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Now they can get on the Internet and go across the world," Cook said."When you meet someone and you really want someone you just want to believe them." Her advice to daters is the same, online or off: "Enjoy the relationship, but keep your money to yourself," she said."A little gift of flowers or candy is a good aphrodisiac," said Miskell. I can't tell you the number of women who have fallen for this." Eventually, the con artists convince their soulmates to do them a big favor — help transfer funds out of the bank.There have been so many victims that they are starting to find each other online.Richie said he was from Milford, Mass., but that he was out of the country on a big construction job.He was helping build a stadium in Nigeria, he said. I had no qualms whatsoever cashing (the money orders)," Smalley said.He spent four months gaining my trust and he did it." So-called Nigerian scams, where victims are ultimately tricked into sending money to the African country using some irreversible method like a wire transfer, are common. But the seductive flavor of this type of the scam — known to some as "sweetheart scams" — and the incredible patience shown by the scammer reveal just how far con artists will go to trick their marks. of Washington state, who asked that his last name be withheld, says he sent ,200 to a similarly seductive scammer. Ryan was approached while hanging out in a chat room devoted to Grateful Dead fans.His seducer also claimed to be an American out of the country getting paid via money order, and also ultimately asked him to cash them. "The thing that duped me was the whole music issue.
Of these, roughly half of the women and 36 percent of men said that personals sites have made a positive change in their social life.The goods are often purchased with stolen credit cards, but the con artists have trouble getting them delivered out of the country, because many U. Sluppick said one confused victim in her Yahoo support group currently has about ,000 in merchandise that's been sent to her home, and she doesn't know what to do with it.The Merchant Risk Council's Ferguson said victims can always contact her agency for help returning merchandise to the retailers."When you are meeting someone else on a Christian site, you think you are safe." No dating site is immune from scams, said Jason Tarlowe, who operates Match Doctor.com, where Smalley met Richie. Sometimes, the online suitors don't even ask before sending money orders.They just send them, then guilt their targets into forwarding on the cash, Gregory said.
A new Yahoo group, "Romance Scams," was founded last month by Smalley and Barb Sluppick, who said she almost fell for a similar scam earlier this year.