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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.
Interestingly, the AARP says that men fall victim to these scams more often, but that women are more likely to report the scam.
The profiles of online dating scammers can exhibit some clear signs that something is off—you just need to know what to look for.
Most scammers choose victims that are older than they are, for example, so if someone who is significantly younger than you says that they’re interested, it could be cause for concern.
Of course, just because someone is younger doesn’t mean that they’re a scammer; it’s just something to keep in mind.
When it comes to dating, women have been shown to give the edge to profession and providership over appearance. You also might be able to make a case that some women are looking for a knight in shining white armor to rescue them.
When it comes to the research, you might be surprised to find that men in uniform really do have kind of an edge when it comes to finding a mate on the Internet. They received an above average number of first contact e- mails, keywords, and were browsed more often than men in other occupations.
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.
But the more I listened to their stories, the more I heard how these particular guys were really seeking a life partner.
In August, a British man was sent to jail after defrauding two women of over £300,000 (5,300) through online dating sites.