Victims include everyone from doctors and lawyers to CEOs and cops, Sluppick says.
In many cases, they’re lonely after a divorce, the death of a spouse, or their kids are grown and have left home.
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.
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.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.They work around the clock, and will keep you up all night communicating, she says. The romance scammers often will steal a military member’s photo from social media sites or press releases, Grey says, and may even use the military member’s name in their online profiles.“They get the victim in a fog so she’s no longer thinking clearly.” It’s not unusual for scammers to claim they’re in the military. Even senior Department of Defense leaders have had their identities stolen by these fraudsters.