Online Romance Scams: a $50M Business

Those older than 40 and divorced are common targets: report
By Dustin Lushing,  Newser Staff
Posted May 19, 2012 11:43 AM CDT
Online Romance Scams: a $50M Business
A broken heart can be costly.   (Shutterstock)

Scammers conned $50 million out of 5,600 people last year who were searching for love on the Internet, says a new report. That's an average of $8,900 per victim. The way it generally works: Fraudsters hunt for vulnerable targets on dating sites and social networks, and convince the marks that they're romantically interested, explains the Washington Examiner. When they gain the person's trust, they'll slyly request money for phony things like travel or medical procedures and then vanish.

The report from the Internet Crime Complaint Center shows that con artists will particularly victimize people who are over 40, disabled, elderly, widowed, or divorced, notes the Huffington Post. One blogger at HuffPo told of her own experience being duped in a false online romance. "So, how do stupid things like this happen to smart people like me?" she asked. "Desperate loneliness is a good place to start—that, and a willingness to believe in a fantasy." Click for more. (More online scam stories.)

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