, etc.  Or they may say they have already paid for a plane ticket which is then lost or stolen.

  • Or a family member or someone else that they are responsible for is ill and they need money for medical treatment.

Once you send them money, the scammers will keep coming back with more and more reasons for you to send them money.  They will often make their victims feel guilty.

SOCA (the Serious Organized Crime Agency) even warns about developments in romance scams where victims have gone to other countries to meet someone they think they fell in love with, and gets kidnapped.  Be wise and careful when meeting someone new.  There are a lot of scammers out there, everywhere and in every country.  Be careful.  Be extra careful!

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