The Federal Bureau of Investigation issued a special warning to all those lonely hearts out there to keep a close eye on scam artists trolling for victims on online dating websites. [Image via UrbaneWomenMag/Flickr]
Of course, Valentine’s Day is just around the corner. So the FBI issued the alert as hundreds of thousands of lonely souls flock to places like Match.com and eHarmony.com and even social media outlets in order to find a date by Friday. The FBI said that scammers will use these sites to set up fake accounts with phony photos and personal information in order to pose as people who are desperate to find a date as well and prey on that vulnerability to get money out of them. Usually, they will reach out to someone through these websites and strike up a conversation in order to form a solid connection with them. It could take a few days or even months at a time but when they feel they’ve formed a connection with another person, they will start hitting them up for money.
Some people not only lost scads of money in these schemes but according to the FBI, they also could have unknowingly been roped into committing money laundering for these posers. For instance, a woman in San Francisco lost over $300,000 to a man in Nigeria who posed as an Irish oil rig worker on the ChristianMingle.com website after he claimed he needed money to pay his daughter’s college tuition and refund his oil drilling business. A man in Vancouver forked over $500,000 to a scam artist based out of London that he met on a dating website. An unidentified woman in British Columbia lost over $1.3 million to her romantic scammer.
There are thousands of cases just like these every year. Personally, I’m not too worried about getting caught. I met this Nigerian prince through my email and I’m sure he’ll have some information on these guys for me as soon as my check clears.