Firefly spent a lot of time on her profile, thinking she needed to be entirely honest and open if she hoped to really connect with someone.Within 10 minutes of posting, she had a handful of virtual suitors — and one stood out.In some cases, online dating services are themselves engaged in misrepresentation, displaying profiles which have been fabricated, which use personal information from users who have not agreed to be depicted on the site social accounts, classified sites and even forums to groom new victims.Upon finding victims, scammers lure them to more private means of communication, (such as providing an e-mail address) to allow for fraud to occur.It would have been easy to burnish the truth, but she presented herself honestly, from her age (57) and hobbies ("dancing, rock collecting") to her financial status ("self sufficient").The picture — outdoor photo, big smile — was real, and recent.But she had revealed to her new online beau how much she wanted children, and soon his 14-year-old son was emailing her.
Two sharp blows that had left her alone in her late 50s. His cancer took him swiftly, before she had time to process what was happening.
And her pitch was straightforward: Looking for a life partner …
According to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center, online romance scams account for higher financial losses than any other internet-based crime.
The scam usually ends when the victim realizes they are being scammed or stops sending money.
Victims can be highly traumatized by this and are often very embarrassed and ashamed when they learn they have become a victim of a scam and that the romance was a farce.