However, be forewarned: the online contact could be a criminal sitting in a cyber café with a well-rehearsed script that scammers have used repeatedly and successfully.
The principal group of victims is over 40 years old and divorced, widowed, elderly, or disabled, but all demographics are at risk.Scammers use poetry, flowers, and other gifts to reel in victims, the entire time declaring their "undying love." These criminals also use stories of severe life circumstances, tragedies, deaths in the family, injuries to themselves, or other hardships to keep their victims concerned and involved in their schemes.Victims who have agreed to meet in person with an online love interest have been reported missing, or injured, or in one instance, deceased.IC3 complainants most often report the countries of Nigeria, Ghana, England, and Canada as the location of the scammers.In another scheme, scammers ask victims to receive funds in the form of a cashier's check, money order, or wire transfer, claiming they are out of the country and unable to cash the instruments or receive the funds directly.
The scammers ask victims to redirect the funds to them or to an associate to whom they purportedly owe money.
The IC3 is warning the public to be wary of romance scams in which scammers target individuals who search for companionship or romance online.
Someone you know may be "dating" someone online who may appear to be decent and honest.
Scammers also ask victims to send money to help overcome a financial situation they claim to be experiencing.
These are all lies intended to take money from unsuspecting victims.
The FTC’s updated resources explain how to protect your information and how to respond if it’s stolen.