Ann Stevens is one of the victims.
“To think that somebody could care about me and accept me in their life is something I would truly like to have,” she said. She thought she had found exactly what she was looking for, but the man who contacted her wasn’t looking for love -he wanted money.
Ann placed an ad in Yahoo! personals and was quickly contacted by “Ron.” He wrote her loves letters that sounded like a romance novel, and soon Ann was dreaming about meeting him face to face.
But Ron explained he was working temporarily in Africa. He said he was building roads and would be returning to Colorado soon. He even sent Ann pictures of the road and his crew.
Soon, his letters grew more distressed. He told Ann that was because, “the African government had decided not to pay him for his work.”
That’s when he asked Ann to wire him $1800.00 so he could hire a lawyer and get back to Colorado.
“I didn’t want to think it was a scam, I wanted to believe he was telling me the truth,” Anne said.
Ann later realized “Ron” was trying to rip her off and, fortunately for her, she didn’t send him any money.
Ann is not alone. There are so many scammers preying on personal ads and online dating services that entire web sites are dedicated to warning people about who to watch out for. On these sites, users posts pictures and information about known dating scammers to warn other people about the stories and photos they often use again and again.
On line dating service users should be aware of some of the red flags. A scammer will always ask for money and they’ll want you to send it through an untraceable source, like wiring money through Western Union. You should also be suspicious of people who look like a model in their pictures. It could be a fake photo.
And you suspect you are being scammed, or if you’ve lost money already, you can file a complaint with the FBI by going to www.ic3.gov.