If you’re already smitten, you may wire funds to the scammer – no questions asked.“They are caught in the scammer’s web,” Nofziger says.Western Union received at least 44,500 complaints about online dating and romance scams, with losses totaling at least million, between 20, the FTC’s Todd Kossow says.Amy Nofziger, regional director of the AARP Foundation, explained how a romance scam works: The scammer will often say he or she is from the United States, but is traveling or working overseas, and will quickly profess his or her love for you.Don’t disclose your last name, your address, your place of work or other personal details until you meet your love interest in person. You also can copy portions of emails a love interest has sent and use an online search engine to see if the text appears elsewhere, because many scammers work off scripts, Nofziger says.Also, copy his or her photo and do an image search to see if anyone else shows up with that photo, Nofziger says.They’ll quickly weasel their way into your life, learning your favorite foods or favorite color, Sluppick says.If a friend voices suspicion, the scammer will say the friend is jealous and tell you to stop talking to your friend, she says.
In reality, the package contained about 2 kilograms of cocaine. The scammer might ask you to open a new bank account.Sluppick has found it’s usually those who are middle-aged and older – and an equal number of men and women – who tend to fall victim to scammers.Your love interest may be an impostor How can you protect yourself? Experts warn that the scammers usually want you to immediately leave the online dating website, and instead communicate by email, phone or instant message.Other dangers: sextortion and worse If you’re all dreamy about your online love, you may be vulnerable to sextortion, a form of blackmail, Sluppick says.Don’t let yourself be persuaded to take off your clothes and perform sex acts in front of your computer, as all of this is often being filmed by the scammer.