Internet dating scams database
The group is trying to publicize the problem to limit the damage. Now, I get one every couple of weeks or so because it's the easiest way to get somebody hooked," Ferguson said. We don't want people to be taken in." But they are, said Donna Gregory, supervisory internet crime specialist at the FBI's Internet Fraud Complaint Center. "We've even seen them take as long as a year (to seduce a mark)," Gregory said."How many people are out there thinking they found the love of their life and they have no clue what's happening? "The first thing most people say to me when they contact me is, 'I can't believe I was so stupid.' " Sweetheart scams appear to be on the rise, said Julie Ferguson, executive director of the Merchant Risk Council, which tracks scams for online retailers. "The stories are so-gut-wrenching sad." Some scammers seem to deliberately target groups set up for Christian singles, she said, where people may be less likely to be suspicious. Con artists will hunt for people's weaknesses, find out what they care about -- such as Grateful Dead music -- and then go in for the kill.A new Yahoo group, "Romance Scams," was founded last month by Smalley and Barb Sluppick, who said she almost fell for a similar scam earlier this year.Among the hundreds of messages posted to the group are photographs of alleged scammers, links to potentially fraudulent online dating ads, and copies of come-on e-mails.Now they can get on the Internet and go across the world," Cook said."When you meet someone and you really want someone you just want to believe them." Her advice to daters is the same, online or off: "Enjoy the relationship, but keep your money to yourself," she said.When Theresa Smalley received a note from Richie last January asking if she wanted to chat, she was flattered. The two began exchanging e-mails, friendly at first, but quickly swelling in intensity and passion.
There have been so many victims that they are starting to find each other online.
Once they’ve made contact, they will typically request to move the conversation to a private instant messaging service.
He or she will begin the courtship process by sending letters and love poems for a period of weeks and finally offer to fly to meet their victim.
Within hours of the expected arrival time, an emergency will strike: A work visa has expired, or their aunt/niece/child is sick and they need a few thousand dollars to be wired over so they can finally meet their intended.
In many cases, scammers will choose to use pictures of military personnel. Grisham set up a personal blog for soldiers to report their photo being used on online dating sites.