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“I was mortified,” she told reporters from the Toronto Star and CTV W-5. I thought, ‘This can’t be happening.’” Men have also been victimized. And as Leeman can attest, it’s a scam in which trust, vulnerability and a longing for love are heartlessly exploited.In Vancouver, a gay man named Tony told CBC News that he had lost 0,000 to a man he met on an online dating site. “Scammers are trolling social media and dating sites for victims,” warns Eimiller.Since 2010, Canadians have lost nearly million to romance scams (also called confidence scams or sweetheart scams).Rosanna Leeman, 48, told Canadian reporters that she fell for a widower she met online who told her how incredibly lucky he was to have someone like her in his life.As the FBI puts it, “Victims who have agreed to meet in person with an online love interest have been reported missing, or injured, or in one instance, deceased.” How to avoid romance scams Taking some commonsense precautions can greatly reduce the risk of falling victim to a romance scam. Since social media profiles may be fake, do online searches on your sweetie’s photo and profile to see if it has appeared somewhere else.Be wary if someone asks you to leave Facebook or a dating service to talk “offline.” Be skeptical of boyfriends you’ve never met.
In a particularly sinister variation of the scam, a “suitor” convinces a woman in love to disrobe for him on Skype or other communications he can videotape.
“If someone is asking for money or professing their love to you before you’ve even met them, that should suggest this may be fraud,” says Eimiller.
Other common red flags, she says, include a suitor who can’t meet you because he is supposedly working overseas, Do not send money to anyone you don’t know personally.
In figures from romancescam.org, which has 59,000 members, 1,813 members have reported more than ,891,837 in losses to romance scams – an average of more than ,430 in losses per victim.
A scam based in Nigeria The victims tend to be widowed or divorced women in their fifties targeted by criminal syndicates usually based in Nigeria, according to the FBI.
“There can’t be a man this horrible, to do what he did to me,” she told FBI investigators.