"Evelyn" was looking for love.
She thought she found it on Match.com, which quickly moved to Instant Messenger. "He said he was an engineer living in Florida, with his own business and the father of a son. He wrote perfectly - no 'scammer grammar.' He seemed ideal."
Within two weeks, Mr. True Love had hooked Evelyn. With declarations of love, promises of a life together and, oops, a request for money to help secure a job contract in Cairo. After sending $22,000 in three wires, Evelyn not only lost her heart and money but also her identity. Her sensitive information was sold to other scammers, including identity thieves and other Romeo rip-off artists.
Conning thousands of men and women each year, romance swindlers consistently make the top scammer lists. These criminals aren't looking for a soulmate, they are looking for victims who are 'love blind'.
Here is how the scam works: Scammers scroll dating websites, chat rooms and Facebook inventing fake identities, using fake photos of themselves and tailoring their profiles to the target's interests.
First there's the wooing, then the undoing. After romancing the victim with quick promises of love, these con artists spring the trap. In some fashion and some way, the paramore begins asking for money or your personal information. Mr. Wonderful may ask for money to be wired for a plane ticket or help with some debt run up by the evil ex-girlfriend.
So how can you spot a romance scam and avoid falling victim? Here are red flags that the person you're dealing with is after your cash, instead of your heart.