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These criminals—who also troll social media sites and chat rooms in search of romantic victims—usually claim to be Americans traveling or working abroad. While their most common targets are women over 40 who are divorced, widowed, and/or disabled, but every age group and demographic is at risk. You’re contacted online by someone who appears interested in you.He or she may have a profile you can read or a picture that is e-mailed to you.
Con artists are increasingly creating fake online profiles and tricking people on dating sites into handing over often large sums of money.
One of the most common techniques is to build up trust with the person by messaging for weeks or even months before suddenly having an emergency - the fake person being mugged but their daughter needing urgent surgery, for example - and asking for money.
But then they suddenly need money for rent too, then food, then medical fees, and it can quickly escalate.
Scammers take advantage of people looking for romantic partners, often via dating websites, apps or social media by pretending to be prospective companions.
They play on emotional triggers to get you to provide money, gifts or personal details.