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Join AARP today. Get instant access to discounts, programs, services and the information you need to benefit every area of your life. He was the answer to her prayers. Before she knew it, her savings were gone. And the man of her dreams? He might not even exist.

Then she saw this guy, the one with a mysterious profile name - darkandsugarclue. The photo showed a trim, silver-haired man of 61 with a salt-and-pepper beard and Wayfarer-style shades. He liked bluegrass music and lived an hour away. More than a week went by with no answer. Then, this message appeared when she logged on to her account. How are you doing today? Thank you so much for the email and I am really sorry for the delay in reply, I don't come on here often, smiles I really like your profile and I like what I have gotten to know about you so far.

I would love to get to know you as you sound like a very interesting person plus you are beautiful. Tell me more about you. In fact it would be my pleasure if you wrote me at my email as I hardly come on here often.

He gave a Yahoo email address and a name, Duane. Some of the other men she'd met on Match had also quickly offered personal email addresses, so Amy didn't sense anything unusual when she wrote back to the Yahoo address from her own account. Plus, when she went back to look at darkandsugarclue's profile, it had disappeared. Your profile is no longer there - did you pull it? As I am recalling the information you shared intrigued me. I would like to know more about you. Please email me with information about yourself and pictures so I can get to know you better.

Duane wrote right back, a long message that sketched a peripatetic life - he described himself as a "computer systems analyst" from North Hollywood, California, who grew up in Manchester, England, and had lived in Virginia for only five months.

But much of the note consisted of flirty jokes "If I could be bottled I would be called 'eau de enigma' " and a detailed imaginary description of their first meeting:.

Aug 17,   "The fraudsters enlist and manipulate the money mules through romance scams or 'work-at-home' scams," the Justice Department said. The same . Unfortunately, an online love interest who asks for money is almost certainly a scam artist. The FTC's new infographic, developed with the American Bankers Association Foundation, lists common signs of online dating scams and what to do if someone you meet online asks you for money. The mainstreaming of online dating is a revolution in progress, one that's blurring the boundaries between "real" and online relationships. (AARP has joined this revolution, partnering with the online dating service HowAboutWe to launch AARP Dating in December ) But the online-dating boom has also fueled an invisible epidemic.

It's 11 am when we arrive at the restaurant for brunch. The restaurant is a white painted weatherboard, simple but well-kept, set on the edge of a lake, separated from it by an expansive deck, dotted not packed with tables and comfortable chairs.

Amy was charmed - Duane was nothing like the local men she'd met so far.

And she was full of questions, about him and about online dating in general. She also mentioned the deception she'd already encountered on previous dates - "lots of false advertising or 'bait and switch' folks," she wrote.

I think it is always best to be whom we are and not mislead others. By December 17, they had exchanged eight more emails.

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Duane suggested they both fill out questionnaires listing not only their favorite foods and hobbies but also personality quirks and financial status. Amy clicked on the link to the song, a torrid ballad that ends with the singer begging his lover to marry him.

Then she rolled it back and listened to it again. An impostor poses as a suitor, lures the victim into a romance, then loots his or her finances. In pre-digital times, romance scammers found their prey in the back pages of magazines, where fake personal ads snared vulnerable lonely hearts. But as financial crimes go, the love con was a rare breed, too time- and labor-intensive to carry out in large numbers. It could take months or years of dedicated persuasion to pull off a single sting.

That has changed. Technology has streamlined communication, given scammers powerful new tools of deceit and opened up a vast pool of potential victims.

Money dating scams

As of December1 in 10 American adults had used services such as Match. The mainstreaming of online dating is a revolution in progress, one that's blurring the boundaries between "real" and online relationships. But the online-dating boom has also fueled an invisible epidemic. According to the Federal Trade Commission FTCcomplaints about impostor ploys such as the romance scam more than doubled between and And that figure is probably low, because many victims never report the crime - or even tell their closest friends and family members that it occurred.

Shame, fear of ridicule and the victim's own denial enforce this contract of silence. The power of the romance scam - its ability to operate undetected and to beguile its victim into a kind of partnership - lies here, in the gulf between what the victim believes and what is actually happening. Outside the scam, it's almost impossible to explain such irrational behavior.

How on earth could you hand over your life savings to a stranger you met on the Internet, someone you've never even seen in real life? When Amy talks about how she fell in love, she always mentions his voice. It was mesmerizing - musical, clipped, flecked with endearing Britishisms. His writing was like this, too - not just the British-style spellings of words such as "colour" and "favourite," but the way he dropped "sweetie" and "my dear" into every other sentence.

They exchanged numbers and began talking every day. His teenage years in Manchester explained the accent, but there was another sound in there, too, a wisp of something she couldn't place. They spoke of the things you talk about at the beginning of a relationship - hopes, dreams, plans for the future.

She opened up about her marriage, her grief, her work, her faith and her conviction that things happened for a reason.

Amy had never met a man who was so passionately curious about her. And she was just as fascinated by Duane. Or was it Dwayne? In his early emails, the spelling seemed to switch. She found his LinkedIn profile - it was short, with just a few connections. There were other curiosities. Amy felt they were in some kind of time warp. She would be fixing breakfast and he'd be talking about going out for the evening.

He traveled a lot for his work, he said. Almost casually, he explained he was calling not from Virginia but from Malaysia, where he was finishing up a computer job. Looking back, would things have been different if he'd said he was in Nigeria? Amy knew all about those people who posed as Nigerian bankers and gulled victims with awkwardly phrased "business opportunities" over spam email.

What You Need to Know About Romance Scams

But this was different; Amy loved to travel and knew lots of people from overseas. The fact that Dwayne was living in Malaysia added an exotic note to his "eau de enigma. Scam central: A former "Yahoo boy" shows how teams of con artists fleece victims from Internet cafes.

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Born in neighboring Benin, he and his family moved to Nigeria during his childhood and went looking for opportunities in the emerging economic powerhouse of Africa's most populous nation. Instead, he found "the game" - Nigeria's shadow economy of scams, named for the article in the Nigerian criminal code that deals with fraud. Enitan is not the scammer Amy encountered in ; his fraud career ended inhe says.

Millions of people turn to online dating apps or social networking sites to meet someone. But instead of finding romance, many find a scammer trying to trick them into sending money. Read about the stories romance scammers make up and learn the #1 tip for avoiding a romance scam. In , people reported losing $ million to romance scams.

Since he left scamming, he's spoken out against the practice. But based on his account, the fraud playbook he followed has not changed. He agreed to talk on the condition that he would not be identified by name. Typically, scams are advance-fee frauds - variations of the age-old "Spanish prisoner" gambit, which promises riches to unsuspecting strangers in exchange for a modest payment. Sent first as printed letters, then as faxes and emails purporting to be from Nigerian officials, these offers are now part of Internet lore.

Indeed, they're so well known that ers have adopted a more effective variation - mining dating sites for targets of romance scams. Impostor scams can flourish wherever the Internet exists Eastern Europe and Russia are also hot spotsbut most dating fraud originates in Nigeria and Ghana, or in countries such as Malaysia and the U. In fast-developing parts of the world with high unemployment, a large percentage of English-speaking young men, and a postcolonial legacy of political instability and corruption, playing the game can be a tempting way out.

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That's when he drifted in with the legions of other young Nigerian men known as Yahoo Boys, named for their preference for free Yahoo. He learned the con from an older mentor, and he, in turn, passed on his skills to younger friends. Enitan describes a three-stage model.

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Using stolen credit card numbers, the scammer would flood dating sites with fake profiles. Victims can be found anywhere - scammers also forage for connections on social media - but dating services provide the most fertile territory. Profile photos are pirated from social media or other dating sites. To snare women, he'd pose as older men, financially secure and often in the military or in engineering professions. For male victims, he just needed a photo of an alluring younger woman: "Guys are easier to convince - they're a bit desperate for beautiful girls.

All his victims, Enitan says, described themselves as divorced or widowed. Ideally, the prospective victim makes the first move.

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Grooming the victim begins in the second stage. After learning everything he can about his target, he would launch a campaign of love notes and gifts. It feels like the universe is manifesting my perfect partner right before my very eyes. Prayers answered and yes it does seem like we have known each other a long time.

Amy wrote that seven days after receiving the first message from Dwayne. They were on the phone for hours every day at this point. His was the first voice she heard in the morning, and the last before bed.

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Typically, Amy would talk and text with him until about 11 a. Around 8 p. In their emails, they filled pages with minutiae about their lives - her upcoming holiday trip to Sarasota, Florida, with a girlfriend; his visit to a textile museum in Kuala Lumpur.

Mixed amid this were Dwayne's increasingly ardent declarations of affection:. Last night, in my dreams, I saw you on the pier. The wind was blowing through your hair, and your eyes held the fading sunlight. Florid passages like that did not spring from Dwayne's imagination.

He cribbed them from the Internet. Still, on Amy those words cast a powerful spell. That's how she thinks of it now - it was like a switch flicked in her head. She'd been in love before.

But this was different, a kind of manic euphoria. Are you real? Will you appear someday. Or are you just a beautiful, exotic dream if you are I don't want to wake up! At the core of every romance scam is the relationship itself, a fiction so improbable that most of us initially marvel in disbelief: How do you fall in love - really fall in love - with someone you never meet? Until the term "catfishing" crept into the vernacular, love affairs with digital impostors were little-known phenomena.

Then, they make up a story and ask for money. Scammers ask you to pay by wiring money, with reload cards, or with gift cards because they can get cash quickly and remain anonymous.

They also know the transactions are almost impossible to reverse. If you paid a romance scammer with a gift car contact the company that issued the card right away. Tell them you paid a scammer with the gift card and ask if they can refund your money. Below are some tips to identify a real romance versus a scammer cruising for a target.

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Please share this information with others. Victims may be embarrassed to talk about their experiences, but you can help. It would be great if these could be generated in an easily printed format.

I work at a credit union - and have member's falling for these types of scams regularly. This would be nice to get in their hands. We have a of the infographic that you can print and share. Thank you. The man who scammed me money three years ago, contact me again, he said he was sorry and will repay the money to me.

Of course, I know he is lying, what should I do? My case was reported to police three years ago, but finally closed file by police for further investigation impossible. If you were scammed by someone, and you get a call about a refund, that call is probably also a scam. Someone claiming to be cruise ship owner has asked me to buy an iTunes card for the purposes of fixing the ships internet. How valid is this? Is it this person also? He goes by Captain Johnny Freeman.

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Why would a cruise ship captain need your money? The company pays for that out of their revenues Obviously a scam Has anyone been contacted by a German man named John G.

I have been contacted by a German man using the name John Aleksio. Please tell me some of the things he has been telling you. He suppose to be an architect.

As soon as we started chatting he had a big job in Turkey.

Exposing Nigerian online love scammers - 60 Minutes Australia

There has been one thing after another. I have denied anything he ask for but he still continues to call from a turkey number. He suppose to finish job this week than come back to states.

Totally sounds like the guy who goes by David Reyhan Wolfgang that tried to scam me out of money today. Met him on Words With Friends. Supposedly from Norway, living in San Diego. Wife died 3 years ago. Asked for euros from me. He is one smooth operator. He has also used the name Richard Langham. He also has 6 other alias. Do not send money. He is a full blown narcissistic individual who will do anything.

Do by any chance have the other names, LOL this is similar to one i was speaking with on a fitness app - but did my investigation and am pretty certain i just busted him He went by the name Jason Lambert.

I have a guy from Finland in Turkey who is a architect. He is telling me he has a big job and wants me to send him iTunes cards. Same person? Gave me the link to email this company.

I received their prices for different fares!!!!!! What he wanted to do, was cut his contract short, and fly from the "Ill Rig. To Houston, and take his money out and fly here to marry me right away!! Intuition kicked In, And I had all these red flags!! I flat turned him down. On every Thing he wanted to do. Which were all lies! He was going to get that money and run like a Jack rabbit!! He got nothing from these old's country girl!

Once he could get the money, he went into a rage, calling me names, ugly ugly names! Bye, Oliver! Lover Boy!

This sounds just like the guy my mother is talking to. He's going by ths name Mark Edeh. He's asked her for 6, then 3, Told her to borrow from family, sell her car, home. Wants her credit score, bank info. Says he is stuck on a ship in the Persian Gulf, he's from Germany, has a daughter Pamela in boarding school in the UK.

That he's a widower. Owns a 5 bedroom home in Chicago and many cars. His bank account is blocked and he needs my mother to send him money to reactivate it so he can hire a private jet to leave where he is.

When she told him she hasn't any way to get that much money, he has suggested and insisted she buy Amazon cards for him to pay his bank with. But he also told her to give him her bank info so he can transfer money to her, then she can send it to him. And she's falling for it and trying to come up with it. Help if you can possibly give me advice on how to get rid of this person before he takes what little she has.

NY telephone. Is his name Paul? Hi do you have the photos of him as I think he has tried to scam me too and it would be interesting to compare pictures. I am talking to someone, who told me the same story. Do you have a photo of him. I want to know if his is the scammer. Can I get your pics sent to me, as I think this Paul is scamming me right now I met him on zoosk dating site and.

I was scammed by a guy calling himself Peter Kaua Sullivan, my fiance. I met him on Match. Just as you all said he was stuck abroad, his son had cancer and he owed taxes to Istanbul, Turkish government for job done there.

He also had the money forwarded from Kenya or so he said. I was at the airport waiting for him to arrive several times and he never showed.

I had almost the same exact thing. He was coming to see me but his crude oil shipment wouldn't ship because he had to pay insurance.

Supposedly he all ready paid 37K. He was telling me he was in Istanbul Turkey. He needed K. I told him repeatedly I had no money. He tried to make me feel guilty because I couldnt send the money.

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